While many people love the idea of having plants at home, the process of realizing this dream is not always as simple as they might think. At FoxFarm, we are here to help! With decades of experience in the soil business, we are well equipped to help you prepare for your adventures in houseplant cultivation.
To help you gain confidence with houseplants, FoxFarm put together this brief growing guide, starting with the process of choosing the right plants for your home.
Growing Environment & Sunlight
A great place to start with the houseplant selection process is the growing environment. We recommend you take a good look at your house to figure out where different plant species might thrive.
Available sunlight in your home is the most critical factor to consider when shopping for plants. Importantly, a house with large windows will provide more opportunities for houseplants than a small apartment that gets very little sunlight. With this information in hand, you will have a much better idea of which plants you can successfully cultivate.
For those of you living in the northern hemisphere, south-facing windows will always get the most sunlight. These areas of your house are often the warmest and most welcoming for people and house plants alike.
Once you have made note of available sunlight at your home, you can match plant species with their ideal environments.
Choosing the Right Houseplants
Once you have a solid understanding of what the growing environment looks like in your home, you can get to work picking out the plants that will do the best for your needs. The next phase of the process will revolve around your personal preferences, as well as safety precautions for specific plant species.
What is Your Interest in House Plants?
An important factor to consider when houseplant shopping is your motivation for taking up the hobby in the first place. For example, some people just want to add greenery to their living space, without having to do much work. Conversely, others really want to develop a green thumb. All things considered, choose a houseplant that is a good fit for your interests. If you are not sure, start with something easy like a snake plant.
Pets, Children, and Allergies
It might be hard to believe, but certain plant species that are commonly sold at garden stores can exacerbate allergies, or even be poisonous. To be as careful as possible, we recommend discussing the species with a sales professional at the nursery or plant shop before bringing a plant into your home.
If you struggle with allergies, we advise that you avoid the weeping fig. This species is notorious for causing allergic reactions. The same can be said about having ferns in the house, as these plants release spores that easily irritate people’s allergies.
There are some popular houseplant species that can be poisonous when consumed. Of these, ivy plants and philodendrons are some of the most common culprits. As such, be wary of keeping these plant species at home if you have young children or pets.
Soil & Nutrients
The process of choosing the right soil and nutrients for your houseplants can be a lot of fun. To this end, by following some simple criteria, you can easily match the right soil and nutrients for your new plants. Even more, you can learn a few basic horticultural terms in the process.
If you are a novice gardener, we recommend you keep it simple at the outset. That being said, look for a soil mix that is “ready to be used” right out of the bag.
For houseplants, we recommend Ocean Forest® Potting Soil or Happy Frog® Potting Soil. Each of these popular soils are made with earthworm castings, peat moss, and bat guano. However, Ocean Forest® and Happy Frog® differ in a few key ingredients. Ocean Forest® contains ocean-sourced compounds like crab and shrimp meal. Conversely, Happy Frog® is relished by growers for its humic acids and beneficial microbes.
Nutrients & Fertilizers
When it comes to fertilizers and nutrients, we encourage you to start with something easy and work your way up to a more advanced level.
We recommend an easy to use top-dress mix like Happy Frog® All-Purpose Fertilizer. Please reference the back of the bag for more detailed instructions. This organic listed fertilizer has an NPK of 6-4-5, giving your plants access to the nutrients they need for great growth. Even more, because Happy Frog® All-Purpose is composed of natural ingredients like feather meal and alfalfa meal, it slowly releases nitrogen into the soil as those ingredients break down. This allows for easy and gentle feeding that will not burn your plants when used as directed.
For gardeners who prefer to fertilize while watering, Fox Farm recommends our liquid plant foods Big Bloom® and Grow Big®. Both products are easy-to-use if you follow the label directions and mix them with appropriate amounts of water. Big Bloom® is an organic listed, all-purpose fertilizer that works great during all phases of plant growth. Grow Big® is a popular liquid plant food that will leave your house plants looking green and lush.
Houseplants are more than great decorations. If you take the time to learn about basic horticulture, the process of growing plants can be both educational and rewarding. As you continue to increase your abilities and your knowledge of fertilizers, you’ll take your home garden to the next level with FoxFarm.