How To Care for Houseplants (The Ultimate Guide)

Houseplants are a fantastic addition to any home. However, it can be tricky to keep all of your plants happy and healthy when growing them inside. Luckily, there are a few steps you can follow to provide proper care for all of your houseplants.

Here are the best ways to take care of your houseplants:

  1. Set up a watering routine.
  2. Use good quality soil for your plants. 
  3. Ensure your houseplants are getting adequate light. 
  4. Place your plants somewhere with good airflow. 
  5. Monitor your plant’s temperature needs. 
  6. Choose pots with adequate drainage. 
  7. Fertilize your houseplants. 
  8. Repot plants that have outgrown their pots. 
  9. Frequently dust your houseplants’ leaves. 
  10. Maintain adequate humidity. 
  11. Prune houseplants as needed. 
  12. Take steps to prevent pests. 
  13. Quarantine all new houseplants. 
  14. Monitor plants for possible illnesses. 

In the rest of this article, I will discuss the many tips and tricks for caring for houseplants. So if you would like to learn more about properly caring for your indoor plants, read on. 

1. Set Up a Watering Routine

One of the most important things you can do is to set up a watering routine for your houseplants. You can use a watering schedule because each type of indoor plant will have unique needs regarding required moisture. 

First, researching your plants’ watering needs is vital to creating a proper watering schedule. For example, desert plants like succulents will have vastly different watering needs than pothos plants. 

Once you’ve ascertained all of your houseplant’s watering needs, you should create a schedule. You can create a schedule on your phone or write the itinerary on paper. Either way, the watering schedule should be somewhere you will see and remember to follow it. 

A schedule allows you to stay on top of your plants’ watering requirements and removes the stress of trying to discern when your plants need to be watered. However, a good rule of thumb is to water your plants only when the soil is dry 2 inches (5 cm) deep. Of course, cacti and succulents prefer a bit of dry soil before your next watering schedule.

Remember that although indoor conditions can be controlled all year round with efficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, your individual houseplant’s seasonal care needs and potential dormancy should be considered to adjust your watering routine accordingly.

Here’s an example of the watering frequency of common houseplant types:

Houseplant TypeWatering PreferenceWatering Frequency
Cacti and SucculentsDry soil between wateringOnce every 10-14 days
Flowering plantsConsistently moist soil

Water when the upper 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) of the soil is dry
Every 5-7 days
Foliage plantsWater when the upper 2 inches (5 cm) of the soil is dryEvery 7-10 days
FernsConsistently moist soilOnce or twice a week
Hanging basketsPartially dry soil

Water when the upper 2 inches (5 cm) of the soil is dry
Every day

The watering frequencies listed above are based on optimal environmental conditions (i.e., temperature, light, humidity) for most of the species under the listed categories. Typically, the sample schedule above works if you are able to maintain suitable conditions for your houseplants all year round.

However, you will need to adjust the watering frequency depending on the season or the conditions in your home. Here are some examples:

  • Flowering plants need more frequent watering during the blooming season to support the buds and the blooms. In contrast, their water use will slow down as the blooms fade.
  • Hanging baskets grown on the balcony will need water twice a day in the summer. Indoors, as long as humidity, light, and temperature are controlled, you can water them once a day. Note that hanging baskets have fast-draining soil, so the plant will need daily watering. Allowing the substrate to become bone-dry will make it resistant to water and eventually kill the plant.
  • Plants that go dormant in the winter need manual checking using the finger test more than a schedule, as the soil moisture level can vary throughout the season. For instance, drying can slow down as the plant enters a resting period in the late fall but will pick up as the plant gears up for the growing season in late winter.

The best way to create a watering schedule that works for you and your indoor garden is to make a plant journal. As your plants become established in their pots, they will show a more stable pattern you can work with.

For example, if you have a pothos, general information online recommends you water it once every 1-2 weeks. However, your potting mix quality and home conditions can greatly affect how often your plant will need water. Here’s what you can do to determine a working watering schedule:

  1. Water your plant gradually using cups. Count the number of cups it takes until the excess drains out of the drainage hole. This can give you an idea of how much water to feed your plant next time.
  2. After five days, check the soil for moisture. Pothos likes a bit of dry soil between watering, so it’s best to give it some time to dry out. If you have a 10-inch (25 cm) pot, check if the upper 3-4 inches (7.6-10 cm) are dry.
  3. Check again every 1-2 days until the soil is sufficiently dry. Only then will you need to water your plant again.

