Most houseplants are indoor plants for a reason – they wouldn’t survive in our UK climate. It can help to find out (or ask us!) about your houseplant’s natural habitat and do your best to recreate those conditions at home.

Here are our best bits of advice to keep your houseplants looking fresh once you get them home.

Water appropriately
When we say appropriately, it’s because houseplants need different levels of water depending on where they grow naturally in the wild.

Desert plants like cacti and succulents need much less water than other houseplants. They’re used to long periods of no rain in their natural habitat, then top up their reserves during epic desert rains.

Treat your cacti the same and let them fully dry out between watering. Then either plunge them into water till they’re soaked, or water from the top until it comes through the holes in the bottom of your pot. Allow them to drain completely before putting them back.

Many tropical, leafier houseplants are used to living on the floor of rainforests, with moist soil that doesn’t dry out. Follow the same principles at home and make sure your jungle plants aren’t swimming in water or drying out too much.

Check light levels
It’s tempting to put all your houseplants on windowsills. In fact, with few exceptions, it’s best to keep most houseplants close to a window but away from direct sunlight.  Sunlight can scorch leaves.

It’s amazing how much light levels drop away from the window. A metre away and the light has less than half the lumens – a measure of light – of being on the windowsill. It’s generally best to keep your houseplants out from gloomy corners and closer to where the light gets in.

However, the best approach is to test your plants out and learn what plants like in your home. If you’ve got very small windows or your windows face north or east, you can get away with bringing your plants closer to the window. On the other hand, if you have a skylight or a bright conservatory, you might find your plants can cope with being further back into the room.

The only exceptions are cacti and succulents. These desert plants need as much sun as you can give them and are best on a sunny windowsill.

Keep them warm
Houseplants are a bit like us and prefer to keep warm where they can. Most common houseplants prefer temperatures between 15 – 25 degrees, which suits our heated homes too.

That said, never be tempted to ramp up the heat by putting your plant on or above a radiator. This can cook your plants and even scorch the leaves if you’re not careful.

If you’re going away during the colder months and leaving the heating off while you’re gone, huddle your houseplants together in the warmest part of your home.

Increase humidity
Houseplants from rainforests are happiest in very humid conditions like our own Tropical House. Our air conditioned, heated houses are rarely humid enough to mimic their preferred environment.

While it’s not always possible or preferable to recreate such conditions at home, you can increase the humidity in a few ways.

Try grouping houseplants together. Moisture evaporating from the leaves of their neighbours helps to slightly raise the humidity.

You can also sit plants raised up on pebbles in a tray of water. Make sure the plant isn’t sitting in the water as this can cause the roots to rot.

Moving plants to a bathroom or kitchen – typically the most humid rooms in the home – can also help.

Misting leaves is less effective – you’d need to mist for a long time and several times a day to raise the humidity in most UK homes.

Learn more at our Houseplant Festival

For more top tips to keep your houseplants looking gorgeous, come and chat to our experts at our Houseplant Festival on 24 and 25 February 2024, 10am to 4pm. We’ll be taking over the Tropical House and handing out plenty of hints and tips alongside a big selection of houseplants to take home.

You can even join one of our workshops. Click the links below for more information and purchase your tickets.