Friday, June 26, 2015

Indoor Plants - HELP!

Okay I am not very good at growing things indoors.  I have a tendency to over water or never water LOL!!  I thought I was doing okay, but started noticing some were looking puny, so I did some research and realized I was doing everything wrong (not enough light, too much water, plastic pots, wrong soil, etc.), so I made a list to help me keep track, because I get easily confused (they are all so different!!) and I'm extremely forgetful.

Since my plants aren't looking their best I'm using images from Google and I will link the source below the image.

If you have experience with any of these plants feel free to offer any suggestions!  I can always use the help haha.

Aloe Vera

Lots of light
Do not over water, water when soil is dry
Prefers to be outside!
Acclimate to direct sunlight slowly
Air dry roots if needed.
Use cactus soil
Put rocks over drain holes

What I did wrong:
Too much water
Not enough light

How I'm fixing it:
Took it out of the soil, trimmed off mushy parts and roots, put back in dry soil, putting in good light on porch.  I'm also going to get cactus soil and perlite tomorrow to put all of my succulents in.

Jade Plant

LOTS of light (artificial is okay)
Do not overwater
Use cactus soil
Air dry roots if losing leaves and soggy stem
Yellow, shriveled leaves means not enough water
Healthy leaves that fall can be rooted do not throw away!
Water really well, empty tray after thirty minutes.  Don't water again until dry!
Put rocks over drain holes

What I did wrong:
I threw away the leaves... *cries*
Too much water
Not enough light

How I'm fixing it:
Air drying the roots because the stem is mushy on one.
Putting in terracotta pot with cactus soil and perlite once they dry (rocks over drain holes because it was plugged up).
Getting a plant light to provide better lighting.

Spider Plant

Use room temperature water.
Use distilled or purified water, if possible.  Or rain water.  Tap water can cause tip burn.
Let the pot surface feel dry to the touch before watering (two to three times a week - 1x wk in winter).
Water until water drains from the bottom (but don't make it soggy) and empty drained water from trays promptly.
If tips become brown or crack down the center it dried out too much.
Mist the spider plant once or twice daily during the growing season and twice weekly during the winter months in temperatures over 60 degrees F.
The root of the spider plant retains water for quite a while and can develop root rot if you don’t let it dry out a few inches down.
Any window year round except south window.
Bright florescent light.

What I did wrong:
Didn't water enough and when I did I didn't empty the drain tray.
Not enough light (or maybe it was too much because I had it on the porch until recently)

How I'm fixing it:
Getting a container to let our water sit so it can get to room temp and bleach can evaporate before watering.
Getting a misting bottle
Watering more frequently and must empty drain tray!
Getting a plant light so it gets adequate indoor lighting.
Need to put it in something other than the plastic pot it came in... considering hanging basket because pretty!

Hens and Chicks

Need lots of light
Cactus soil
Water well until established (if well draining can't really over water), then don't have to water as much
Terracotta pot

What I did wrong:
Left it in plastic pot
Left it in sun and didn't water enough

How I'm fixing it:
Put in terracotta pot with cactus soil and perlite.
Slowly acclimating it to sunlight and moving it outside onto the porch.
Watering more frequently until it's established.

I don't know if I can save this one.... it's really bad.  I suck at keeping these alive apparently.  I might have to start over if I can't save them.  Suggestions welcome!

Snake Plant/Mother-in-law's Tongue
(I have the short variety like in the above picture, not the tall ones... I want tall ones too!)

Do not overwater!
Do not put water in top of plant.
Prefers to be rootbound.
If in high light keep slightly moist, if in low light let it dry.

What I've done wrong:
NOTHING!  YAY!  Mine looks fabulous.  Actually I did pour water in the top, but I'll stop doing that.

Peace Lily/Drama Queen

Keep the soil moist at all times, but do not over water.
During the winter fertilize every 6 weeks or so.
If you want flowers to appear, but none have, move the plant to a darker room.
Brown leaf tips are common with excessive light or over fertilization.

What I did wrong:
Too much light, but it actually looks pretty good if you ignore the tips.

How I'm fixing it:
I moved it to a darker room because of the tips and I haven't had any blooms.

Assorted Succulents
(I recently got them from Kroger.  They aren't exactly like the ones in the picture.  I'll have to get a picture of mine.  It does have a Jade Plant in it though.  It still looks pretty good because I haven't had it long lol.)

Need a lot of light
Let soil dry before watering

What I did wrong:
Nothing yet

What I'm doing to fix it:
For now I'm just going to make sure it gets plenty of light and not water it until it dries out.  Fingers crossed that's enough.  If things start getting hairy I might have to separate them and pot them in cactus soil and perlite.

Well that's all of the indoor plants I've gotten in the last year.  My cactus that I've had for almost ten years is still doing great and I'll continue to totally neglect it lol.  It's so huge I can barely even move it anymore!  All of my other plants are on the porch for now and will get planted outside as soon as I get my flower beds fenced.  :)  I'll have more updates later.

P.S.  I totally should have put learn to grow houseplants on my 30 Before 30 list because this has been quite an adventure!!  I might do that yet....


  1. I love my indoor plants, too! Some of these are good to know - I have a spider plant hanging in a west window and it seems to be doing OK. It's up high enough where I can't tell if anything is going into the tray or not. My jade plant needs some help, so I'll look into that. My mother-in-law's tongue is doing well, too.

    My favorites are my philodendrons - they're sort of viney, but they're very hardly and do well in lower light in my living room with a north & east window. My violets do well in the west window, too. I can't get any plants that look grassy, since the cats will happily trim them down. The rest they seem to leave alone.

    1. My Jade plant is still not doing well.... I repotted it in cactus soil (made my own out of soil, sand and perlite) yesterday so we will see if that helps. I saw some pretty philodendrons and was tempted to grab some but I figured I would learn to take care of the ones I have first lol.

  2. I have the opposite problem. I inherited all my mother's plants years and years ago, and I am so sick of them. I don't like taking care of them at all, and if they died, I wouldn't miss them--but I can't throw them away. I bring them inside in the winter and put them outside in the summer. Regardless what I do, they keep living and mostly thriving. Why don't the deer eat them when they are outside? During the real cold weather, I leave the curtains closed to keep the house warmer. Shouldn't they die of lack of light? I'm bad about watering--makes no difference.

    1. LOL!!! That is hilarious!! I need some of your mom's plants hehe. I know the feeling you're talking about. I had way too many plants at one time and totally burned out on taking care of them, but they weren't indoor plants... they were outdoor plants in pots that I brought in during the winter. I'm hoping these houseplants won't become like that because they will have their own little spot in the house as decorations instead of just being crammed in front of my French doors. They are also in smaller pots. Those outside plants were in such big pots I could barely lift them... ugh! Good luck killing... err I mean caring for your plants hehehehe.


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