Whether you fall into the “I am the best plant killer” category or have a veritable jungle in your home, you are bound to have made at least one of these very common plant care mistakes…
Sometimes we forget that plants are living creatures not furniture, they need proper sunlight, water, food (fertilizer) and temperatures to thrive. When you are plant shopping, think about your natural habitat and habits. Do you have afternoon sun beaming in your space? Or, do you have a spot that receives only some morning sun? Are you not likely to tend to the care of your plants often? Your conditions and intended relationship with your plants will help choose the proper plants to thrive in your company… Here are five common mistakes houseplant caretakers make and how to avoid them:
IMPROPER WATERING HABITS
One of the quickest ways to doom your plants over or under water them. Do you check the soil each time before you water? If you don’t, you could be over or underwatering your plants. Both are problematic. Here’s why:
Underwatering houseplants will show itself through wilted plants, dry soil, crispy leaf tips, and slow growth. To bring your plant back to life, slowly begin to water it. Give it a soak, let the water drip out of the bottom of the container, leave it for a few hours, and then check it if the soil is dry or moist.
Overwatering a houseplant limits the plant’s ability to breathe and they begin to drown and or rot. Generally, you will notice your plant developing yellow or brown foliage if it is overwatered. If you notice your plant is wilting, but the soil is wet, there’s a problem. If you notice any of these signs check the roots of the plant to see if there is mould or root rot. If you notice grey, brown, slimy roots, the plant likely has root rot and unfortunately is highly unlikely to survive and would have a very long stunted road to recovery if the right measures are taken. Often overwatering occurs at the onset of winter when ambient temperatures and light begin to wain and the plants natural growth slows, and thus their demand for water, but we continue the same watering regiment as we have comfortably, confidently come to know through the season…. A moisture metre can help prevent overwatering. It can take some time to figure out a proper watering schedule with your plants and learn to respect the seasons, but we know you can do it.
NOT ENOUGH SUNLIGHT
Placing a plant that needs lots of direct sunlight (cactus, succulents, for example) in a space with no direct sunlight will not bring you a happy plant. Natural light is ideal for most plants, but if you have an office with artificial light, there are some options. Seasonal light and temperature changes might also have a direct impact on the health of your plants. You may be wise to back off from that comfortable (usually sunny) window sill spot in the winter to avoid a cold stress shock to your plant. Getting to know the specific microclimates of your house throughout the entire year will help you keep your favourite listeners alive.
REPOTTING INCORRECTLY OR NOT AT ALL
If you notice your houseplants slowing in growth and drying out quickly, it is likely time to repot. For most houseplants this is every two to three years – this will vary on the type of plant, and it’s growing space. If you are repotting, select a container that is two to three inches wider and taller than the current pot. Avoid jumping to a much larger pot, it won’t accelerate growth and is often a hindrance to a healthy future.
Fertilizer is one of the most overlooked aspects to plant care. Houseplants should be fertilized in growth season (spring to summer). We have a wide selection of fertilizers available to promote healthy foliage, strong roots, or flowers.
NOT CLEANING THE PLANT’S FOLIAGE
Indoor plants do not receive natural rainfall to remove dirt and dust from the foliage of plants. Plants can we sprayed with a mist or wiped down with a wet cloth once a month. Doing this will keep your plants breathing and prevents pests.
Remember, growing houseplants is a journey. You’ll lose a couple of green friends along the way but being mindful of their growth requirements and your lifestyle; you can create a compatible relationship.