5 Things About Having a Plant Room These Pros Wish They’d Known Sooner

Having a dedicated plant room can be an incredibly rewarding hobby and a great way to add life and color to your home. However, starting a plant room also comes with its own unique challenges. To help you avoid some common pitfalls, we’ve compiled insights from experienced houseplant enthusiasts on things they wish they had known when first creating their plant sanctuaries.

1. Maintenance Will Take More Time Than You Expect

When imagining your perfect plant room, it’s easy to overlook just how much care and effort it takes to keep all those green friends happy and healthy. Our pros unanimously agree – having a plant room takes far more time than you’d expect! Here are some of the key reasons:

Watering and fertilizing – With lots of thirsty plants in one space, you’ll need a system to keep up with watering and fertilizing. This can take 30 mins to an hour every few days. Be prepared to spend time checking soil, lugging watering cans, mixing fertilizer, etc.

Grooming and pruning – Plants grow and get unruly, requiring frequent grooming. You’ll need to trim back aggressive vines, prune leggy growth, pinch off dead leaves, wipe dust from leaves, etc. This ongoing maintenance really adds up.

Pest management – Unfortunately, bugs love plants too. Be vigilant about checking for pests like spider mites or mealybugs which can spread quickly in a plant room. You’ll need to inspect, isolate and treat affected plants.

Propagating and repotting – As your plants grow, you’ll spend time propagating new plants from cuttings and repotting rootbound plants. These tasks can be meditative but cut into your weekends.

Cleaning – With soil, leaves and plant debris, plant rooms get dirty fast. You’ll want to periodically sweep, wipe down surfaces and wash pots. Leaky caches pots also mean mopping is needed.

Monitoring conditions – To keep plants happy, you’ll need to closely monitor light, humidity, airflow and temperature and make adjustments. This requires vigilant observation.

The bottom line – expect your plant room to become a beloved, yet time-consuming, new part of your routine! But our pros say the satisfaction of a flourishing urban jungle makes it all worthwhile.

2. Good Grow Lights Are a Game Changer

Supplemental lighting is crucial for most plant rooms, especially in low natural light spaces like basements or bathrooms. Our experts unanimously agree – investing in quality grow lights is a total game changer! Here’s why:

Allows more flexibility in plant choices – Good grow lights let you successfully grow plants with higher light needs, like many tropicals. No more skimping on light-loving favorites!

Supports healthier growth – Even for low and medium light plants, adding supplemental light results in faster, more robust growth and better coloration.

Extends the growing season – Lights allow you to start seedlings earlier in spring and keep plants thriving through winter when daylight is scarce.

Allows display of more plants – With added light, even distant corners and high shelves can become viable plant real estate. More light = more plants on display!

Enables creativity in setup – Grow lights free you from reliance on natural light sources, allowing fun vertical displays, lighted shelves, eclectic groupings and flexible arrangements.

Types to consider – LED grow lights provide full spectrum light, run cool and are energy efficient. Hanging LED strips or floor lamps are great for targeting certain areas. For whole room coverage, LED grow light panels are the way to go.

While cheaper grow lights exist, our experts recommend investing in quality options that provide adequate intensity. Give your plants the grow lights they deserve and watch your plant room transform!

3. Ventilation and Air Circulation Are Crucial

Stagnant, stale air is the enemy of thriving plant rooms. Proper ventilation and air circulation are vital to:

Prevent diseases – Stale humid air encourages fungal and bacterial diseases like botrytis, powdery mildew and bacterial leaf spot. Good air flow keeps pathogens from taking hold.

Deter pests – Spider mites, mealybugs and other pests thrive in still air environments. Keep air moving to disrupt pest establishment.

Manage humidity – Venting humid air prevents overly wet conditions that lead to mold, rot and pest issues. Decrease humidity through increased ventilation.

Regulate temperature – Stale air can lead to heat buildup. Venting allows excess heat to escape, preventing stressed or burned plants.

Provide needed CO2 – Plants need fresh air with adequate carbon dioxide to photosynthesize and thrive. Stagnant air has limited CO2.

Freshen smell – Stale plant rooms can take on an earthy, musty odor. Venting refreshes the air to prevent unpleasant smells.

How to provide proper airflow

  • Open doors/windows periodically for cross breezes
  • Use circulating fans to keep air moving
  • Install ventilation systems or exhaust fans
  • Space plants appropriately to allow air movement
  • Opt for hanger or wall-mounted plants to keep floor space open
  • Use gravel trays under pots to eliminate soggy saucers

Remember, plants breathe too! Give your plant room good air circulation and both you and your plants will breathe easier.

