Without indoor plants, the greatest apartment, the most modern house looks cold and sad. Not only do indoor plants beautify our rooms visually, they also ensure a better indoor climate. Not everyone has a green thumb, but that’s not necessary. There are plants that are so easy to care for that everyone can get along with them. In addition, planters with an irrigation system ensure that you only have to water them every few weeks. They make work easier. You can’t lump all houseplants together. There are already a few basic care tips that we have compiled here!

Houseplant care basics

Plants all have similar needs. They need a good location (light, temperature and air), a suitable plant substrate and water and nutrients. From time to time they have to be repotted and one or the other plant has its extra wishes. In any case, the care must always be adapted to the needs of the respective plant.

  • There are big differences in humidity. A rough distinction is made between low, medium and high humidity.
  • Another factor is the light. Does the plant like a bright or shady place? Does it also tolerate direct sunlight? Also at noon? Does artificial light have to be switched on if necessary?
  • What about the temperatures? Does the plant like it warm, cold or rather in the middle?
  • Nutrient needs are also different. Some need a lot, others little, most are in the middle range. The time of fertilization (once, regularly, how long, how often) is different.
  • Plant substrates are also not uniform. It starts with the pH and goes all the way to the composition. Palm trees, cacti, citrus plants, etc. like special substrates.

Classification of houseplants in groups
Houseplants can be divided into different groups. These include low-maintenance or high-maintenance plants, beginner plants and those for advanced growers. In addition, a distinction is made between warm and cold house plants, tropical, subtropical, Mediterranean plants as well as green and flowering plants.


Light is important for plants, for photosynthesis (assimilation). In this way they are supplied with energy, which in turn is used for nutrition. Most indoor plants like a rather bright location. However, direct midday sun behind the window is too much of a good thing for many.

  • A lot of light is usually necessary for a plant to feel comfortable.
  • Avoid direct midday sun at the window without curtains!
  • East and west windows are ideal.
  • North window for the shade lovers.
  • South window for selected plants that tolerate the sun all day long.
  • Some plants require more light in winter than is available. It is worth purchasing special plant lamps for them.

plant substrates

Suitable plant substrates are important for indoor plants, both flowering and green plants. There are separate soils commercially available for many groups of plants, e.g. for palm trees, succulents , cacti , citrus plants, orchids , bonsai and, in general, potting soil. With some plants it makes sense to improve the soil with some additional materials. These include expanded clay, pumice stone, sand, lava stone, peat or similar.

It is important to buy good quality soil. Although there is cheaper earth in the discounter, the price also has a reason. Most of the time it is not sufficiently sterilized and as a result fungi (e.g. mildew) quickly form on the ground. In addition, there are usually plenty of insect eggs in this substrate. In this way, insects can spread unhindered in the potting soil in the apartment. What is also important is the composition of the earths. Most of the cheap sacks contain unrotted material, which quickly begins to rot in a warm apartment. This in turn can lead to unpleasant odors (musty, putrid) and damage to the plant.

  • Special soils are useful for many plants
  • Use high-quality soils, even if they are more expensive, it is worth it.

nutrient supply

Many nutrients and necessary things like water, which the plants need, they draw from the air and the plant substrate. Indoor plants absorb carbon dioxide from the air with their leaves and water from the soil with their roots. With appropriate fertilizer we can provide additional nutrients so that the houseplant can develop well. Missing minerals are mainly added with the irrigation water. The roots absorb these nutrients and transport them throughout the plant to where they are needed.

Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potash (K) are required for healthy growth. Nitrogen is important for green plants with a lot of leaf mass. Phosphorus is good for flower formation and fruit formation and potash ensures steadiness. Also included are sulfur, calcium, magnesium and more. Too much fertilizer does more harm than good to houseplants. You must therefore always pay attention to the information on the package so that you do not over-fertilize the plant. When in doubt, less is more.

humidity and temperatures

Humidity is important for green plants to feel comfortable. Especially in the winter months, when the heating is on, the humidity is clearly too low for many of the green roommates. It is important to know the humidity value. It’s easy to measure. A hygrometer is used. A good value is 60% humidity. If the values ​​are too low, something must be done. The easiest way is to spray the plants with room-warm, lime-free water. Brown leaf tips are an indicator that the air is too dry.

