If you’re someone who likes the idea of starting a houseplant collection, but think its daunting, or you’re convinced that you’ll kill a plant just by looking at it, give this a quick read. If you still think you’re not ready to be a plant parent, start with one plant, master its care, add a few more, then go from there (Watch out – its addicting).
All plants need water, simple yes, but all plants have different watering needs. Knowing which plants need more or less water, takes research, or a lot of dead plants, to figure it out.
Since we’re talking houseplants, you will most likely be planting in containers. All your houseplants should be potted in a container that has drainage holes, unless you’ve set up an indoor water garden. Proper drainage ensures the plants roots don’t develop root rot. Its also important to not let your plant sit in the water in the cache-pot, as this water will contain salts and minerals that the plant doesn’t need to reabsorb.
If you’re un under-waterer, it may help to set up a schedule for watering. Set a weekly timer to ‘water your plants’, but before dowsing your plant, test the soil. If it’s still damp or moist to the touch, set your timer for another day or two.
If you’re like me you may have plants scattered all over the house, in every available windowsill, but this can become tricky when it comes to proper care. I can forget a plant for several days because its in the guest room and I rarely go in there.
To make plant care easier, group all the plants with similar needs together. For example, keep all your water loving plants – Alocasia, Caladium etc in the same place, and all your lower maintenance plants together – snake plants and cacti. Not only does it actually look nicer to have similar plants grouped together, it also makes watering & care easier.
When deciding how to arrange your plants, work with height. Always place your larger/faster growing plants at the back. You don’t want to have to reach over big plants, risking leaf breakage, just to water the smaller plants at the back. Or use stands to add depth and elevation to your display. If your have a small room, use as much vertical space as possible, to avoid overcrowding.
Houseplants only have a finite amount of nutrients available in the potting soil, so its important to supplement the soil often. Usually the potting soil you’ll get at nurseries has enough nutrients/fertiliser in it to sustain the plant for another several months. If you notice a slow down in growth or your plant looks lethargic, give it a little boost. You can either add pellets in the new soil mix of add a liquid fertiliser to your water, ever other watering, during the growing period.
Make sure to read labels carefully so you don’t over-fertilise, which can kill your plant.
If you’re not too sure, ask someone at the nursery to help you. Otherwise ask any questions you have in the comments below, and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours.
Ive mentioned reminders above, but just to bring it all together here, reminders are a great way to ensure your plants get the care they need. There are several apps that work to keep you on track. When I started my plant collection, I used Planta, until I got the hang of the care routines on my own. I recommend trying it out! Or you can just set reminders on your phone, that works too.
Fertilise – during growing period & not when plants are dormant.
Watering – every several days to every 2 weeks, plant type depending.