Ask Away Blog: 5 Mistakes Beginners Make with Houseplants

5 Mistakes Beginners Make with Houseplants

Monday, March 22, 2021

 


You go to the store and see some beautiful houseplants, so you buy some.  You bring them home, forget what most of them are called, and just start doing things willy nilly.  And then they start to die and you feel like a horrible plant parent.  Well, have no fear because if you avoid doing these beginner mistakes, your chances of being a successful plant parent will go way up! 



Overwatering
You can't just water all of your plants on the same day with the same amount of water every week.  It just doesn't work that way. Every plant has different needs.  So what you need to do the moment you pick up that plant at the store is take a photo of the tag with it's name.  As soon as you get home, you look it up online and see the basic care tips for that plant.  Some plants like moist soil, some need to dry out in between, and some only need water when the top few inches are dry.  Write each plants watering needs on a stick note and tape it to the pot.  I promise it makes it so easy.  The other thing you need is a water meter which you can get on Amazon for a few bucks. I use this on every single plant every time I check on them.   
 
I set a day each week (usually Saturday) to walk around the house and check on every plants water level.  Over watering plants can cause root rot and attract fungus gnats.  And it's messy to fix if you need to repot it. 
 
Underwatering
You also can't just buy a plant, never water it, and expect it to thrive.  So this is why choosing a day each week to check on your plants is important.   Even if it just needs watered once a month, mark a day on your calendar for the next few months to make sure you water it.  Underwatering can quickly cause a plant to die but the good news is it's easier to fix than overwatering since you don't need to repot it. 
 
Improper Pot Size
Here's a pro tip for you.... always keep the grower pots your plants come in.  Even when I move them into bigger sizes, I keep the small ones.  There's a few reasons for this but the main one is that the holes in the bottom allow excess water to come out and you can place the grower pot in a decorated pot to make it look pretty and if you overwater, you can dump the excess out of the pretty pot when it drains through the grower pot.  I also like these pots because I can lift them out of their decorative pot and see if they are root bound.   Whenever you buy a new plant, look up it's growing needs. Make a note of how often these types of plants need repotted for growth.  And if you use growers pots inside of decorative pots it's so easy to transfer it to other pots in that size if you don't like the looks of one.
 
Poor Lighting
You can't just decide where you want your plants in your home based on your personal choice.  It all depends on the lighting in your home and your plant's needs.  Some plants need full sun, full shade, or indirect bright light.  If you try to fill your home with plants without checking the lighting needs first, you may quickly lose some of those plants. Since the sunlight changes with the seasons, I often rotate my houseplants to different areas throughout the year. 
 
Pests
Research the different types of pests and diseases houseplants can get and know what to do if you get them.  When you bring new plants home, keep them away from other plants for a week or two until you see if they came with any pests or issues or not. You don't want it to spread to your existing plants and you want time to research the issue and how to resolve it.   Check your plants regularly by inspecting leaves, soil, stems, and the overall look of the plant.  

It's not rocket science, but owning a houseplant and keeping it alive definitely takes a little practice in the beginning so keep these 5 things in mind!
 


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