I’ve always liked having plants around the house. Mine usually live for a few months to a year, and then they die and I replace them. Well, lately I’ve noticed that my houseplants aren’t dying. Right now I have 17 plants around the house, because I keep buying replacements expecting some to die like usual, but they just don’t. In fact, they are growing! I’m no pro and there are a few houseplants I still can’t keep alive (maidenhair ferns hate me), but for the most part I’m doing all right. Now that I’ve figured out how to best care for my houseplants I thought I would share a few tips.
Houseplant Care Tips
1. Plants need light. Put your plants near windows, or in room that is bright with natural light. If a plant starts looking sickly shortly after you bring it home, try moving it to a different spot in your house to see if it improves.
2. Don’t forget about them. This was my biggest problem. Finally I came up with a regular watering schedule so I wouldn’t neglect my plants for a weeks at a time. I’ve gotten in the habit of watering my houseplants every Monday, and they are thrilled.
3. Don’t overwater. On your designated watering day, stick your finger about an inch deep into the soil of each plant to see if it needs water. If the soil is still moist, skip watering that week. If the soil is dry, add a little water.
4. Fertilize. I didn’t do this for a long time because it seemed like it would be a hassle. Then I found this liquid houseplant food that you use by squeezing a few drops into your watering can every time you water. It’s really easy, and I’ve noticed lots of new growth since I started using it.
5. Talk to your plants. This is silly, but I talk to my plants. They like a little encouragement (“Good job little guy! I see you have a new leaf coming out!”) and a pat on the leafy head.
If you are still dubious about houseplants, here are two that you won’t be able to kill. Seriously.
They come in several colors, will survive in everything from low to bright light, and can go a while without water. They’re also satisfying to grow because they quickly vine all over the place. I got tired of one of my philodendrons and tried to kill it by neglecting it for a few months—finally I just threw it out still alive. These are tough plants!
I’ll admit I’ve killed one snake plant. I didn’t water it for 3 or 4 months, and then I overwatered it to compensate and its roots rotted. As long as you don’t do that, you’ll be fine! I’ve had one in my basement for a few years that hardly gets any sunlight. I always forget to water it, and it still looks great.
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The houseplant problem I’ve yet to solve is fungus gnats. If anyone has tips I’d love to hear them! My big terrarium is infested due to gnat larvae being in the soil of the succulents I bought. So sad. I’ve tried all sorts of remedies like cinnamon, letting the soil dry out completely, mosquito dunks, peppermint tea, and two types of insecticides—none of which seem to bother the gnats in the least!