How to Grow Indoor Plants

If your living room is looking more like a houseplant graveyard, give your green thumb a crash course with these plant-saving cues from Brooklyn Botanic Garden foreman Leonard Paul.
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Read That Card Thingy

Plants have different water and light needs, and you need to know them. In general, the leafy, nonflowering kind requires less maintenance, says Paul. Corn plants (the houseplants, not the vegetable) only need water every seven to 10 days, and Norfolk Island pine plants like water at the same time every week -- so you can pour some in every time you make Sunday breakfast. Always water until you see liquid coming from the pot's drain holes.

Give Them a Thrill

When your plants are unhappy, you'll know it: Look for droopy leaves, browning edges or color changes. To keep them happy, sprinkle the soil with fertilizer every three to six months, and poke around in the soil with your fingers or a pencil once in a while (at least every year or two) to loosen the dirt.

And When All Else Fails?

Let technology take over. Place the EasyBloom Plant Sensor ($60, easybloom.com for stores) in the soil for a day. It analyzes whether your plant needs sunlight or moisture and transmits the info through your computer's USB port.

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