Houseplants are a fantastic addition to any space. They’ve been shown to reduce stress, increase productivity, boost moods and eliminate air pollutants. What’s not to love! In this article we are going to cover some of the best plant care tips for beginners.
Do Some Research
Try not to buy the first plant you see! Think about where you would like to put the plant in your home. Not all plants have the same needs and care requirements so its best to do a little research before you go shopping! There are plenty of easy care plants available. Houseplants like ZZ, Pothos and Sansevieria are a great place to start. They are forgiving houseplants that adapt well to a variety of conditions.
Understand your lighting
Houseplants have specific light requirements. Give them too much and the leaves will burn. Don’t give them enough and their growth can be stunted and they may even die! Plants usually will have tags to tell you the light requirements. Be aware of the light you have available. Many common houseplants need bright indirect light. For example if a plant needs bright indirect light and you have a north facing window, the plant would need to be on the windowsill to get sufficient light. On the other hand, if your window is South facing the plant should be kept a few feet away from the window to avoid scorching the leaves.
A common misconception is the meaning of low light. It does not mean no light!! All plants need some natural light to survive and most low light plants that are available are plants that tolerate lower light, not thrive in it. If you only have low light available consider getting some LED grow lights, they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes these days and can help you get that indoor garden you’re looking for.
So its good to consider what kind of light you can provide before buying plants.
Drainage is key! I cannot begin to express how important this point is! Overwatering is the number one houseplant killer. With sufficient drainage this won’t be a problem. Excess water won’t get stuck in the pot but be able to run freely out through the drainage holes. For more on this check out this post on nursery pots
Now that drainage is covered, how often to water? This depends entirely on the plant, some like to be consistently moist while others like to dry out between watering. Do a bit of research to find out what’s right for your plant, its worth it!
When watering its best to water thoroughly until water is coming from the drainage holes. This is to ensure the soil is evenly moist. Remove any excess water from the saucer.
Check your plant every few days until the soil has dried to the recommended level before rewatering. It’s a good habit to check the soil before watering as different factors can affect how fast the soil will dry out! Moisture meters are great little tools that can quickly tell you the level of moisture in the soil.
Plants leaves can build up dust quite quickly. As a result, this can effect the plants ability to photosynthesize. Dust regularly using a damp cloth or try a neem oil solution that will also help to deter pests.
Get Plant Food!
Plants deplete the soil of nutrients over time and plant food helps to replace them. It helps your plants to grow healthy and strong. A balanced plant food is recommended for most houseplants, avoid using it more often than is recommended on the label. Too much plant food can also have a negative effect on your plant!
Check for pests regularly. Some common pests are mealybugs, spider mites, scale, aphids. If you notice any pests treat them as soon as you see them! They can damage your plants and can be very hard to get rid of once they get out of control.
To treat them, mix a solution of neem oil, castile soap and water. Spray the plant down until it is dripping wet, be sure to get the underside of the leaves and all of those hard to reach places where they love to hide! This can be repeated weekly until you can’t see anymore pests.
Another common pest is the fungus gnat, these are the little black flies you may notice around the top of the soil. Unlike the others these do not harm your plants, however they can be a nuisance. Yellow sticky traps are a great way to get rid of them. They also thrive in constantly moist soil so try allowing the top of your soil to dry out before watering again.
With Summer fast approaching in the U.A.E. here’s a tip to remember! When placing your plant keep it away from the direct line of air conditioning vents. Cold dry air directly hitting your plant can cause it to dry out too quickly. It strips your plants of moisture and leave you wondering what you’ve done wrong.
Green Thumbs take time to Cultivate
As with all hobbies, practice makes perfect. There may be mistakes, there may be dead plants and that is okay! We can learn and grow from our experiences.
Hope you enjoyed this article on Plant Care Tips for Beginners! If you have any questions feel free to drop them in the comments 🙂