I am 100% a plant lover. But I’m also 100% sure that the feeling isn’t mutual. So why do plants hate me when I love them oh so much? I feel like having a green thumb is a talent, wouldn’t you agree? But in truth, I learned that having a green thumb isn’t that much of a talent. With this blog post, I hope to educate you and myself that a plant is just like having a committed relationship. For example, plants need time to themselves too. Don’t shower them with too much attention by over watering them (see the pun there, haha). Learn the different kinds of plants you have and the different kinds of ways they need to be cared for! I’m telling you it’s like you’re in a whole new, committed relationship and you have to figure out what that other person likes and dislikes. Plants are the exact same way! Now by NO MEANS am I a plant expert, as some of you may have figured that out. BUT I am on the same boat with you and I do want to care for my plants the way they want to be cared for. So below are some tips I put together from research and hope it helps us with giving our plants a long and happy life!
1. DON’T OVER WATER
Surprise, surprise plants can “drown” if you water them too much. If the plant always has soil that is too soggy, it will rot and suffocate the plant roots. Sadly, that is exactly what happened to my Aloe plant. I had it placed on a high shelf so I didn’t touch the soil but watered it once a week or so. But even that was too much! To keep it from sitting in soggy soil too long, use proper drainage. This is another good tip that you will find more about down below.
2. DON’T UNDER WATER
Not giving your houseplant enough water will dry the plant and it will soon start to wilt. In this case, pay attention to the leaves. By doing that, you will be able to tell when the plant looks thirsty for water because the leaves will get droopy an start to brown. Also, if the soil is dry and hard to the touch than it’s time to water the plant.
3. KNOW HOW MUCH SUNLIGHT IT NEEDS
Not all plants like to be in the sun. It depends on the plants you have but make sure you know which ones like to sit in the sun a few hours a day and which ones only need indirect sunlight. There are even plants that don’t like the sun at all so make sure you know what your plants love and what will eventually kill them.
4. GET APPROPRIATE POT SIZE
If the plant roots are starting to pop out of the plastic container that it sometimes come in, then it’s time to repot the plant. When you are repotting, ALWAYS make sure you get a pot size bigger than the one it came in. You can even get two sizes up if you wanted to. If it is a tree plant, than the bigger the pot you have, the more room the tree roots have to grow and the larger the tree gets.
5. DON’T LEAVE IN COLD TEMPERATURES
And if you have no other choice, cover your plants with a plastic bag or anything lightweight that will protect them from the cold air.
6. HOT TEMPERATURES/DRY AIR
The same goes for hot and dry temperatures! Some plants may tolerate this but like always, know your plants. Most plants thrive around 60-75 degrees F.
7. HAVE APPROPRIATE DRAINAGE
THIS IS IMPORTANT! I have no idea why you can find more pots without drainage holes than you can with. Of course, you can drill a hole to the bottom of the pot if you have to but sometimes that isn’t ideal since the excess water will spill out from the bottom. Instead, place your plant into a plastic pot with drainage. Place rocks at the bottom of your new decorative pot and then place your plant in with the plastic pot into the new pot. That way it still gets air to the roots and you can spill out the excess water that collects after watering. Most plants need proper drainage or else the roots will suffocate and not get enough oxygen. All the plants that I have replanted into a new pot have died, simply because I failed to add any drainage (but not anymore!).
8. HAVE ENOUGH SOIL
If you don’t have enough soil in the pot to support the plant and its roots, then it will eventually weaken and wilt.
9. DUST OFF LEAVES
This is often time overlooked. If dust gets piled on the leaves of the plant, you need to wipe the leaves down. Plants “breathe” through their leaves and absorb light that way. So if it’s blocked by dust, than it makes it harder for the plants to absorb their energy through the sunlight.
10. USE RAINWATER or CLUB SODA or LEFTOVER WATER FROM BOILING VEGETABLES or ICE CUBES
Say what? But it’s true!
– Rainwater is a natural source of water for the plants to thrive. Always has been and always will be. Tap water on the other hand, can sometimes be too hard (too many mineral deposits can clog the plant pores) or too soft (too much salt), depending on where you live and how you filter the water. Tap water is generally okay but it also could be a good reason why your plant is dying.
– Using club soda or leftover water from boiling vegetables is a GREAT SOURCE of water as it has nutrients in it that will help your plant thrive.
– Placing ice cubes on top of the soil instead of watering the old fashioned way may help the plant to thrive. Ice cubes melt slower than just dumping water into the soil so this gives time for the plant to absorb the water. Also, it’s a great way to water if your plant doesn’t get good drainage.
11. KNOW YOUR PLANT
And last but not least, KNOW YOUR PLANT. But I have it listed because in reality, do you actually know the names of all your different plants? Shoot, I don’t. But now I will, because from now on I will be saving the little tags that the plant comes with when you buy it. That little tag tells you the temperature the plant thrives in, how often it wants to be watered, how much sunlight it needs, etc. I always threw those away, thinking I’ll remember the care instructions but of course I never did. I actually thought it’ll be fine because plants are all similar when it comes to that. PSHT, WRONNGGG! SO KNOW YOUR PLANT. And if your plant didn’t come with that, then at least find out the name of the plant from where you got it from and look up the rest!
And now all I have left to say is…
RIP TO ALL MY PLANTS. You brought joy but I failed to take care of you. I won’t let it happen again, because I know better.
And I hope you do too. ♥