Caring for House Plants

I tried having house plants years ago. I was in my early 20s and setting up house and was not successful so I just quit trying. We recently added on to our home and I now have more space, time, and with age, patience.


If any or all of you could give a house plants for dummies lesson for how to get started and what plants to choose I would like to try again. Believe me when I say there is no detail too small.

Hardiness Zone: 5b

By Paula from mid MO

January 16, 20100 found this helpful

I have to say the Golden Pothos is my favorite...I am not an expert at all...I never use feeder, but I could. My favorite thing is to get an avocado and take the pit out of it and wash it and then peel the brown paper like stuff from it.

Then I stick three toothpicks in it, just a short way...and sit the toothpicks on the top of a mug filled with water.

After it roots, the plant will come out of the top and you can plant it in potting soil then.

Here are the details:

I like to put the pit in a glass of water with the pointy part pointing towards the sky.....they are so fun, and I never prune them, just stake them so they dont fall over!

I like to try all sort of things, sweet potatoes are related to morning glories and make beautiful climbing vines.

Choose a firm sweet potato from the produce section of your grocery store or the local farmer's market. If you find one that has started sprouting, even better.

Poke four toothpicks into the sweet potato in a cross shape (one on each side) a little over halfway up the sweet potato.

Fill a mug or jar with water and place the sweet potato in. The toothpicks should suspend the top half of the sweet potato, keeping that half dry. Place in a sunny spot and change the water as needed. After several weeks, the vines and leaves will begin to grow.

Plant your sprouting sweet potato in a pot with soil or in your garden after six to eight weeks. The leaves are beautiful and your plant might even grow some sweet potatoes for you to eat.

Now Spider plants are fun, they grow l ttle shootlests that can be replanted, and the Golden Pothos mentioned above can be sprouted in water, and you can have them all over your house, just cut off a piece of it about six inches and put it in water.

After it roots you can keep it in water or plant in potting soil!

Honey is supposed to help plants root out. Have fun with these projects!

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January 16, 20100 found this helpful

House plants are a natural way to help remove pollutants from your home or office. House plants remove up to 87 percent of air toxins in 24 hours! Use 15 to 18 "good-sized" house plants in 6- to 8-inch diameter containers for an 1,800 square-foot house.

Plants That Purify The Air

Dragon tree




Spider plants

Peace lilies




I love this site!

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January 21, 20100 found this helpful

The first houseplant I had was a beautiful spider plant that my in-laws gave me. I killed it! I over watered it. I now have so many houseplants that my friends consider my house a greenhouse and ask me for info on plants. The most important thing is not to over water your plants. I cannot stress that enough. Most plants will forgive you if you forget to water them but soggy roots will kill many plants. Rule of thumb for most plants is not to water them until the soil is dry. Then give them about 8-16 ounces of water depending on the size of the plant.

Light is another issue, except for the summer months most houseplants like a lot of light especially sunlight.

In the summer months you may have to filter the sunlight. Take a cue from how your plants are doing.

If you take your houseplants outside for the summer, put them in partial shade and bring them back into the house in September. Spider plants are actually one of the easiest plants to care for and will help to keep your air clean. Have a great time getting to know plants.

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January 21, 20100 found this helpful

I have 2 favorites that are so easy to grow it's almost ridiculous! And believe me I used to have a really black thumb!

Robyn Fed already told you about one---the golden pothos. Altho it comes in 5 different color variations.

The other is the Snake plant, or it's also called the Mother-in-Law's Tongue. Here's a good site for it:

There are also several color variations of this too.

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January 21, 20100 found this helpful

Here's a pic of the golden pothos too.

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January 21, 20100 found this helpful

I like to have some plants with flowers inside. Cyclamen are great because the flowers last a very long time, come back quickly, and the plant looks good in between too.

Very forgiving, my son had 3 that died all the way back to the big root ball. I watered them and they came back and are doing great now.

Aloe Vera is also easy and fun to grow, and great for burns.

Get a Basil plant if you like basil. It will live over the winter if you water it once in a while.

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January 25, 20100 found this helpful

You have received such great advice, that the only things I can add is to make sure to rotate your plant so that all sides receive sunlight. Every day give it a 1/4 turn.

Moisture probes are available for plants - ask at your local nursery. Most plants like to be watered as soon as the soil is mostly dried out. They do not like to have their roots sitting in water, nor do they like to be in a stiff breeze. You'll probably have to re-pot annually.

Do not ever use garden dirt. This can contain contaminants and the advice to bake the dirt in the oven for purification will stink up the house most horribly! Do find out what you have, and then fertilize as needed - and it won't be needed much unless it's flowering. Remember, less fertilizer is better than too much. And, fertilizer will add contaminated solids to the soil, so you want to watch out for a crust (usually white) building up on the soil, leaves, or pot. If this happens, re-pot and cut back on the fertilizing. If you live in a hard water area, you may find the salts building up on the leaves and dirt through no fault of your own.

Try to water with purified water (something like you'd consider drinking) and wipe those leaves off top and bottom with a damp cloth if they become dusty! Most plants do not require daily watering and they don't like having their roots sopping wet. So have good drainage! I'd put the put in the kitchen sink, water it, and come back an hour later to retrieve it.

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December 17, 20110 found this helpful

The one plant that I've learned is the easiest to take care of is the ZZ plant. You can google it for a picture. This plant removes more toxins from the air than any other plant. Besides that, it's the easiest plant to take care of. It's not fussy about light or dark rooms, doesn't care if you over or under water it. The best all around starter plant.

Otherwise, everyone here has given you great advice :D

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April 29, 20160 found this helpful

Good for you, Paula, being open to trying again! As one who loves houseplants and has a collection numbering more than 40, I'll happily recommend a few easy ones. As you become more confident over time, don't be afraid to try others? Start with ivy and / or pothos. Both root easily, grow in nooks and crannies where the sun doesn't necessarily shine all the time and need little care. Choose pots which hold approximately 4 cups potting soil and mark your calendar with a reminder to water them twice a week (~ 1/3 - 1/2 cup each plant). Might not hurt to buy plant pot trays for under each pot, just in case you over-water a bit. Don't hesitate to be in touch with any questions you may have: wordswork at

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