Top Tips For New Plant Parents

Top Tips For New Plant Parents

Ready to take the plunge into plant parenthood? Welcome – you’ll never look back! Maybe you got a plant as a housewarming gift and have no idea what to do next, or looking to liven up your share house with some lush greenery?

Here’s For My Planties’ top tips to get you started on your plant journey!

Light

Before you adopt a new plant baby, be sure to consider the amount of light you have available in your home to ensure your chosen plant can live it’s best life! Do you have plenty of window sills or are all your possible plant homes, away from a window? If you’ve got space next to a window – fantastic! Consider something from the Alocasia family or a Rubber Tree plant (Ficus Elastica). Be careful not to place your plants directly against glass/windows with very harsh sun, as they can still get sunburnt inside! House not so bright? Not to worry! There are plenty of plants that will still thrive in low light such as a Zanzibar Gem (ZZ Plant) or Devils Ivy (Pothos).

Keep an eye out for plants starting to lean or tilt towards (or away from) the sun. Depending on which way they are leaning, this can be a sign they are looking for more light (leaning towards the sun) or less light (leaning away). Spin your plants around slightly once a week or so to ensure they are receiving even light.

Water

One of the most common reasons your plant might not be loving life is overwatering. Ever heard someone say “I can’t take care of plants – even killed a cactus!”? – overwatering is likely the culprit.

Overwatering often happens when you are watering your plants too frequently and can cause issues such as root rot or yellowing leaves which ultimately can kill your plant. There’s no “standard” amount of time to wait before watering your plants again – this will depend on the plant itself and how much water it needs, what soil it’s planted in or the climate where you live. First of all, do some research to find out the needs of each of your plants. Some will need lots of water and some, not so much. Keep an eye on your plants weekly - and check to see if the soil is still damp before watering! Many indoor plants prefer to dry out between waterings, so if it's still damp a few centimetres down (don't be afraid to get your hands dirty - literally!), then leave it a few more days. 

Some plants are very dramatic and will very obviously "tell" you when they need water - peace lillies in particular will droop all over their leaves when they need a drink, and some other plants such as Satin Pothos will curl their leaves. 

As you learn more about what your plants need, you will eventually get into a rhythm with how much water they need. Remember when in doubt - leave it to dry out! You will have fewer problems underwatering for a week or two than overwatering. 

Pests

Every plant parents nightmare – pests! There are countless pests an indoor plant lover is likely to encounter on their journey – mealy bugs, gnats, or my personal enemy – spider mites. Different species’ are prone to different types of bugs, and unfortunately there is no “one size fits all” cure. Stay one step ahead of pests by keeping a very close eye on your plants. I recommend doing this once a week, or whenever you water your plants. Check the top of your soil, on stems, underneath leaves and in any hidden crevices of your plant and take action as soon as you see any sign of pests. They can often spread quick between plants so if you notice one with pests – isolate it as soon as you can to keep the others safe!

Got some annoying fruit-fly looking bugs buzzing around your house? These are gnats and are often a sign of overwatering – they love damp soil! Top of your leaves look dusty? It’s likely not actually dust – but actually the aftermath of spider mites.

When in doubt, snap a close up photo and pop down to your local gardening store for some professional advice on pest control – as some pest solutions do require safety measures due to their strength.

And of course don't forget the most important of all - a beautiful pot for your beautiful plant! Be sure to check out the For My Planties range of hand crafted ceramic pots here