Plant Care Tips: Green Thumb Not Required

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Not only are green and flowering plants a great enhancement to any home or office decor, they are also beneficial to your health. The results of a study by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) show that common houseplants are powerful, natural air cleaners - all the more reason why you want to keep your plants healthy with the proper care.

Most plants come with care instructions specified for the type of plant. The Society of American Florists provides these additional general guidelines to keep most green houseplants thriving:

  • Keep plants in medium-light locations - out of direct sunlight
  • Natural light is best, but some plants can also thrive in office fluorescent light. Most flowering potted plants should be placed in areas with the most light in order to maintain good flower color and promote the maximum number of flowers to open. Foliage plants will do well under lower light levels and can be placed in areas providing reduced light.
  • Plant soil should be kept moist at all times
  • Plants should not be allowed to dry out or wilt. Be careful to avoid overwatering - do not allow plants to stand in water. Avoid wetting plant leaves.
  • Avoid excessive heat or cold
  • Plants should be kept in a cool spot (between 65 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit) for best performance. They should be kept away from direct sunlight, heating or cooling vents, directly under ceiling fans, or on top of televisions or radiators. (Appliances like televisions give off heat, which causes plants to dehydrate.)

Flowering Plants

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Flowering plants need good light, moderate temperatures, reasonable humidity, uniform moisture in the soil, and a little fertilizer occasionally.

  • Light: Flowering plants need all the sunshine that can be provided in your home, particularly in winter. Place them near an east or south window.
  • Temperature: Most flowering plants grow best at night temperatures of 50 - 60 degs. F, and day temperatures of 65 - 70- degs. F. DO NOT place them over radiators. Keep them out of drafts.
  • Humidity: Keep room humidity as high as possible. Increase humidity around the plant by placing it in a plant box or jardiniere filled with moist peat moss.
  • Watering: Inspect soil daily and add water when the soil feels dry to the touch. When watering, wet the soil all the way down.
  • Fertilizing: If you keep flowering plants longer than six to eight weeks, some plant food should be added. Follow directions on the fertilizer package.

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