I am no expert, but I talk about my plants a lot on my Instagram stories and I get so many questions. So here is everything I know about houseplants. Let me know if you have any questions.
1. Moisture Control is Key
Mastering moisture for your plant is key. There is three things that you need to consider: how much water, how often to water, and what is the drainage like in your pot. Mastering all these things will help you control the moisture level of your dirt. I’ve killed many plants due to overwatering. It’s so tempting to pile on the water, especially when a plant looks like it's dying, but a lot of times a plant is not doing well due to overwatering and subsequently root rot.
- Start off with less than you think you need, you can always add more so start with just enough water to dampen the soil. You want the dirt to be moist, not wet, stick your finger just under the surface to check how moist the soil is. Sometimes the surface of the soil, because it is exposed, looks dry, so checking underneath can be key to figuring out if your plant needs water.
- For tropical plants especially, sometimes if the tips are dry it means that the air is too dry. Simply keep a water bottle on hand and mist them periodically throughout the week.
- Try to get pots with a hole in the bottom for drainage. This will just make your plant mom life so much easier. If you overwater at least the liquid will have somewhere to go rather than sticking around at the bottom of the pot rotting all your roots up! If it does not have drainage you want to make sure that you give the soil sufficient time to dry out.
What do you do if your plant has root rot/mites?
The only thing that has worked for me it digging the plant out of the dirt, rinsing the roots with VERY diluted soapy water. I usually use Dr. Bronners or dish soap because that is what I have handy. Clear off any dead or rotting roots, and clean leaves as well especially by the roots. Throw all of the old dirt away and start with fresh dirt and a clean pot (wash it with soap and water). Wait a day to water and do not water too much.
What do I do for my plants?
I water all my plants once a week, skipping a weekend about every three weeks Or so. Each large plant gets about ½ a glass and ¼ for the small window plants. This works for me as my home is pretty dry (not humid) and I keep it on the cooler side. Make adjustments based on your plants and home conditions.
2. Find the Right Light
Plants are great for aesthetic reasons but they may not like where you’ve decided to place them. I have a plant that is now thriving because I moved it out of the direct sunlight and into a darker spot with indirect light. Now, most plants won't do well with drastic changes in light so be careful, but most will be fine with a location change in the same room. Make sure you find out if your plant likes full sun vs indirect light before you have your heart set on a location. Or simply pick a plant appropriate for the spot that you want it to occupy.
3. Prune Regularly
To be honest I didn't start doing this until recently. And it was kind of a happy accident. I cut several pieces of my Monstera off to propagate and noticed that a gang of new leaves started to spring up. Truth be told the pot was probably too small for the plant so cutting off a few branches helped it to flourish.
- If you see that a stem is dying cut it off so that plant doesn't waste energy trying to keep it alive.
- Remove stems and dead leaves.
- And, for big plants be sure to prune them so that they stay the appropriate size for the pot that you have it in unless you are down to replant in a bigger pot. Which leads me to my next point.
4. Upgrade Your Pot
If you aren't pruning your plant and it’s growing steadily chances are you're suffocating it. As I mentioned above this is a new concept for me. I haven't had too much experience propagating or trimming plants. But I can say for a fact that pruning is one of the two reasons my plants have been so successful. The second is repotting growing plants into a larger pot.
What kind of pots do I use?
Most of my plants are in terracotta pots of all sizes, simply because they tend to be the most affordable. I like the clay look but if you don't you can seal them and paint them any color or pattern that you like. Others are from local plant stores and IKEA.
My favorite plant instagrams
@localcolorflowers, @plantsofpink, @_j_u_n_g_l_e_, @Pissaro_tattoo, @Livingpattern, @bwillowbmo