Eight Common Indoor Plant Myths

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by Will Creed

Over the years a number of ideas have come to be accepted as part of the conventional wisdom of plant care. Some of these ideas started with nursery growers who developed their plant care techniques based on the optimal conditions that they can create in their greenhouses and nurseries. Unfortunately, some of these practices are inappropriate for houseplant owners growing plants in more trying circumstances. No wonder so many people believe they just don’t have green thumbs.


Myth #1: Plants grow bigger in bigger pots

Fact: The fastest growing plants are those that are moderately potbound. Frequently repotted plants put much of their energy into growing more roots, at the expense of leaves and flowers. Plants in large pots are also much more likely to suffer from root rot.


Myth #2: Ailing plants will benefit from plant food

Fact: Plant food or fertilizer is not medicine. It is intended for healthy plants that are growing vigorously and are using up the essential nutrients in the soil. You cannot force plants to use more nutrients than they need. Excess nutrients accumulate in the soil and burn tender roots and cause leaf discoloration. Ailing plants absorb fewer nutrients than healthy plants.


Myth #3: Indoor plants need lots of direct sunlight

Fact: Only some indoor plants benefit from direct sun. Many common indoor plants are shade-lovers that suffer from” sunburn” when exposed to the direct rays of the sun.


Myth #4: Yellow leaves and brown tips mean over watering

Fact: These common symptoms have many possible causes including too little water, inadequate light, excess fertilizer, fluoridated water, hard water, and poor soil quality.


Myth #5: Misting plants will increase the humidity for plants

Fact: Misting plants once or twice per day increases the humidity by so little that it has no practical value for humidity-loving plants. Misting does help keep plants clean, however.


Myth #6: Most indoor plants need high humidity to thrive.

Fact: Most of the commonly available indoor plants are commonly available because they have proven their ability to adapt to the very dry environments found indoors in winter. Although most indoor plants, succulents excepted, come from naturally humid habitats, many can survive quite well in low humidity, as long as they receive adequate moisture through their roots.


Myth #7: Chemical pesticides are the only effective way to eliminate plant pests.

Fact: There are many safe and effective treatments for plant pests. These treatments include such safe products as dish soap, rubbing alcohol, horticultural oils, silicon, sand, sticky traps, diatomaceous earth, and hot pepper, you can also get professional pest control services to eliminate the pests once and for all!


Myth #8: Most indoor plants go dormant in the winter.

Fact: Most indoor plants come from tropical regions that are warm year-round. Unlike temperate zone plants, tropical plants grow actively all year long. Indoors in northern climates the winter months bring shorter hours of daylight. This reduction in light will cause plant growth rates to slow leading some observers to believe they are dormant.




If you have any question on plants for your office or home, contact Growing Expectations to set up a free interior plantscaping consultation at info@interiorofficeplants.com.

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Growing Expectations, Inc. PO Box 268 Princeton, NJ 08542 Telephone – (609) 924 – 9782 FAX (609) 737 – 2344