How-to care for your house plants

Posted in Gardening, Home Decor, Tips, Projects & DIYs
on September 29, 2015

Our first place was seriously lacking character and warmth. Even when we brought in furtniture and window treatments, it still felt so bare! Enter my first houseplant. A little Christmas Cacuts! I loved having it and quickly added more. Now, in our house, we have a bit of a jungle going on.

Spring Refresh by Indigo and Honey

They’re all thriving here! Plants are a great alternative to fresh cut flowers, because they last so much longer which, in turn, costs less. You know I love that.

I’m sharing some of my tips with you all since I’ve been having so much success!

Even if you’ve been unsuccessful with plants in the past, don’t give up. Take a look at these tips and favorite low-maintenance options:

House plants | Indigo & Honey

Christmas Cactus

Keep them warm. Although they are called a Christmas Cactus, these plants still prefer warmer air. Grow your plant in a space that is at least 60 degrees. In most homes, this will be the case and you won’t run into any issues. Give it plenty of light. Christmas Cactus enjoy a variety of lighting options. Feel free to give them some moderate to direct light as well as some shade. They can handle switching it up. Your soil should always be damp but not with standing water. Just allow it to be damp to the touch. Your cactus will also enjoy being misted, so keep a spray bottle near for daily spraying.

Snake Plant

(Also known as Mother-in-Law’s tongue) Is the all-time indestructible houseplant. You can neglect them for weeks and they’ll still look fresh because of their sturdy leaves. They’re gorgeous and a great plant for someone who wants something contemporary, geometric and sculptural. They like bright light, but I’ve seen it survive in a shadowy spot in my home. Put them in indirect sunlight and don’t water them too much, especially during the winter. In fact, it’s better to let these plants dry out some between waterings.

Note: Toxic to cats, dogs and horses, says the ASPCA. But a full list of pet-safe plants is at the end!

House Plant Tips | Indigo & Honey

ZZ plant

They seem to do just fine in a broad spectrum of light conditions. The trickier piece to caring for this plant is watering. Don’t over-water! Make sure to feel the soil before you water–if it’s still moist, hold off. The warmer it is, the more water it can take, but it IS  a drought-tolerant plant, so you’re better off ignoring it a bit.

Fall House Tour | Indigo & Honey

Jade and other succulents.

Yes, the plant we’ve all come to know & love for taking our neglect gracefully. They actually prefer it! I water succulents once every other week.

Fall House Tour | Indigo & Honey


They’re very forgiving & require minimal light – just keep their soil moist & they’ll provide years of life & beauty in your home. Specifically, I’m loving my Boston Ferns (pictured above and below). They have so much character and their leaves are vibrant. They bring good energy to your room. You’ll want to water the plant thoroughly, using room-temperature water, until water runs through the bottom of the pot. Let the plant drain thoroughly and never let the pot stand in water.

Fall House Tour | Indigo & Honey

General rules of thumb:

1. Provide proper drainage. Your pot with soil in it must have drainage holes to prevent over-watering and root rotting. No matter how cute it is, it’s not worth using unless there are holes in the bottom. If you must use them, then make sure to do one of two things. Put the container your plant came in, directly into your new vessel so it can drain into it. Or, put gravel in the bottom of the planter before you put in potting soil so the water has somewhere to go. And if you do the latter, make sure to keep it in mind when watering your plant. Don’t go too heavy.

2. Do your research & read their instructions. When you buy a plant, it usually comes with a little card that tells you it’s water and light preference. It might not be the exact recipe for your plant, but read it and use it as a helpful guideline!

3. Dust your plants. Your plants breathe through their leaves, so make sure to keep them clear of dust and debris. It happens to all of us! Just take a damp paper towel and gently wipe them down to keep them healthy. Shiny, clean leaves are more visually appealing too.

4. Follow their cues.I have found that my plants usually tell me when they need water by getting droopy and sad looking. Usually I feel their soil after I notice and it’s dry, dry, dry. So in goes some water, usually directly from my current water glass and never measured out. The good thing about drainage holes is the extra water can run out if need be (keep an eye on it though – it’s not good to allow your plants to sit in standing water for too long). I keep an eye on the plant for the next day or so to be sure it was enough to perk it up and usually we’re good to go.

5. When in doubt, don’t water. Perhaps a silly tip, but I am pretty sure I have killed more indoor plants from OVER-watering than under-watering. Don’t just set a schedule for yourself and water everything once a week. That might be too much. If you notice that the leaves on your plant are turning yellow this might mean you are over-watering.

6. Trim away the dead. Your healthy plants will still have some dead bits. Leaves will go through a full life-cycle. I love watching the new growth spiral up and the leaves open and then I love trimming off the dead leaves as they go. Trimming away the dead (anything that is brown or dried up) will provide more room for the new as well as directing the plant’s energy toward the healthy parts. I have noticed about a week after I give my bigger plants a good trim there is usually tons of new growth.

7. Prepare to lose a few. It’s part of the game. Don’t worry too much if your plant dies. Instead, replace it with a different variety and see if you have better luck with something new.

And for all my animal-loving readers:

Here are some non-Toxic options for your cats and dogs: (Information and images are from ASPCA, click here for more options)


Rubber Plant:                                                               Spider Plant:
  American Rubber Plant   Anthericum Comosum

Bamboo Palm:                                                               Painted Lady:
Good Luck Palm     Blue Echeveria

Boston Fern:                                                                Christmas Cactus:
Boston Fern     Christmas Cactus

Cushion Aloe:                                                                Haworthia:
Cushon Aloe     Haworthia

Mexican Snowballs:                                                   Pony Tail Plant:
Mexican Snowballs       Pony Tail

Russian Olive:                                                             Thimble Cactus:
Autumn Olive     Thimble Cactus


I hope these tips help you on your own plant-baby journey! I’ve loved having so many in my home and think you will too. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below!

Want more gardening ideas and tips?

Check out my Gardening Page!


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  • Jill Weber

    I was always intimidated by orchids. At a show a couple years ago, my hubby bought 2 home for me. They were flowering and gorgeous. ….I was sure I would destroy them. I sat them on a southeast table by a large bay window. I am happy to say that one just had 24 flowers on it. The other about 15. I have added to my collection and am loving how easy they are. Water 1/4 cup on sat.or sun. And they thrive. Who knew? Now all I need is more windows!

    September 29, 2015 at 10:57 pm Reply
    • Brittany

      Oh good to know! I haven’t been able to get my orchid to rebloom. She’s still healthy but no new flowers.

      October 6, 2015 at 1:28 pm Reply
  • carol bruschetti

    Thank you, I just bought my Boston ferns in and I needed these little tips on how to keep them alive.

    September 30, 2015 at 10:57 am Reply
  • Carol Tyrer

    This was a very interesting article. For someone like myself who has had houseplants for years.. I learned some new stuff! Thanks Brittany!

    September 30, 2015 at 11:25 am Reply
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