6 house plant tips – stay on top of your gardening in the heatwave

These house plant tips will keep your plant babies alive no matter what your gardening skills

house plant tips
(Image credit: Ikea)

If  you are after house plant tips, then you are definitely in the right place. During lockdown the Real Homes team got all green fingered and a lot of us became plant parents and invested in a load of houseplants. Safe to say some of us are gardening novices so we have learnt as we've gone along, sometimes resulting in success and sometimes resulting in a shrivelled fiddle leaf fig... but we have come out of lockdown self-acclaimed house plants experts! 

Now we are technically out of lockdown and perhaps don't have as much time to invest in our indoor gardens, and because many of us are taking a break away from home, we thought we would share some really quick and effective tips to make sure your houseplants still thrive. 

Keep scrolling for our house plant advice and head to our garden ideas page for more inspiration.

1. Get your indoor garden watering schedule on point

Ikea garden

(Image credit: Ikea)

How much water do your favourite house plants need? A question we were constantly Googling when we set out on our indoor plant journey. Annoyingly there is no straightforward answer and obviously it depends on your home and your plants. As a general rule experts say most common houseplants will need watering every one to two weeks. But what we found most useful was to keep a watering diary. 

Write down the names of all your plants, make a note of what the label (or Google) advises on watering, and then note when they were last watered. In the first few months just see how things go – and if you lost the label or can't find any decent advice, start watering say once a week for all the plants, see which ones like it and see which ones don't. 

Also note the state of the plant and soil at each watering. The longer you keep the diary the more you will see a pattern for your plants and you can get your watering schedule down to a tee. 

Going on hols? Neighbours not into watering your houseplants? For just a few days you can place a clear plastic bag over houseplants, seal it shut and allow the plant to collect and reuse the water vapour collected. Another simple option? Put the plants outside, grouped in a shady spot. This won't of course work if a heatwave is forecast. 

For smaller plants, capillary matting is a great idea: you simply group plants on it on your draining board, and drape the end of the matting into the sink, which should be filled with water. The matting draws water up and through the bottom of the pots (which should be watered first to encourage the draw). 

2. Think about the positioning of your house plants

Ikea storage used for houseplants

(Image credit: Ikea)

Unfortunately, you can't just stick a house plant where is looks nicest. You have to think about where it's most likely to thrive. Again, the label should tell you what your house plant loves but the general rules are: avoid places that are exposed to direct heat (by a radiator, over a lit fireplace – not something to worry about at the moment – or in an area that gets constant direct sunlight, such as a south-facing windowsill. 

Avoid places that are near a constant draught, maybe near an external door or badly insulated window. Houseplants like warmth and plenty sunlight, but nothing direct, so near a non-draughty window would suit best. 

For more indoor gardening tips check out our advice piece.

3. Increase the humidity in your home to help house plants thrive

Bathroom filled with houseplants

(Image credit: Nest)

Most house plants also LOVE humidity, something we in the UK don't get all too often. But you can slightly increase the humidity in your home. You could get a humidifier, which would be just as good for you as it would be for the plants. Simpler still, get a plant spray bottle to frequently mist your plants and try sitting them in pebble trays with a little bit of water – this means the plants aren't constantly sat in water but as the water evaporates from the tray, the humidity around them is increased. 

4. Prune your house plants

Living room filled with houseplants by Ikea

(Image credit: Ikea)

You don't have to do this too often, but if you notice any leaves or stems that are looking a bit sad and straggly, just cut them away. This will also allow for all the thriving stems to get even more energy. 

5. Dust your house plants 

Primark houseplants

(Image credit: Primark)

Yep, this is something you need to incorporate into your weekly clean. Dust stops light getting to the plant so it can stop them from photosynthesising as effectively.  

6. Spin your plants around regularly 

Bedroom leading out through French doors to a garden space

(Image credit: Marks & Spencer)

Sounds silly but make sure you move your house plants around so they don't grow in one direction. Spin them round weekly and that should be plenty to keep them growing nice and evenly. 

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Hebe Hatton

Hebe joined the Real Homes team in early 2018 as Staff Writer before moving to the Livingetc team in 2021 where she took on a role as Digital Editor. She loves boho and 70's style and is a big fan of Instagram as a source of interiors inspiration. When she isn't writing about interiors, she is renovating her own spaces – be it wallpapering a hallway, painting kitchen cupboards or converting a van.