How to Grow Indoor Plants: Tips from Real Gardeners

Houseplant parents share their best advice on how to grow indoor plants with their tried-and-true tricks for gardening success.

Water Indoor Plants With Ice Cubes

“When my inside potted plants are dry, I put ice cubes on top of the soil to slowly melt and water the plant without flooding the pot,” says Lisa Sherman of Carlsbad, California. “It’s easy, there’s no mess, and I’m less likely to overwater this way.” Check out plant waterer products we love.

Use Rainwater

Sharon Woodworth of Georgetown, Kentucky, says, “Collect rainwater and use it on your houseplants. I’ve been doing it for years!”

We asked the experts: Why does my plant have brown tips on the leaves?

Check Soil Before Watering

Sometimes it’s tricky to gauge when a plant needs moisture. Louis McVay or Waleska, Georgia suggests gardeners “always check with a moisture meter before watering.” Follow these tips for watering container gardens.

Give Indoor Plants Extra Sun

“Move houseplants outside in summer. They love rain, heat and humidity. Bring them in before the first frost and spray any insects with an organic insecticide to prevent the bugs from moving into your home,” says Lynn Jones of Salem, Indiana. Check out the best houseplants for low light.

Provide Nutrients

Sandy Lewis of Akron, Ohio, waters her houseplants with water she has boiled eggs in. She says, “It works better for me than any commercial plant food!”

Psst—here’s why the leaves on your indoor plant are yellow.

Kick Mildew to the Curb

“I read that sprinkling the dirt with cinnamon prevents powdery mildew, so I gave it a shot—it worked!” says Jeanine Buettner of Kalispell, Montana. She adds, “I no longer have a problem with the disease!”

Next, learn how to prevent and cure mold on houseplant soil.

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Rachel Maidl
Rachel Maidl is a senior editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. She enjoys bird-watching in her urban backyard and local state parks, gardening for pollinators and researching new plants. Her favorite backyard visitors are the bumblebees that visit her sedums.