9 Tips on Keeping your Houseplants Alive

When the hubs and I moved from our condo in the city to a house in the burbs, I knew immediately I wanted to fill our house with plants. In fact, my exact words were, “I’m going to make our house look like the mansion from Jumanji.” I’m not there yet, but I’ve slowly been working on adding plants to every room. I love the greenery and the natural decor elements they add to a room, and of course their air purifying abilities! Some of my favourite houseplants are:

  • Aloe Vera – I keep one in the kitchen because it’s great for burns and cuts
  • Snake Plants – great to put in the bedroom because they can survive with very low light and are one of only a few plants give off oxygen at night
  • Fiddle Leaf Fig – I know, I know, who doesn’t have one?
  • Golden Pothos – this thing grows like a weed and propagates really easily. It makes for a great last minute hostess gift: I just take a couple trimmings from my pothos and place them in a small mason jar with water. Perfect for those last second invites!

Plants are funny things and will speak to you if you let them (you get to know them by reading their leaves). I’ve named all my plants and check on them regularly to make sure they are thriving. Unfortunately, not all of them have survived over the last few years, and I’ve had to replace a couple along the way, but over time I’ve learned a few care tips that have helped me keep the remaining ones alive.

9 Care Tips for Keeping Your Plants Alive:

  1. Don’t over water – this is one of the most common beginner mistakes, and something I still do this every now and then. Plants need water but not too much or the roots drown and can develop root rot. I’ve found it’s always better to under water, and you can usually bring a plant back to life that you’ve under watered but not one that you’ve over watered. Each plant is different and it’s important to read the tag in the pot, but for most the general rule is you want the top two inches or so of soil to be dry… then you know it’s time to water.
  2. Be mindful of the lighting – most plants will want indirect sunlight as opposed to direct light (expect for cacti, etc.) This is how I almost slowly murdered by fiddle leaf fig. I bought one and within a few months the leaves started to turn brown and some even started falling off. I was so upset because I really wanted my fiddle leaf fig to flourish in its new home. Rather than dispose of it, I decided to move the fig to another room for the time being… it turns out the leaves were sunburnt! And within a week of my fig being in its new location, a new leaf started to grow, and it has not stopped! So be mindful of the lighting and if your plant isn’t doing so well in one location, try another room of your house.
  3. Know when it’s time to repot – if your plant is continuing to grow, keep an eye out for any roots poking through the drainage holes on the bottom of your pot. If you see roots poking through then you know your plant has outgrown it’s home and it’s time to repot. When going up a pot size make sure to only go up about two to four inches; the plant will do the best in a pot that’s not overly large for its size. Also when repotting, don’t be afraid to use a lot of soil… in fact, you’ll probably end up using more than you thought; once you start watering it, you’ll notice the soil pack down a bit.
  4. Give your plants a clean – especially plants that have large leaves like a fiddle leaf fig or a bird of paradise, those leaves collect dust. Dust can then interfere with photosynthesis, so give the leaves a wipe down every now and then.
  5. Top up the soil – every few months or so you’ll want to top up the soil that’s been eroded from regular watering. It’s always good to have extra soil on hand.
  6. Stick to a regular watering schedule – plants are sensitive things and I’ve found they do better with a routine just like us humans. I water my plants every Sunday, and if one doesn’t need to be watered, I skip the week. Also know how your plants like to be watered. Some prefer to be watered from the bottom, others you can pour the water overtop of the soil – the plant tag will tell you this.
  7. Keep your plants looking good – if you see any yellow leaves or even some dead foliage in the plant, make sure to remove it so that the rest of the healthy, green leaves can receive more nutrients
  8. Get to know your plants – once you’ve been caring for them for a few months and you’ve watered them regularly, you’ll be able to start reading the leaves. If the leaves are drooping, that typically means the plant needs to be watered. If the leaves have yellow or brown tips that could be a sign of over watering and you can give it a watering break. Leaves that are super green and perking right up are healthy and are usually doing great.
  9. Be nice to your plants – there have been some studies done that appear to prove that being kind to your plants, and talking nicely to them can actually get them to grow faster. Don’t be afraid to talk to your plants. If they’re sprouting a ton of new leaves, give them the ol’, “way to go! Great job!” It’s worth a shot, right?

Happy plant parenting 🙂

xoxo Kells

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