We have talked about what houseplants to have, in our previous blogs, but today we want to share a little info about how to keep them alive once you get them. What better time to share than now when outdoor gardening is in slow mode owing to the season.
While it might not be an incredibly difficult task to do really. After all, what does a plant want? Some water and some sun. Right? Well, that’s the tricky part where things get a little brown than green. Don’t fret, you probably don’t have a brown (or black) thumb and are maybe just making some rookie mistakes like most of us do. Let’s look at a few points to follow and find out what it takes really to keep your houseplants alive and add that green touch to your home in this beautiful time of the year.
1.) Know your plant and where you are buying from: If you are a beginner and are just dipping your toes into the green world, don’t go impulse buying random plants. Find out what you like and can take care of. Do you have enough time and availability to watch your plant for everyday watering or do you need something that just needs weekly attention? Just because you loved how a certain plant looked at your friends' place or in a garden doesn’t mean you are ready for it. There might be a lot of effort and care behind that plant looking like it. Find an easy plant to work within the beginning.
Secondly, find out a small local nursery preferably where you can get help from the garden expert who can help you find out the right plant for you.
2.) Stock up the plant food and the right container: Just getting the plant home doesn’t end the task. In fact, it’s a journey you have just started. Just like a baby, your plant needs food to survive as well. Pick up the right fertilizer for your plant. Plants need to be regularly fed, especially if they are in a container, unlike ground plants that take their nutrition from the ground by spreading out. Find out the NPK number (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium) and follow the instructions.
You cannot keep the plant in the pot you bought it in, mainly because they are a temporary house for them. So, while you are there, select the right pot with drainage holes (very important) and saucer to hold the extra water. Having the drainage holes saves your plant from the complication of overwatering.
3.) Light and Water: The two main components of keeping your plant alive! After you have brought your plant home and transplanted it into its permanent pot, the next task is to find the right location. There is always a small guide tag when buying a plant sharing their light and water needs or if it’s not there, check with your nursery expert or there is always the internet. Place your plant in the right location whether it’s sunny or partial shade.
Next is watering. The most basic rule for watering is to water when the soil is dry. Although, you don’t have to wait for the plants to start looking wilted to water it. Start by following the directions on the tag and always check an inch or two below the soil bed to see if the soil is dry or wet to touch. If the soil is dry, then it needs to be watered but if it is still wet after you have watered it a couple of days back, then you need to hold off for a while or you may risk root rot.
Watering needs also depend on the weather along with the plant. If you are in a dry climate, the soil might dry out soon and it will need watering whereas if you are in a humid climate or cold place with minimal sun, it might need less watering.
This happens at the beginning of getting your plant home. Learning its needs for watering and listening (watching) what the plant is telling you. Start with watering a little bit, wait, let it absorb and then water a little more and wait. Keep going till the water trickles down in the saucer and then stop. After a day if the water in the saucer hasn’t been absorbed, dump the water. You don’t want your plant to sit in water.
4.) Look for trouble signs: Keep an eye on whether your plant is thriving or dying. Catching them early on can help you revive them back or keep doing what you are to keep them thriving.
Look for yellow leaves. It could be a warning from the plant or it could be just an old leaf shedding. A single yellow leaf is not a cause of worry if the rest of your plant looks happy. To find out what it is, look for secondary signs as well like drooping yellow leaves could be a sign of overwatering.
Wrinkled leaves are a sign that you are not watering it enough and the leaves are drying out.
Leaves dropping is mostly a sign of low light which means your plant needs to be kept in a different spot where it gets enough light. Even if your plant says low light plants, it still needs some light to survive.