For the longest time, I believed that I had a black thumb and would never be able to keep a plant alive. I wouldn’t have any real flowers or greenery in my home because I was convinced that I would kill them. For years I’ve just had fake plants around my apartment. I’ve always wanted to have indoor plants in my home because not only do they enhance the overall appearance of a space, but they’ve been shown to boost your mood, increase creativity, reduce stress, and eliminate air pollutants. All of which will make for a healthier, happier you.
After years in my apartment, I thought that it was finally time to bring a real living plant into my home. So I did some research and ended up on The Sill’s website. (This is not a sponsored post, I just really love this company.) Their slogan is “Plants Make People Happy” and I think that is the best thing. Their website made it easy to find the right kind of plant for me and gave me all the information I needed to try and keep the thing alive. And they deliver it right to your door! It’s great.
After receiving two plants in the mail from The Sill, I became instantly obsessed with keeping them alive, learning all about them, and buying more plants. You can see from the photo below that I grew my plant collection from 2 plants to 10 in just 6 months.
After learning more about being a plant mom I wanted to share my knowledge about how you can build up the confidence to have plant children! So here are my 5 tips are how not to kill your plants:
CHOOSE THE RIGHT PLANT FOR YOU
If you are a beginner plant mom, you need to know that there are plants out there that are for you! They are hard to kill, don’t require much water or light, and can be neglected and still thrive. Once you become more assured about keeping a plant alive, you can buy other plants that require more attention.
My recommendation for easy-to-care-for-plants would be to buy a succulent or aloe vera plant that you can just leave on a bright light window sill and forget about it. They only need watering every 4-6 weeks, so they are great plants for newcomers. Other plants that you can get are a philodendron, snake plant, spider plant, or cacti. I have 3 pothos philodendrons, and I honestly leave them in a dark corner of my house and they do GREAT. They also thrive under fluorescent lighting so you can bring them to your office! Spider plants are great because they don’t require much attention, and they are pet safe! My cats love to munch on the plant so I have to keep it in a spot where they can’t reach it.
RESEARCH THE PLANT’S NEEDS
Do you know those little care cards that are stuck into the dirt of the plant when you buy it? Those have never helped me! I’m convinced that’s why I could never keep a plant alive because they provided such generic information that won’t help you. What made it easy for me was that The Sill included a plant-specific care card that told me everything that I needed to know about the plant. The information card stated what kind of sunlight it should be getting, how often to water it and, signs that I am over or under watering the plant. This information was so helpful for me as someone who knows nothing about plants.
I would also recommend doing online research on your own about the new plant you brought home. You can read other people’s success stories or how not to care for this plant. I have also found great YouTube videos explaining what to look for if the plant isn’t doing so well. Through these videos, I’ve learned that plants need food! Yes, most potted plants require some type of fertilizer. So read up on how and when to fertilize your plant! Also, you should learn about how to care for plants during different seasons! Your indoor plants will have different lighting, moisture, and fertilizing needs in cold and warm weather.
PICK THE RIGHT SPOT FOR THE PLANT IN YOUR HOME
Some of the best advice I have ever read online about plants is that you need to place them in a spot in your home that is best for them, not where they look best. So if you have this cute bookcase in your home that would be perfect for your plant, but sunlight doesn’t reach it, then you shouldn’t put a plant there. Buy a fake plant to put on that shelf. Since you have done your research about your new plant, you should know exactly how much sunlight it requires.
After a week or two, if your plant isn’t doing well, you should move it to a new place that gets more or less sunlight. If you keep your plant outside or on a small porch, be sure to watch how much sunlight it’s getting. If the leaves start to look like the color has been bleached, you need to move that plant away from the shadier spot. On the other hand, if you see that the leaves are droopy or turning brown, the plant needs more sun. Many people kill their plants mostly because they fail to provide the right amount of light that it needs to thrive. You need to understand the basic needs of your plant. Once you figure that out, you should have more success.
STICK TO A WATERING SCHEDULE
Overwatering your plant can be a death sentence for it. It’s easy to over-water them if they don’t have good drainage in the pot it’s planted in. This can happen because the pot doesn’t have adequate holes in the bottom to let excess water run out. An easy way to make sure you don’t drown your plant is to buy a planter that already has holes in the bottom of it or to drill them in yourself. I learned that using terra-cotta pots will soak up a lot of excess water as well as mixing your soil with sand. Be sure to have a saucer or plate beneath the plant to catch all the excess water that comes out of the bottom of the pot after you water it. You don’t want to have a big mess.
You should research how much water your plant needs but a good rule of thumb is that if you stick your finger in the dirt about 2 inches and it comes out wet, it doesn’t need any water. If your finger is dry and you haven’t watered the plant in awhile, go ahead and water it. You can stick to a once-a-week watering schedule, but you should really be checking your plants individually to see if they need to be watered. During the warmer summer months, you may want to increase their watering due to increased heat and sunlight. During Fall and Winter, it’s perfectly fine to cut back on watering because that is your plant’s natural dormant period.
KNOW THE SIGNS OF STRUGGLE
One of the most important part of being a plant parent is that you know what signs to look for if your plant isn’t doing so well. If you see their leaves changing colors, falling off, or not growing at all, it could be trying to tell you something. These changes could be indicators of disease or fungal infection. Weird yellow or white spots suddenly appearing on leaves, sudden shriveling, or a formerly green plant taking on a yellow tinge can all be indicators that something is wrong.
As soon as you notice a problem, don’t put off treating it, or it will only get worse. Many houseplant diseases are due to improper care. Mold and rot are often caused by watering too often, while powdery mildew on plants is likely caused by overcrowding or underwatering. As soon as I notice a concerning change in the look of my plant, I research to see what’s wrong with the plant so that I can help it be healthy again.
It will take a few months to a year until you feel confident that you can keep your plants alive. It’s a wonderful feeling when you see your plants growing new leaves, developing stronger roots, and sprouting new stems.
One thing to remember is that when a plant grows bigger you have to re-pot it into a larger pot. This way the plant can grow and be healthier! I check my plants every spring to see if they need to be re-potted.
I believe that we can all become plant people! You just have to master learning all about your plant’s sunlight and watering needs. And soon you’ll be buying more and more plants, and you’ll be surrounded by flourishing greenery.