Your Guide to Buying Indoor Plants

Buying an indoor plant can be fun and a real stress buster. But you need to know the basics before choosing your plant to ensure that it remains healthy and grows well in your home environment.

  • Basics of selecting the right plant
    1. Plan before buying
    2. Do your research and choose the right plant for your home
    3. Avoid impulse buys
    4. Know and check the signs of unhealthy plants
    5. Choose buds over blooms
    6. Check the soil and other factors
  • Bringing the Plant Home
  • Looking after your indoor plants
Factors to be taken into consideration before buying an indoor plant, so that you have the “right plant for the right environment!”. There will be the reduced possibility of dead plants after you check and follow this list:

Basics of selecting the Right Plant

Many people buy a plant on the fly, and then when it arrives, they are frustrated because they do not have the right light or not enough water or the right knowledge about plant care needs. There are various things to consider before buying an indoor plant. If you are looking for a guide to buying houseplants, then you are in the right place. Read on the essential considerations for selecting the right plant for your home or office:

1. Plan before buying:

Before you head out for buying, it is important to study the area in your home where you plan to add your new plant or plants. Here is what all you will need to know about the proposed planting location:
Exposure: Does it get bright sunlight, filtered sunlight or shade? For example, areas that face west often get full sun in the late afternoon, while northern exposures tend to be shady. Planting sites that face east get morning sunlight and afternoon shade, and southern exposures get an even amount of sun all day.
Space: How much space is there for a plant to grow? If it is a large area, you may need various smaller plants or a single plant that will grow large.

2. Do your research and choose the right plant for your home:

Do your research, choose plants that are suited to your home’s conditions. When choosing indoor plants for one’s home or office, the following things should be put into consideration.
  • Low/High Maintenance: Different indoor plants require varying levels of maintenance that will enable them to grow well. While some plants require low maintenance, others are delicate requiring high maintenance. The time and devotion that people will be required to give in ensuring the proper growth of the plant should be the determining factor when buying indoor plants.
  • Basic conditions for growth: One should choose the plant depending on various factors – light, humidity, temperature and water1 requirement and also one has to keep in mind the suitable environment in which the plant can thrive.

3. Avoid impulse buys:

It can be easy to fall in love with the vibrant blooming plant prominently displayed at the nursery and then buy it without knowing whether it will do well in your climate. This can result in a plant that has a decreased chance of survival.
If you like any plant that is not on your list, then check the plant label carefully or understand the condition from nursery staff which it will require. Types of information that you can find on the label include the name of the plant, how big it will grow, when it will bloom, what exposure it needs and its water & other requirements.

4. Know and check the signs of unhealthy plants:

Unfortunately, there can be some unhealthy plants at the nursery. Here are some warning signs to look out for so you can make sure you do not buy an ailing plant:
  • Wilting leaves: Wilting is one of the most common problems you might observe when caring for your houseplants. Indoor plants most commonly wilt due to under-watering. However, other common causes are overwatering, temperature stress, pests, disease, low humidity, fertilizer problems. It is vital to observe and identify the problem before taking action.
  • Root-bound plants: When plants have been growing in their container too long, their roots begin to grow in circles, making it hard for them to absorb water or nutrients. A sign of a root-bound plant includes its roots growing through its container’s drainage holes.Tip the plant out of its pot (if you can) and check that it is not root-bound. Root-bound plants will have a thick mat of roots at the bottom and around the sides.
  • Pests or disease: Plants can be harbouring harmful insects/ pests or diseases, which can infect nearby plants as well. Check the leaves for spots, which can be a sign of damage. Inspect the undersides of leaves and stems for pest or pest damage.
  • Look over Compost: It is vital to check if there is any presence of pests at compost.
  • Yellowing leaves: This can be an indicator of nutrient deficiency, overwatering or both.
  • Weeds: Look closely at the top of a plant’s rootball to be sure there are no weeds lurking. You can pull the weeds out before planting.

5. Choose buds over blooms:

It is obvious that the flowering plants always grab the attention of the human eyes. As tempting as shrubs in full bloom is, it is wiser to buy a plant that has not flowered yet. Additionally, transplanting new plants is stressful and can cause flowers to drop. If you buy a plant that has unopened blooms, its flowers will open shortly after planting and you will enjoy a longer bloom season.

6. Check the soil

Feel it with your fingers. It should not be too loose or too compacted. Some growers save money by using ordinary soil for potting. This soil usually turns hard as a brick when dry, a condition that inhibits plant growth. Investing in high-quality potting soil is perhaps even more important for thriving indoor plants.
Additionally, while you are repotting your new houseplant, make sure it has adequate drainage. Look for a pot with a drainage hole, and place something like a small tray or saucer underneath to protect your furniture. Alternatively, a layer of rocks or pebbles on the bottom side of a pot can help elevate the roots above any standing water & also help to prevent root rot.

Other factors: Pets and Children – One factor that is easy to forget when we are buying a plant i.e., how the new plant will get along with your pets and kids. If you have young kids at home, carefully choose the plant and consider its placement.

Purchasing the Plant

You would need to take care of your plant when bringing home. Do not expose the plant to extreme temperatures whether cold or hot. Wrap them carefully (may be with cellophane). In case any part (leaf /stem/ flower) is damaged during transit, cut it off till the healthy part to prevent plant disease.
Unwrap the plant carefully. Place it in a waterproof container or a saucer. Give the plant a good watering and leave the water to drain off. Check the plant care needs of your plant. Place it in a suitable area that adds color & energy to your environment and also meets the plant care needs (light, temperature, etc) of healthy growth.

