House plants are beneficial for your mental and physical health. Simply looking at plants can lift your mood and bring a positive effect to a workplace or home. Nurturing and caring for plants is therapeutic and can help to relieve stress and anxiety. The lush foliage, textures, shapes and evergreen color of house plants bring splendor and the natural world into your home, helping to provide a link to green spaces and nature that we all crave in varying degrees.
Finding the Best Spot for Your Plant
Every house plant needs light, water and warmth to thrive; however, the optimal conditions will vary across the species of plants. Whether it is a succulent that loves baking in the heat of a sunny window or a monkey jar that favors humidity, it is important to provide conditions as close as possible to your plant’s native habitat. With each plant we will provide a plant card containing all the information to help you find the perfect spot for your plant to enable it to adapt and flourish in its new home.
Light, Temperature and Humidity
The majority of house plants need bright, indirect sunlight. The amount of light a room receives depends on the light source (direct or indirect), the size of the windows, and the cardinal direction in which the plant faces (i.e. north, south, east or west).
South facing windows are brightest, followed by east, then west, and finally north facing receiving little or no sun at all. The strongest and most direct light is often found in the front of a south facing window and this can often be too much for most plants except for succulent and cacti. Bright, indirect light is found in front of east and west facing windows and a couple of meters back from a south facing window.
Most house plants like warmth during the day and cooler temperatures in the evening. There are exceptions such as tropical plants that prefer warmer temperatures and palms that have a preference for a cooler spot. Whatever your plant prefers, it is best to avoid draughts near doors, windowsills and air conditioning units as plants do not like dramatic changes in temperature.
Tropical plants require a warm, moist atmosphere and are used to a higher level of humidity than often found in most homes. Placing your plant in a steamy bathroom or kitchens can provide these humid conditions and make your plant feel at home. Another option is to regularly mist your plant. This simply involves spraying your plant with a fine mist which imitates their natural environment.
In their natural environment, plants obtain the nutrients they require from their surrounding soil and this is constantly replenished by the evolving environment and flushed with water during rainfall. However for house plants, they are limited to the content of their pot and the water you give them.
Every plant thrives in a different mix of materials in their pot, which we call their ‘potting soil’. Unless otherwise specified, our Botanica house plants will be fine in a general purpose potting soil combined with a fertilizer routine if recommended on their plant card..
Please make sure not to add any old soil from your garden to your potted plants, as it could contain bugs or diseases.
For most plants, potting soil needs to be replaced after a year or two, but a good quality mix will have to be replaced less frequently.
Sometimes your plant will be need to be repotted before the soil is spent because it’s out grown the pot; however, a slow growing plant may need to repotting just to replace the soil.
Repotting My Plant
At Botanica our house plants do not require potting as they come pre-planted with plenty of healthy compost. They have been planted in a plastic pot with holes to allow for drainage when watering.
At some stage your house plant may need potting into a larger pot; however, this may not be required for 2-3 years. Signs that a plant is getting to big for its pot include roots comes through the holes in the base and a bulging pot. If a plant is struggling this may also be a sign that re-potting is required as the soil may be spent.
You’ll need a plant, a suitable container and compost to match your plant. Please be prepared to get your hands dirty! We recommend choosing a pot with drainage holes in the bottom and only about one size larger than its current container (5cm or so). If the new container is too large your plant will end up sitting in soggy waterlogged soil and can lead to other problems.
Place some material to aid drainage at the bottom of the pot. This might be broken terracotta, polystyrene pieces or large stones. Alternatively adding sand or grit to your compost can have the same effect.
Add the compost to the bottom of the container. It may help to use the plant in its plastic pot as a guide for how much to add whilst ensuring that the top of the ‘root ball’ (i.e. base of the plant) ends up about an inch below the rim of the new pot.
Loosen the plant from its pot and tease the roots apart to encourage them to establish into the fresh compost. Use your fingers to lightly firm the compost in the base of the new pot and set the plant in position.
Fill in the gaps with compost and firm with your fingers. It is best to leave a couple centimeter gap between the top of the compost and the rim of the pot. Finish by watering well and filling in any remaining gaps in the compost.
Picking the Right Pot
Botanica plants are delivered in a plastic pot with holes to allow for drainage when watering.
We understand that these plastic pots can be a little bit dull, so we recommend placing it in cachepot or a decorative pot that is used to hide the plastic. With cachepots you do not need to repot your plant once you’ve received it, simply place your plant and the plastic pot directly into your cachepot. Just make sure that when you water your plant you remove it from the cachepot and let it drain to prevent your plant sitting in a puddle of water. You can find the recommend size for each plant at the bottom of each individual plant page on our website as well as our range of cachepots.
Watering is the most crucial aspect when it comes to looking after a house plant. There is no universal answer for how often water plants, but there are general rules. You'll find specific watering instructions on the plant card that comes with your plant. For almost all plants, you should water them only when the top inch or so of soil feels dry. Simply dip your finger in the top inch of the soil and if the soil feels dry it’s time for a drink. However if the soil is still moist, usually no water is required.
Very few plants like to sit in soggy soil and too much water is far more harmful than too little. One tip for seeing if you are under or overwatering your plant is that an under-watered plant will usually have dry, brown or yellow leaves, while an over-watered plant will often have yellow, drooping leaves.
The best way to water your plants is in the sink until water runs out of the holes in the bottom of the pot, then leave them in the sink for about half an hour or so to let any excess water drain out. Then place everything back in its cachepot.
When you buy a plant from Botanica it will be potted in nutrient rich compost. It has all the nutrients it needs for a while, so you won’t need to feed it for at least three months.
Plants do not require to be fed year round. They only need to be fed in the months when they’re growing, which is usually spring to autumn. For most plants, a feed once per month in spring and summer with plant food will be perfect. When the weather is colder, in autumn and winter, most plants will be ‘dormant’, i.e. sleeping, and not growing, so they don’t need food.
Dust build up on plants can stop light getting to their leaves and block their pores. Plants with glossy leaves are cleaned best with a soft, damp cloth. For plants with furry or prickly leaves, rub the foliage gently with a soft brush or cotton bud, using tweezers to pick out and lumps of compose or gravel that are found. If any leaves or flower dies it is recommended to nip them out with sharp scissors to prevent rotting and spread of any plant sickness.
It very important to consider who else or what else shares your home when choosing your houseplants. If you have curious pets or small children who might nibble and chew a leaf or stem, we recommend to choose plants that are pet and child safe. On our website we indicate if a plant is safe for animals and children.
If you have your heart set on a plant that's not 100% pet or child-friendly. Make sure to put it out of each reach by placing them on aplant stand.