I love having plants in my home. Almost every room in my house has it’s fair share of greenery and I can’t imagine having a house without plants. I often hear people saying they don’t know how to keep plants alive or people saying that they don’t have a green thumb. So let me tell you how to keep your plants happy.
01. Make sure you put every plant in a place they love
Some plants like lots of direct sunlight, others hate it. Read the label on the plant when you buy it or ask the florist what the preference of the plant is. Using common sense also helps to decide what the plant might like. Plants that like a moist environment (who easily dry out) often like a more shaded spot.
When you really don’t know you can almost always tell how the plant feels about its place after a couple of weeks. Plants who don’t like direct sunlight often have brown edges on their leaves or burnt patches. Do the leaves look duller or are the colours fading? Then the plant probably likes a place with more daylight. Move your plants around until you find their perfect spot.
02. Water regularly, but never too much.
Giving the correct amount of water probably is the easiest way to keep your plants happy. I handle watering plants in a very simple way: every two weeks I gather all my plants in the kitchen or bathroom. I place them in the tub or sink and gently spray them with water. When there are a couple of centimeters of water in the tub/sink I stop spraying. Now let the plants soak for half an hour to a couple of hours. Afterwards, I let the water drain and wait half an hour before removing the plants so the excess water won’t stay in the flowerpot.
I do this with both succulents, orchids, ferns,… Between baths, I always keep an eye on plants that need extra watering, but I try to avoid watering them in their pots. Whenever I get lazy and stop giving them baths, that’s when the casualties fall. I don’t own any cacti (I tend to over water them, or as I call it, I smother them with too much love), so I can’t help you with those.
A small tip: if you’re wondering whether it’s time to water your plants, put your finger in the soil! Just feeling the top soil can be misleading, especially for plants near a window. If the soil under the crust still feels moist, you can wait with watering a bit longer (unless you have a drama plant who basically lives in water and is starting to droop).
03. Keep an eye on your plants
Plants aren’t just pretty decoration, they’re living things, so you’ll have to keep an eye on them. They can get sick, get bugs or are sometimes in need of extra water or nutrition. Take a good look at your plant’s leaves once in a while, they can tell you a lot about how your plants are faring:
- droopy leaves: probably in need of water, but droopy leaves in combination with wet soil means the opposite!
- brown spots: too much or too little water, sunburn or too much fertilizer
- sticky leaves or a sticky environment of the plant: your plant has bugs. I’ve noticed this with both aphids, scale insects and mealybugs. Keeps these plants away from your other plants. Get yourself a pesticide and prepare for battle. Getting rid of pests is hard. Sometimes you can’t save your plant and you’ll just have to try taking pest-free cuttings and getting baby plants. Throw away the pest riddled plant and keep an eye on your other plants the following weeks to see if the creepy crawlies have spread.
04. Don’t forget: plants need food too!
As with all living things, plants need food too. They get it from their soil, but if they haven’t been repotted in a long time that soil can run out of nutrients. This is something that happens faster with high maintenance plants that also need a lot of water. So, once every month, add a bit of plant food to the bathing water to keep them happy. Whenever you put fertilizer in the plant bath make sure to leave them soaking for a bit longer. Getting those nutrients in takes time!
If you notice your plant is getting too big for its pot, it’s time to move to a larger one. Whenever you do this, the plant also gets a boost thanks to the nutrient-rich fresh soil you’ve added.
So those are a couple of tips to keep your plants happy. Tell me, are you a plant lover or a plant killer? Which tricks do you use to keep your plants happy & alive? Please share them in the comments, I’d love to learn new tricks.