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September 6, 2020

Tips for Inexperienced Plant People Trying not to Murder their Plants.

About five years ago, my plant collection grew from two plants to more than 20 after I started purchasing plants online, instead of locally.

As soon as my access to a wider variety of plants expanded—so did my collection. Taking care of my growing collection taught me a lot about caring for plants.

To keep my plants healthy and thriving, there are six plant essentials I swear by. They are:

>> Right soil

>> Right light

>> Right pot size

>> Right temperature

>> Right amount of water

>> Right amount of attention and love

The right amount of love means that I check my plants daily to see if they are drooping, too dry or too wet, bug free, and sporting healthy leaves. Is the air too dry? I whip out a humidifier. Is it time to fertilize? I treat them to organic liquid fish fertilizer, as needed, during their growing season to keep them lush and green. Is the soil dry? I touch the top layer of soil to check. Then, I use my soil moisture meter to check if the soil is also dry near the roots before giving my plants a refreshing drink of filtered water or rain water. I check all of the leaves, searching for signs of edema to make sure I am not overwatering my plants.

A Growing Collection

Do I have a favorite plant? I love all of my plants for various reasons, but I tend to favor vining, trailing plants that I can place in a hanging planter by a window. My sweet, trailing Ceropegia woodii—also known as string of hearts—and my peperomia with striking variegated leaves, are ideal plants to place in hanging baskets. Within my growing collection, there is also a cast iron plant, money tree, dwarf banana plant, palms, hoyas, and air plants.

Tips for Inexperienced Plant People

The advice that I would give a novice houseplant owner is to read a few books on plants to fully understand basics such as choosing the right soil and the right pot size, because placing your plants in an appropriate environment is crucial to survival. Before purchasing a plant, research its needs to be sure that it suits your lifestyle. Since I have a cat and a dog, my plant research includes checking to making sure that any easily accessible plant that I purchase is not toxic to cats or dogs.

My Sweet Spot

What’s my ideal number of plants? I haven’t reached my limit yet. There is no question that I will add new plants to my collection—it is simply a matter of when. I foresee myself adding Dracaena trifasciata (snake plants), because they lend an appealing, sculptural presence to a room. I once read that there are 23 varieties of snake plants—so many intriguing sizes, shapes, and textures to consider!

I’ve jumped on the plant train and it’s still in motion—my next plant is only a mouse click away.

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Rachelle Nones  |  Contribution: 200

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