Getting a houseplant can seem like a daunting undertaking for the uninitiated, but in addition to the numerous well-being and productivity benefits-- not to mention the transformative stylistic possibilities-- you’ll be amazed by how enlivened your space can feel when you bring some plant life into it!
CONSIDER YOUR LIGHT
The biggest consideration when buying any plant is how much light you’re able to give it. More than your own care capacities, light is the most important factor as it’s the one non-negotiable element a plant needs consistent amounts of. For the most rewarding plant-parenthood experience and long term success, select one that will be happy with the light your space can provide. There are plants that can handle everything from direct sunlight all day, all the way down to very little natural light, or even purely artificial lighting. Set yourself up for success by choosing one appropriate for your environment! Be sure to consider the light in the exact place you want the plant to live. 10ft from a window versus 5ft is a big difference.
Photo of Etsy Headquarters by Greenery NYC.
CHOOSE PLANTS THAT SUIT YOUR LIFESTYLE
Once you’ve established how much light you’re able to provide the plant, the second most important factor is water. There are two things to consider: how much water the plant wants, and how much water you want to give it. If you’re an extremely keen plant owner who wants to regularly tend your plant and water it often, there are certain plants better suited to sitting in evenly moist soil that will want more frequent waterings. Likewise, if you travel often or want a plant you can set and forget for more decorative purposes, then you’ll want to select something that doesn’t need watering too often, or at the very least is more forgiving with its watering schedule. Again, there are plants that can handle multiple waterings weekly, and those that prefer to only be watered once a month. Selecting the right one for your lifestyle will ensure a greater chance of success!
LESS IS MORE
While neglect is frequently a killer of houseplants, it’s worth remembering that more houseplants die of too much attention than too little. Overwatering is the biggest killer of houseplants, as after the plant receives too much water once, the plant will begin to look wilted and sad, and people mistakenly try to rectify this with more water. This can compound the problem and often leads to root rot which is very hard to overcome. All plants need a period in which their soil and roots are allowed to dry out slightly, in the same way as humans need a breath between gulps of water. Underwatering is almost always easier for a plant to recover from than overwatering, so we say ‘If in doubt, let it drought!’
FEEL THE SOIL
The most foolproof way to test whether your plant is ready to be watered is also the simplest: feeling the soil. There are fancy gadgets out there that will tell you the exact moisture level of the soil, but the most reliable way is to use either your finger or the soil sleuth probe. Both your finger, for smaller plants, and the soil sleuth for larger, can accurately tell you the depth to which your plant’s soil has dried. This is the biggest indicator to whether it needs more water, and by checking regularly, you can establish a routine with your plant. Remember to reassess this routine whenever the seasons change, as the plant’s environmental factors will determine how quickly or slowly its soil dries!/p>
CLEAN YOUR PLANT
Cleaning the leaves of your plant removes dust so that the leaves can photosynthesize without obstruction. It also keeps your plant looking shiny and clean, but more importantly it gives you the opportunity to inspect the leaves closely. There is no real way to prevent pests entirely, but inspecting the leaves often helps to catch a pest in the early stages and gives you the best chance to eradicate them easily and quickly.