Hi Friends! I know. I realized the ironic title of this post was maybe a little too close to 'planned parenthood' only after I created the above image. And my computer is super slow so it took longer than it should have and I didn't feel like changing it. We straight? The idea for this post came to me recently when I discovered I've had the same handful of plants in my home, thriving, for over a year. I know that's nothing to boast about; gosh, I know people who are now fostering family heirloom plants in their homes until they get passed on to the next generation. Incredible! I have never considered myself to be any sort of a green thumb, (brown at best), until I realized my plants weren't dying. And not only were they not dying, they've been looking pretty darn satisfied in our home! It's not that they've become immune to our typically hostile environment of wild children, nor is it some magical touch I mysteriously acquired. Over time I've been the fortunate recipient of some great, practical advice from various friends, family and my girl Ebony who works at the Lowes Home Improvement nursery in Sterling, VA. There are far, (faaarrrrrrr), more knowledgeable sources than myself, but for me, these 5 tips cover a few steps beyond the most basic plant care and will, hopefully, ensure successful plant life in your home!
Anyone with multiples can attest; only God and your schedule are what keep you alive in those first few 6 and a half years. I remember hearing something about kids being comforted by having a schedule, and if comfort equated sleep, then I'd be the Al Capone of organized child rearing.
It's kind of the same with your plants. They're living things and get acquainted with their own maintenance schedule. Whether your plant requires water twice weekly with fertilization once a month, or just a little water once every other week, learn the care required for each plant, (I just read the back of the tag), and find a comfortable maintenance schedule that works within yours.
You know that advice you always hate hearing about getting your hair trimmed regularly when you are just trying to grow it out long? Regular trims are vital to healthy hair. I would know; I haven't taken myself in for a trim in over a year so I know unhealthy hair. Anyways, trimming unhealthy leaves is a crucial part of a plants' health. Even trimming the brown edge of a leaf will help it out! Why should the healthy leaves suffer from the toxins of a few dead leaves? Spare them. It's survival of the fittest in the plant world and the dead leaves have got to go!
This guy doesn't stand a chance.
It's not uncommon for families to upgrade to a larger home at some point of their children growing. You've heard folks mutter the phrase, 'we've outgrown our house'. Well, believe it or not, plants can outgrow their pot! This has been one of the most helpful tips I've learned. A few years ago I went on a plant shopping spree and potted my new finds in the pots that were appropriate to their size. I followed their care instructions verbatim. I thought we were on a good schedule, they were growing healthy and seemed happy; what could go wrong, I thought. Turns out their roots were 'suffocating' as the pots had become too small. So they withered and died and I raised my hands to the sky and asked, "Whyyyyyyy??????" Upgrade your pots if you're caring for your plants per their instructions and they start looking unhappy. They may be telling you their roots are cramped.
After about a year and a half together, these three started to look less than thrilled.
So I gently removed them from the small white pots and repotted them with fresh soil in a larger pot where they can happily stretch their roots.
Before you head out to buy some plants do a little research in your area on who's supplyling the healthiest plants within your budget. You don't want to be purchasing plants that are already on their way out and find yourself in the business of plant hospice care. We are fortunate enough to have several family owned nurseries in our area as well as a plethora of Home Depot's and Lowes Home Improvement stores. While the family owned nurseries would be my first choice they tend to be a bit pricier. So I do my plant shopping at the big box stores. Nothing wrong with that but it's helpful to know how they handle their plant business. After a bit of research and talking to store employees here is some helpful information I learned that is definitely worth passing on! Home Depot, while my go-to for everything else, is not my first choice for plants because they buy their plants on consignment. This means they don't lose money from plants that don't sell. While their garden centers are usually very large and well stocked, they don't need to pay close attention to plant care since it won't cost them a thing if they lose any. Lowes, on the other hand, will take a financial loss from plants not sold - probably nothing they'd lose sleep over, but still. They have to purchase wisely and pay attention to the health of their plants until sold. Their nurseries are a bit smaller than Home Depot, but I always see at least one employee tending to their plants every time I"m there.
Before you invest your hard earned money in that trendy plant you've been swooning over, know if it's right for your home. Do you have a spot with the appropriate amount of light that's the right size for that plant? I've made this mistake more than two times and have finally accepted that some plants just aren't for this home. Look at the areas of your home where you would like to add some plant life and assess two things - the amount of light and the size. Keep in mind a lot plants will continue to grow and fill out, so if you're going to tuck a tree into a tight corner, or a fern on a bookshelf, know that it could soon overgrow that area and not only jeopardize the health of the plant, but become a visual eyesore in the flow of your decor. I've done this exact thing before and when I look at pictures I took of the space all I see are the plants that are awkwardly too big for the spot they're in. If you've got a low light corner that could visually benefit from some fresh greenery, look for plants that have words and phrases like, 'low light, light water', 'durable', 'plant of steel', 'I dare you to try to kill me', that kind of thing. Snake plants are always a win. They grow straight up, not out, so they can be tucked into tight corners where they don't need space OR light. They're the go-getters of the plant world, saying, "Water me, don't water me; I make my own luck". So, know your home, assess the areas you'd like plants, and find the appropriate plants for that space.
Example of a cocky snake plant dominating in a low-light corner.
I hope you've found this information at least somewhat helpful and by all means, if you've got any tips to add please do share in a comment below!
Thank you all so much for stopping by!