Are you tired of your Bromeliads looking the worse for wear or wondering why your African Violets have stopped blooming after they looked so good in the store?
If your green thumb for indoor plants has gone a couple of shades off, use this indoor potted exotic flower and tropical plant guide with tips for everything from watering to fertilizer and humidity. You will find that it’s much easier to care for indoor plants than you thought, and your healthy, thriving plants will make you feel like an expert in no time.
How Much Light is Enough?
Many varieties of tropical plants and exotic flowers exist naturally in the perpetual shade of a thick forest canopy. However, optimal light conditions will vary between types, so always refer to their tag, or research their requirements.
A plant that thrives in low light could suffer from burnt leaves if it’s placed too close to a sunny window. On the other hand, rubber trees and some types of dracaena will suffer and wilt without enough light.
Your plants will let you know if they are receiving too much or not enough light by losing vibrancy, discoloring, or growing in the direction of the closest light source, giving them an uneven appearance.
Grow Lights can supplement natural light if your indoor environment does not produce the best lighting conditions for optimal growth. Put your grow lights on a timer to ensure your plant receives enough light hours, so you don’t have to keep remembering to turn them on and off.
Watering Your Exotic Flower Collection
Most tropical plants and exotic flowers grow under dense canopies where the soil is always moist. The ground cover of the forest floor also drains quickly, so the plants aren’t accustomed to surviving in wet conditions.
Your tropical plant will survive the occasional dry spell, but it will deteriorate quickly if you constantly overwater it. Find a happy medium where your plant does not have to suffer through either extreme.
Check the moisture levels of the soil regularly. Poke your finger into the first inch or so, and if it feels moist, your plant is not thirsty. If it feels dry, then it’s time for a top-up.
If you are one of those indoor gardeners that regularly forget to check moisture levels, technology can save your plant’s life. Purchase a cheap moisture gauge that will provide a visual guide showing you when it’s time to water.
Feeding and Fertilizing Indoor Tropical Plants
Indoor plants need a regular supply of fertilizer for their good health. The decomposing leaf litter of the forest floor provides plenty of nutrition in their natural environments. They don’t have any such luck indoors, which means it’s up to you to make sure they receive adequate nutrients.
Try our Indoor Potted Exotic Flower & Tropical Plant Food & Fertilizer.
Creating the Right Temperature
If your indoor environment is comfortable for humans, then there is a good chance your plants will be okay with it as well. Many tropical plants and exotic flowers will do well in temperatures between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and not less than 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night.
Of course, there are always exceptions. Plants like the Umbrella Tree will prefer a perpetually warm environment, while others, like the exotic-looking Hosta, will tolerate shady, cold conditions from USDA zones 3 to 10.
Beware of Dehydration
An indoor tropical plant or exotic flower will be susceptible to humidity levels and dehydration. The forest floor is a warm, humid environment, so you will need to replicate those conditions in your home.
For example, an African Violet prefers humidity between 40 and 60 percent. Using an air conditioner can create lower levels, so your exotic flower may not do so well in an air-conditioned room. The bathroom may be a better location, provided they get plenty of bright, indirect light.
Keep a water atomizer handy for those dry days where the humidity may be lower than your plants will like.
Check Your Drainage
As we mentioned above, tropical plants prefer good drainage and won’t do well in soil that holds too much moisture. A container with drainage holes is essential. Check the holes regularly and remove blockages. Water your plants until you see water pooling in the tray, but don’t let it sit. Discard it or use it to water other plants.
Indoor Exotic Flower and Tropical Plant Troubleshooting Guide
You’ve probably heard that indoor plants are some of the easiest to care for, but that doesn’t mean they are entirely set and forget. Use these tips to keep an eye on plant health.
Brown or Yellow Leaves
Check your humidity levels and make sure you are watering correctly.
Dull Lifeless Colored Leaves
When usually brightly colored leaves go dull, it’s a good indication that your plant is not receiving enough light. Move the plant to a location with better light conditions or install a grow light.
Droopy leaves are caused by too much or too little water. Use the finger test or install a moisture meter, and only water when the soil is dry.
Weak growth indicates a lack of light, and you may also notice the plant growing in the direction of the nearest light source. Install the plant in a sunnier location, or place it near a grow light.
Check for Pests
Plants doing poorly may also be a sign of pest infestation. Check the leaves for things like spider mites. Many of these critters like to hide on the underside of leaves, so they may not be immediately noticeable with a cursory inspection.
So, there you have it. If you want your indoor plants to do better, just follow the steps above and do your best to replicate the conditions of their natural habitat, and you will soon have them back to their old selves.