Tropicals: Bright Indirect Light, Proper Watering, Potting, & Propagation

This is a basic guide for those who love houseplants, and want to be a better plant parent. We will cover repotting, feeding, watering, and more so that you can feel better about caring for your new plants!


Bright Indirect Light

We all have heard the term, but what does bright indirect light really mean? Most houseplants thrive in this type of light, so lets go through the basics! Direct light is when the sun rays are touching your plant directly. Bright indirect light is when the light bounces off of something before it hits your plant. Shadows casted by your plant in bright indirect light will be fuzzy as opposed to the shadows from direct light, which will be more crisp. See the below diagram from Mr. Houseplant on YouTube who demonstrates what to look for when examining your space.


Transplanting & Repotting:

  • Most indoor plants don’t mind being slightly root bound. A good indicator that it’s time to repot is if you see roots coming out of the top or bottom of the pot.
  • When repotting, try to stick with a pot only 2” to 4” larger than it’s current size pot. Too large of a size jump may cause the plant to go into shock or create root rot problems.
  • A mixture of SuperThrive and Liquid Seaweed can cut down on planting shock and get roots growing again. 

Fertilizer:


Overwatering:

  • The term overwatering refers to the frequency at which you are watering your plants, not the quantity of water you are giving them.  
  • Two great ways of checking to see if your plant needs water are to simply pick it up or stick a finger into the soil. If the plant feels heavy when lifted or damp to the touch, wait a few more days. If it feels light and dry, go ahead and water.
  • Water plants evenly and until water drains out the bottom. By only giving your plant a cup or two of water, the rootball may still be completely dry while the outer soil feels damp.

Water Propagation:

Propagation is different for every plant. Some plants like Sansevieria can be propagated using multiple different methods of propagation. We suggest skimming through the points below, then doing research through Google or YouTube for information on how to properly propagate your plant. It’s important to know, not all propagations will survive! The plant goes through shock and sometimes it’s just too much for it. Don’t fret because you can always try again which is part of the fun! It is also important to know that some plants root easily and more rapidly than others, so if your plant is not forming roots, give it some time, some can even take months for roots to start growing!

  • Not all plants can be propagated using water, but it is one of the easiest ways to propagate. Some plants need to be split like ZZ plants or Alocasia, and some can be propagated from a leaf like the Echeveria succulent, whose fallen leaves turn into new plants right in the soil below the mother plant.
  • The most popular plants for water propagation are Pothos, Philodendron, Hoya, Sansevieria, and Peperomia, just to name a few.
  • A leaf may grow roots in water, but without a node, the plant will never grow. A node is a small bulbous area where the leaf and aerial roots grow out of. Cut right below the node and stick it in water and watch as the roots form!
  • Once there are multiple roots that are 3 inches long, it is time to plant your cutting!

There is a great video by Youtube user Garden Up where she goes through the propagation process for her various plants! Check it out here. A lot of this process is trial and error to figure out what works for you and your plants.