Houseplant tips for beginners

In the years I’ve had plants we’ve gone through pleasant times and bad. While I’ve been able to propagate some babies along the way I’ve lost quite a few. Hopefully, I can help you out so there aren’t as many casualties in your home. Here’s a list of 5 great houseplant tips that you can use to better your green thumb.

Underwatering > overwatering

I used to give my plants as much love as you possibly could. I made it a part of my daily habit, walk around and give all my babies a little sip. This is a big no-no. Too much water will cause the roots to rot. I’ve learned to wait until the top couple inches are dry, then water completely through. It’s easier to bring back a dehydrated plant, than one that’s rotting.

Your soil is everything

One thing that you should never skimp on is your soil. Most of the time soil right out of the bag isn’t the right consistency I’m looking for because it may hold too much water. I prefer making my own batches of soil in 5 gallon buckets by mixing 1 gallon equal parts of potting mix, orchid bark, peat moss and perlite. I like this because it doesn’t hold too much water and allows the roots to get some air and breathe.

Don’t put anything in the bottom of your pot

Potting soil on a table with a shovel next to a pot.
Photo by Neslihan Gunaydin on Unsplash

I used to do this where I would put a little bit of gravel, pebbles, or broken terracotta in the bottom of my pots before I put the plant in there. This is another no-no that you don’t want to do. There’s a perched water table that forms at the bottom of the pot where the water meets equilibrium and stops draining in simple terms. The table is the same for all pots and is only about an inch deep. When you have a substance at the bottom of the pot, you’re raising the water table and crowding your roots and causing them to sit in water. Pass on the gravel and keep an eye on your houseplants if you feel it’s getting a little too much water.

Terracotta > Plastic pots

Rubber plant in terracotta pot
Photo by Chandra Oh on Unsplash

Terracotta allows air to pass through the walls of the pot and allows for the soil to dry out a bit quicker. I found that it’s a bit harder to over water your plants when they’re in a terracotta pot but they do dry out faster. But like I said before it’s easier to bring back a dehydrated plant rather than a rotting one. Though it is worth noting that not all plants do best in a terracotta pot, some prefer to have their roots a bit more moist. One plant I noticed in my experience that does better in a plastic pot is my Spider Plant. Even in a plastic pot she still requires a lot of water and high humidity.

Research your houseplants

My final houseplant tip isn’t that much fun but it always pays off in the long run. I recommend doing your research before going out and buying your plants. See what area you want to put it in and determine what kind of light it will get, the humidity levels, is it in reach or any children or pets? Once you think of all this start looking up the plants that would work for you and start building a wishlist of what you want to get. I understand that sometimes you’re just running to the grocery store and you just so happen to see a big beautiful green boy on clearance and you just have to get it. Just once you get home or even in the grocery store just look up on your phone what you’re getting and what its basic needs are. Also, giving it its minimum requirements just means it won’t die, it doesn’t mean that it will flourish.

I hope you enjoyed my list of houseplant tips! I hope I was able to inspire someone to bring some plants into their home and work on their indoor jungle. Let me know what tips you found most helpful. Do you have any houseplant tips that you go by that I didn’t mention? Let me know! I love learning more about houseplants and what I can do to make mine happier!

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Grant 💖

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