An end to houseplant suffering

An end to houseplant suffering

By Lidia Boque Gousgouni
11 Jan 2018

One of the most mistreated groups of plants must be the ‘indoor’ plants. Sure there are people that care for their indoor specimens extremely well, but there are possibly many more who starve and subject their indoor plants to a slow death.

In nature plants send out roots to search for moisture and grow in the direction of light if they find their position too dark for healthy growth. Indoor plants are at your mercy, and without constant care will suffer and may eventually find themselves relegated to the bin.

When you buy or are given an indoor plant you have to take on the responsibility for its survival, and some plants are finicky and take a lot of care.

Indoor plants or houseplants are not plants that have evolved to grow indoors, many are plants that naturally grow at ground level in jungles – this means they can survive with small amounts of light. Replicating the plants natural environment is necessary, they might look good when you buy them, keeping them looking that way is the challenge.

A few tips to help keep your houseplants alive:

  • Read the label carefully, some plants have special requirements which will be listed.
  • If your plant starts to drop its leaves, move it to an area with more light.
  • Avoid moving your plants around unnecessarily, sudden light changes can affect their growth.
  • Water is important, but too much water is a killer. The need
     for water will vary depending on the type of plant and the time of the year. After watering your indoor plants – wait a while and then empty any excess water from the saucer, this will ensure that the soil doesn’t stay soggy. Over-wet soil can create all sorts of health issues. 

Some popular indoor foliage plants are the Calathea, Cordyline, Dracaena, Monstera, Philodendron and Sanseveiria. Popular flowering plants include Saintpaulia – commonly known as African Violet, Orchids, Kalanchoe, Cyclamen and Columnea. 

If your track record with indoor plants is poor, let me suggest you buy an Aspidistra. The Aspidistra is grown for its beautiful glossy leaves, it requires little light and little water.  It’s one of the easiest plants to grow indoors, and its common name – the Cast Iron Plant says it all.


If you’ve been thinking about studying horticulture – Wodonga TAFE has Certificate III in Horticulture timetabled to begin at the end of February 2018.  This course runs on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays but you can choose to study part-time if that suits.  Why not call into Wodonga TAFE’s horticulture department in University Drive, Wodonga and pick up a timetable for 2018 or you can see the details and apply online at;


An Aspidistra in the Wodonga TAFE nursery – one of the toughest indoor plants.

Written by

Deborah Delahunty