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A Beginner's Guide To Houseplants

A Beginner's Guide To Houseplants

You did it. You’ve made the decision to become a plant parent. Congratulations! Like any good decision, now is the time to plan ahead to ensure you have the best chance at success.

The first thing to know is that owning plants should be enjoyable and should contribute positively to your life. It should not bring you stress. Over the years we have had so many people who are new to owning plants come to us stressed before even making their first plant purchase. They know the benefits of incorporating plants into their lives, but are terrified at the prospects of keeping them alive. With a little planning, we can remove the uncertainty of owning a plant and move from a place of fear to confident plant parent.

Tip # 1 - Know your space and know yourself

Different plants have different needs. They vary based on the amount of light they need, humidity levels and sensitivity to air flow. The amount of watering and regular maintenance a plant needs also varies based on the type of plant, so the more you know about your living space and personal habits, the better we are able to match you with a plant that will thrive. Some questions you need to ask yourself:

  • How much light does my home get? One simple measure is your ability to read a book without turning the lights on. The more easily you can read the page without turning a light on, the more likely you are to have a greater variety of plants that will thrive in that space.

  • How dry or humid is the space? While you can measure the humidity level with a device, most of us know whether or not our space would be considered dry or relatively humid.

  • What is the airflow in the space? Do you have air ducts for heat or air conditioning in the space you want to put your new plant?

  • How busy am I? Can I maintain a regular plant maintenance schedule? If your job takes you away for extended periods of time, it doesn’t mean you can’t own a plant. It just means you may need a plant that requires a more flexible watering schedule.

  • Do I own pets? Sometimes your dog or cat will take a bite of your plant, it happens. Knowing if you have a pet will inform your pet friendly plant options.

Tip # 2 - Fight the urge to overwater your plant

You came into the shop or ordered your plant online. Knowing a little about your living space and your personal habits helped inform your decision on the type of plant to pick out. You’ve brought the plant home and placed it in that spot you had picked out for it. It looks just perfect there, good job!

Now you want to provide for it the best you can. Of course you do, you are a new plant parent! As you look at your new plant baby with affection, the top of the soil is a bit dry. It shouldn’t be like that, should it? Maybe it just needs a bit of water. Two days go by. Why is that soil dry again? It must be so thirsty, poor thing! Just a bit more water. Your roommate comes home from work the next day and wonders if the plant has been watered recently. He waters the plant, just in case. As the week goes on, you can’t help but notice the leaves are turning yellow and look limp. Maybe a bit more water will perk it up.

We have found that many people equate watering plants with level of care - the more they water a plant, the more they care about it and vice versa. This is a recipe for disaster. The most common cause of plant-related heartache is due to overwatering. While plants obviously need water to survive, they do not do well in soggy soil. Your plant came with a care card that includes watering information. Following these directions will ensure your plant is happy and healthy.

Tip # 3 - Patience is key

Plants are incredibly resilient. If we stop to think about it, our homes are nothing like the natural environment native to most house plants. What makes plants so resilient is their ability to acclimate to new environments. As they acclimate, many plants will drop a few leaves. If you bring your plant home in the winter, it may not grow at all because it has gone dormant due to the shorter days and less light. It is important to not panic! If you continue to follow the instructions on your care card and the plant looks healthy, then there is nothing to worry about. Give your plant time to adjust.

Tip #4 - Ask for help

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. If your plant’s health does take a turn for the worse, it can often be saved by making a few changes. We have years of plant health experience that we are happy to share with you! Contact Us.