4. Pick the Right Plants for Your Conditions

Our plant experts universally agree – selecting plants suited to your specific growing conditions is key to plant room success! Here are some top tips for picking winning plants:

Light – Assess the type and amount of natural light your space receives. Choose low, medium or high light plants accordingly. Supplement with grow lights as needed.

Temperature – Know your space’s temperature range. Choose tropicals for warm spots and plants suited to cooler temps if needed.

Humidity – Some plants require steamy conditions while others prefer it dry. Pick plants aligned with the existing humidity of your plant room.

Air circulation – Avoid delicate plants prone to problems in stale air. Opt for sturdy choices that resist diseases.

Watering needs – Consider your watering habits and irrigation setup. Choose plants with aligned water preferences.

Soil conditions – Know whether your plant room tends towards sandy, boggy or alkaline soils. Pick plants that thrive in those specific conditions.

Size at maturity – Consider growth potential. A large monstera would overwhelm a petite room while a massive orchid may never thrive in a dark corner.

Choosing plants suited to your unique space avoids constant struggles to alter conditions and accommodate unsustainable plants. While some trial and error is inevitable, our pros say selecting appropriate plants is the #1 key to plant room enjoyment!

5. Embrace and Adjust to Your Natural Light Conditions

The quality and amount of natural light your plant room receives will significantly influence the plants you can successfully grow. Our experts say accepting and working with your existing light conditions is smarter than constantly battling to change them. Here’s their advice:

Assess honestly – Determine how many hours of direct or indirect light your space actually gets. Be realistic – rooms often get less natural light than we imagine.

Pick suitable plants – Instead of fighting your conditions, select plants naturally adapted to low, medium or bright light spots.

Study your light – Get to know your light patterns. Note seasonal changes and adjust plant placements accordingly.

Add grow lights – Supplement with LED grow lights where needed instead of trying to add more natural light.

Play up strengths – Lean into what your space offers rather than lamenting what it lacks. Celebrate low light pockets with lush calatheas and shady philodendrons.

Rearrange regularly – Rotate plants on different schedules to ensure all get adequate light at some point.

Remove struggling plants – Relocate, gift or compost plants that clearly aren’t thriving. Don’t force plants that are incompatible with your conditions.

While challenging light can be frustrating, our experts encourage you to embrace and work with your plant room’s unique light personality. Doing so will ensure you and your plants both thrive!

Frequently Asked Questions About Plant Rooms

What size should a plant room be?

The ideal plant room size depends on your space, budget and how many plants you want to accomodate. A small nook or 4×4 foot area can work for starters. Bigger is better for an expansive collection. Ensure the space gets adequate light and ventilation.

What should the humidity be in a plant room?

Ideal humidity level is 50-70%. Below 40% is too dry for most plants. Humidity over 80% risks mold and pests. Use a hygrometer to monitor humidity. Adjust with ventilation, gravel trays or humidifiers.

How much light do plant rooms need?

Most houseplants need 12-16 hours under grow lights or bright, indirect natural light daily. Supplement dark rooms with LED grow light panels. Even medium light plants benefit from added light intensity.

What temperature is best for plant rooms?

70-80°F is ideal for most houseplants. Tropical plants prefer warmer temps above 60°F while cool-weather plants can tolerate 50-70°F. Maintain stable temperatures and avoid drafts.

Should plant rooms have a theme?

Theming your plant room can be fun, like all cacti or foliage plants. But variety also has advantages. Mixing sun-lovers and shade plants allows maximizing space. Go with what inspires you most!

How can I avoid pests in my plant room?

Practice good sanitation by disinfecting tools and quarantining new plants. Remove affected plants immediately. Ensure adequate airflow and avoid overcrowding. Use natural pest deterrents likesticky traps or diatomaceous earth.

Are plant rooms high maintenance?

Plant rooms require diligent care including watering, grooming, cleaning and monitoring conditions. Set up a routine and expect to spend 30 mins – 1 hour every few days. Make plant care a relaxing ritual.

How do I arrange my plant room?

There are many creative options! Display trailing plants on shelves, hang vertical gardens on walls, arrange potted plants on benches, use tiered plant stands, incorporate interesting containers or mix all styles.

Should I mist plants in my indoor plant room?

Routine misting generally isn’t needed indoors. It can even encourage diseases. Instead use a humidifier if humidity drops below 40%. Ensure plants get regular waterings and wipe leaves to remove dust buildup.


Creating the plant room of your dreams takes research, preparation and ongoing care – but our pros unanimously believe the rewards outweigh the required effort. Avoid common pitfalls by heeding their tips. Provide adequate light, ventilation and suitable growing conditions for your plants. Invest time in care and maintenance. Most importantly, enjoy the relaxing sanctuary and natural beauty a flourishing plant room adds to your life!