It's springtime and you want flowers, I get it, I do too. But as I've learned plant care is a lot more than picking up a basil plant at whole foods and making sure the soil is moist. It happens to me every year around spring and summer. I go to the farmers market and pick up some mint, rosemary and the basil plant that never ceases to die on me. If I'm lucky only after harvesting once or twice.
Even though it sucks being in North America where you can't reasonably grow plants for food year-round without serious thought and effort, this year I took matters a little more seriously. I knew thousands have successfully grown and cared for simple indoors plants so I decided to give it a try. I quickly found out how clueless I was. I never considered how much equipment was required or how easy it can be to get carried away. I feel like what caught me off guard the most was how much I ended up caring about these plants individually. Throughout my journey, I've picked up a couple of tips you might want to keep in mind.
Not monitoring humidity
I think we all know to check our water but some plants are fickle and require a little extra care. I picked up a prayer plant because it was absolutely gorgeous and essentially calling out my name. But turns out it's extremely temperamental and shrivels up when hit by direct sunlight. It also likes moisture like a lot of moisture. It's an Amazonian plant that likes a lot of moisture. thankfully I have a diffuser that seems to help, and now I have more reasons to stack up on essential oils.
Not buying starting soil
So if you're like, me then around springtime you raid the aisles for your next seed starting adventure. I usually pick up a packet or two with huge plans that never come to fruition. I usually pick up those cute pots at the 5 below that have the soil pellets in them. WATCH THEM GROW!! But since I was trying for a few plants I picked up a seed starting kit and found myself with no soil. No worries I'll get some topsoil from outside, right? False, seed starting soil is necessary in order to grow thriving plants. Back to the store I go...
Glossing over plant care instructions
I know I'm not the only one who's picked up some tulips or roses at the store just to gloss over that care card they stick in the soil. It's so straight forward. Full or partial sun, moist or moderately soil and some temperature guidelines that I ignore because. Hey, I don't run the weather. I toss them and regret it three days later when the plant loses its luster. I know they're not ascetically pleasing their are necessary at least until your comfortable knowing the plants needs.
Not knowing your plant
This goes with the last statement. I hauled a bunch of seeds and containers from 5 below. They're touted as easy to care for and grow, but it's so misleading. I purchased a chamomile and lavender seed combo only to find out that lavender seeds take weeks to germinate and even longer to flower. While the chamomile took about a week. It's not ideal to have them in the same pot. Now I'm in limbo hoping my lavender will sprout.
Not knowing basic plant care
This may seem redundant but it's not. Knowing about and caring for one plant differs from caring for several. When you start to accumulate plants it's good to read about general plant care to know the different types of plants and how their needs vary. When you get to know more about horticulture, you'll notice plants can be placed in groups depending on their needs.
Being too ambitious
Not having a plan
All of these mishaps could have been avoided if I started with a plan. Going to Home Depot and picking up whatever sounds nice is okay if your willing to invest some serious time and cash in the back end. It's better to think about what your needs are, what your space can handle. A good rule of thumb I follow now is “don't find a space for your plant but find a plant for your space".
*Don't forget to have fun with it
Gardening indoors can seem like a challenge but there are tons of plants that can thrive in a small or poorly light space. I'm a fan of climbing foliage and love the string of hearts plant. Looks beautiful and is relatively low maintenance. Also if you're green thumb is close to rotting away, pick up some succulents. They're a hardy plant that can take whatever you throw at it.
Happy gardening ;)