Take the Mystery Out of Plant Care With These 3 Simple Steps
The thought of plant care can be intimidating to those who are new to the world of houseplants. The good news is that most common plant varieties are simple to keep alive and well. That, coupled with the science-backed benefits of indoor plants, should give you confidence in your ability to add some indoor greenery to your favorite space.
1. Plant Watering
The biggest indoor plant care stressor is figuring out a good plant watering regimen. Contrary to popular opinion, the number one killer of most houseplants is overwatering. Yes, that’s right. Many people unknowingly drown their own plants. If you’re on the fence regarding watering, it’s safer to underwater your plant babies than to overwater them.
That being said, make sure your plants get the water they need to keep lush green foliage for their health and your enjoyment. A general rule of thumb is to see if the first inch of soil is dry. If so, this is an indication that your plant needs water. If your plant is drooping, has shriveled leaves, or dry and discolored foliage, you may need to give it a bigger drink than what your usual watering routine calls for.
One of our secret weapons is our clay pots. They absorb moisture after a watering, darkening their normal color. Darkening creates a visual watering gauge for plant owners. As your plant uses the water, the clay pot will lighten in color, so you have visual feedback on the moisture content of the soil. This is a great way to help keep an eye on the water needs of your houseplants.
2. Plants Thrive in a Stable Environment
Bright indirect light is a safe choice for most indoor plants, with the exception of low light varieties. When selecting house plants, be sure to ask your florist if they require bright or low light, direct sunlight or low light. In addition to proper light, it’s important to keep your plants away from direct air currents from your heating and cooling systems. Whether it’s an air vent from your furnace or central air, or the direct airflow path of a window mount air conditioner, the drastic temperature difference along with the excessive air flow will wreak havoc with your plants.
Excessive air flow on house plants results in increased transpiration, which will increase their water needs. Transpiration is the exhalation of water vapor through the pores in the leaves of your plants. So, if you can find a spot that doesn’t have excessive air currents, has good indirect sunlight, and has temperatures between 65° and 75°F, you should be on your way to being a phenomenal plant parent.
3. Mind the Leaves
In addition to watering your plants, leaf maintenance can play a crucial role in your plant’s health. Plants love humidity, so if you have a dry home in the winter months you may want to mist your leaves with a spray bottle on a weekly basis. You could also consider a humidifier to increase ambient humidity. This can help reduce their water demand during the dry months.
In addition to maintaining proper humidity, dusting your plant leaves is an important part of keeping them healthy. It’s reasonable to assume that your plant leaves could use a dusting a couple times per year. Use a damp cloth and gently wipe the leaves on both sides. This helps them breathe better and get the proper sunlight needed to be healthy.
While you’re tending to your plant leaves, keep an eye out for dying leaves. After the winter season, you may notice some leaf tips dying. Moderate pruning of dead leaves will help spur plant growth. It’s like cutting the dead ends or your hair. Yellow or droopy leaves may indicate an entirely different problem, which could be from over-watering or the need for fertilizer.
We’ll give more details and helpful plant care advice in future articles.