Countless studies have shown houseplants have the ability to lower blood pressure, reduce stress and increase productivity.
It is no surprise the demand for them has skyrocketed in recent years- but a common question we get asked is; “How do I care for my houseplants?’
For every houseplant post online there is a comment from an exasperated plant owner asking why theirs keep dying.
Kew Horticulturist Brie Langley is here to help with her top tips on caring for houseplants in celebration of Houseplant Appreciation Week (8-13 January).
Only water your plants if the top 2cm of soil feels completely dry to the touch, so as to avoid overwatering.
Ensure you have equal water distribution across the soil, then let the water drain out of the pot to allow space in the soil for oxygen.
If you live in a hard water area, air plants and carnivorous plants should only be watered with treated water, such as rainwater, bottled water or twice-boiled tap water. This helps reduce the chlorine and calcium content.
Typically, the larger the leaves the more water your plant will need. If your plant is grey or stores its own water it will need much less.
Remove insects by wiping them off with a damp cloth and remove mouldy dead leaves as quickly as possible to prevent the spread of disease.
A handy tip to remember is that any cleaning product suitable for babies can also be used on plant tools- always remember to keep your tools clean.
Aim to keep your plants somewhere that is easy to access, especially if you need to move large pots.
Follow the instructions on how much light your plant needs. If your plants conditions are too dark they will tell you by becoming elongated and flimsy as they search for light.
Radiators can cause plants to dry out quickly, while windows can become very cold during winter nights.
Purchase nursery-grown plants from a reputable supplier that does not remove plants from the wild. Many houseplants are now endangered in the wild due to high demand.
For more insider knowledge on how to care for your plants, Kew Pocketbooks: House Plants by Bryony Langley is currently available to pre-order, and will be available on shop.kew.org from 1 February 2024.