“My green thumb came only as a result of the mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plants’ point of view.”
– H. Fred Dale
Nothing transforms the energy in a room more than a plant. Plants bring a bit of zen and beauty into any space… something we need now more than ever. Not much of a green thumb? Not a problem. I’ve helped many nervous clients navigate their first plants, as well as plant-challenged clients who have killed their fair share. My dos and don’ts guide will give you the knowledge and confidence you need to keep your houseplants happy and healthy for years to come.
DO: START WITH ONE
It doesn’t take a bunch of plants to make a dramatic difference in a room. Just one plant can change everything!
DON’T: WATER ON A SCHEDULE
Many plant owners try to keep things simple by watering on a schedule. This is a huge mistake because every plant is different, and each has different needs. Some need to be watered every week, and some every month. Some are in colder rooms, and some are near radiators. Plants grow slowly in the winter months and require less water. If you water every plant on the same day, you will end up overwatering most of them.
DO: PURCHASE A SOIL METER
I tell all of my clients to purchase a soil meter. It’s a total game changer. Most people water way more than a plant really needs, whereas a meter will guide you as to when to water and when to stop. When a client calls me with plant problems, it’s easy for me to understand what’s happening just by reading the soil measurements. I promise this will be money well spent.
DON’T: BUY CONTAINERS WITHOUT DRAINAGE
Make sure your containers have drainage holes at the bottom or your plant can get root rot. If you have a dish under your pot, empty it or the roots will become overwatered.
DO: KEEP YOUR PLANTS IN THE PLASTIC POTS THEY COME IN
I am a big fan of keeping plants in their plastic grow pots, and then placing these into the “nice” containers. This makes switching plants around much easier. The grow pots also have extra holes that are better for drainage. Remember to take the plant out of the “nice” container to water.
DON’T: FORGET ABOUT YOUR PLANTS
When you go on vacation, remember your plants won’t do well if you turn off your heat in the winter or turn off the air conditioning in the summer.
DO: KNOW YOUR LIGHTING SITUATION
Many times a plant isn’t doing well simply because it isn’t in the right spot. Here’s a quick primer:
- Bright light is when the sun comes directly through a window and hits your plant. Most plant’s leaves will burn if they are in direct light.
- Indirect bright light is the sweet spot. Either trees or a curtain dapples the light, or it is away from a bright window.
- Low light doesn’t mean no light, it just means that the room gets some sun but it isn’t very bright. If you can read a book in a room during the day the light likely isn’t low.
Happy (indoor) Planting!
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