Top 3 ways NOT to kill your house plants!
When I first started buying plants, I was totally vain…I went solely for looks. “Oooh that plant is beautiful and I MUST have it!...I’ll figure out how to take care of it later.” Yea, that plant didn’t last long. I really wanted to be a good plant parent but I was just too busy to water on a regular basis and so, sadly, my plants were neglected and failed to thrive. And there they sat, half brown and limp and, dying in the corner of the room. Every time I looked at them they made me feel bad and so my plants became a source of stress – the opposite of what they should be!
Rule #1: Figure out what type of “plant personality” you have
I’m a pretty lazy plant person. I want to have plants around my house but I don’t want to worry about them every day. I can handle watering them each week but if they need more than that, I’m out! After I found success growing succulents (they thrive on neglect so that really works for me LOL) I had a A-HA moment…if I choose house plants that have similar care requirements to succulents, I could probably get them to survive, too! So I began researching house plants that liked to dry out a bit between waterings and wouldn’t die if I forgot for an extra day or two. I discovered there are so many such as Pothos, Philodendron, some Calathea, Bird’s Nest ferns, and the list goes on! But not all of them have the same lighting requirements, which leads to Rule #2.
Rule #2: Understand the requirements of the plant BEFORE you buy it!
There’s nothing more stressful than bringing home a new plant (especially if it wasn’t cheap!) only to watch it slowly die and not know what to do about it. Most plants will come with a care tag that explains their basic requirements so be sure to read that. Does it need bright light? If so, does your home have bright light? Most of my plants are in our living and dining room, which both have very low light. So any plant I get needs to thrive in low light conditions with weekly (or less) waterings. Now that I know that, I can choose plants that will be ok with those two things.
Rule #3: Don’t overwater!
Regardless of whether your plant requires moist soil or wants to dry out between waterings, overwatering kills more plants every year than anything else! Unless it’s an aquatic plant such as a water lily or a cat tail, your plant does not want its roots sitting in soggy soil. Even plants that like to stay moist do not want soggy soil. When the spaces throughout the soil that normally hold air become filled with water, the roots can’t breathe. It often encourages fungus to grow which causes root rot. It’s hard to rehab a plant that has been over watered.
Some people love their plant to death by giving them a drink every time they pass by! Instead, follow the instructions that came with your plant (or do a quick search online) and check the soil with your finger before you water.
Here are a few general guidelines…Plants that want to “stay evenly moist” should still be moist an inch deep into the soil. If they are not, it’s time to give a little water. Plants that like to “dry slightly between watering” like to have the top 2-3 inches dry out between watering. The first month or two of caring for a new plants should be a time you pay closer attention to the signs it gives you so that you can understand the frequency with which you’ll want to water.
Since all of my plants are good with weekly watering, I have a reminder set in my phone every Tuesday morning at 8am to water my plants. This gives me peace of mind – I can enjoy them throughout the week knowing that I’ll get a reminder to water and I don’t need to check them all the time. Once you establish your routine and discover what your plants like, set your reminder and sit back and relax, knowing that you’re giving them the proper care.
Do these three things and you’ll be on your way to plant parent of year! And if something goes awry, don’t worry! Shoot us a message and we’ll try to help!