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How Not to Kill Your Houseplants

August 18, 2017

Growing tips and plant suggestions for the horticulturally challenged.

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Calling All Brown Thumbs!

Say goodbye to wilted plants once and for all. Veronica Peerless' How Not to Kill Your Houseplant is the ultimate guide to growing plants indoors, featuring helpful growing tips for 119 houseplants. We picked out some of the most common houseplant mistakes to help get your indoor garden back on track.

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Photo: Costa Farms. From: Lynn Coulter.

Choose Good Plants From the Start

Inspect all new plants before you adopt. Look for bushy plants with good color. Avoid plants with browning or yellowing leaves, plants with exposed roots and check for any signs of pests. Remember that even advanced gardeners may fall prey to this in an attempt to save a lonely, wilted plant; however, the odds are if it doesn't look good in the store, it probably hasn't been taken care of properly.

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Know Your Potting Soil

Though most plants will do just fine in a potted plant soil mix, others — like succulents and orchids — require a special potting mix. At the store, look for cactai and succlent mix and orchid bark. Don't use garden soil, which is intended to be mixed into existing soil in gardens outdoors.

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Photo: Costa Farms. From: Lynn Coulter.

Put Plants in the Right Place

Bigger plants, like this palm, need plenty of room to grow while smaller plants, like the diffenbachia and alstroemeria, will do fine in smaller pots. Planting in the wrong size pot or overcrowding can quickly lead to rootbound plants with a short shelf-life.

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