Your indoor plants are your babies. I get it. These days, with the state of the rental market and it’s piss-poor animal policies (don’t get me started), our indoor plants have become our children. We check on them each morning, sometimes each night. We call friends to go round and water them when we’re away.

But caring for your plants is more than just water and sunlight. In fact, too much of either can end up killing your plants or making them sick. Here’s a few pointers to see your indoor plants grow up strong and healthy, like children on Nutri-Grain.

1. Check The Sun Levels Your Plant Needs

For many plant-lovers this is basic bitch shit, but we’re not all clued up on this – not all plants want direct sunlight. The general rule of thumb is plants with brightly coloured foliage want more sun. If you’ve got a plant that loves the sun, put it in a north-facing window. East-and west-facing windows have moderate sun, and south-facing windows get the least.

2. Rotate It

You want to rotate your indoor plants every few days, so the leaves near the sun-direction aren’t always the same ones. Basically, your plant will want to grow in the direction the sun is coming from, so by rotating it you ensure it grows evenly, and doesn’t go lopsided.

3. Keep Them Away From Heaters & Air-Con

You want your plant babies to be free of fluctuating heat/cold situations. So spots like under your air-con, near a heater or fireplace, even next to a window if you live in a colder climate and get frost some mornings – all no-go zones. The ideal is to put your plant in a spot that maintains a relatively regular temperature.

4. Fertilise Them

Yep, your indoor plants need fertiliser like outdoor ones do – who knew! The easiest way is with liquid fertiliser, which you add to your water as per instructions. Here’s one by Yates, for example. Best to buy one suited to houseplants, PSA.

5. Don’t Water To A Schedule

Plants need water, der. But over-watering is a real issue with indoor plants, where there’s a limited amount of soil that holds water. Rather than water your indoor plants every morning at 8.30am, for example – check the soil with your fingers. Roots like to be moist but not wet, so if the soil feels too moist (sorry for overuse of word moist) skip the morning watering and check back of an arvo. Another good indicator you’ve over-watered? If mould starts growing on the soil, or if there’s water in the base.

6. Wash The Leaves

For bigger plants like fiddle-leaf figs and so on, it can be a good idea to wipe down the leaves with a damp cloth from time to time. Basically, dust and grime can make it hard for your plant to “respirate”. See, they ARE our babies. For plants with little leaves, use a misting spray bottle to clean the leaves every so often.

7. If There Are Bugs, Isolate It

Leaving a bug or disease-infested plant near your other plants is a surefire way to kill them all. Instead, separate the sick one as soon as you notice something’s off – even if you’re unsure. From there, you’ll need google because there’s like 4,592294 different types of shit your plant can contract. But the most important thing? When in doubt, move the plant.

8. Make Sure Your Pot Has Drainage Holes

Indoor plants, like we said before, don’t like to be soaking wet root-wise. So if you put yours in a pot that’s got no drainage, you’re likely to over-water the thing. An ideal pot has drainage holes and a tray base to catch excess water. Also with pots – re-potting your plants every few years will keep them healthy.

9. Use The Right Soil

Potting mix is essential – but they’re not all the same. For example, succulents and cacti need a different soil mix to leafy plants. Ask your local nursery or even Bunnings for help, and if all else fails – go for a terracotta and pot mix, which suits most plants.

10. Up The Humidity

Because we like to blast cool air and warm our homes up as the seasons change, there’s a good chance your indoor plants room isn’t as humid as it would like. The solution? Mist them with water every so often, and if you’re putting yours in a space that always has air-con running (like an office) put the plant in a tray of shallow water.

Image: Instagram / @thewhitehouse