Top 10 Plant Tips for Newbs
Note: These tips are just my personal recommendations, plant parenthood for others can vary!
1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT POT
When you bring your new plant home it probably came in a standard plastic cover, if you wish to move it out of its plastic death cage (copyright Ruby Flora), find a container that fits your plant size. In the simplest terms, the container you choose should match the size of your plant. Small plants should be in small containers and large plants in large containers. No matter what the pot is made of, just make sure it has a drainage hole. Help your counters out while you’re at it by picking up those small transparent discs that go under your pot, no one likes a wet surface!
2. WATCH FOR BUGGIES
Be careful that you don’t accidentally spill a little bit of coffee or other drinks near your plants, the sugars can attract flies and make for an ideal breeding ground and no one wants that. Unfortunately, this helpful little tip was a real life scenario for me when I was apparently drinking coffee and watering at the same time.
3. FIND YOUR LIGHT (what up Tyra Banks!?)
Not sure if finding the right pot should be the first tip on the list or this one to be honest. This one is super important, do your research before you place your plant near a super bright window. It may love it or it may hate it and start withering away. An easy way of noticing if a plant is not getting enough sun is if it leans to one side. Move it to another window, stat.
4. KNOW WHO IS YOUR PLANT BFF
You know that saying “you can’t please everyone”, or maybe it was “there’s more fish in the sea”, nonetheless, not every plant that you like or buy will be the plant for you. You may kill it or it may commit planticide (another copyright word for the books!), either way it’s okay to have a few plant fails now and again. Don’t be too hard on yourself, but when you find a plant that both of you can look at each other and mentally say what’s up brah, you’ll be in good hands.
5. LESS IS MORE
Not sure how to stress this enough, stop watering your plants every day … just stop. Do you continue to drink water when you’ve had too much for the day? Nope. You don’t. It’s better to under water your plants than to overwater. Too much water can lead to root rot. I normally stick my finger in the soil at the surface maybe an inch and 1/2 down, if the soil feels moist, your plant has enough water to continue living its best life.
6. MORE HUMIDITY PLEASE
Yes, humidity is pure terror, it makes your hair frizzy and you always have a weird thin film of sweat on your forehead, but your houseplant feels differently. A diffuser or humidifier can help keep your plant feeling right at home, and it’s good for us humans too!
7. FIND THE RIGHT SOIL
Placing your newly-acquired houseplant in the wrong soil can be a big bummer down the road, it may not kill it but it could definitely make it sad and limp. Make sure you pair your plant up with the appropriate soil. For example, if you bought a cactus, succulent or aloe vera, plant it in a fast-draining soil, that will reduce root rot and dry up quickly. Try adding rocks at the bottom before you put in the soil as well for extra draining!
8. KEEP IT TIGHT
If you flowing foliage gets a little too “leggy”, it’s time to prune. Once plants get too long and stop growing new nodes it’s hard to get it back to a healthy state. Start by removing dead leaves and limbs on the plants. Then, cut back overgrown branches and stems on the plants. Also, make sure to use sharp scissors, dull scissors can damage the plant.
9. TO REPOT OR NOT TO REPOT
The best time to normally repot a plant is in the spring, but that doesn’t mean you can’t repot any little guy or gal that looks sad in their current pot. Ask yourselves these questions (and hopefully you can answer them!).
• Do you notice the potting mix drying out super fast?
• Are the roots growing out the top or bottom of the pot?
• Has your plant growth been stumped?
If you said yes to any of these questions then you should definitely try repotting it.
10. HAVE PATIENCE
Ever buy a plant, get really excited, and watch it die right in front of you like it wasn’t even grateful that you saved it from the store? Yeah, me too. Plants are fragile little living creatures. You and your plant need time to adjust to each other, sort of like dating I guess? Observe your plant and it will tell you when it wants water and when it doesn’t. If it’s a plant that has a lot of color in the leaves, monitor it, if the color starts to dull, move it to a west-facing window with less bright light.