Repeating the above-mentioned steps for at least five watering cycles will give you a clearer idea of your pothos’ watering needs. Doing the same for your other plants can help you devise an efficient watering schedule.

A good rule of thumb is to check your potting soil two days before the estimated next watering session especially during warm months, as the soil may dry out more quickly.

Best Water for Houseplants

Whenever possible, use freshly collected rainwater on your houseplants. It’s the best water source for any plant as it contains oxygen and has a plant-friendly pH level. However, it’s not readily available.

Some of the best alternatives include distilled or filtered water because they have a neutral pH and are void of minerals that can be especially harmful to potted plants in excess. You must also use this water source when bottom-watering or flushing your potted plants.

You can use tap water occasionally as an economical alternative, but avoid using it too frequently or on chlorine-sensitive plants. If you ever have to rely on tap water, let it sit for about 24 hours before using it on your houseplants.

Why Proper Watering Is So Important for Houseplants

Even though your plants are indoors and protected from the sun’s harsh heat, they will still require plenty of water to thrive. As I previously stated, each plant will have different watering needs. However, most will require regular watering to grow and maintain healthy leaves. 

Also, water ensures your plants can absorb nutrients from the soil. Water delivers essential nutrients from the soil to the plant’s root system. These roots will then absorb the food and convert those nutrients into energy. Without an adequate water supply, plants will quickly die. 

So as you can see, it’s essential to maintain moist soil for your houseplants. However, you should always avoid overwatering. Too much water can result in nutrients being leached from the soil or encourage fungal growth resulting in root rot. 

Both situations can kill the plant. Therefore, proper drainage and watering are critical for your houseplant’s health. 

If you’d like a more in-depth guide on how to water indoor plants, you could check this article out: How to Water Indoor Plants (Complete Guide)

2. Use Good Quality Soil for Your Plants 

Next, you must use quality soil for each of your houseplants. Soil is where your plants get most of their nutrients, and without rich soil, your houseplants will likely become wilted and die. Luckily, it’s relatively easy to acquire nutrient-dense soil that won’t break the bank. In fact, you can always start composting and make your own.

However, purchasing some is undoubtedly easier and less time-consuming.

To find good soil, you should look for soils that contain nutrients like:

  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Sulfur

These are all essential nutrients your houseplants will need to thrive indoors. A good mix of organic matter is also a plus when selecting good potting soil. However, it’s also essential to check your plant’s soil requirements as the nutrients each plant needs can vary. 

Ultimately, whatever potting mix you choose, ensure it has the essential nutrients listed above. If you do that, your houseplants should have no problem maintaining healthy leaves. Just remember to refresh the soil every 6-12 months or so to provide adequate plant food. 

3. Ensure Your Houseplants Are Getting Adequate Light

Another vital step in caring for houseplants is providing proper lighting. Homes generally filter out much outside light, so it’s essential to find places where your houseplants can still get sunlight indoors. 

Of course, windows are the best for this. East-facing windows are ideal for plants that prefer partial shade as the sun won’t be too harsh throughout the day. However, sun-loving houseplants that need at least 6 hours of sunlight will do best in a south-facing window.

If you only have a west-facing window, ensure that your houseplants are adequately protected from the scorching afternoon sun by placing a light curtain against the glass. For rooms with only a north-facing window, I recommend using grow lights.

During the summer, houseplants have an increased risk of becoming burned by the sun’s rays, especially if placed in a location where the sun is heavily concentrated. It’s also important to note that placing a plant near a window will significantly affect its temperature. 

So if you have to place your plants near a southern or western-facing window, it’s best to monitor them and slide them a few feet away from the windows if the sun is too much for them.

Do Indoor Plants Need Direct Sunlight?

Now that you know a little more about plants’ light requirements, it’s important to discuss if direct sunlight is necessary.

