There’s something about plants that makes us so happy; it’s like you brought a little piece of nature outside into your house or into your workspace. It just livens the place up, gives it some more color, and when you see a plant thrive – that you’ve given tender, loving, care – it’s just such a rewarding feeling!
This article is a beginner’s guide on how to take care of houseplants.
Choosing the right pot
Before you go to the plant store, it’s important to know exactly where in your house or in your workspace you want that plant to go. Is there a lot of sun? Is there shade? What is the temperature situation like? That way, when you’re at the plant store, you can check the tag to see if it’s going to be an appropriate match. While you’re at the plant store, there’s also another couple things you might want to consider.
When you found a really beautiful healthy plant that you know is the one that you want to take home, one of the things we recommend doing is very gently take the plant out of the pot just to see what the root situation is like. Here you can see that there’s a whole bunch of roots along the outside and on the bottom. So it might be a good idea to just buy a larger inner pot that you can then transfer it to. You can also look for a nice outer pot that will fit the repotted plant. According to Wikihow, it’s incredibly important that the pot that your plant is in has holes because you need the water to be able to drain. The problem with water collecting is it can cause the roots to rot which might mean the plant could eventually die. So, the point here is you want to make sure you get a pot with holes at the bottom-most point of the container.
A lot of plants don’t take well to a change in their environment. We are going to share with you a technique that works really well. The reason that this technique works is it encourages the roots to go out and explore this new wet territory. It helps it to settle into its new environment a little bit better.
Essentially, all you do is first wet the soil before adding the plant to the new pot. So you want it to be moist enough, but it sticks together. You don’t want it to be dripping wet either. Then you’ll transfer the soil along the bottom and the sides of the new pot. You’ll gently remove the plant from its nursery container and transfer it to its new home. Add some extra soil around the sides and along the top. You can gently press down on it as well but not too much because you want to give the roots some room to branch out. Then, at the very end, you’re going to water it just a little bit so that the old soil gets a bit of moisture as well.
Over-watering and under-watering plants is probably the single most common reason why a lot of houseplants die. But every plant is very specific when it comes to its watering requirements There are a few important rules of thumb that might help for one. You want the soil to get pretty dry between waterings. Just use your finger to see what the soil situation is like, a couple centimeters into its depth. If it’s still moist, you can skip watering, but if it’s dry water it until you see just a bit of water coming out onto the base plate. If a pool collects it, just drain it off because a lot of plants don’t like to have wet feet.
A lot of people know that plants need more frequent watering in the spring and summer months and less frequent watering in the winter months. But one thing a lot of people miss is they also have a preference when it comes to water temperature. In the summer, plants usually like it when the water is a cooler temperature and in the winter they like it when the water is at room temperature.
According to Pearsons Florist, another thing that can commonly be missed is fertilizer, which is the plant’s food. Every plant is different but in the spring and summer, usually, they need to be fed every two to four weeks. In the winter time, plants are in their rest period, so usually they don’t need any feeding at all during that time.
Some plants work well in the sun, some work well in the shade. Regardless, all of them need some source of natural light in the darker winter months. You might need to move your plants towards a light source, but generally speaking, plants don’t like to be moved. They get accustomed to the environment that they’re in, so move your plants if you have to; otherwise, just let them be.
The other consideration with plants is the temperature. You want to make sure you keep it within a range that your plant is comfortable at. Keep in mind that plants in front of windows see pretty varying temperatures depending on the weather outside as well as plants that are by air-conditioning units or radiators.
Insects and bugs love dead and decaying foliage. So be sure to remove any rotting or dying leaves that are just sitting on top of the soil. Whenever you see leaves that are visibly about to die, just prune the plant by cutting these off so they don’t steal essential nutrients from the leaves that are continuing to thrive.
While you’re watering your plants, just take a quick second to inspect the leaves to see if there are any signs of any insects or bugs and if there are, you want to deal with these right away. You might notice little webs or insects that look like fruit flies or bugs that look like they’re covered in cotton. If you don’t know what it is, you can take a picture into your local nursery for some help or search it up online.
For a lot of the different kinds of pests, usually just spray the leaves with a bit of soap and water solution and then wipe it clean using a damp cloth. You might need to repeat this a couple of times, but it usually does the trick.
Whenever you’re dealing with plants don’t be discouraged if you try something new. If it doesn’t work, some plants just die. It’s the circle of life, but you’re going to get better at it each time. You can always also match your comfort and skillset level to the kind of plant that you’re going for. For example, something like cacti, pothos, etc. (Source: The Spruce). Those are a lot easier to take care of. They’re less fussy than some of the other plants.