January 06, 2023
Houseplant Care Guide: Tips to Keep Your Plants Alive
With a lot of us spending more of our time at home over the last few years, houseplants have become increasingly popular. Not only do these indoor plants create a more tropical and serene atmosphere in your home, but they also have numerous health benefits!
But you may be thinking: Can you peacefully take care of a houseplant if you have a notorious black thumb? Thankfully, yes, as proper plant care does not have to be difficult — although it can be rather intimidating at first. If you seem to always disappoint your plants, then you’ve come to the right place! We’ve outlined a few valuable tips to help you become an amazing plant parent in no time:
General Houseplant Tips
The houseplant care tips below are generalized to try and help anyone provide the best life for their new plant. However, while these guiding principles are good to follow, it is also recommended that you look up additional care tips for your specific type of plant. You’ll want to make sure you get more in-depth information on your plant’s particular watering needs, the amount of sunlight needed, and what pot sizes are best for it.
When to Repot Houseplants
Even though your plant may already come in a beautiful or suitable planter, you may feel as though you want to repot it immediately. However, it’s typically best to allow your plant to continue living in its original pot once you get it home, as there can be a lot of stress on a plant when it is shipped or moved from its original environment. After a short time has passed and the plant has been allowed to adjust to its environment, removing the plant from its planter and moving it to another can be beneficial, especially as this can allow you to find a more suitable place for the plant in your space. Knowing your specific plant’s light requirements is key, as too much direct sunlight can cause some plant foliage to burn, while lower light conditions may limit potential growth.
While repotting your plant, you’re allowed to assess the plant’s roots and overall health. Ideally, the roots of the plant should be white or tan. If the roots are black, feel mushy or dry, smell, and appear to be moldy, then there’s a good chance your plant is experiencing some problems. The most common issues are root rot and not enough space in the pot for roots to expand. However, preventing this from happening is fairly simple. Ensure that the pot you’re using is big enough to sustain the expected growth of the plant and has drainage holes (drainage holes minimize the chances of your plant being overwatered). Also, don’t just pull out your plant from its pot, as this can damage the roots further. Use the following guide to help you successfully repot a plant:
Layer the new pot with soil
Water your plant to prevent it from falling apart upon removal
Put your hand above your plant and slowly turn it upside down
Remove old roots before placing the plant into its new home
Gently place the plant into the pot and pat down the soil firmly
Provide Consistent Care
A vital part of houseplant care is providing consistency. Plants will flourish in a stable environment. Constantly repositioning your plant to new locations around your home can do more harm than good. Plants adapt to whatever environment they’re placed in. Any sudden change in light can disturb your plant, which can hinder its growth or unfortunately kill it.
Feel the Soil to Know How Often to Water
Are you constantly asking yourself, “How to care for indoor plants?” One simple way to care for houseplants is to check the soil often. It’s incredibly easy to overwater indoor potted plants, so it’s best to make sure the soil is dry before watering.
Here are a few ways to check if your plant needs water:
Dip your finger into the soil of the pot until it reaches your first knuckle. You’ll be able to tell if the soil is dry almost immediately. However, don’t do this if you have a smaller plant as this can disturb their habitat.
Grab a wooden skewer or wooden chopstick and stick it into the soil. When removing the stick, look to see if the soil is falling off easily.
If your plant isn’t too heavy, pick it up to assess its weight. A lightweight plant may indicate it’s time to water it. However, take note of how much your plant weighs after being watered to ensure consistency.
Prune and Propagate
To help indoor plants, like a mini rose plant or an indoor bonsai tree, you must learn how to correctly prune them. Trimming away the dead and browning foliage of your plant will allow it to grow better and stronger than ever. If you’re pruning more than one plant, remember to wipe and clean the blades of your pruner to prevent possible plant diseases from spreading.
Have you been hearing the word propagate around, but don’t know what it means? Propagating is essentially a way in which you can grow more plants with the one you currently own. The process involves taking plant parts, such as stems, leaves, roots, and more to increase the number of plants in your home. There are various ways to propagate plants, and the best way will depend on the plant you have. For example, desk plants like succulents require you to wait a few days to ensure the cut you made on the leaf heals and a callus forms.
If you prefer not to propagate in order to increase your plant collection, why not try a houseplant delivery from FTD? You can get various blooming plants delivered without ever having to leave your home.
Prepare for Colder Months
How to take care of indoor plants during colder seasons you may ask? As winter approaches, your plant is going to need less water, so a few adjustments to your plant care routine is necessary. During this time, plenty of homes experience dryness, which can hurt your plant.
If you want to keep your plant moist, use a humidifier or mist your plant to keep its humidity level under control. It’s important you keep your plant at an optimal temperature where it won’t be too warm or too cold. Getting your plant to survive the winter may seem difficult, but by closely monitoring its behavior you’ll be ready for any seasonal change.
Fertilize Your Houseplant When Needed
Outdoor roses and other plants need fertilizer because their environment is constantly changing. However, the same thing cannot necessarily be said about indoor plants. Still, houseplants can benefit from getting regular feeding from fertilizers. The best time to fertilize your plants is usually in early spring and throughout the summer months, while your plants are most active and likely producing new growth. It certainly can be hard to find the right fertilizer for your plant and the wrong one can sometimes do more damage than good, so it’s best to do some research on your specific plant’s needs before feeding it.
Be Wary of Pests
Even if you take the very best care of your plant, you could always be under threat of a potential pest infestation. There are a number of various pests that can affect your houseplant, including spider mites, mealybugs, scales, and fungus gnats. Some of these can quickly kill your plant, so it’s important to keep a close eye on its status. Catching a pest infestation early on is incredibly important, as early treatment can be a great way to combat any issues that may arise, and your plant is far more likely to recover so it can keep on thriving.
If you’ve been thinking about getting a plant, but are unsure about your ability to keep one alive, this is your sign to go out and buy one. With these tips, you’ll be ready to care for your plants like a pro! You can schedule a same-day plant delivery from FTD to help you get started on your indoor gardening adventure right away.