Houseplants are fun to grow indoors and they help beautify the house. But I was curious about how long would my houseplants last. Would I be able to grow them forever?
A houseplant can live forever if you provide it with the right moisture, temperature, nutrients, humidity, and light conditions. They will continue to propagate. But you will need to protect them from harmful pests and diseases that attack the plant.
I’ve written a lot more details below that will help you make your houseplants last a long time if not forever. I’ve also mentioned some houseplants that are easy to grow and maintain.
How can you help houseplants live a long life?
The time for which the houseplants will last depends on you more than the plant. With the right care and maintenance, you can continue growing the plant for several years.
1. Grow the right variety
Plants can be classified as annual, perennial, or biennial. Annual plants are those that grow for a year, flower, and then die. A lot of the herb and vegetables like spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro are annuals.
Perennials are plants that can grow for several years. They grow during summer and hibernate in winter then grow back next spring. A lot of flowering plants like hyssop, lavender, phlox, daylily, and hibiscus are perennial plants.
Biennials are plants that grow for one year, usually, growing foliage. Then they hibernate in winter and grow back the next year with flowers. Plants like black-eyed Susan, forget-me-not, and angelica are biennial plants.
The good thing is that when you grow them as houseplants indoors, the annuals and biennials can also work as perennial plants. There is no frost that can cause the plants to die or hibernate.
I would recommend choosing houseplants that are hardy and will require the least maintenance on your part. This will help increase their lifespan even if some things go wrong. I’ve written a list of such plants at the end of this post.
2. Use good potting soil
One of the most important factors that keep your houseplants live longer is using the right potting soil. You should not use garden soil as it can have too much clay or sand. This would make it lose moisture too fast if it’s sandy or retain water for too long if it’s full of clay.
The potting mix you should use would depend on the variety of plant you’re growing. Succulents would need a different potting mix than regular houseplants.
You can make your own potting mix but you need to be aware of what type of plants you’re growing and what potting mix makes sense. The right potting mix should retain the right amount of moisture and nutrients for the plant.
3. Water the plants well
One of the most important factors that will determine the life of your houseplants is the water you provide them. This depends on the variety of plant you’re growing as some plants need more water than others.
Once you know the required amount of water, you need to provide it to the plant on a consistent basis. Some of the houseplants will be hardy and won’t be harmed if you miss a few watering schedules but it’s your job to keep them happy with the expected watering.
Be aware that the common problems with beginners are either overwatering or underwatering the houseplants. Both can have very similar symptoms like yellowing, wilting, and falling of the leaves.
My suggestion is to understand about your houseplants before thinking of watering them. Some need dry soil to grow well and would not like frequent watering. But some would need a lot of water and you need to provide it to them every day.
If you can manage, you should use rainwater or distilled water for your houseplants. Tap water contains chemicals like fluoride and chlorine that can harm your plants gradually. It’s best to keep such tap water standing for 24 hours before use. This helps dissipate the chemicals from the water.
4. Give them the right nutrients
The problem with growing houseplants is they are confined to a container. This means they cannot spread their roots as they would in an outdoor environment. The onus of providing the required nutrients to the houseplant lies on you. If you do it right, the houseplants can last for a long time.
The type of nutrients you give to the plant will depend on the variety you are growing. I would suggest using organic fertilizer instead of chemical ones. The organic fertilizer is gentle on the plant and it won’t harm the beneficial organisms and insects. There’s also no danger of the chemicals leaching into the water supply.
The main nutrients a plant would need are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The amount you need to provide would vary based on the needs of the particular plant.
Nitrogen is beneficial for houseplants that are grown for their foliage. A nitrogen-rich fertilizer will encourage the thick growth of the leaves. Phosphorus is good for the development of flowers and roots. A fertilizer rich in phosphorus does well if you’re growing fruit and root vegetables indoors. Potassium is good for the overall health and growth of the plant.
You can use a slow-release fertilizer or Liquid fertilizer based on your preference. A slow-release fertilizer releases the nutrients as you water the plant. It can last for several weeks before you need to add it again.
liquid fertilizer is a fast-action fertilizer that you spray on the soil and foliage. You need to dilute it in water and spray every couple of weeks.
Make sure to reach the manufacturer’s instructions on how much and how to use the fertilizer for your houseplants. Otherwise, you risk causing serious damage to the plant’s roots and they could even die.
5. Give them good light
Houseplants will need a good source of light whether natural sunlight or artificial light indoors. You can choose some houseplants that do well in partial or full shade and then you don’t need to worry as much.
Make sure to place the houseplants that need sunlight near a windowsill that gets a good amount of sunlight. You can also consider moving some of these plants outdoors during the day for the sunlight though this could get tedious.
If you’re choosing to grow indoors in artificial light make sure to understand the plant’s needs and set up an LED or grow light as per the requirements.
6. Protect them from pests and diseases
When you grow plants indoors they have a lower chance of getting attacked by pests or diseases compared to growing plants outdoors. But this is still possible and you need to give as much protection to your plants as possible. Keeping your plants healthy and free from stress will help them fight off any pests or diseases that attack them.
Fungal diseases can attack your plant if moist conditions are created on the plant. This usually happens because you splash water and soil on the leaves when watering the plant.
Since the plant is indoors, it takes time for the water to evaporate from the leaves leading to a moist environment that fungal diseases prefer. The soil may also contain some pathogens and pests that may reach the leaves if you splash some on them.
I suggest using a watering can to only water the soil near the base of the plant. If you see that some water or soil has splashed on the leaves, clean them immediately.
Bacterial diseases can enter your houseplant if there is a wound on the plant created while pruning or by insects. Make sure to clean your pruners with rubbing alcohol before trimming your plants.
7. Replant them when necessary
Your houseplants will continue to grow based on the type of plant and how much time it takes for the plant to mature. Once it reaches maturity, the plant will stop growing and stay fixed at the same size.
But when the plant is growing, you may need to change the container. The roots of the plant may outgrow the container and the plant can become root-bound. This means the roots won’t have a place to grow and start circling the inside of the container.
This will cause the problem that the soil will not be able to retain sufficient moisture. So the roots won’t be able to provide the nutrient and moisture to the plant and it can die.
Always check the plant and ensure that the size of the container is about 1-2 sizes bigger than that of the plant it holds.
It might also happen that some houseplants grow to a very large size that cannot fit inside your house. You either need to prune such plants and keep them restricted in size. Or you need to transplant such plants outdoors where they can grow better. Make sure to harden the plant before you transplant them outdoors or they can suffer transplant shock.
8. Keep an eye on them
The good thing about houseplants is they’re going to be inside your house. That makes it easier to keep an eye on them every day.
As soon as you find your houseplants are not happy, you need to take care of them immediately. They may be suffering from a lack of water or too much water, the light conditions might not be good, pests or diseases may be attacking them.
You need to be aware of what’s going on with your houseplants and give them the care that they need. That’s the secret if you want to grow your houseplants for a long time. Maybe even forever.
What are some houseplants that can live forever?
I’ve created a list of houseplants that are easy to grow. These plants will have a long life if you take care of them as I mentioned above.
|Begonia||Spider Plant||Peace Lily|
|Fuchsia||Snake Plant||Jade Plant|
|Geranium||ZZ Plant||Common Ivy|
|Myrtle||Cast Iron Plant||Dracaena|