8 tips for caring for houseplants

Houseplants don’t just look pretty, they can lift your mood and have a variety of health benefits for you and your family.


Researchers, for instance, have found that houseplants add moisture to the air – a convenient benefit during cold dry winters. Rooms with plants also have less dust and mold floating around, and leaves and other parts of plants filter allergens and other airborne particles like volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Plus, other plants like mint and basil can help with digestion.


If you’re like a lot of people, however, like some on the Shop Talk team who shall remain nameless, you may have a tendency to kill houseplants in record time. So, here are a few basic tips to take care of them so they can take care of you:


1.     Feel the soil: For most plants, if the first inch of soil is dry, they need water. And if you notice leaves that are dry or discoloured, a little more water is advisable.

2.     Under beats over: Plants can usually recover quickly from a little underwatering but overwatering can waterlog the roots, which may require repotting it if you have any hope of saving them.

3.     Pots with drainage holes: Make sure your plants have holes at the bottom so they can drain easily and avoid rotting or suffocating roots.

4.     Deep over surface: Light watering tends to only satisfy your plant’s top roots. To ensure all the roots are satiated, water deeply until you see it draining through the bottom – it’s best to do this over a sink.

5.     Dust: Dusty leaves make it harder for plants to soak up sunlight so make sure to gently wipe them with a wet cloth a couple of times a year.

6.     Be wary of fertilizer: Most houseplants don’t need fertilizing unless they’re not growing like they should. If you think fertilizer might help, ask a professional – too much can damage or kill your plants.

7.     Temperature tip: Most plants crave stable temperatures around 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 24 degrees Celsius). Choose a location without major fluctuations – for instance, avoid the front entrance.

8.     Bathroom greenery: You might think a bathroom without a window is a death sentence for a plant but it’s perfect for low light plants like Chinese evergreens (Aglaonema), Pothos, Aspidistra, Boston Fern and Peace Lily. They’ll usually thrive on the humidity from your shower but it’s still a good idea to check the soil regularly (see #1).


What are your secret houseplant tips? We hope you’ll share! Leave your thoughts and questions in our Shop Talk blog community forum.


Did you know: Plants and concentration


Studies suggest students in classrooms with potted plants performed better on math, spelling, reading and science. (Source)

33 thoughts on “8 tips for caring for houseplants

  1. I usually set aside a specific day for watering. I have a hydrometer to measure the soil moisture level. I find in the summer plants could go longer between waterings.my azalea needs more watering.

  2. I do not have a green thumb. I read about house plants and l have a book of “ how not to kill your house plants. I just try very hard not to kill them with kindness.

  3. I was told that certain plants such as African Violets are best watered with room temperature water soaked up from the bottom, removing excess bottom water once it has taken as much as it needs. So not to leave it sitting in water and to certainly avoid getting any water on the leaves if you do water from the top. Violets do very well in dry conditions.

  4. I have a plant, most hindu homes have one of these plant The name is Tulsi plant, I have it on the table next to my back door so the plant can get sunlight and grow better .

  5. I have a Dracena Yucca plant. It is lovely but leaves started turning yellow. I was told I was watering it too often. It was suggested that I use one of those glass balls which self water. I filled it stuck it in the soil and the next day it was empty. I repeated and the next day it was also empty. I am afraid to water too much! Should I continue watering with this glass ball? If do, how often?

  6. When watering use either filtered water or tap water that has been exposed to the air at least 10 minutes so that any chemicals in the tap water can evaporate.

  7. I love my house plants and they are growing crazy. My friends who come visit thinks my place is a jungle.

    My secret is to talk them like they are another person. Honestly,you think I’m nuts but ,plants will grow healthy even more..My big white Lily when i wake up in the morning had droplets of water coming out of the tips of it’s leaves. It makes me happy that they are healthy. I just have a small place but every turn you see greens. That gives me enough healthy atmosphere in the house. My other girlfriend even wants to take my houseplants away every time she comes to my place.
    I got crazy when i moved to the city asbj don’t haveca garden. I even grew an avocado pit and now they are thriving. I want to experiment how they will do indoors. .Plants need our TLC and definitely listen to u when you talk to them. 😀 .

  8. Thank you, found your info/tips helpful. I do not do well with indoor plants but received several this Thanksgiving and would like to keep them healthy & alive.

  9. How do I get rid of aphids on my hot pepper plants that I brought in for the winter from my herb garden?
    I used insecticide three times and am now using tape to get them off the leaves. Tenacious!!
    Still there!!

  10. Thanks for your advice, I have beautiful plants all over my home. I always will need your advice. Keep sending it. Stay safe wear your mask. Rhoda

  11. I am 89 and all my life i have had more plants than I have had window sills .they have been my secret keeper,have listened to my tears fall, heard my laughter and my prayers.This spring with the virus starting I I took snips from 7 different colored cacti and set them up in pots., today 8 months later everyone has its first bud showing. This makes me think that better times are coming.we will survive.

  12. My favourite plant is the African Violet and I find that watering them from the bottom helps them to thrive so well, as well as keeping them in a bright window.

  13. I have a huge lily plant , is it a good time to transplant them? The plant does not fit in the pot very well. Can I separate them?

  14. I love your tips for our houseplants and I have one that I learned from John on the Do It For Yourself tv show years ago with Mary on CBC. He said to give your plants a boost during low light in the fall and winter add a level teaspoon of epsom salts when you water once a month and they will perk up until it is time to fertilize with plant food eg. miracle grow. My pothos and hanging jade love the pick-me-up and I don’t have them reaching for the low light. Try this you will be surprised!

  15. Hello,

    I have a snake plant that is rotting right about midway through the leaves on three stems.

    Any ideas on how to remedy this.

    Thank you

  16. I love my house plants. They help me get through our long, cold winters.
    I have brought some of my plants inside from outdoors and have been pleasantly surprised with winter blooms from my gerber daisies and a rose plant that gave me multiple blooms last winter. Love my green buddies. Lol

  17. Have so many problems when I bring in my indoor plants: they all seems to die. Had to buy an Air Purifier will see how if this helps.


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