Cacti and succulents do best in dry air. Thick-fleshed plants with leathery leaves tolerate dry air better than delicate-leaved plants with thin leaves.

Most indoor plants like temperatures between 18 and 24 °C all year round. However, one cannot generalize. Exceptions always determine the rule. Many plants like slightly cooler temperatures at night and even in winter some prefer to be cooler and not in the warm living room. Plants in particular that go dormant in winter should also be kept cool!

When buying, you should immediately ask what temperatures the houseplant can tolerate. If you know the exact name of the plant, you can look it up in specialist books or on the Internet.

What many indoor plants don’t like at all is drafts at the window. This is particularly bad in winter. Many plants are also placed upside down above a heater. The dry and hot air flow is often not tolerated.


Pests keep popping up. They can be brought in or they can come through open windows and doors. Healthy plants cope much better with pests than weak ones. Especially in winter, when the heating air is dry and there is insufficient lighting, the pests spread quickly and across the board. You can usually see the damage better than the pests themselves. But if damage is already visible, the unloved guests have usually been living on the plant for a long time. Fast help is required.

  • Spider mites – the worst pest of indoor plants. Recognizable by small webs, preferably on the youngest shoots and the beginnings of flowers. They become visible when you spray them with a fine mist of water. The pest sucks the plant sap. They multiply en masse and cause great damage. Spider mites need dry air. You fight them with humidity. So water the plant a lot and put a bag over it and close it. Leave for a few days. Otherwise you have to use chemistry. There are many different products in specialist shops.
  • Aphids – the most well-known pest on flowering and green plants. They suck the sap of the plants and release toxins in their saliva. The plant is damaged twice. Showering off, usually several times in a row, helps with a small infestation. Weak soap solution also brings relief. Systemic agents, which are absorbed by the plant and then sucked in, are also well suited. They help reliably. You can also submerge small plants completely under water, leave for a few hours, this will kill everything except the eggs. Therefore, repeat the process after a few days.
  • Mealybugs – also called mealybugs. Recognizable by small white cotton balls that stick to the leaves, shoots and trunk. They excrete a sticky substance and coat themselves with it. Mealybugs suck the plant sap and excrete a toxin with their saliva. They can be very harmful to plants. Plants need to be isolated. Control with neem oil products and systemic preparations. They penetrate the plant and are ingested by the lice.
  • Rootworms – are tiny nematodes that suck on the roots of the soil. As a result, the roots can no longer absorb water or nutrients. She begins to rot. The plants look unhealthy and do not develop further. You have to unpot the plant and examine the root, preferably with a large magnifying glass. Cacti and succulents are particularly frequently attacked. High-quality potting soil is sterilized and contains no pests. Rescue in case of infestation is not possible. Everything, including vessels, must be disposed of!
  • Thrips – also called blister feet. 1 to 2 mm long, brown-black insects. Narrow wings with fringes, mostly black and white striped. Larvae yellowish white. Sucking insects that can do a lot of damage. Recognizable by the sucking points, first yellowish, later silvery. Typical are black stains next to it. Increasing the humidity, showering, yellow panels or predatory mites can help.
  • Scale Insects – can be identified by brown dots, sometimes a bit oval, on the leaves and shoots and by the sticky honeydew they excrete. They suck the sap of the plants and release toxins in the process. Strip off as many animals as possible, otherwise use commercially available products. Repeat treatment after two weeks, then the well-protected larvae have hatched.

You can keep beautiful indoor plants even without a green thumb. The right choice is important. Although some of the plants look beautiful, I have to advise against impulse purchases. Always check first whether you have a suitable place for this plant, both in summer and in winter. How intensive the care looks like is also crucial. If you are looking for something easy to care for, you have to choose carefully. Suitable pots help with plant care, mainly through the irrigation system. This saves you the holiday waterer and a lot of time. Once you know what your houseplants like, caring for them is usually a breeze.

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