Houseplant watering window
Houseplants are a great way of bringing nature into your home. We share some top tips on growing them and some popular houseplants to try.
  • Houseplants can bring a room to life and improve the air quality. Research carried out by NASA showed that houseplants can remove up to 87% of air toxins in 24 hours!
  • Looking after houseplants engages nurturing instincts, enjoying the process of watching them grow and bloom
  • Having houseplants can boost your mood, reduce stress and improve concentration

1. Get the light right

Plants need sunlight to turn into energy. The right amount is important. Your instinct might be to put your houseplant on a windowsill where it will get lots of light. This isn't always the best option. Some houseplants can't cope with this amount of heat / direct light.

Check the plant label and look up advice online for your particular plant.

2. Avoid overwatering

The best way to tell if your houseplant needs watering is to monitor the soil. Poke your finger into the soil to the first knuckle joint to see if it feels dry. Another way is to gently lift the houseplant. Wet soil will make it heavier to lift than dry soil. You could also buy a moisture meter if you prefer.

Any sign that the plant isn't healthy is often an indicator that it is getting too much or too little water.

3. Use rain water when possible

If you can, it's a good idea to use rain water for your houseplants. You can catch rain using buckets or pots. Or, if you have the space, you could install a water butt. Who knew there would be an upside to the UK's unpredictable rain?

4. Get them some fresh air

Open windows near your houseplants so they can breathe in fresh air. Plants consume carbon dioxide from the air in order to grow, and release oxygen as a return favour to you.

5. Prune gently

Remove any dead or dying leaves/branches to allow fresh new growth to arrive in its place.

6. Check if it's time to repot

At some point, your houseplant might outgrow its pot. If you notice roots developing on top of your soil, or growing through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot, it might be time to repot.

7. Make sure pots have drainage holes

When you get your houseplant, check that there are drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. These are so important to allow excess moisture a way out.

8. Style it with a decorative pot

The pot the plant comes in may not be very pretty. For this reason, people often buy a decorative pot a little bigger than the houseplant pot and pop the whole thing inside. This allows you to enjoy adding creative style to your room - you could choose a natural wicker pot, a brightly coloured painted ceramic one or a modern metal version.

Do what you can to get into nature. If you can’t, bring it inside with pot plants. Growing things gives you a sense of achievement … enjoy the experience.

Survey respondent, gardener with arthritis

9. Dust your houseplant

This one might have you scratching your head, but houseplants often need a light dust! When the leaves have a layer of dust on, this stops them getting as much air and sunlight as they need. Dust gently using a damp cloth or paintbrush, depending on the size of your plant.

10. Be pet safe

If you have pets, be aware some houseplants are toxic to them. For instance, golden pothos is toxic to cats and dogs. You should be able to find out this information with a quick bit of online research.

11. Get to know your individual houseplant

These general tips will help with houseplant care. But some plants have their unique needs. For example, succulents need very little water. A little bit of online research will help you get to know your plant better.

12. Move your plant if needed

Our homes can have a range of temperatures, light, humidity, draughts and moisture from room to room. You may have to do some 'trial and error' to see where your houseplants are happiest. If a plant is not doing very well, try moving it somewhere else and see if that helps.

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Pothos, also known as devil’s ivy, in a decorative gold pot
Pothos also known as Devil's Ivy

There is a wonderful variety of houseplants available from garden centres, online and other retailers. Some of the most popular ones to try growing are:

  • Peace lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii)
  • String of hearts (Ceropegia linearis subsp. woodii)
  • Snake plant (Sansevieria kirkii)
  • Pothos/Devil's Ivy (Epipremnum aureum)
  • Dracaena
  • Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
  • Rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis)
  • Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis miller)
  • Jade plant/money tree (Crassula ovata)

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