Plants bring life and colour into the home and require little in the way of maintenance. Follow these simple tips and your plants should flourish.

1. Position plants carefully

Look for the best place in the house for each plant, and don’t be afraid to try different locations until you find the best spot.

2. Re-create a forest floor

If a room seems too dark to sustain a healthy plant, don’t be fooled. Most indoor plants originate in tropical and subtropical regions, in particular equatorial forests, and they thrive in dim environments and filtered light. The ideal spot is in front of a large window facing east or west, filtered if necessary through a net scrim curtain.

3. Sun-lovers face north

If you have a plant that thrives on lots of sun, place it on a windowsill facing north or north-east. Check soil moisture levels regularly and inspect the leaves to check they are not being burned. At the slightest sign of withering, move the plant towards the middle of the room.

4. Plants for the bathroom

Ferns and other moisture-loving plants do best in vaporous rooms like bathrooms where they can lap up regular doses of mist.

5. Water from the bottom

Water poured directly onto the soil may flood, or not reach the pot plant’s roots. Instead, water plants bottom up by standing them in a dish and filling the dish with water. Delicate plants such as fuchsias thrive on this method. For this method to work, all pots should have holes in the bottom through which the water is absorbed.

6. Keep away from drafts

If you don’t want your plant to die of heat or cold, avoid placing it in draughty areas or near ducted heat or air-conditioning outlets.

7. Do not over water

Water your plants only when the potting mix feels dry to the touch – over watering is often the cause of indoor plant death. Check by pushing your finger into the soil; if it comes out without any trace of soil on it, start watering. Remember that plants may need more frequent watering in summer.

8. Remember, plants like to be misted

Most indoor plants benefit from an occasional misting of water. Make sure the water is at room temperature and use an atomizer or spray bottle. Misting is particularly beneficial if you live in a centrally heated or air-conditioned house as the air can become very dry.

9. Apply some fertiliser

Feed your plants with small amounts of fertiliser. The fastest and simplest solution is complete liquid fertiliser in the recommended dose, usually every two to four weeks – check the label.

10. Use ice cubes

An efficient way to water your plants directly at a steady rate is to use ice cubes. Put a couple on top of the pot soil and leave them to melt.

Written by Brenda Schmerl. This article first appeared on Reader’s Digest. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, here’s our best subscription offer.