6 Tips On How To Pick the Perfect House Plant
Let’s face it. There’s a lot that goes into having your patch of green with houseplants that love you back. Despite regular watering and sunshine, you might notice that your once-thriving Peace Lily now suddenly has droopy, limp leaves.
Or that those succulents you put on your work desk have a lifespan that’s shorter than your boss’ temper. So what exactly are you doing wrong? Well, keep the basics in mind, and maybe you’ll nip the problem in the bud and have a chance at making that urban jungle a reality after all.
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Start With Hardy Plants
Whoever said succulents are the easiest, no-fuss houseplant for beginners probably got it a bit wrong. Now unless you’re happy to neglect them, the chances are you’re going to kill a few of those cute succulents with overwatering.
Since they’re so sensitive to every little extra drop of water, there’s always the risk of smothering them with too much love (errr…water), so instead stick to less selective plants. Our suggestions would be getting home a Money Plant, Snake Plant, ZZ Plant, Pothos, Syngonium and Peace Lilies.
Research, Research, Research
Zeroed in on a houseplant you like? Great. Please resist the urge to go and pick it up from the nearest nursery on impulse. Consider what the plant needs are, how frequently it requires watering, whether it thrives in indirect light or needs full sun, does it prefer humidity or dry heat and then see if you’re equipped to offer it a favourable spot in your home.
Often, you’ll realise that the conditions in your balcony or terrace garden are perfect from some plants while fatal for others and a simple online search (or these are plant communities on Facebook and Instagram) will tell you.
If there’s one piece of advice all seasoned botanists will give you, it’s this: More houseplants die of overwatering than under-watering. There are rarely any houseplants that like to sit in soggy soil, and if you’ve been keeping the roots soaked in water, there’s always a root rot waiting to happen. This is why always ensure you have drainage holes in your planters to allow excess water to remove itself.
Secondly, a rule of thumb is to stick your finger an inch or two inside the soil and if the soil sticks to your finger, there’s enough moisture and you can hold on to the watering can just yet – water only when the soil is dry and water thoroughly.
Don’t Forget To Fertilise
Your houseplants may have enough sunshine to photosynthesise and optimum water, but sometimes, they still won’t be enough. If you notice the plant’s growth stunted, it could be because its soil has been leached of the nutrients and needs some nourishment. A lot of your kitchen waste including tea leaves, veggie peels, water from washing rice and pulses etc. can be used to feed your plant.
Even if you aren’t into composting just yet, you can begin with crushed eggshells for that much-needed calcium and potassium for the plant baby.
Loosen The Soil
As plants get older and the soil ages, it tends to become compact in the planter and as a plant parent, you’d want to use a shovel or anything slightly pointed to stir up the top few layers of the soil at least once a month. This upheaval will allow the ground to remain loose and offer the roots breathing space.
You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to multiply your existing plants with simple cuttings. An easy snip close to the node of a money plant or pothos can be used to create more plant babies.
Microgreens that are all the rage these days can be grown in takeaway containers with coriander and methi seeds from your kitchen and all you need to do is, figure out what way works for what plant for propagation.