A Beginner's Guide To Becoming A Plant Mom
Create a jungle with these tips and some ease.
Everyone loves plants. Whether they admit it or not to the public, seeing the trees bloom or a shrub get a bit fuller, nature is proven to bring people happiness. Growing up, I was surrounded by plants. My grandmother had plants lining her hallways tucked in window frames and encasing her living room. My mom was not too far behind. Our porch and deck full of nature's beauty and every morning the dew would rise on our semi-jungle on the deck. That's when I bought my first plant. I was so excited, I could finally take care of something that was my own, with nothing to worry about... SIKE I killed it within a week. My little fourth-grade heart was crushed and I didn't know where I went wrong, I mean I watered it, I gave it sunlight, and I kept it outside. I followed the "green thumb" rules and still messed up.
Well, ten years later I have over 50 plants. I buy at least a few plants a month and it has blown in a full-on addiction. Hey, it's better than drugs right! Over the years I have said hello and goodbye to many green friends as they withered away in the Missouri summers and especially the winters. I now feel qualified to write a Rachel's Declassified, Plan Survival Guide for all of you plant lovers out there.
First, let's talk about watering. Watering your plants is tricky I mean, we drink water every day, shouldn't my succulent? NO! Overwatering plants are one of the main causes of premature plant death. RIP to all of the plants that I had literally drowned in my love, and lukewarm water. Plants should only be watered when the first 1 or 2 inches of their soil is dry. Just stick your finger in the soil, or if you don't like dirt you could stick a toothpick and see if the soil sticks. If it sticks just walk away and let your plant thrive. If your finger comes back dry it's time to water. My advice is to walk over a sink, bathtub, or if it's warm enough, outside to water your plants. You are going to want to take your plant and water it until you see water coming out of the drainage holes. Another tip for watering is don't leave your watered plant in its saucer that sits under it. The saucer will catch water and leave the plant sitting in it, which can cause root rot and yet again plant death. Depending on the plant you can water every few weeks in the summer, or one or two times a month in the winter. A key tip to seeing if your plant needs water just by looking at it is if the leaves look a little shriveled or if it's droopy. After watering your plant should perk and plump back up. If your plant is turning brown that means you are overwatering it and should let it dry out for a few weeks to see if it is savable.
Second, you should look at your surroundings. Do you get at least 6 hours of sunlight in your plant area? If not, you might want to rearrange the plants. Do you have dry or humid air? If you have humid awesome just let your babies thrive, but if you have dry air, just go a buy a cheap spray bottle at a dollar store and every now and then spritz the leaves and soil of the plant so it can soak up the humidity you just added. And lastly, do you keep the apartment really hot or really cold? If you are an extremist, this could cause difficulty with your plants. From the nursery or greenhouse, you bought it from to now the plant could go into shock and will stunt its growth. It's best to leave the temp around 70 degrees if you want a luxurious plant forest.
Finally, we are at the fun stuff, deciding which plant you should buy, and which pot to use! Plants come in all different shapes, sizes, colors and price tags. If you are a just starting and have never bought a plant before, I recommend going through trials with succulents and cactuses, they need minimal water and indirect sunlight. But if you want to start with something fuller the snake plant is your go-to. They are somewhat indestructible. They grow great in low light, low water, and low attention. They just want to be admired and only want a drink every now and then. Another plant is a pothos plant. This trailing plant will leave you amazed by the fast-growing and beautiful foliage that it gives off in a matter of time. The wandering Jew plant is a beautiful trailing plant that adds a pop of purple to a green plant-scape. The easiest plant to take care of is probably a spider plant. This plant is the plant that keeps on giving. Within a few months of growing, it will produce babies that you can cut off and report making a whole spider plant family. Pots are up for debate. Some people praise ceramic pots while others swear by terra cotta. Any pot you get just to make sure is 1) big enough for your plant, 2) isn't too big that can cause stunting in growth, 3) has drainage holes.
Plants are simple causes of joy. They can make a room more aesthetic, add some clean air, and are a fun hobby to start. Everyone kills plants, even professionals, just take your time, find a plant that speaks to you and most importantly asks questions. There is never a stupid question when it comes to creating your own plant fam.