A Plant Care Routine For Healthy Houseplants

I know, I know, do plants really need their own dedicated routine? They do. If you want happy, healthy and thriving houseplants, consistency is key. It takes training and dedication to keep your houseplants flourishing. And it’s not just about when to water them. It’s a combination of tips and tricks that are actually quite simple and easily done. So if you want to turn your home into an indoor jungle or at least would like to stop having to replace your fiddle-leaf fig every few months, try out this plant care routine for healthy houseplants.

via our home tour with Leah Goren

First things first

You’ll need to spend some time getting to know how your plants thrive. Unless you buy the exact same type of plant for every room, all of your houseplants will have different levels of needs. For example, how often should you water them? For most houseplants, the golden rule is to see if the first inch or so of soil is dry. If dry, this is an indication that the plant needs water. If there are leaves that have shriveled or are dry/discolored, the plant might need a little extra water than a regular routine.

Another general rule is it’s better to underwater than overwater your houseplants. A plant can recover faster from being deprived of water than one given excess water. To rescue an overwatered plant, you may need to repot the plant and remove any unhealthy roots and overwatered soil before moving the plant into a new pot.  

I’ve found that it’s easiest to group houseplants into how often they like to be watered. For example, I have groups that are weekly, bi-weekly and monthly. I have mine memorized (because, routine!), but you can always keep a log or a journal while you’re getting your routine established. 

OK, on to the routine…

via our home tour with Jodi Bond

1. Designate a “Watering Day”

At our house, Saturday is plant-watering day. A common mistake a lot of people make when it comes to watering is watering lightly and frequently, rather than deeply. When you water on top with a watering can, only the top roots are able to drink the water, and your plant may not receive the fuel it needs to survive. Watering deeply, which entails watering your plants heavily with water, allows for all the roots to grab a drink. Your bathtub is a great place to give your houseplants a drink. Many plants require a full soak on water day, so on Sunday, I’ll put the plants in the bathtub, then give them a good soak and let all the water trickle through before moving them back to their home. It’s important to let them drain fully before returning them to their homes so they don’t sit in stagnant water. 

via our home tour with Damien and Jimmy

2. Prune

You can leave the plants in the tub while you do this, or you can do it before you put them back in their homes. Once a week, check your houseplants to see if they need any TLC. Not every plant will need trimming every week, but a little tidy-up will keep your plants looking healthy and help prevent any diseases. Think of it like trimming the dead ends of your hair. Clip off any dead or crispy bits. If a leaf just looks withered, give it a week or so to see if it can revive itself after its watering day. 

via our home tour with Janea Brown

3. Rotation

All plants grow toward the light, and this can often lead to uneven growth patterns. Rotating them essentially ensures that our plants are getting an even amount of light, reducing the lean and promoting new growth in areas that might otherwise be stagnate. For plants that prefer lots of light, rotating them once every few months should do the trick. However, for a plant placed in a medium-to-low light area, you may need to rotate them more often. Try rotating them every other week to see if that helps their growth and appearance. If nothing happens, try increasing it to weekly.

via our home tour with Annabel Joy

4. Dust

We dust our house once a week, so that also means the plants get dusted as well. Especially plants with large, grooved leaves such as fiddle-leaf figs, houseplants can be a common catch-all for dust and dirt. Dirty leaves can impede growth and overall plant health, so give them a quick wipe-over while they are in the tub—but be gentle! 

via our home tour with Brittany Chinaglia

5. Repotting and fertilization

You should really only need to repot your houseplants every year or two. Some houseplants can actually thrive for years without needing to be repotted. But, if you’re noticing a plant you’ve had for awhile is growing some crazy roots or is especially dry and thirsty, it might be time for some fresh soil. As for fertilization, there’s no need to go crazy unless your houseplants are struggling to grow. Truthfully, if you’re unsure of how much or what type of fertilization to use, it’s better to skip that step altogether. Too much fertilization may actually end up killing your plant rather than helping it. But, if you have a plant you’re intent on reviving, your local nursery can help you figure out the exact type and amount of food it may need. 


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Author: Samantha Welker

Samantha Welker is the business manager at Glitter Guide. She has an Master's in Corporate Finance & Sustainability from Harvard Business School but prefers working in the creative industry. She also hosts a weekly business podcast for creative women called Pretty Okay Podcast. She loves spending time with her husband and her son, Rocky, in sunny San Diego. Follow along on Instagram