Here are my top 5 tips for growing house plants! Also, check out my recent podcast where I discuss my thoughts around taking care of plants and why we need to show up for them!
1. Water by weight, not by the touch of the soil. A lot of people touch the top of the soil with their fingers to test how dry it is. But the truth is, the top of the soil is the first part to dry out! So the main root mass may still be heavy and full of water, without picking up the pot it is difficult to tell if it is still wet. So I lift it up and see how heavy it feels. It may take a few times of picking it up to know when it really feels light, because the plant itself is also pretty heavy! So just do it for a few weeks and test it out, I guarantee your plants will be happier & grow better than if you just use the finger in the soil trick.
2. Lighting, temp, humidity all are important and rely on each other. A higher temperature, and in general plants will want a higher humidity (obviously not desert plants). Lower temp, lower humidity. Also, the more light plants get the more nutrients and water they need. The more leaves they have on them, the more surface area for water to evaporate, so you will need to check them more often for watering needs.
3. A note on windows: plants get the most light in a southern facing window if you live in the northern hemisphere (north windows if you live in the southern hemisphere). Also, windows are usually filled with a UV blocking gas that prevents your plants for getting light! They are also colder than the rest of your house. So for high light loving plant I suggest indoor grow lighting - I use T5 fluorescent lights for all my house plants that need extra light, you can even get LED bulbs that are affordable and go into a fluorescent fixture! Read more about indoor lighting here. The cool thing about using lighting on different plants is that some plants that need "low light" will actually appreciate the extra light and with grow faster for you! For example the famous snake plant can tolerate low light conditions, but if you put them under T5 lighting they will grow significantly faster!
4. There are many reasons for symptoms to show on the leaves and without any additional information it is difficult to troubleshoot plant issues. Yellow leaves can be caused by tons of different issues, not enough nutrient, not enough light, too much light, not enough water, and even can be a sign of spider mites, aphids, and other infestations of insects. So simply knowing your plant is yellowing is not enough. What have the environmental conditions been lately and have they changed? Read my post about troubleshooting to learn more about what is wrong with your plant.
5. Last but certainly not least, you are responsible. You brought the plant indoors and now you have to take care of it. Show up. Read a book. Get a little grow light. Check the bottoms of the leaves - that is where most bugs like to live. Buy a new pot and soil to transplant. Give your plant what it needs!! The more you do it, the better you will get to know your plant!