Room To Grow
Your home is an environment and within it are micro environments. When you put a plant in your space, you’ll need to consider the micro environments to decide where your plant will be happiest. Near a sunny window, it may be warm, bright, and dry. In a shaded corner, it may be dark and cool. As much as we want plants to ‘look’ great in our space, putting their needs first is a must. Besides, most plants look great wherever you place them!
Start by identifying the type of environment your plant calls home in the wild, then pick a spot in your home that is somewhat similar. For example, if your plant is a desert-dwelling cactus, look for a spot that is sunny and dry. If it’s a leafy fern, then opt for a spot with diffused light and high humidity, similar to the conditions of the forest floor.
Keep in mind your home has a climate and, depending on where you live, it’s most likely always in flux. Changes in seasons outside can impact where you put, and how you care for, your houseplants inside. Summer plant care needs are different from winter plant care needs. We’ll unpack some of these seasonal nuances below.
Most houseplants can tolerate average indoor humidity levels, but many—especially tropical plants, which most common houseplants are—will benefit from a more humid environment. You can increase humidity levels for your plants by grouping them together, investing in a humidifier, or adding pebble trays. You can also place humidity-loving plants in rooms where humidity levels may be naturally higher, like a bathroom or kitchen, provided there is a window or grow light.
Dry air is especially a problem in the wintertime, when heating units, as well as cool outdoor conditions, vastly decrease indoor humidity levels. Don’t fret if you spot a few crunchy leaves during these colder months; simply prune them off so your plant can focus its energy on new, healthy growth.
Hot & Cold Drafts
In addition to considering humidity during the winter, consider the placement of your houseplants in regard to your heating unit, radiator, or forced-air vent. Plants prefer stable environments—hot (and cold) drafts can seriously stress them out. Whether a heating system or AC unit, keep plants far away from their blowing air.
If your AC unit is in your window or if your only window is near a radiator, consider hanging planters that can float safely, at least a few feet above. You can also try a radiator cover, or get crafty with a wood crate and make yourself a mock shelf to elevate plants.
Have outdoor space? Lucky you! A backyard patio, balcony, or even fire escape (with the thumbs-up from your building manager) can be a great place for you and your houseplants to catch some rays on a summer day. But if you can’t stand the heat for a few hours, chances are your plants can’t either. They have acclimated to indoor conditions, which likely equals less light and heat. If you do want to place or move some houseplants outside, opt for a spot with shade.
In the summertime, the days are longer and the sun's rays are stronger. Your plant's potting mix will dry out quicker than it did in the fall and winter, and you may find yourself watering your houseplants more frequently.
During this time, you may want to move some houseplants further away from the windows, or draw a sheer curtain, to help diffuse the light. Windowsills that were shady in the winter may get direct light in the summer. And visa versa, during the winter months, you may want to move some houseplants closer to your windows.
As seasons change outside, see where the sun hits inside, and move your plants around so they’re getting the right level of light they need to thrive. These little adjustments can make all the difference in the longevity of your houseplants.
Remember your houseplants are not pieces of furniture, although they may be your favorite part of your home decor. They are living, breathing organisms that grow and respond to you, the space you live in, and the changing seasons. Keep plants healthy by giving them some basic needs, and changing the scenery from time to time. Happy plants make a happy home.