Grow Houseplants Organically

Grow beautiful plants inside your home by following these tips for organic houseplant care.

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    You can grow houseplants organically, just as you’d grow outdoor container gardens, though it takes a few adaptations.
    Photo by Getty Images/vicuschka
  • cover
    “Practical Organic Gardening” by Mark Highland provides readers with a modern perspective to organic practices, methods, and products that any home gardener can enjoy.
    Cover courtesy Cool Springs Press

  • houseplants
  • cover

Practical Organic Gardening: The No-Nonsense Guide to Growing Naturally (Cool Springs Press, 2017), by Mark Highland is a modern visual guide to growing organically. The book provides step-by-step photography and how-to projects so readers can take a hands-on look at updated popular gardening techniques. The following excerpt is from Chapter 10, "Organic Container Gardens."

Don't forget to take care of your houseplants! You can grow houseplants organically, just as you'd grow outdoor container gardens, though it takes a few adaptations, as described below.


Most houseplants will thrive in bright indoor light but take care when placing houseplants in full sun. Houseplants generally thrive in low-light conditions present inside the home, as most houseplants are species that occupy the forest understory in nature. This means they can thrive in lower light levels typical of indoor conditions.

Resist the urge to place houseplants outside in summertime as direct sun can cause sunburn on leaves. If you are intent on placing plants outside, you can slowly acclimate them to higher light conditions. Start them out in a shady area for a week or two so they can begin the acclimatization process. Gradually move them into more and more light over the course of a couple weeks. If leaves start to show signs of burn, move them back into shadier conditions. Burned leaves will look washed out and turn yellow or white before dying back.


Be aware of plant placement inside your home, as plants close to a source of radiant heat will dry out faster than plants farther from heat sources. If your home is consistently dry from winter heating, this will also dry out soils faster. Using the same knuckle test described for outdoor container gardens, check frequently to see if your plants need water. After a few months of doing this, you'll know about how often to water each houseplant. Monitor your plants, and water as soon as soils dry out. If plants are in cooler conditions during fall and winter, they will use less water and therefore do not need as much water as they require during spring or summer.

Timing for watering can even vary in different locations in the house, due to the unique microclimates present in different rooms. Keeping tabs on your plants will help ensure they don't sit dry for too long and are not overwatered. The number one cause of plant death is loving them too much and watering too frequently!



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