Does it feel like everywhere you turn, someone is posting pictures of their houseplant with #plantmom or #plantdad? Have you ever thought of owning your own plant babies but don't know where to start? If you answered yes to any of these questions, keep reading this article.
Houseplants are a natural way to add beauty to your space. They are living decor. But asides from their aesthetic value, they also provided quite a number of health benefits. Some plants are natural air purifiers; they cleanse the air and help you breathe (and sleep) better. Personally, I'd say that owning houseplants has contributed to a better mental well being for me. The idea of caring for something and watching it grow just gives me a sense of responsibility - one I take very seriously.
It is important to remember that plants are living things and so they require what all living things require - oxygen, food (using energy from sunlight) and adequate attention. With the right guidance, research and lots of patience, you too, can be an amazing plant parent.
This is not proper botanical or horticultural advice, but after owning (and killing) some of my own houseplants, here are some things I wish someone had told me earlier.
1. Consider your space and your lifestyle: As I mentioned earlier, plants need three things - light, water and attention. Different plants need these things in different ratios and quantities. Before heading to the plant nursery to shop, take a look at your living space. No really, do it. You need to consider a couple of things including lighting, how much sunlight do you get in your space?; do you have pets? Some plants are toxic to animals; Is your lifestyle plant-friendly? Can you genuinely commit to a watering schedule?, Do you travel often? Do you have friends who can plant sit?
2. Most first-time plant parents would prefer to get low maintenance plants which are plants that don’t require direct light and can survive without excessive watering. The best low maintenance plant (in my opinion) is the snake plant. Snake plants can withstand almost any light condition and are drought-tolerant which means you don't need to water them often. Other low maintenance plant options are the Spider Plant, Monstera (which is SO cute), Cactus, Pothos and most succulents.
4. Get your maintenance stash together: These are things you’ll need to keep your plant alive. You’ll need a watering jar, a spray bottle (to mist the leaves), scissors for pruning dead leaves and if you like, some cute planters.
5. Resist the urge to overwater: This is how I killed most of my plants the first time. Don't let the soil get too dry but don't let the roots get too wet either. Follow the two-inch rule - stick a finger in the soil about two inches deep to see if the soil is still damp or if it’s dry. Make sure the pot has a drainage hole so excess water can seep away and prevent root rot.
6. Ask questions and do your research: Make sure before you take your plant home from the nursery, you ask lots of questions. How much water does it need? How often should you water it? What should you look out for? When should you re-pot it? How much sunlight does it need? Ask the plant person to tell you everything you need to know about the plant. Also, do some research on your own. Use Google Lens to take pictures of your plants and scan them to bring up useful resources. There are plant apps you can download to help you figure out what your plant needs. A good one is Planta.
7. You’ll need lots of patience: Your plant is not going to grow lush and beautiful overnight. Some plants die, and some survive. Give your plants time to grow, tend to them, be gentle, show them love, name them, and take lots of pictures so you can monitor their growth.