How To Take Care Of Your Indoor Plants

How To Take Care Of Your Indoor Plants

As we have previously discussed, in recent years indoor gardening has grown in popularity as people seek to create urban indoor jungles, edgy interiors and the sense of well-being that caring for indoor plants can provide.

Whether you live in a small apartment or a spacious house, cultivating an indoor houseplant  garden, can significantly enhance the aesthetics and air quality of your living space.

In this next guide, we will walk you through the steps to create the ideal indoor garden, from choosing the right containers and soil mix to understanding drainage, watering, and adding fertilizers. So, let's dive in and continue on your journey to creating your green indoor space.

Choosing the Right Containers for Your Plants:

best container for plants

You may have already purchased your first plant whether from us or elsewhere and our advice is to do nothing. People have differing opinions on this, but as we see it, if your plant is looking healthy and happy, then leave it be for a day or so, even up to a week so it can settle into its new environment. 

Remember that it is quite likely that the plant has been growing in a controlled environment in a nursery and may have undergone some stress in shipping so letting it rest for a while will help it acclimate to its new surroundings while you decide where and how you want to grow it.

There are some exceptions to this. If the plant soil/mix is super wet and dense then it may be wise to repot as soon as possible. Or if the plant is looking stressed and showing signs of wilting and yellowing then it is wise to lift it up to examine the roots for signs of root rot. We will be discussing the repotting process in the next blog.  

While your plant is acclimating, you will have time to think about choosing the right container and potting mix for your plant. This decision is crucial as it directly affects your plant's growth and health. Here are some essential tips to consider:

Size Matters

Select containers that provide ample space for your plants to grow. Ensure the containers are not too small, restricting root growth, or too large, leading to waterlogged soil.

Consider how your plant will grow. If it’s a climber, you will want to consider using a pot that allows space for the addition of a totem that you add the pot. Or if you want it as a hanging vine in a pot with a saucer, you will need to allow for this.

Drainage Holes

Always opt for containers with drainage holes at the bottom. Proper drainage prevents waterlogging, preventing root rot and other issues caused by excess moisture. Alternatively, think about keeping your plant potted in a well-draining pot and using a cover pot for decorative purposes but remember never water your plant while it is inside the cover pot!


Containers come in various materials like ceramic, terracotta, plastic, or metal. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages. Ceramic and terracotta are aesthetically pleasing although are usually heavier but are breathable and terracotta draws moisture away from the soil which can be great to prevent root rot.

Plastic containers are lightweight and affordable and come in a vast array of colours and sizes. You may want to consider growing your plants in clear pots which takes the guesswork out of root health.  

Also, there are self-watering pots that can be great for fussy plants that require evenly moist soils. Water is held in the reservoir of the cover pot and by wicking action draws moisture into the mix. Your houseplants can also  be grown in non-soil media, such as leca and Lechuza-pon


Selecting the Proper Soil Mix:


The type of soil you choose significantly impacts the health and growth of your indoor plants. Regular garden soil is not suitable for indoor plants, as it may not provide adequate nutrients, drainage and aeration.

For most indoor plants, your plant mix should be well-draining and lightweight. Look for a potting mix that is specially formulated for indoor plants, providing excellent drainage and aeration. A lightweight mix prevents soil compaction, thus  allowing the roots to breathe.

By choosing a premium indoor plant mix, you will also know the mix is enriched with organic matter and nutrients. These nutrients are essential for the healthy development of your plants.

There are some excellent pre-made mixes available in NZ specifically formulated for the care needs of whole groups of indoor plants including Succulents/Cacti, Aroids, Hoya and Orchids. So, it’s easy to find one for the type of plant you have. Many growers use their own recipes and you will learn tips and tricks along your growing journey.

Ensure the soil mix's pH level is appropriate for the plants you wish to grow. Different plants have varying pH requirements and maintaining the correct pH level ensures optimal growth.

As mentioned, if you are considering using self-watering pots or growing hydroponically, (both methods currently surging in popularity) then Leca and Lechuza-pon are options for growing media too.

Leca is a substrate made up of expanded clay balls that retain moisture well and support root growth. The plant is usually placed in a glass container filled with leca and then the plant is watered, with the roots growing through the gaps in the clay balls. As the water evaporates, simply top it up ensuring the balls don’t dry out.

Lechuza-Pon in an inorganic substrate containing several minerals including Zeolite, washed pumice, light Lava and quality fertilizer. It is widely used with self-watering pot systems but is expensive in NZ and not always available.

Understanding Drainage and Watering:


Proper drainage and watering are vital aspects of indoor growing as overwatering or underwatering can harm your plants. Let’s have a look at the importance of these elements.


As mentioned earlier, ensure your containers have drainage holes to allow excess water to escape. Place a tray or saucer underneath to catch the runoff and prevent water damage to your furniture or floor.

