Houseplants 101

It’s not secret we love a good house plant. Their green goodness brings positivity and pure ~vibes~ to any room they’re placed in, so why wouldn’t you want one (or ten). I’d say the most common reason people are put off caring for houseplants is they’ve killed them in the past and their leafy ghost still haunts them to this day. Well fear no more, (no we’re not going to tell you how to hold a plant seance) we have put together a few helpful tips to aid in your future plant endeavours.

So first off you should always choose a houseplant suitable for your living space. If you choose a plant that needs lots of sun but you live in a basement apartment it’s probably not going to work out. But if you choose a plant that needs lots of moisture and you put it in your bathroom, well that sounds like a happy marriage to me. So always do your research! A plant may be beautiful, but if you can’t provide it with what it needs you’re just wasting your money and time.

Next we’d like to suggest always choose a plant pot suitable for you plant. It may seem obvious but a tiny cactus isn’t going to thrive in a plant pot the size of a toilet. Again research is key. But generally I find plants like cacti, succulents, and aloes like a pot with a tighter fit, whilst bigger leafier plants need a bit more room to stretch their roots. Thats not to say never repot your cacti, once they’re root-bound I tend to move them to a new pot about 2 inches wider. Another important thing to remember when repotting is give your plants new soil. Sometimes when a plant looks unhappy it’s simply because its taken all the nutrients from the soil. And for some plants they’ll want a specific type of soil, so remember, research!!

You also need to consider drainage when potting your new plant child. Some plants will like rich soil, but something like a cactus or succulent will thrive better in a mix of about 50/50 soil to sand. I’d also recommend adding some large stones and pieces of broken plant pots or old plates to the bottom of your plant pot. This will allow better drainage if you accidentally over water your plants.

If you have multiple house plants they will all have different watering needs. A good rule of thumb is to water leafier plants more than your cacti and succulents, but always check the label on your plant for any specific needs. I tend to just water my cacti once a month, less so in winter, and my leafy friends about once a week. If you buy your plants from a smaller independent store, or receive them from friends and family, ask for any tips for looking after your plants. They’ve managed to turn their plant into multiple plants so they must be doing something right!

Your houseplants will also need different amounts of sunlight. Leafy plants burn quite easily so don’t put them in direct sunlight. Somewhere near a window is ideal. Cacti and other desert plants however will love a windowsill so let them bath in the sun as much as they want.

Now we’ve covered the basics lets talk about propagation. Propagation is basically taking your existing plants and cloning them. Some of your houseplants will reproduce asexually like aloe vera and the spider plant, in which case when its “babies” have grown a bit and are typically about the size of your thumb or bigger you can pot them on as new plants. For spider plants you can pot straight into new soil, or grow in just water whilst young. This is my preferred method as you get to see the roots develop. For aloes you simply just take the mother plant out of their pot and gently rip the baby plant away, making sure its roots are still attached. If you accidentally rip the roots it’s not a problem, just as long as both the mother and baby plant still have some roots they will continue to grow.

If bits like this fall off your plant put them in soil and they’ll root

If you have a monstera you can cut a leaf off and place it in water, and within a few weeks it will start to grow. For it to become a new plant you need a node or air root. A node is a small little bump that will become a root when submerged in water. Change the water about every week and within a month you should notice new root growth.

Cut here

Thats about as much as I can think of today to get you started. If you have any specific questions about caring for you houseplants ask in the comments below.

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