As you might have noticed, my love for house plants has grown so much over the last few months. I basically started having plants in July, last year, after I came home from Canada. I totally didn’t have any idea what I was doing and definitely killed quite a few of them at first but now I know at least kind of what they need and so I thought why not write a blog post about plant care 🙂
Since I get asked a lot about how to keep your house plants alive, I thought I am going to put all of my tips into one blog post and hope we can keep those babies alive together!
I didn’t fertilize my plants for a few months. To be honest, I totally forgot about it and also never really heard someone else talking about it. But using a fertilizer makes total sense. You have to imagine that your plants aren’t just plants. They are living beings and from now and then they want something else than just water. They need food too and that is what the fertilizer will provide them with. If you use fertilizer, your plant’s leaves will more likely grow bigger and look greener which is what we all want.
So, I put mine into the water and give it to them about once a week. Definitely depends on how wet the soil still is but generally I would recommend once every one to two weeks. In fall and winter, when you take longer breaks between watering, you will have to take longer fertilizing breaks as well.
I would definitely read the instructions on your fertilizer which you can get at any plant store or nursery or online.
Make sure though that you get the right kind! You can’t use the fertilizer you use for your non-flowering plants on your succulents or cacti. They need a weaker dose. I heard there are also all-purpose fertilizers but I am not familiar with them, unfortunately. So, I would just ask for advice from an employee and I am sure you will be fine 🙂
Dust and Spritz
Dusting is SO important. Your skin can’t breathe if you wear impermeable materials. Dust has the same effect on plants. They won’t be able to purify the air from pollutants, won’t store CO2 or produce oxygen. Another thing, especially during winter is that the air in your room more likely will be dry, which isn’t good for your skin and generally your body.
So, aren’t these enough reasons to start dusting your plants as soon as you finished reading this blog post?
Another thing you need to remember while dusting is to not only dust the top of the leaves but also the bottom. That’s apparently where they breathe the most. You can use any kind of soft cloth. Make it a teeny tiny bit wet and dust the leaves very gently. And tadaaa, your plants will thank you!
Now on to spritzing your plants. I would say that’s as important as dusting them since a lot like high humidity. It also helps them to breathe which will bring you the benefits I mentioned above.
I have a very cheap spritzer and it works perfectly fine. At the moment I spray them about every two to three days but in combination with dusting, you can also take longer breaks.
Watering can be very tricky. So many times I overwatered my plants and I think that is one of the most common reasons why people kill their plants. And to be honest, I still find it super tricky and sometimes even stressful.
The best tip I have is to do kind of a finger test if you wanna call it like that. All you do is take your finger and stick it about 2 centimeters into the soil of your plant. If it’s still wet or damp, then you don’t have to water it. If it’s dry, go ahead and give it some water. That is definitely the method which works the best for me.
Next step is to take your watering can, fill it up, maybe mix it with some fertilizer and then water your plant until the water comes out of the drainage holes. After you let it sit for a bit, take the coaster and remove all of the extra water. That is very important since unnecessary water can cause root rot or a soft and mushy stem which is definitely not what we aim for.
I also really like to give my plants a good shower from now and then. All you have to do is put them all in your bathtub or shower and give them a good rinse. Not only will they get watered, but their leaves will also be cleaned which is SO important, as you already know by now.
A point which a lot of people forget, I’d say. It is so important to listen to your plants and most of the time they tell you very clearly what they need.
A few examples:
Crispy Leaves: Most commonly your plants might get little water or the room has a low level of humidity.
→ Solution: Change up your watering routine and provide your room with more humidity. You can spritz your plants, use a water diffuser or put a bowl of water next to your plants.
Yellow/Brown spots on leaves: Your plant got sunburned! Or overwatered. One of the two.
→ Solution: Change your watering routine to a more proper one and if the soil is too wet, maybe repotting would be a good idea. Also, change the location to a less sunny one.
Brown Leaf Tips: That means you are giving your plant either too much or too little water. Or too much fertilizer.
→ Solution: Change up your watering routine and make the finger test. If it’s damp, don’t give it water until the top coat of the soil is dried out. Also, read the instructions of your fertilizer and stick to them. So important!
Lost of Leaves: Sounds very dramatic, I know. The reason your plant might be dropping leaves is too much fertilizer, too little sun, wrong watering routine or it was exposed to cold (e.g. an open window).
→ Solution: Check watering routine, change to a location with more direct sunlight and warmer temperatures and stop fertilizing for a few weeks.
Treat them as friends and be patient
I would say that this is the most important point when it comes to plant care. Don’t hate your plants for their yellow leaves or for not growing new ones…if you treat them like friends, listen to their needs and concerns (haha) then they’ll reward you and most of the time it just needs a lot of patience. You had to learn how to cook a meal or how to use Instagram and plant care is a learning process as well. Like I said before, I killed almost every plant I purchased back in July last year. I had to understand what plant care really means, what different plants need and how to get into a watering routine. All of that will come with time and the rewards will be so worth it if you stick to it. I promise!