Watering Frequency

The watering needs of plants differ based on species, container size, and the seasons. As a rule of thumb only water your plants when the top inch of the soil in the pot is dry. 

During the winter months many indoor plants will enter a state of semi dormancy so require less water overall. Using clear plastic pots enables further assessment of the overall moisture content of pots too which can also take the guesswork out of watering.

Watering Techniques

Water your plants gently and evenly, avoiding sudden water flow that may dislodge the soil and potentially damage the delicate foliage. Consider using a watering can with disbursed flow.  Remember in Winter, your water may be colder than usual! So, ensure that the water is at or slightly higher than room temperature to avoid shocking the plant’s roots.

Adding Fertilizers and Nutrients:

take care of indoor plants

To ensure your indoor plants thrive, they need a steady supply of essential nutrients. Fertilizers play a crucial role in providing these nutrients. Here are some tips on using fertilizers:

Balanced Fertilizer

Choose a premium balanced, water-soluble fertiliser with equal proportions of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (N-P-K). This balanced ratio promotes overall plant health.

Application Frequency

Follow the recommended application frequency mentioned on the fertilizer package. Over-fertilizing can lead to nutrient imbalances and may harm your plants. Start dosing at ½ strength if you add fertiliser for the first time.

Organic Alternatives

Consider using organic fertilisers like compost or worm castings, which are gentle on plants and improve soil structure over time.

By choosing the right containers, soil mix and understanding drainage, watering, and fertilization, you will be future-proofing for the optimal growth and health of your indoor plants.

You are now ready to come back to that happy plant that’s been acclimatising for a few days and if you have decided to re-pot it, then let’s look at some tips and tricks to minimise stress to your plant.  

Re-potting and Transplanting House Plants; A Step-by-Step Guide:

plant care indoor plants

Mastering the art of re-potting and transplanting house plants is an essential practice to ensure the healthy growth and longevity of your house plants. Whether it’s the new plant in the horrible mix or a long-timer that has outgrown its container and become depleted in soil nutrients and root-bound, leading to stunted growth, this guide will walk you through the simple procedure of re-potting and transplanting your house plants.

Assessing the Right Time

We’ve talked about that new plant screaming re-pot me!! But remember often this is just necessary for our benefit, usually for aesthetics or to get the plant growing in our favourite mix, up a pole or to check the roots! If it’s looking good, then the best practice is always to leave it alone.

However, if the plant has rested for a few days and you are ready to re-pot, have the new pot and mix ready and gently loosen the plant from its original pot. If the roots are healthy and the mix is good, do your best not to disturb the roots. Place the new mix in the bottom of the transfer pot then put the plant including all the old mix in the new pot and fill around the plant with a new mix.

This is a transfer method that we use all year and minimises stress on the plant. To help reduce this stress, water thoroughly the following day. This allows any roots that may have been damaged to start repairing before adding any water. If the original mix the plant was in was moist then this non-watering interval can be extended.

If the mix is unsatisfactory then gently remove as much of the substrate as possible and gently put it into the new pot and fill it with your preferred mix, again wait a day or so before watering to allow damaged roots to callus.

With an older plant, obvious signs that your plant needs repotting include roots coming out of the drainage holes, slow growth, or wilting despite regular watering.  

In these instances, Spring is nearly always going to be the best time for re-potting when the plant begins to actively grow again. Gently remove the plant from its old container, loosening the root ball without damaging the roots.

Select a new pot that is one size larger than the current one, following the processes we have already discussed. Place a layer of fresh potting mix at the bottom of the new container. Position the plant in the centre and fill in the sides with more potting mix, gently pressing it down.

Re-potting and transplanting house plants may seem daunting at first, but with the right technique and care, it becomes a simple process. Regularly re-potting your indoor plants will ensure they thrive maintaining optimal health and growth.

Setting Up Your Houseplant Display:

The final step is to arrange your indoor plants in an appealing and cohesive display. Often a gateway plant will evolve into a jungle but here are some basic tips for setting up your houseplant display:

Light Requirements

Group plants with similar light requirements together, ensuring they receive the appropriate amount of sunlight. This will also ensure the simultaneous growth of the plant grouping.

Height Variation

Create visual interest by placing taller plants at the back and shorter ones at the front. This adds depth and dimension to your display. Play around but groupings in threes and multiples of threes work well.

Decorative Containers

As we’ve discussed in this blog, consider re-potting your plants into decorative containers that match your interior style. The choice is only limited by your imagination so go wild and have fun!

Creating an ideal indoor garden is a rewarding experience that brings nature's beauty and tranquility into your living space. By choosing the right containers, soil mix, and understanding drainage, watering and fertilizing, you can ensure the optimal growth and health of your indoor plants.

Additionally, arranging your houseplant display can add an aesthetic touch to your home to elevate your home interior design.

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