Around 66% of American households own at least one plant, which shows we’re eager to become plant parents.
But before we can introduce plants to our homes, it’s important to know the basics of house plant care to extend their lifespan so they can bloom. Perhaps you want to learn how to care for plants, but you’re not sure where to start.
Sounds familiar? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know.
Consider Your Skill Level
If you’re a newbie, choose easy house plants so you learn how to care for them. There are plenty of low-maintenance varieties such as spider plants, cacti, and peace lilies. Once you’re comfortable, then you can upgrade to higher maintenance plants like the Boston fern and string of turtles.
Find a Reliable Plant Store
The best house plants come from reputable plant stores, so you know they’ve taken care of them. Start by checking out your local store, garden center, and florists. Not only will they sell healthy plants, but these plant experts will happily share advice and give you suggestions about basic plant care.
As a general rule, avoid large department stores or supermarkets, as they often keep plants in dark basements. And as you browse, look out for yellow leaves, spots, or weak stems, as these are telltale signs of an unhealthy plant.
Choose the Best Species for Your Environment
Indoor house plants have different needs, so thoroughly research which one is best suited for your home. For instance, if little natural light pours into your home, then choose a species that thrives in a low-light setting like bathrooms. If this sounds familiar, then ZZ plants and pothos are perfect for you.
Can’t get enough sun? Then grow a jade plant, ponytail palm, and papyrus plant, as these flourish in sunlight. But you must also consider the climate where you live, because certain species either thrive in humidity or prefer dry environments.
Plant lovers who live in humid areas should care for the lily of the valley, elephant ear, and aloe vera, especially for its medicinal uses. And those who live in a dry climate should grow plants like black-eyed Susans, yuccas, and lantanas.
Know When Your Plant Is Thirsty
The key to raising healthy indoor plants is knowing when they’re thirsty. An issue many beginners have is knowing how frequently to water their plants. Every species has its own requirements.
As a general rule, water your houseplants once or twice a week. Many of us overwater our plants because we’re worried about dehydration, but this can have a devastating effect.
To be safe, know the signs so you can water your plants accordingly. The most obvious one is if the leaves are slightly drooped and the soil looks dry. If you’re unsure, stick your finger two inches deep, and if there’s zero moisture, then it’s watering time.
Fertilize Plants Occasionally
Fertilizer is special plant food to ensure it’s getting enough nutrients.
Although fertilizer is important, make sure you create the right schedule, which depends on the product. For instance, certain types of fertilizers should be added every few weeks, while others can be spread over multiple months.
Repot Overgrown Plants
Many newbies think repotting is when you put a plant in a new planter, but it’s replacing the plant’s soil with fresh potting mix.
But know that once you’ve brought your new plant baby home, pot it in a planter that’s three inches bigger than its original one. This will give it more room and prevent you from overwatering it.
Prune When Needed
In fall, grab your pruning scissors and give your plants a trim.
Although you can prune all year round, this is a great way to keep your plants’ foliage in check after a summer of growth. Prune back each plant by six inches to rejuvenate them. You should also trim dying flowers or brown leaves, as it will prevent disease while promoting growth.
Further, dust often accumulates on a plant’s leaves, so wipe them down with a wet cloth. If not, the plant may be unable to receive adequate sunlight to live.
Know the Signs of Disease
As a plant parent, it’s important to know the signs of disease so you can take immediate action. One popular example is if there are fuzzy white spots on your plant’s leaves, which shows that they’re suffering from a fungal or bacterial disease.
You should also be mindful of root rot where the plant’s root has turned mushy, likely because of overwatering. Whatever the case, remove the affected leaves and stems to prevent the spread of disease and, if your plant can’t be saved, throw away your houseplant so it doesn’t affect its neighbors.
Keep Your Home Environment Stable
To extend the lifespan of your houseplants, it’s important to keep the environment stable or it could stress your plants out. Most species thrive between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, so adjust the temperature if necessary.
Even during winter or summer, avoid placing plants near radiators or an A/C unit, as it could harm them.
Enjoy Our House Plant Care Tips
Hopefully, after reading this article, you’ll take these house plant care tips on board.
Start by choosing plants that align with your skill level and home environment, and check that they come from a reliable plant dealer. Then, regularly water your plants and know the telltale signs of disease so you can take action. Good luck!
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