5 Ways to Care For Tropical House Plants

Robyn Remington

March 15, 2023

Tropical House Plants

Tropical house plants are easy to grow but require extra care. They thrive in bright light, cool temperatures and regular watering.

Keep them away from vents and radiators that can dry the soil and leaves. Use a potting mix that drains well, and add fertilizer when needed.

Keep Them in Bright Light

Tropical plants are adapted to grow under the canopy of large trees and can thrive in our homes with a few adjustments. Most require filtered light, protection from drafts and frequent watering to keep them healthy and happy.

If you are growing these plants, try to position them in a room with a lot of natural sunlight. You can also use artificial lighting if you can’t give them enough sunlight.

Indirect light is the gold standard for tropicals because it provides them with the optimal amount of energy for their growth without being too strong and damaging them. If you are still determining if your indoor plants are getting enough indirect light, read the Terrarium Plant Index or watch their leaves to get an idea of what they need.

Keep Them Moisturized

Most tropical plants thrive in the air that’s at least 60% humidity. This makes sense because the tropical areas where they originated are known for humid climates.

To increase the humidity around your tropical plants, use a humidifier or mist them regularly. This will help their leaves stay hydrated and vibrant and prevent them from getting sick or losing colour.

A moisture meter can be handy for this task. Place the sensor in the soil to get more information about your plant’s water needs.

Keep Them Cool

Most tropical plants are native to regions near the Earth’s equator, where temperatures are warm year-round. When they are brought into colder climates, these plants may not adjust well to the change in temperature and will suffer from health issues.

For that reason, many gardeners move their tropical houseplants indoors in winter to help them adapt to cooler climates. They can be placed in a basement, crawl space, garage, or cool closet.

Keep Them Fertilized

If you keep tropical plants indoors, they need fertilizer to help their roots grow, and flowers bloom. Pennington UltraGreen Palm Tree & Hibiscus Plant Food 9-4-9 provides a complete blend of nutrients and micronutrients to maintain strong and healthy growth.

Depending on the type of tropical plants you keep indoors, you’ll want to select the best fertilizer for your needs. Water-soluble fertilizers are easy to dilute, while solid or granular slow-release fertilizers release their nutrients over a while so that your plants don’t need as frequent feedings.

Overwatering or underwatering your plants is the number one cause of death for houseplants, so you should always check the soil before watering them to ensure it’s dry enough. Salt buildup in the soil is another common problem that can kill tropical plants if not removed quickly.

Keep Them Dormant

Most plants go dormant during winter, a natural process that helps them conserve energy for the coming growing season. Dormancy protects them from extreme temperatures or stress, so they’re better prepared for spring.

Some houseplants may need to be coaxed into dormancy, though most plants will go independently. They can detect shorter days and lower light, slowing down and putting out fewer leaves to conserve energy.

To keep your tropicals dormant, place them in an excellent, dark spot and reduce watering. As the weather warms, gradually increase watering and allow them to get a bit of sun and warmth until they break dormancy in spring.