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 even when my mom told me it was bad feng shui to do that. I’ve always wanted to have indoor plants in my home because they not only enhance the overall appearance of a space, but they’ve been shown to boost moods, increase creativity, reduce stress, and eliminate air pollutants—making for a healthier, happier you. If you have successfully managed to keep a plant alive or even an entire garden, I salute you because that is amazing!
After 2 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. You can see the picture below from last spring when I go to my new little plants!
After learning more about being a plant mom I wanted to share my knowledge about how you can build up the confidence to own your own 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 like me you need to know that there are plants out there that are especially for us! They are hard to kill, don’t require much water or light plants that can take all the abuse from people like us that forget that the plant is even in our home. Once you become more assured about keeping a plant alive, you can buy other plants that require more attention.
My recommendation for easy to take care of plants would be to buy a succulent or aloe vera plant that you can just leave in a window sill and forget about it. They only need watering every month so it’s a great plant for newcomers. Other plants that you can get are a philodendron, snake plant, spider plant, or a cactus.
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 is why I could never keep a plant alive because they provided such generic information on how to keep the plant lively. 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 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 some online research of 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 learned that plants need food! Yes, most potted plants require some type of fertilizer. Read up on how and when to fertilize your plant, and feed it with a balanced plant food or a specialized plant food, if necessary.
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 shelve. 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 and it develops a scorched look to them or looks like the color has been bleached out of the leaves, you need to move that plant away from the sun. On the other hand, if you see that the leaves are droopy and not producing any new leaves, the plant needs more sun. A lot of people kill their plants mostly they fail to provide the right amount of light that it needs to thrive. You need to understand some basics about your plants and their needs. 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. This can happen because the pot they’re in 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. My dad also taught me to add some rocks or sand at the bottom of the pot to absorb some of the water. Make sure to have a saucer or plate beneath the plant to catch all the excess water that comes out 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 for all of mine, I only water once a week; on Friday mornings to be exact. During the warmer summer months, you may want to increase their watering to every 5 days so that the soil doesn’t get too dry. 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 parts 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. Plant changes are 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 overwatering or splashing leaves during water; while powdery mildew on plants is likely caused by overcrowding or underwatering. As soon as I notice a change in the look of my plant, I just google to see what’s wrong with the plant so that I can help get it healthy again as soon as possible.
It will take a few months to a year until you feel positive that you can keep your plants alive. I remember the feeling of seeing new leaves growing or a new sprout, it’s amazing to see that the plant is thriving and growing! You also have to remember that if a plant gets big enough you have to re-pot it into a bigger pot. This way it can grow even bigger and healthier!
I believe that we can all be plant people, it just takes the right amount of sunlight and water to do so. And soon you’ll be buying more and more plants and you’ll be surrounded by flourishing greenery.