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Tropical Houseplants

Clean Air for Your Home

Houseplants don’t just soften a room they add a breath of fresh air – literary, houseplants increase the amount of oxygen in a room.

Many buildings now are very energy efficient and tightly sealed which in turn traps air pollution inside.  Houseplants have incredible air cleansing abilities in the home and office and the good news is that you only need 8 – 15 plants to improve the air quality in your home!


Light is the most important element in successfully growing a houseplant. Without adequate light a plant can’t survive.

Here is a list of common tropical houseplants and their light requirements:

Low light: Dracaena marginata, Dracaena warneckei, Chinese evergreen, Heartleaf philodendron, Peace lily, Spider plant, Mother-in-law’s tongue, Golden pothos and Bamboo palm.
Bright indirect light: English ivy, Potted mum, Ficus benjamina, Croton and all of the low light plants listed above.
Full sun: Gerbera Daisy and dwarf Banana tree

These are all just general rules and everything has exceptions. Growing houseplants can be trial and error so don’t be discouraged if some plants don’t work out!


Most houseplants are killed by over watering than by all other factors combined. Water requirements vary for each different type of plant. Generally, the more light a plant is exposed to, the more water it requires. Temperature, humidity, soil mix and the type of container are all factors to a plant’s need for moisture.

It is a good idea to check plants at a regularly scheduled time (say every Sunday morning), but it is almost impossible to say that a particular plant will need water every week or any other time frame because of all the above factors vary.

A moisture meter is an invaluable tool when checking plants to see if they require water. However, they should be used as a guide only; always use common sense to determine if the moisture meter is working properly. Droopy plants usually indicate a need for water, however, it may also be a result of stress caused by over watering. Moisture meters are available at Georgina Garden Centre.

Temperature and Humidity

Houseplants will survive a wide range of temperatures, but prefer moderate temperatures in the range of 15 to 30°C are ideal. Evening temperatures should generally drop about 5°C to sustain plant vitality. Drafts and heating/cooling vents usually have an adverse effect on tropical plants.

Most plants prefer higher humidity levels than the average indoor climate can provide, but they adapt to their surroundings and normal house humidity levels are usually not a problem (you may need to mist your plants in the winter as houses in our climate become very dry).


Fertilizer is necessary for tropical houseplants to provide the proper nutrients for overall plant health and vigor. Plants should be fed when they are actively growing, which in our area is usually from March to October. It is better to feed more often with diluted concentrations of fertilizer (mix at half the rate the instructions say) than giving a double dose once in a while. Never fertilize a dry plant as this can cause root burn.

There are many different fertilizers for each type of plant (i.e. African Violet, Cactus, Orchid, etc.) that work very well for specified plants.  Most tropical plants respond well to balanced fertilizers such as 20-20-20, while flowering plants prefer a 15-30-15.

Disease and Insects

Diseases and insects are something that plant owners should be aware of but should not be cause for a great deal of concern as long as the plants are purchased from a legitimate garden centre where they have been cared for properly. If, and usually when, as all plant owners will have a disease and or insect problem at some point, use an insecticidal soap or another natural pest control product specific for the problem you have. If you’re not sure what the problem is, you can take a picture of it or bring a sample in a clear sealed plastic bag to Georgina Garden Centre and we can help identify it for you!


These are all just general rules and everything has exceptions. Growing houseplants can be trial and error so don’t be discouraged if some plants don’t work out!