How to Care for Plants - Complete Guide

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If you are here reading this article it is probably because either you are considering the idea of beautifying your home and accompanying it with some plants, or you already have them but you cannot get them to grow and develop as they should. We can all enjoy the company of plants in our home, which help us improve the environment and relax both indoors and in the garden. Caring for plants is actually pretty straightforward once you learn the basics. If you want to learn how to take care of plants, keep reading this Green Ecologist article in which we give you 10 basic tips on how to care for plants.

Indoor or outdoor plant

The following tips will be more universal, but the golden rule is to know our plant well, that is why it is the first one. Although most commonly grown plants share many of their needs, each species can be different and some have very concrete and specific needs. Find out what is the species of your plants and what are their particular needs. For example, it will not be the same to figure out how to care for an indoor plant than an outdoor plant.


The vast majority of plants do not tolerate waterlogging in their soil or substrate, so watering them in excessive amounts is one of the main causes of the death of plants in the home. It's much better water often and in small amounts to do a little and a lot, although this is easier. Drought-resistant plants, such as cacti and succulents in general, are especially vulnerable to waterlogging.

We leave you these other articles on When to water the plants.

Humidity of floor

Another of the basic care of plants is to check the humidity of the soil where they are planted. If you are not sure whether your plant needs watering or not, stick a small toothpick or even a finger in the substrate, next to the plant and without damaging it. If the earth is wet it will stick to the toothpick or to your finger, and usually that means you don't need watering yet.

Read this other article on the Types of substrates that exist to have more information on the subject.

Indirect light

If you are not sure whether a plant is sunny or shady and you cannot find information, there is a formula that always works: give it plenty of indirect light. Some plants do not tolerate direct sun, which burns their leaves, while others do not thrive in the shade. The solution is:

  • Indoors: place them in a bright room, near a window that filters the light with a curtain.
  • Outdoors: place them where they are protected from the midday sun and only get the light in the morning or afternoon.

Take a look at this post about the Excess or lack of light in plants.


Very few plants tolerate frost: If you live in an area where winters are very cold, you will have to look for seasonal plants, or those that especially tolerate these types of climates. You can use specific fabrics to keep plants covered in winter, which will help them retain temperature. Similarly, the quilting technique can help.

In this Green Ecologist article you can find cold and shade resistant outdoor plants.


Many desert or Mediterranean species are adapted to hot summers, but many others do not support well the temperatures above 30 ºC, and even less in the sun. Water them more often and find shade, especially in the hottest hours.

You can visit these other two articles on Garden plants with sun resistant flowers or Shade plants.

Universal substrate

There are plants with specific needs in terms of substrate, such as acidophilic plants, and others that are not demanding at all. However, you can prepare a universal mix yourself which will be excellent for a very high percentage of them: mix equal parts peat, coconut fiber and worm castings, and then add a few handfuls of vermiculite and perlite. You will have a very light mixture, with excellent drainage and rich in nutrients and beneficial microorganisms, ideal even for seedlings.

To know more about Acidophilic Plants: what they are, examples and care, do not hesitate to visit this post that we recommend.

Pots with drainage holes

Again insisting on drainage, it is vital that the pot in which you place your plant has holes through which it can escape excess water when watering. Indoors, you can place a plate under the pot and remove the excess water about ten minutes after watering.

Here you can find more information about Drainage in pots.

Organic fertilizers

Despite popular belief, plants don't live on sun and water alone - they need nutrients. They extract them from the ground, but as they develop, those available to them, especially in pots, deplete and must be renewed. Always fertilize in spring and summer, during the active months, once every 15 days. Whenever you can, use organic and ecological fertilizers, such as worm castings or compost, which you can make yourself.

Perhaps this article by Green Ecologist on How to make homemade organic fertilizers can help you.

Maintenance pruning

Whenever you see wilted leaves or flowers on your plant, or bad looking blackened stems, take the sharpest scissors you have, disinfect the edge and prune or remove what is in bad condition. In this way, the plant does not waste energy or nutrients in feeding parts that will eventually die anyway, being able to focus on its healthy stems or branches, which will develop better.

If you want to read more articles similar to How to care for plants, we recommend that you enter our category of Cultivation and care of plants.

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