Indoor plants do not need direct sunlight to grow. However, most prefer bright light and will do better somewhere with plenty of sunlight. A window that gets full sun can help supply the plant with sunlight. But if your home is dim, using a grow light is ideal to ensure your plant gets enough light.

Too Much Sunlight

Though houseplants getting too much sun indoors is seldom a problem, it’s still important to know what signs to look for in your plants. For example, homes with large windows or windows in full sun most of the day can sometimes cause plants to overheat and even burn.

So let’s learn some signs that your houseplant is getting too much sun:

  • Burned leaves
  • Curling leaves
  • Dry soil
  • The plant is hot to the touch
  • Discoloration in the stem and leaves
  • Brown patches
  • Drooping leaves

Each of these is a good indicator your plants are getting too much sunlight. You can easily remedy this by switching your plant to a location with less direct sunlight or scooting it back a few feet from the window. Alternatively, you can hang light curtains against the window to filter the light. 

Not Enough Sunlight 

As discussed, a common problem with growing plants indoors is providing enough light. Providing proper lighting can be especially problematic if you live somewhere with few windows or the placement of your windows makes your home very dim. 

Here are a few signs your houseplants aren’t getting enough sunshine: 

  • Your plants are leaning toward the light source 
  • Skinny or leggy-looking plant growth 
  • Stunted plant growth
  • Smaller-sized leaves
  • Browning along the tips of the plant’s leaves
  • The soil stays moist for weeks at a time
  • Discoloration of the leaves and stem

Each of these signs signals that your plant is lacking adequate sunlight. If you notice any of these symptoms in your houseplants, it’s essential to remedy the situation immediately. 

You can fix the lack of sunlight by: 

  • Moving the plant to a window that gets more sunlight. 
  • Placing the plant outdoors for a time if the weather is nice. 
  • Using a grow light to promote plant growth. 

Grow lights are a great option if your home lacks natural lighting, but you still want to grow healthy indoor plants. These lights come in various sizes and can easily be set up above your plants to provide much-needed light for optimal plant growth.

It also helps to rotate your plant by 45 or 90° every month to ensure all sides receive sunlight evenly.

4. Place Your Plants Somewhere With Good Airflow

Another critical step to ensuring your houseplant’s health is providing good airflow. For example, a closet would be a terrible place for a plant as a closed door in such a small lightless place would be stuffy. 

Places with good airflow include the following:

  • Open spaces in your home
  • Near the windows
  • Near fans or air vents

These locations will have good airflow and improve your houseplant’s overall health. However, it’s also important to note that locations near windows or air vents can significantly alter a plant’s temperature, which can be bad for your houseplants. 

Why Good Airflow Is Important for Houseplants 

It’s no secret that plants, especially houseplants, need proper airflow. Here are some reasons houseplants need good airflow:

A Fresh Supply of CO2

New air circulating through your home provides a fresh supply of carbon dioxide (CO2). Plants utilize carbon dioxide to photosynthesize and thus promote plant growth. Luckily, humans breathe out CO2, which means you can be a constant source of carbon dioxide for your houseplants. 

Removes Any Excess Heat

Proper airflow allows for excess heat to be removed from your plants. When plants are growing, they release small amounts of heat, which can be more easily managed with good airflow. Providing good airflow is a great way to regulate your plant’s temperature. 

Prevents Diseases & Pests

Airflow can help prevent diseases in your houseplants. Plants that don’t receive proper air circulation are at higher risk of developing fungal diseases and attracting pests. 

Maintaining good airflow is vital for any plant’s health, both nutritionally and physically. Therefore, doing your best to place your plant somewhere with good airflow is essential. Also, you can always open a window to help provide even better air circulation for your houseplants. 

5. Monitor Your Plant’s Temperature Needs 

Next, you should carefully monitor your plant’s temperature. Each type of houseplant you own will likely have a different temperature preference. Ideally, most indoor plants prefer temperatures between 65 and 75 °F (18-24 °C). However, plants like cacti or succulents prefer temperatures ranging from 40-90 °F (4-32 °C)

You can monitor your houseplant’s temperature by placing a thermometer near your plants. A thermometer will help you know exactly how warm or cold your plant is. Plants near windows and air vents are far more likely to experience extreme temperature fluctuations, so you may have to move them. 

