You’re seeing all of this hype about the benefits of bringing greenery into your home. Perhaps, you’ve re-pinned and saved so many spaces with plants in every corner that you’re considering being America’s Next Top Botanist? Maybe your therapist recently suggested you find something to nurture to take your mind off of yourself?
Whatever the reason may be, if the fear of adding another leafy friend to your unintentional Arya Stark “kill list” is holding you back, please read on for a few BEGINNER friendly plant care tips that changed my life.
ASSESS Your Space
Consider the places and corners you would ideally like to refresh with greenery. Take note of the lighting (direct, indirect, low or nonexistent).
Consult or Research
Too often, I used to just buy a plant because it was cute and took no time to consider if it would be happy in my home. Upon assessing your space, either research which plants do well in your environment or ask for guidance at your local nursery. They are professionals and can help you pick out a leafy friend that has a higher survival rate in your home.
This is EVERYTHING. Plants that lack proper drainage are prone to root rot because your leafy baby will be sitting in a pool of water. Just think what would happen to you, if someone left you in a tub of water for days on end. You would start pruning and begin to deteriorate (not sure if that second bit is scientifically true, but you get the gist).
When shopping for plant pots, check the bottom of the pot for holes. If a pot you love doesn’t have holes, you can drill one in yourself (Youtube tutorials help here). Alternatively, you can just keep your new plant in the plastic pot in comes in and place that into a real pot. On watering day, simply take the plastic pot out and water your plant in the sink or bathtub, then place the plant back in the decorative pot once the draining is complete.
If holes are not an option, line the bottom of your plant pot with rock pebbles (roughly 2-3 inches deep). I do not recommend this method, being that there is still no room for the excess water to escape quickly, but it is a worthy last effort.
WHEN to water
There are only two ways watering can go wrong. Either you go full helicopter mom mode and drown your new child or you go missing in action and neglect your thirsty baby. Both are unfortunate and it happens to the best of us, but overwatering is the most common way people kill their plants.
Everything changed when someone advised me to ONLY water my plants when the soil is dry at least 2-3 inches deep from the surface. Here’s how: simply become one with nature and stick 1/3 of your finger into the soil. If it is damp, do NOT water. If it is dry, water. Super simple and this trick has helped me keep my plants alive for 8 months now. If touching dirt freaks you out or you want a more precise soil exam, you can purchase a moisture meter to help.
Every plant and household will vary, but typically I am watering my plants every 6-9 days. It just depends on the plant, the season and your environment (why the research part is super key).
Just like all mamas and papas make mistakes sometimes with their human children, you will do the same with your leafy ones and that is OKAY. I promise that you are not alone and you will find your sweet spot soon, baby love. If a gal with a dark and murderous past with plants can change her ways, so can you! What other plant mom questions do you have?