Care and maintenance of indoor plants


Lesson 09:Indoor Scaping

Care and maintenance of indoor plants

  • Sufficient care has to be exercised at all stages. Regulating moisture in the soil is extremely important.
  • Excess watering is to be avoided, keeping the soil just moist is important.
  • Soil should not be allowed to become bone dry.
  • Any sort of smoke and gas should be avoided as these cause a considerable amount of injury.
  • Repotting is not necessary unless the plants are overgrown.
  • Repotting should be done at the active phase of growth.
  • If not repotted each year, a maintenance dose of manure is necessary.
  • A handful of well rotted cow dung manure or a little amount of bone meal should be dug into the pots two to three times a year, especially during the rainy season.
  • All dried leaves and flower sprays should be removed.
  • It is necessary to keep the foliage clean by spraying water from time to time.
  • Hosing at regular intervals and staking wherever necessary should be done.
  • Most foliage plants are very easy to multiply and are propagated from seeds, cuttings, division and air layering. These plants are mostly multiplied by vegetation, but to get new varieties, propagation from seed is also employed.
  • The Indoor plants suffer very often from some physiological disorders. This is mainly due to faulty culture.
  • Some of the common diseases are crown rot or stem-rot, damping-off and powdery mildew.
  • In few cases, leaves of the plants get mottled and the growth becomes stunted. This is a virus disease. In such a cases, the plants are to be uprooted and destroyed. White-fly or aphids are the reefers of this disease. So proper measures to control these insects will be helpful in controlling diseases.
  • The common pests of house plants are greenfly, mealy bugs, scale insects, red spider mites, thrips, snails and slugs. These can be combated by spraying or dusting with insecticides. When giving this treatment, the plants should be taken into a cellar, conservatory or outdoors on mild weather.
  • The plants should never be treated inside the room. The most common diseases are grey mould, mildew, root rot and stem canker. These fungal diseases can be controlled by spraying or dusting with fungicides.
  • The failure of indoor plants may be due to many other factors including damage from cold or frost, lack of light or damage from excess light, too much watering, use of saline water, incorrect feeding, top scorching and repotting at the wrong time.

Pruning and Training

  • Pruning in indoor plants is to maintain shape and height" .
  • Remove all faded flowers and dried leaves from time to time.
  • Mostly indoor plants are pruned during December-January in plains and March-April or August-October in hills.


  • Fertilizers directly influence the appearance, growth and flowering of indoor plants. Optimum level of major nutrients is N: 150-200 ppm, P: 50-70 ppm and K: 100-150 ppm
  • Slow release fertilizers are very useful for indoor plants.


  • lndoor plants should be watered cautiously only when required.
  • Both over watering and under watering are harmful to indoor plants.
  • Over watering causes defoliation and rotting.
  • lndoor plants should not be watered with colder water than room temperature
  • Water is not required until the soil is dry, when held between thumb and force finger. Watering in winter once in a week and in summer alternate day or every day is done depending upon type of plant, weather or situation.
  • Water should not be poured on foliage.
  • Leaves should be wiped out with a wet cloth or sponge or by spraying water for removing dust.
  • Improper watering, either inadequate or overwatering causes the injury or mortality of house plants.
  • Cacti and succulents need less frequent watering than Cyperus (Umbrella plant) and Calla which can grow even under wet conditions. Plants with thin leaves require more watering than others.
  • Frequency of watering also depends upon stage of plant growth, size of the plant in relation to its pot, type and size of pot, season, soil or medium used, light, room temperature, humidity and position of the plant in the house. Watering can be both from top and bottom.
  • Bottom watering is useful in Cacti and Succulents, African Violets and Gloxinia.
  • Watering by saturating thoroughly the soil and then again watering before it dry out completely is best. Light watering daily may lead to accumulation of salts at the top or side and cause marginal tip burning of the leaves.
Last modified: Sunday, 11 December 2011, 1:37 PM