Plant care has some terminology that can make it seem daunting. We have a glossary of terms to help make caring for your new plants a bit easier.

Lighting

Bright Light: When sunlight shines through windows for at least 6 hours a day. South or Southwest facing widows typically have bright light.

Medium Light: When sunlight doesn’t shine directly through the window, but the area is still lit by sunlight. Typically, West or East facing windows have Medium Light. There are light shadows

Low Light: When a room has little to no natural light, either because it has no windows, or because it faces North. Corners, bathrooms and hallways are considered low light areas.

Direct Light: Refers to sun shining directly on your plants. Most house plants prefer indirect light, but some plants like succulents, aloe, and tropical flowering plants like direct sunlight. When providing your plants with direct sunlight, be sure to keep them away from drafty windows and doorways when the temperatures are cooler outside.

Indirect Light: Refers to how much direct sun light plants can be exposed to. Indirect light is filtered sunlight. Usually through light curtains, or a canopy of trees outside the window.

Watering

Watering Schedule: Develop a routine for watering your plants by checking daily their soil moisture level using the finger test. This way you’ll know exactly when your plants need water. Do this over a few weeks to establish a regular watering schedule. Keep in mind that fluctuations in your home’s humidity levels and the time of year will affect the schedule.

Finger Test: The finger test is an easy way to check your plants soil moisture level. Place your finger into the soil about an inch, and you feel how moist or dry it is. If the soil is moist you don’t need to water today. If it is dry then water thoroughly.

Water Thoroughly: Water your plants until it runs from the bottom of the pot to ensure plants have  proper moisture. Place it in the sink and allow the water to run over the soil. Then give it time to drain from the bottom. It’s an easy way to monitor how much water your plants are receiving.

Moist Soil: Some plants like moist soil all the time, rather than drying out. Plants like Palms and Ferns will suck up a ton of water. It is best to keep the saucer below these plants filled to allow the roots to suck up the moisture as needed.

Dry Foliage: Most plants do not like their leaves getting wet, so pour the water directly onto the soil underneath the plant’s foliage. A few plants, like Palms, English Ivy and Ferns, like their leaves misted periodically.

Standing Water: Unlike Palms and Ferns, most plants do not like water in the saucer below their pot. Standing water can damage the roots, and your plants will not thrive. Be sure to empty the sauce of excess water the day after you water. This will ensure your plant has absorbed all the water it can.

Growth

Lower Activity Period: Almost all house plants have a lower activity period during the winter months. Although they don’t stop growing, unlike outdoor plants, they do slow down due to shorter daylight hours. With this slow down comes a decreased need for water.  Be sure to adjust your water schedule according to what each plant needs.  

Fertilize: Feeding plants is only necessary during their high activity period, which is typically from March to October. There are several fertilizer options including: Water-soluble, Slow release or Spikes, depending on your preferences.

For more information on how to care for you house plants, talk with an expert at any of our English Gardens locations.