Watch for signs your plant is overheating or has grown too cold. Of course, the best way to do this is to monitor a temperature gauge, but there are also several signs you should watch out for in your plants. 

Low Temperatures

During the winter, plants can easily become too cold even when indoors. The same can be said for houseplants seated directly beneath air conditioning vents during summer. Luckily this can easily be remedied, and there are a few signs your houseplants are too cold.

Way to tell your houseplant is too cold:

  • Rotting stems
  • Rotting leaves
  • Discoloration 
  • Droopy leaves
  • Curled-up leaves
  • Leaves are dropping
  • Bits of the plant are mushy to the touch 
  • The plant’s roots are loose

Each of these signs can indicate a severe temperature problem with your houseplant. Typically, plants will experience these symptoms if their environment’s temperature dips below 55 °F (13 °C). In addition, plants near windows or air vents are at a higher risk of developing significant problems due to improper temperature maintenance. 

For example, if there’s a cold front moving or your plants are seated next to windows, it’s best to move them. You should also consider moving houseplants from beneath air conditioning vents during warm weather. A small space heater can also help adjust the temperature in a room to meet your plants’ warmth needs better. 

If you want to learn more about how you can revive an indoor plant that has suffered a cold shock, the symptoms of cold damage in plants, and how you can prevent your plants from getting too cold in the first place, check out my other article: Can Indoor Plants Recover From Cold Shock?

High Temperaturess

Just like when plants get too cold, they will also struggle if they get too hot. Anything over 85 °F (29 °C) is likely too warm for your houseplants. Overheating in houseplants can easily occur when placed too close to sun-facing windows, below heating vents, or next to a heater. 

If your plants are getting too warm, they will show symptoms like:

  • Dry or brittle leaves
  • Wilting leaves
  • Crumbling leaves
  • Blossoms or leaves falling off
  • Yellowing leaves

These are signs that your plant isn’t enjoying its current temperature and may be too warm. The best way to fix temperature issues is to move the houseplant to a better location or alter your home’s temperature.

If you want to learn more about indoor plants that withstand the warm conditions of central heating, check out my article: 15 Best Indoor Plants That Stand Central Heating

6. Choose Pots With Adequate Drainage 

Another critical step to ensuring indoor plants’ health is selecting a pot with good drainage. Now, what exactly constitutes good drainage, and why is proper drainage so crucial for your houseplants? 

A proper pot with good drainage will have holes in the bottom to allow excess water flow. Water that doesn’t have an outlet will often sit on a plant’s roots resulting in root rot. So it’s crucial to choose containers that will allow for adequate drainage. 

If you want to go a step further in ensuring your houseplants have excellent drainage, it’s a good idea to place a material like stones in the bottom of your pots before placing them in the soil. This special drainage layer will help keep excess water from pooling in the soil. 

Rocks are a great way to add better drainage to your houseplants containers, but you can also use hydro granules (baked clay balls). Something larger that will allow the water to move through the soil and to the bottom of the pot more easily is ideal.

7. Fertilize Your Houseplants

Occasional fertilization is necessary to maintain healthy, happy houseplants. However, like outdoor plants, indoor plants will eventually deplete all the nutrients from the soil and require a refresher. Typically, you should refresh your plant’s soil every 12-18 months

There are a few ways you can refresh your houseplant’s soil: 

  • Add a layer of new soil to your plant’s pots. 
  • Apply liquid fertilizer to the soil. 
  • Apply a slow-release granular fertilizer to the soil. 

It’s best to avoid fertilizers with food particles because they will attract bugs. Generally, homemade fertilizers like coffee, banana, or other scrap food fertilizers will only encounter this issue. However, if you take precautions against pests, you can still use these fertilizers without a problem.

To learn more, you could check out my guide on how to naturally fertilize indoor plants here: How to Naturally Fertilize Indoor Plants (Ultimate Guide)

8. Repot Plants That Have Outgrown Their Pots 

Another important step when caring for houseplants is repotting them as needed. Plants are continually growing and will need to be repotted occasionally. Generally, most plants benefit from being repotted every 12-18 months

However, if the plant is growing slowly, it may not need to be transplanted so frequently. Luckily there are a few ways to tell if your indoor plants need repotting. 

