Monty Don shares a common mistake we make when looking after house plants

Don't forget this simple step when looking after house plants - it's so simple and could make all the difference

looking after house plants
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Learning how to keep our houseplants alive is a never-ending process. Even once we've successfully nurtured our best indoor plants for an extended period of time, certain types can prove tricky to look after. British gardening expert Mony Don has shared some simple but effective advice to keep our house plants thriving.

On his blog, he explains that people often go wrong when watering their plants, leaving them without the right levels of moisture to grow healthily - but it's not as simple as just watering them frequently enough.

looking after house plants

(Image credit: The Edith, available from £23.00 on

'By and large, the biggest mistake people make with their houseplants is to overwater them,' Monty begins. 'In fact,' he continues, 'that can be qualified - or refined - by saying most are overwatered at the roots but under-watered in the air.' He says that the single most useful thing is you can do is to get hold of a good mist sprayer 'holding at least a litre of water and with a trigger action.' 

'Use this twice a day,' he says, 'to give your plants a really good spray so the foliage is running with moisture.' As he points out, this will mean plants need to be positioned in a room where humid air isn't going to damage any soft furnishings. Therefore, he suggests putting houseplants in a bathroom or kitchen with natural light might be more practical than in the living room. If you're thinking of expanding your house plant collection, look at our 11 easy house plants and how to care for each type piece.

looking after house plants

(Image credit: The Bentham, available from £12.00 on

As for when to water plants, he reminds fans to only water when the compost is completely dry, and to soak them in a basin for 15 minutes, before draining them and returning the pot to its usual spot. If you fancy heading outdoors, our garden design ideas piece is full of inspiration.

The gardening guru comments that evergreen plants from tropical regions, such as a Bird of Paradise or Fiddle Leaf Fig, are happiest in a cool spot away from direct sunlight. They'll be better off here than a sun-flooded room right by a radiator, he explains.

looking after house plants

(Image credit: The Bentham, available from £12.00 on

There are so many benefits of houseplants - they look great and they're known to make us feel more relaxed - not to mention their air-purifying powers. Next time we water our plants, we'll remember to give them a good spray, too.

Millie Hurst

Millie joined Real Homes in early 2021 as a homes news writer. When she isn't writing about trends, makeovers and houseplant care, she spends her free time making tweaks to her rented flat in North London. Her next project is a very basic armchair reupholstering job to help create a cosy reading nook in her living room. She loves browsing antique centres, tending to her small front garden, and is never without some fresh flowers at home.