As with any planting, certain routine procedures are needed to keep the plants healthy and attractive. The problems that are common to plants grown outdoors are similar to those that trouble plants grown indoors. In addition, indoor plantings often encounter stresses not common in outdoor landscapes.


Fertilization is needed to provide the mineral elements required for photosynthesis. Interior plantings need a complete fertilizer, but not as often as outdoor plantings, because the rate of plant growth is greatly reduced indoors. The ratio of the complete fertilizer should be fairly uniform; for example, 1-1-1 or 2-1-2. Too much nitrogen may lead to spindly, succulent, and unattractive vegetative growth. Trace elements will also need to be applied, especially if the growing medium contains no real soil. Frequent soil testing is necessary, regardless of whether the growing medium is true soil or synthetic. Excessive fertilizing follows only slightly behind overwatering as a major reason why interior plants fail to survive satisfactorily.

Either organic or inorganic fertilizers will work well, but the organics are generally slower in releasing their minerals for use by the plants. This means that soluble salt buildup is less frequently a problem. However, the odor of decomposing organic fertilizers may not be welcomed in such settings as shopping malls or library lobbies. Therefore, the use of organic fertilizers may not be practical in all situations.

Inorganic fertilizers are applied to large interior plantscapes in liq­uid form. This is faster and easier than applying dry granulars to each pot. When there are hundreds of pots and planters to maintain, speed is vital.

Updated: September 30, 2015 — 7:16 am