How to tell if your houseplants need to be repotted:

  • It’s been over a year since the plants’ last repotting. 
  • The plant’s roots are poking out of their pot’s drainage holes.
  • The plant’s growth has slowed down. 
  • The soil dries out extremely quickly.
  • The plant’s foliage is much larger than its pot. 

If you see any of these signs, it’s an excellent time to upgrade your plant to a new pot. Just remember to be gentle with the plant’s root system and provide the houseplant with new nutritious soil. Repotting can be stressful for a plant, so be gentle and patient. 

How to Repot a Houseplant Correctly

If you are preparing to repot your indoor plants, it’s essential to know what you’re doing. As I previously stated, moving a plant can cause stress due to the small amounts of damage that can occur during the move. 

What you will need:

  • A larger pot with drainage holes 
  • New soil
  • Small spade shovel
  • Water

How to repot an indoor plant:

Remove the Plant Gently From Its Old Container

Carefully grip the plant as close to the soil as possible, and slide the plant from the old pot using soft rocking motions. 

Inspect the Plant’s Root System for Damage or Illness

Once you have the plant free, it’s a good time to check for problems with your plant’s roots. You should look for any signs of pests, disease, or damage. 

Add Soil to the New Pot

You should aim to fill the pot most of the way, leaving some space along the top of the container to better keep water in. 

Place the Plant Into the Pot and Cover It With Soil

Be sure to place the plant gently and thoroughly cover its roots with soil. The soil will protect the plant’s roots and help prevent the plant from going into shock. 

Thoroughly Water the Plant

The soil should be moist, and water should come from the pot’s drainage holes. Watering allows the nutrients in the soil to be more easily absorbed by the plant. 

Place the Plant Somewhere With Good Lighting

Light plays a huge role in a plant’s overall health and is especially important after a plant has been moved. Just be sure not to let your plant get burned by the harsh sun. 

As you can see, repotting isn’t too tricky. The most important thing is to be careful with the plant while it’s out of the soil. Roots are delicate and easily damaged. Without healthy roots, a plant will quickly die because plants absorb nutrients from the soil through them.

9. Frequently Dust Your Houseplants’ Leaves 

This step is often overlooked when it comes to caring for indoor plants. However, it’s imperative when it comes to your houseplant’s health. Dust is everywhere and easily builds up on surfaces in your home, including your plant’s leaves. 

Unfortunately, a build-up of dust on your houseplants can harm them. A thick layer of dust can block a plant’s ability to absorb nutrients from the sun and photosynthesize. In turn, this will leave your plants susceptible to microbial infections, pests, or other plant illnesses. 

So just how often should you dust your houseplants? 

Your houseplants need dusting every 2-3 months. However, it never hurts to dust more frequently. A clean dust free plant is a happy and healthy plant. Remember to be gentle when dusting so as not to damage any of the houseplant’s leaves. 

How To Dust a Houseplant’s Leaves 

Dusting indoor plant leaves is relatively easy. However, it’s essential to be gentle and remove all the dust. You can do this in several ways, but here are the methods I found to be the most effective. 

The best ways to remove dust from your houseplants’ leaves:

  • Use a feather duster. A light duster is a great way to remove dust particles from your plant’s leaves gently. However, this method will be less effective if the dust has gotten wet at any point. 
  • Mist the leaves. Misting can cause the dust to be washed away and drip down into the soil. 
  • Use a wet paintbrush. A paintbrush can help you get stubborn dust from small crevices on the leaf’s surface. 
  • Spray the leaves with warm water and wipe them down. Removing dust with water and a rag is the easiest way to remove dust from your houseplant. However, you should choose a cloth that will be gentle and try not to apply too much pressure as you clean the leaves. 

The best way to ensure dust doesn’t build up on indoor plants is to clean them regularly. Whenever you dust your home, it’s a good idea to include your houseplants. Keeping up on the dust will make it much easier to clean them. 

