The Beginner's Guide To Taking Care Of Houseplants
I remember when I first started my Instagram account and I use to drool over all of Ficus photos thinking I could never have one of those post-worthy plants, but damn are they gorgeous! Who knew that years later, I’d be a bonafide plant mama and and people would come to me for advice on how to care for houseplants. It just goes to show you that you literally can do anything that anyone else does. You are the only one holding you back from everything you desire. But that’s a different blog post for a different section on this blog, so for now let’s keep it about the plants.
There are various plants you can get for your home, but the first things you have to consider are where is the best lighting in your home? Do you have open windows that get full sun, mid-day sun, or partial sun? Do you live in a warm climate or a cold climate? What’s your budget for houseplants? The addiction is real and that plant money can go quickly so I’ll also include the best places to purchase plants, especially if you are on a budget.
There are three houseplants that are virtually un-killable. Plants will talk to you and let you know what they need if you are willing to observe and listen. The worst thing you can do for a houseplant is buy it and forget it. These are living creatures. They are alive and they grow. They need water and sun just like we do! So, if you mainly want to purchase a houseplant for the sake of the gram, I suggest buying fake ones. However, if you are willing to put in the time and minimal effort, you will have an urban jungle in no time.
If you are new to caring for houseplants, here are the top three that I suggest. Pothos, Mother-In-Law’s Tongue, and the Spider Plant.. I know that most houseplant people suggest you dive into a Ficus aka The Queen Fiddle Leaf Tree, but I’m here to be honest and not here to tell you want you want to hear. The holy-grail of plants, the crème-de-la-crème of houseplants is the infamous Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree, but it’s not for the faint of heart and it’s not for a beginner. I will post an entire separate blog post on how to care for a Fiddle Leaf Fig because they are dreamy and do deserve the recognition they recieve.
The three easiest houseplants to begin with are the Pothos, the Mother’s-In-Law’s Tongue, and a Spider Plant. The Pothos; also knows as Devils Ivy is a climber plant and can survive in virtually any light. Meaning, if you have a dark room and you water the Pothos correctly, it’s nearly impossible to kill. If you put the Pothos plant in a sunny, bright room, the leaf color variations will change and you will have the coolest looking plant in town. I have several variations of the Pothos plant because I LOVE them! They can be vines and you can train them to grow on your living room walls, or they can be put in a pot and they will grow full and bushy that way. You can also propagate Pothos plants, although I’ve never done it.
I’ve purchased my beloved Pothos from a local fancy plant store in Sacramento as well as Lowes, Home Depot, and Ikea. If you do purchase your plants from Lowe’s or Home Depot, you need to quarantine them first as they come from mass warehouses and they do tend to get bug easily. If you want your plants to live, you don’t want them to get bugs. Trust me, mealy bugs and spider mites are SUCH a pain to get rid of. Again, another blog post for another time.
Don’t Repot Plans Right Away
When you first purchase any houseplant, don’t repot it. I REPEAT! Don’t repot it! I see so many people suggesting to and repotting plants on Instagram and I want to scream because that is what kills your new plants. No houseplant should be repotted for at-least a year or until they grow out of their original pot. You can place the plant in a clay pot and it will look as if you planted it that way. Whatever you do, don’t repot your plants. They started in that pot and they like that pot. When you re-pot a new plant, you are taking the plant out of its home and comfort space. That’s the fastest to lose a new plant.
How/When To Water
Pothos need to be watered once a week in cooler temps and once to twice a week in warmer temps. Mother-In-Law’s tongue aka the snake plant can be watered every three weeks or so. Now the snake plant is nearly impossible to kill mainly because it doesn’t a lot of light to grow and it doesn’t need a lot of water. With that being said, if you place a snake plant in a window with lots of light, it will change colors and overtime will look like a really unique plant. The main variations of these that change colors are the ones with green and yellow as well as the ones that look like they have leopard skins. Isn’t it amazing how plants will change color and turn over time just by the way of the sun? I think mother nature is really cool. Spider plants (yes they actually do look like spiders) are also very easy. They live best in medium to bright light and should be watered once a week. Make sure when you are watering any plants that you let the water drain out. Never let a houseplant sit in water because that can cause root rot and root rot can kill a plant and make the plant miserable.
The infamous Fiddle Leaf Fig
We all want one because every designer on Instagram has posted one and every design magazine out there raves about them. The infamous Fiddle Leaf Fig (I own three myself!) need lots of bright light and need to be well cared for. This is not a plant you leave alone. Fiddle leaf figs thrive in well lit windows with lots of light. They like to be placed near, but not too close to other fiddle leaf figs and bright light plants. I have mine next to my Birds Of Paradise on one side and my other fiddle leaf on the other side. If you treat the fiddle leaf fig well, you will have a beautiful tree growing in your home. They like to be watered every other week in the winter months and weekly in the summer months. You’ll know when to water them when the first two inches of soil is dry to the touch. I have two variations of the fiddle leaf fig and both do very well in my home. Fiddle leaf figs aren’t cheap though so make sure you buy one when you have the proper window and lighting to properly care for one.
The Benefits of Houseplants
Did you know that looking at the color green can instantly de-stress you? Why do you think Howard Shultz made his logo for Starbucks green? It’s also the number one reason why most offices and workspaces require plants, because people who work near plants are 40% more productive than those who don’t work near greenery. Plants also help keep allergies at bay as well as help you breathe better in your home. Houseplants help keep your home cleaner too. There are many benefits to having houseplants so make the jump and buy your first one! I have to warn you though, that’s what I did and now I have a bonafide urban jungle on my hands and I love it!
Like anything else, plants thrive on love. Talk to them, water them, and care for them and they will give it back to you ten-fold by helping you with your allergies, by growing beautiful greenery in your home, and by giving you peace of mind and a sense of calm every time you look at them. I wasn’t kidding when I mentioned talking to your plants. Talking positively to your plants help them grow better. It’s just like with a person, when we talk negatively to them they shrink, but when we talk positively to the people in our lives they thrive and grow.
Comment below and tell me, do you have houseplants? What are your favorite ones? Are you a new plant mama? I wanna hear all about it.