How to look after your indoor plants?

Sometimes while buying a plant you get detailed and easy-to-follow Plant Care Instructions that tells you exactly how to care for your new plant for better growth. However, plant care is something you should also think about before you buy your plant.

1. Fulfill basic requirements:

Light, water, temperature and other basic factors need to be taken care of2

2. Fertilizing your plants:

Plants will extract nutrients from the soil, and over time that soil will become depleted. Using fertilizer helps keep your soil nutrient-rich so that your plants stay happy and healthy.

3. Have a tool kit:

Caring for house plants is no easy thing. With the tools & materials below, you will be fully equipped to care for the vast majority of plants :
  • Watering can
  • Dibber (a pointed, may be, wooden stick) for making holes in compost for seeds.
  • Small trowel for tiny pots. It is used for breaking up earth, digging small holes, especially for planting and weeding, transferring plants to pots etc.
  • Slim-headed trowel for larger plants.
  • Small hand fork3 can be used for planting , transplanting etc.
  • Small sharp knife and Secateurs(Clippers) for pruning.
  • Pebbles
  • Soft Cloth to wipe leaves.
  • Mister spray
  • Waterproof pots and drip trays.
With the help of these tools, various tasks can be performed. Among these tasks, trimming and wiping4 your plant is vital for its proper growth.

4. Going on vacation:

When you are off on vacation, do not forget your green friends. Be sure to keep your internal doors open for better air circulation, and leave at least some of your blinds open to give your plants the light they need to survive.


Introducing an indoor plant to your home is an exciting moment full of hope and possibility but we should be careful while choosing and buying a plant. We hope the above tips will help you in buying a strong and healthy plant that will thrive when you bring them home.
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Know Your Home Air

Gas heating systems, leaking chimneys, fire places emits carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and other harmful pollutants. Plastics and common household cleaners, paints, paint thinner often placed under the kitchen sink, release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), when used and stored. Overheating of non-stick cookware releases toxic fumes. Pesticides we use in and around the home also release various chemical and semi-volatile compounds.


Harmful effects
Carbon monoxide causes headache, dizziness and fatigue. These often cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, nausea, and can also damage the liver, kidney, and central nervous system. Fine particles are produced during all kinds of combustion which lead to acute and chronic effects to respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

Pet dander and hair, carpet, rugs, upholstery furniture are main source of dust mites, fungus, and bacteria. A dirty filter of air conditioners acts as a reservoir for dirt, dust and other airborne contaminants that are continuously circulated back into your breathing air. Secondhand smoke from cigarettes, other tobacco products and mosquito coil emits VOC’s and formaldehyde and various particulate matters. CO2 released from our lungs is exhaled in the air which pollutes the air if the place is too crowded or there is less ventilation.


Harmful effects
All these can trigger coughing, nosebleeds, shortness of breath, dry mouth, vomiting,
digestive tract problems, depression, allergy and asthma attacks, and other respiratory illness.

Shower, faucets and other water sources are main cause of humidity and mold. Bathroom cleaners and personal care products like toothpaste, soaps, facial tissues, detergent, fabric softeners, air fresheners, deodorizers, hair sprays, disinfectants, are full of VOC’s and chemicals which emits harmful pollutants.


Harmful effects
Mold can cause allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory ailments. VOC’s and toxic chemicals released in the bathroom can causes eye, nose, and throat irritation, nausea and respiratory problems. All these products release harmful pollutants while they are used also when they are stored.

A bedroom contains many sources of indoor air pollution. Mattress, pillow and blankets, soft toys, are the reservoirs of dust mites, fungi and bacteria. Furniture, carpets, paints and beauty product like hairspray, nail polishes, perfumes, deodorants etc off gas VOC, formaldehyde and toxic gases into the air.


Harmful effects
These pollutants make the air unhealthy which leads to allergy, asthma attacks, dizziness, headache, fatigue and other respiratory ailments.

Second-hand smoke
Second hand Smoke is a mixture of the smoke given off by the burning of tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars or pipes and the smoke exhaled by smokers. Secondhand smoke is also called environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). Passive smoking can lead to coughing, excess phlegm, and chest discomfort. NCI (National Cancer Institute) also notes that spontaneous abortion (miscarriage), cervical cancer, sudden infant death syndrome, low birth weight, nasal sinus cancer, decreased lung function, exacerbation of cystic fibrosis, and negative cognitive and behavioral effects in children have been linked to ETS. Secondhand smoke exposure commonly occurs indoors, particularly in homes and cars. Secondhand smoke can move between rooms of a home and between apartment units.

Guest Bathroom

Central heating and cooling systems and humidification devices
The air filter in your HVAC system is the front line of defense against poor indoor air quality. A typical central heating and cooling system circulates over 1,000 cubic feet per minute of air through the filter. This means the entire air volume in your house passes through the filter multiple times every day. A dirty filter, however, can actually make indoor air quality worse by acting as a reservoir for dirt, dust and other airborne contaminants that are continuously circulated back into your breathing air. In addition to driving up your utility bill, a clogged air filter will allow all that dust and debris that should be filtered out to be re-circulated back into your home. This can cause chronic allergies and especially be dangerous for people with asthma or other respiratory conditions.

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