10. Maintain Adequate Humidity

Another essential step in houseplant care is maintaining proper humidity levels. First, you will need to understand what humidity is. Humidity is the amount of moisture in the air, and you can increase the humidity of a space by adding water. Heat works with the water to trap moisture in the air, thus making a space more humid. 

Keeping proper humidity levels for indoor plants is essential. This step can be tricky since homes tend to be less humid than outside or in greenhouses. However, you can still bring up your plant’s humidity levels indoors, and here’s how. 

How to raise a houseplant’s humidity:

  • Place your pots on a pebbled tray with water. 
  • Group together plants with similar humidity requirements.
  • Place a humidifier near your houseplants. 
  • Create a terrarium for your houseplants. 
  • Move your plants to humid areas, such as the kitchen or bathroom.

All of these are great ways to raise the humidity of your plants. However, monitoring the humidity in the air surrounding your houseplants is also essential. You can watch the levels by using a humidity gauge and researching each plant’s humidity preferences. 

11. Prune Household Plants As Needed

Next, to keep healthy houseplants, they must receive occasional pruning. Plants need to be pruned to thrive, and indoor plants are no exception. The best method for pruning indoor plants is to remove dead or dying leaves and flowers as they appear. Instead of seasonally pruning, houseplants will require regular maintenance. 

You should always cut slightly before a leaf node to encourage new leaf growth. Cutting near leaf nodes will help the plant to focus its energy on new leaves. When pruning, it’s essential never to remove too much foliage as this will likely kill your plant. A plant’s leaves are necessary for them to make food and grow. 

That being said, a few plants don’t need pruning. Also, some plants require different techniques to prune appropriately. So you should always research each of your indoor plants before pruning. 

How to Prune Houseplants 

Pruning is relatively easy so long as you know what you’re doing and don’t remove too much of the plant. It’s always better to err on the side of under-pruning than to overdo it. So let’s learn the best way to prune an indoor plant. 

You will need to clean your pruning shears to avoid the risk of infecting your houseplants with harmful microorganisms. Soaking your pruning shears in hot water (over 160 °F / 70 °C) for 3-5 minutes and wiping them dry with a clean cloth should suffice. Repeat the process before moving on to the next plant.

Here’s how to prune a houseplant:

Remove All Dead Leaves, Vines, and Flowers From the Plant

Anything dead needs to be removed to ensure your plant’s health. Dead plant matter also attracts unwanted pests, so it’s a good idea to remove and dispose of it. You should aim to cut just above the leaf node to promote new growth. 

Never Remove Too Much Plant Growth

You should aim to remove as little plant growth as possible. Removing too many leaves can weaken your plant and cause it to grow ill. It helps to focus on trimming only damaged stems and foliage. However, for seasonal growth and aesthetic purposes, limit heavy pruning to only up to 30% of the plant.

Inspect the Plant for Signs of Pests, Illness, or Disease

Pruning is also an excellent time to look for signs of distress in your plant and remedy the problem. It is pretty easy and can be done quickly. Plants require pruning, and removing dead matter will actually aid the plant in growing newer, healthier leaves.

Be sure to research the type of plant you’re pruning before beginning. Some plants are not tolerant to heavy pruning and only benefit from occasional trims to remove diseased parts.

12. Take Steps To Prevent Pests

Another huge problem you may encounter with houseplants is pests. Bugs love to make their homes in the soil and on the leaves of indoor plants. Unfortunately, these critters can quickly spread throughout your home, making themselves a household nuisance. 

Luckily, there are several ways to prevent pests from taking up residence in your houseplants:

  • Quarantine all new plants to watch for possible pest infestations.
  • Clean all pots thoroughly before planting in them. 
  • Keep the plant clean. 
  • Use a soil cover like sand so pests can’t easily make their home in the dirt.
  • Never place food scraps into the soil. 
  • Treat signs of pests immediately. 

Pests can quickly get out of hand if left to their own devices. So it’s essential to do your best to prevent their presence in the first place. However, even with the proper precautions, pests will still appear now and again. 

How to Get Rid of Houseplant Pests

Pests are a part of being a plant parent and sadly affect both indoor and outdoor plants. However, getting rid of them isn’t too complicated. 

