The perfect guide for new plant parents
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, indoor plants have been ruling the interior decorating scene. From hanging plants to giant statement plants, bringing the outdoors in has never been more in style. And for good reason! Having indoor plants has been shown to reduce stress levels, boost your mood and improve concentration and productivity. For those wanting to embrace this natural trend, it may feel daunting knowing where to start. We have a basic guide to help you get going!
Choosing the right plants for you
When you’re on the prowl for your newest plant baby, don’t be afraid to use the internet! A quick search about the plant you’re looking at will give you helpful insight and let you know if its right for your space. Choose plants that will work in your space and require the amount of maintenance you are prepared to give. Also keep in mind which room the plant will live in – a plant that thrives in a bathroom may dry out in the kitchen.
We all know that plants need light to survive (photosynthesis, anybody?). But the amount of light for each plant to thrive, now that’s a different story. Some plants, like succulents and cacti, love the direct light they get from a windowsill while others, like snake plants and philodendron, prefer low light. Surprisingly, many plants do well under florescent and LED lights too! Check out our blog on the top five low light plants here.
Many houseplants originate in more tropical parts of the world. That means that they usually need warmer temperatures and higher humidity. The ideal temperature range for indoor plants is between 69.8 and 80.6 degrees Fahrenheit. That said, your indoor plants will eventually adjust to the temperature inside your home and will get upset if there is a sudden, drastic change in temperature.
Containers and Pots
Here is our most important tip: do not pot houseplants in a container without a drainage hole! All plants need drainage otherwise they rot. That also means that each pot will need a drip saucer. The size of your plant is also generally limited by the size of the pot. Restricted root growth means restricted foliage growth. Finally, never repot a plant that is visibly struggling, as it will only further send it into shock.
It is not recommended to pot your houseplants using soil from outside your residence or business. It could contain pests and it is most likely not the ideal consistency. We suggest using sterilized bagged soil – it is usually fluffy, well-draining and contains either perlite or pumice which holds onto moisture without causing rot. Keep in mind that cacti and succulents require their own kind of potting soil that contains even more perlite or pumice.
You have everything to choose your plant and get started! Now what? We have a few more tips to help you keep your plant as healthy as when you first got it.
- Overwatering is the most common cause of houseplant death! Unfortunately, there isn’t an exact science to how much or how often to water your plants. But there are basics that you can follow that will help you find the best schedule for you. In general, plants should be watered when the top inch of soil feels dry. If you’re not sure, poke around and see how the soil feels. When watering, the soil should be just barely saturated, not soaking. It’s always better to err on the dry side than to overwater your plants. For even more info on how to properly water your plants, check our handy guide here.
- Pruning your indoor plants can actually rejuvenate them and help them grow better. Fall is the most natural time to prune your plants but keep an eye out for dead or diseased leaves and stems all year round.
- Most plants experience a growth spurt in the spring and summer, making that the best time to fertilize them. But keep in mind that most plants also come heavily fertilized from the growers. We recommend no fertilizer in the first year, and then only one quarter of the manufacturer’s recommended amount after that.
- Is your plant looking too large for its pot or frequently loosing leaves? It may be time to repot! Check the root system to make sure – if the roots are circling the inside of the container, it has outgrown its pot. You can transplant the plant into a larger container or trim off some of the roots and replant it into the same container with fresh potting soil.
Bringing a new houseplant into your home will be a process of trial and error. Each plant and home is different – don’t be discouraged if your first few plants don’t do as well as you’d like.
However, if you’d rather leave it to the pros, Plant Solutions offers solutions to help you choose the perfect plants for your space, in addition to providing maintenance options, as well. Visit our horticultural services page to lean more.