Plant Care 101
Our Top Tips For Plant Care
Written by Samantha Agostino
Plant care can be daunting for many, especially if you're new to plants. Not to worry! Here's a plant care guide to help you learn the basic requirements for plant growth and maintenance. From watering needs, to sunlight exposure, this guide has it mapped out for you so that you can welcome in as many new green buds as you want and feel perfectly capable of keeping them happy and healthy!
Remember though, this is just basic plant care information and is a great tool for beginner plant parents. Be sure to check out the specific needs of your plants to make sure you're giving them the best care possible! If you haven't quite decided on a plant to start out your collection, try the free Flora App, where you can filter by difficulty level and pick the perfect plant for you!
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Be Mindful of Watering Schedules
One of the most basic, if not the most important part of plant care, is water! Making sure you're meeting the watering requirements of your plant is a pivotal part of keeping your plant alive. Be sure to research the specific water needs of your plant, including type of water to use, how frequently to water your plant, the most effective watering method, and how much water to use for each watering cycle. Always remember, it's better to underwater than to overwater!
When picking which plant to add to your collection, it is wise to be mindful of the plant's preferred watering schedule. If you're a busy person or tend to be forgetful, perhaps choosing a plant that is drought-tolerant is the best choice for you!
Consider Your Space's Lighting
The amount of light exposure your plant receives plays a big part in how it will grow. Depending on the lighting requirements of your plant, it is best to asses your home or office's window placement. Some plants require as much direct sun as possible, so having a southern or western-facing window is an ideal spot to place your plant. Whereas other plants prefer low lit spots, and placing them in a northern-facing window is ideal.
Exposing your plant to too much sun can lead to leaf burn or browning leaf tips, and exposing your plant to too little sun can result in drooping and color fading. Be sure you check on the particular lighting preferences of your plant to ensure it can grow full and vibrant!
Maintain A Stable Temperature
Depending on the natural environment of your plant, its preferred temperature can range from cool, normal room temperature, or warm. Before you buy a new plant, look into what its comfortable temperature is. A tropical native typically seeks out warmer temperatures, whereas plants native to the northern hemisphere can withstand colder temperatures. If you prefer to keep your home or office on the colder side, stay away from tropical plants.
It may be tempting to periodically fluctuate the temperature in your space to accommodate your plant, but sudden changes in temperature may actually be harmful! Plants prefer steady and constant environments, so pick a plant that will be comfortable in the same conditions that you are.
Give A Good Misting
Some plants love humidity; most people don't! If you find yourself in the possession of a plant that is native to the tropics or rainforests, you may need to modify your space to accommodate your plant. If your plant is a humidity loving green fellow, some easy ways to increase humidity without having to move, can be purchasing a humidifier, placing your plant's pot on top of a tray of pebbles and water, or giving it a good misting every so often. On the flip side of things, if your plant isn't keen on humidity, and you happen to live in a humid climate, it is wise to invest in a dehumidifier.
Drainage is Key
As important as watering is, so is proper drainage. You never want to let your plant sit in stagnant water, as this is the main cause of root rot. When watering your plant you want to make sure that the water doesn't pool in the soil and sit there. By using a pot with drainage holes, you allow any excess water to seep out of the bottom of the pot instead of keeping the roots submerged.
Get The Right Potting Mix
A happy plant needs a happy home, and you can achieve this with the proper potting mixture. There are many varieties of potting mix specific to different plants and plant types, each one consisting of different components and ratios. An easy way to determine a good potting mix for your plant is by using the Flora App, where you can find the preferred soil type and potting mix for your specific plant!
Know When To Fertilize
The same way people benefit from vitamins, plants can benefit from fertilizer. Though they are not always necessary, fertilizers can help encourage growth and flowering. By doing some research, you can determine the specific type of fertilizer best suited for your plant. Be attentive to the directions though! Some plants require diluted solutions to half or quarter strength, and anything stronger can negatively impact your plant.
If you are certain about giving your plant that extra bit of love, but aren't the greatest at keeping a schedule, you can opt for a slow-release fertilizer. With these, you only have to apply once and the fertilizer does the rest of the work for you!
Watch Out For Pests
Pests and diseases can run rampant if you aren't dialed in to your plant's condition. You should regularly check your plant for any abnormalities in color, texture, and leaf structure. If undetected or left untreated, pests and diseases can kill your plant. It is easier to maintain preventative treatments than trying to reverse damage.
Repot Overgrown Plants
Monitoring the size and growth of your plant is important to know when to repot. Your plants cannot get any bigger or grow much if they are root-bound. Root-bound means a plant's roots have grown too large within its pot and have no more room to expand; a great indicator of this is when you see the roots coming out of the pot's drainage holes. If you notice the growth of your plant is stunted, take careful measures to remove your plant from its current pot and place in a new, bigger pot with fresh soil.
Cut The Dead Stuff
Just because part of your plant seems to be dying, that doesn't mean your plant's overall health is on the brink of death. The best way to prevent decay from spreading is by cutting off any leaves or stems that have lost their luster. This allows your plant to focus its energy on maintaining its healthy parts, rather than repairing the already decayed.
Download the Flora App for detailed guides on how to care for your specific plants!