Indoor plants can be finicky things – either too hot or too cold. Too damp, or gasping for water. And don’t get us started on direct sunlight versus indirect sunlight versus shaded areas. There’s more to plant parenthood than meets the eye, so we’ve wrapped seven care tips for indoor plants, beyond just watering them. We know you bought a whole jungle of indoor plants in 2020.
1. Make sure your plants have good drainage
Yes, this is a fancy-pants way to say “use a pot with a hole in the bottom” but it’s important, so here we are. Having a pot with a hole in the bottom also allows for ‘bottom watering’ which is where you sit your plant in water, instead of pouring water over the soil surface. Trapping water in a pot, resulting in the soil being too wet, is a fast-track to root rot and unhappy plants.
2. Dust your plants
With a slightly damp cloth, wipe the leaves of your indoor plants to prevent dust buildup. Dust makes it harder for your plants to absorb light… something about photosynthesis is ringing a bell? An added bonus is that the leaves will look lovely and shiny and green and you’ll look like a top-tier plant parent.
3. Rotate your plant
If your plants are only receiving light from one direction, we recommend you rotate them slightly each time you water. This will prevent them from growing unevenly or growing towards the light.
4. Use a good quality potting mix
There are plenty of benefits from using a good-quality potting mix. One one is that it will greatly reduce the chance of having an infestation of those tiny pesky gnats. Yours truly is battling gnats in her office plants right now, and let me tell you, it’s really straining the plant-owner relationship.
5. Don’t be scared to repot
Repotting can be daunting. ‘What if I kill it?’ we hear you cry. Fear not, with a few simple precautions, your plant will thank you. If you see roots protruding from the drainage hole, or if the plant has stopped growing and you know it should still have more growth left in it, then it’s a sure sign you need to re-pot.
Try to only repot when your plant is in excellent health. Repotting can be stressful and just like grandma, a move could spell the end. In terms of choosing a new pot, 50% bigger again is a good rule of thumb. Once you have completed repotting, be sure to give the plant plenty of TLC to help it settle in.
6. Less (water) is more
We know we said this advice list was going to be more than just watering tips, but water is *kind of* important. We live by two rules of thumb for our indoor plants. The first is that plants are better off being under-watered than overwatered. Yes, this is a fine line, but you can always top your water up. The second is to treat your house plants like a cake you’re baking – stick your finger a decent depth into the soil. If it comes out clean or a little dusty, it’s time to water. If it comes out with dirt stuck to it, wait a little longer. And when you’ve left the soil to dry out and it’s time to water, give the plant a good soaking.
7. Make the air a little more humid
If you really want to take your plant parenthood to the next level, you can add some humidity to the areas your plants inhabit. Our homes often have very dry air, particularly in winter, and typically plants thrive in humid conditions. Spraying leaves with water or, if your commitment levels are peaking, buy a humidifier.