The best ways to get rid of houseplant pests:

  • Hang a sticky bug trap close to your plant. 
  • Use a plant-safe pesticide to kill off the pests. 
  • Manually remove any bugs you see. 
  • Water regularly but avoid overwatering. 

These are great methods to rid your indoor plants of pests. Once you have treated your plants for bugs like gnats, you will need to monitor them. These pests can be surprisingly resilient, and you may have missed a few. Keep an eye out for new pests, and act if you spot any. 

13. Quarantine All New Houseplants 

Isolating new plants is essential when you bring them home to add to your collection. Unfortunately, you cannot know where the new plants have been or the kind of care they have received. Plus, you don’t want to expose your healthy plants to unknown diseases or pests. 

Before adding them to your home, quarantining your new plants ensures that no unwanted diseases, illnesses, or pests pass between them. You can quarantine your new plant by placing them in a room that doesn’t contain other indoor plants for about 40 days

I know that seems like a long time, but it’s essential to ensure the new plant is healthy and won’t pose any risk to your new plants. This long time frame allows for all illnesses and pests to present themselves so you can handle any issues before they spread to your other plants.

14. Monitor Plants for Possible Illness 

Finally, to keep your houseplants healthy, you must regularly monitor them for illness. Unfortunately, even the healthiest plant can become ill without warning, so it’s up to you to catch signs that your plant may be feeling off. 

The most common plant illnesses you might encounter include the following:

Black Spot Leaf Disease

This disease starts with small black spots on the leaves and is generally caused by a calcium deficiency. However, they can also occur due to bacteria, viruses, or old age. 


This fungus quickly attacks plants, dispersing a gray mold. It is commonly caused by high levels of moisture or humidity. 

Leaf Spot

A common illness in houseplants is leaf spot which can occur for several reasons such as disease, fungus, and pests. The leaves’ cells are damaged and prevent the plant from adequately absorbing sunlight. 

Root Rot

A houseplant can quickly get root rot if the soil and pot they are in aren’t promoting proper drainage. Root rot is caused by water sitting on the roots for a prolonged time. 

Powdery Mildew

A fungal disease presents as a chalky white film on the plant and its leaves. The mildew will quickly cover your plant’s leaves and spread. This covering of mildew will prevent proper nutrient absorption from the sun. 

Despite your best intentions and regular monitoring, houseplants will sometimes get sick. Luckily there are a few steps you can take to help prevent illness. So let’s take a quick look at what those steps are. 

Steps to Take to Prevent Plant Illness

Plants are delicate, and learning to keep them healthy and happy indoors can be tricky. While some people have a natural gift for plant caring, others will find it more difficult and must rely heavily on research. 

Ways to prevent illness in your indoor plants:

  • Inspect your houseplants regularly. 
  • Use quality soil.
  • Don’t overcrowd your plants.
  • Keep them at the proper temperature.
  • Ensure they have good humidity levels.
  • Place them somewhere with adequate lighting.
  • Plant them in a pot with drainage holes.
  • Keep the soil moist but not over-saturated. 

Keeping your indoor plants healthy is all about maintaining balance for your plants and being quick to act if something goes wrong. 

If you want to learn more about caring for houseplants, I recommend watching the Pick Up Limes houseplant tips video. She does a great job going over essential tips for raising healthy houseplants. This video is especially beneficial if you are just starting with indoor plants. Watch it below: 


Raising healthy houseplants doesn’t have to be overly complicated. The most important things to remember are:

  • Provide nutrient-rich soil.
  • Keep the plant well-watered but not over-watered.
  • Ensure the plant’s pot has drainage holes
  • Place your houseplants somewhere with good lighting, humidity, and temperature. 
  • Take steps to prevent illness and pests. 

All these steps will help your plants grow well indoors and stay free of harmful pests or diseases.

Dr. Moritz Picot

Dr. Moritz Picot is a horticulture enthusiast and the founder of, where he serves as the lead content writer. He established the website in 2022 as a valuable resource for both gardening aficionados and beginners, compiling all the gardening tips he has accumulated over the past 25 years. Alex has a passion for nurturing plants, transforming backyards into inviting spaces, and sharing his knowledge with the world.

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