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 Introduction
Houseplants have a reputation for being difficult to care for, and many people are wary of having them in their house.  But with a little understanding of the conditions their plants originated in a large degree of success will be enjoyed. Many houseplants originate in conditions very different to the warm, dry, and sometimes lightless atmosphere of our homes.
Bromeliads, ferns, ivies, orchids, weeping figs, yuccas, Venus flytraps, jasmine, Swiss cheese plant, cactus, philodendron and lots of others all originate in conditions very unlike what is on offer in the standard house today.  The trick is to recreate the home comforts of the plants, and not kill them with kindness!  And it is not difficult to do.  And it starts in the……………
 Garden Centre
Always buy your plants, whether indoor or outdoor, at reputable garden centers.  That way you know the plants have been cared for in the right way by properly trained staff.  When you are looking for a plant, check that it looks healthy.  Check foliage for signs of mealy bug.  Mealy bug are very small white insects, which usually congregate around the lower stems.  Also if the foliage is brown, or drooping, don’t go there!  Talk to the staff…ask questions like ‘How long has the plant been in the store?’  Check the compost and if it is dry ask why.  Most staff would be happy to talk to you and advise you on the right plant for your home.  Also ask if it would need repotting and when you should do it.  And when you have chosen your new plant, off you go to………………
 The Tills
Taking your plant out of the nice, warm environment of it’s previous home can cause quite a bit of trauma.  Imagine being brought up in a warm, comfy place, and suddenly taken out into the interesting weather conditions enjoyed by us in the UK!  Ask the till operator for a protective bag for your plant.  Protecting your plant is very important as cold conditions can cause shock and in the case of ficus, leaf drop.  Make sure your plant is well protected on the journey home.  In the summer it is not so bad…but in the cold weather, protect them.
 Your plants new home

Do your homework.  Read up on what conditions your plant likes.  For instance, if you have bought a cactus, they like sunny conditions, with restrained watering.  So putting a cactus in a shady room and watering it every day will not make it happy!  In fact, it will eventually kill it!  One thing about houseplants, especially the leafy ones, is that they generally do not like draughts, as this will cause their leaves to turn yellow.  Keep them out of draughts, and give them plenty of light.  Some plants don’t like direct sun, and dry heat, so try to keep them off south facing windowsills with radiators under them.  Many like humid conditions, so spraying the foliage will help.  Also grouping plants together to create a microclimate, and using pebble trays topped up with water will raise humidity too.  When watering, use tepid water, as too cold or hot water will cause shock.

Keep your plant away from heat sources such as radiators
 Finally
Playing a bit of classical music to your plants is therapeutic. Mad as it seems, some plant growers claim it makes your plant healthy & happy. Even the Prince of Wales is known to play music to his houseplants!   
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