Did you know that houseplants have been proven to improve your focus and productivity by 15%? In addition, they make you feel more optimistic, reduce your stress, and clean your air! Some plants can even improve your sleep.
In addition to their mental and physical benefits, houseplants can really spruce up your home, adding a lively touch of green. These are just some of the reasons that becoming a “plant parent” is the latest fad. And yet, some new plant parents seem to have more of a black thumb than a green thumb, wreaking havoc on everything verdant.
Houseplant care is a skill that you have to learn rather than a talent that you’re born with. This means you can learn how to stop killing your plants with just a little bit of knowledge! Read on for our guide to the basics of caring for plants!
Picking the Right Types of Houseplants
Some plants are more high maintenance than others. It’s important to find the right plant for your environment so you don’t have to bend over backward for your leafy friend. For instance, if you don’t get much light in your apartment, it’s best to pick a plant that doesn’t need constant light.
Most plants do best with slight airflow around them. This gives them good air turnover and keeps it from getting stale. A desk fan or a ceiling fan is enough to stir up the air.
Plants for Sleep
All plants photosynthesize during the day, which means that at night they release carbon dioxide. However, some plants reverse this process and give off oxygen at night. This can improve your sleep, helping you sleep deeper and longer.
These plants include bromeliads, succulents, snake plants, and orchids. All of them love strong light during the day, so they’ll thrive on your bedroom window sill.
Medium to Low Light Plants
Medium and low-light plants are the easiest to take care of. Medium-light plants require between 4 to 6 hours of sun a day, while low-light plants thrive with less than 4 hours daily. These plants are great options for rooms that don’t see the sun all day.
The perfect plant for medium light exposure is the aroid. Aroids are very common house plants, that thrive in mid to low light levels. They’re actually one of the best houseplants for beginners because they are low fuss and tolerate a fair amount of mistakes on the plant owner’s part.
All they need is dappled sunlight or about three hours of direct sunlight. This is the most common natural lighting in homes and apartments, so aroids are suitable for most environments. You can learn about aroids here!
Watering your plants is often the most difficult routine to figure out. Watering both too much and too little can kill your plants!
You can test your plant to see if it’s thirsty by touching the dirt. If it’s completely dry, it’s time to water it. Water your plant enough to moisten the dirt, but not so much that it’s soaking wet.
During the warmer months, your plant is spending lots of energy growing. This means you have to water them about once a week. In the winter, they grow a lot less and you can dial it back to once a month.
Set an alarm on your phone, so you don’t forget. These are general guidelines, so evaluate your plant’s growth over time so you can tailor it to your specific plant. If your plant’s soil is drying out more quickly than you’re watering it or is still wet when you water it, adjust accordingly.
Keep a small plate under your plant’s pot, and check it after watering. Drain any excess water, and make sure you don’t leave your plant sitting in it.
If you notice that your plant is absorbing much more water than normal or that its growth has slowed, it might be outgrowing its pot.
To confirm your suspicions, check the underside of the pot. If roots are sticking out the holes in the bottom, the pot is too small for your plant.
Repot the plant in a similar soil or fertilizer, and in a pot that’s slightly larger than the current pot. If you move your plant to a pot that’s much larger, you risk your plant going into shock.
Extra Plant Care Tips
If your plant is struggling or is showing dry leaves, leaf-fall, or spots, it might need a bit of extra care. Make sure your plant is not sitting in a cold, drafty area, and repot it into organic fertilizer to revitalize it.
In addition, over time the soil of your plant can pack down, making it more difficult for the roots to absorb water. You can remedy this with a chopstick or a pencil. Make two or three holes in the dirt and twist the stick, aerating the soil.
You can also clean your plant by spraying it with a mister and gently wiping down the leaves. This will prevent dust build-up, and keep your plant looking green and bright.
Save Your Plants With Proper Houseplant Care
Houseplants are generally pretty tolerant of a wide variety of environments and care. You can make a few mistakes, and your plant is likely to bounce back. However, proper houseplant care can go a long way to extending the longevity of your plants.
This guide will have given you a great place to start. Start with the basics and adjust as necessary and you’ll be fostering a veritable forest in your home before you know it!
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