If you are brand new to owning and taking care of houseplants, there are a few things to know before you get started. These tips can help no matter what kind of plant you decide to get.
Benefits of Bringing Plants Into Your Home
There are some amazing benefits to having more real plants in your home. Houseplants can filter and purify the air, which is why it feels like you get better oxygen when you have plants in your home. They also do a great job at boosting your mood and just making you feel happier. Plus, caring for them can become a way to practice self-care, as it really helps you feel more in touch with nature.
1. Research Before You Buy
It is tempting to pick out the cutest houseplant you can find at the nursery, but each plant requires a different level of care. The type of light it needs, how much to water it, even the way you re-pot it might differ from plant to plant. This is why it is so important to do your research and know what you’re looking for.
This is especially true if you are a new plant owner since some plants are naturally better for beginners as they are low-maintenance. In time, you can start getting plants that require more care but to start, choose from the houseplants that are easy to care for inside your home.
Which Houseplants Are Best for New Plant Owners?
- Snake plant
- Spider plant
- Peace lily
- Aloe vera
2. Don’t Repot it Right Away
One thing new plant owners don’t realize is that your plants need to be acclimated to your indoor home environment. They have been in the nursery’s environment, likely a greenhouse, for a while, so it’s not going to immediately adjust to the change in light and temperature of your home.
Keep your new plant in the nursery’s pot for a few days or up to a week before you move it to the cute pot you picked up. When you do choose a new pot for your houseplants, choose one that is made of porous materials, which will improve how well it drains when you water the plant.
Some pots that are more porous include those made of ceramic, wood, and earthenware. As always, make sure the pot has holes in the bottom for drainage.
3. Find Your Light and Plant Placement
When deciding where to place your plant, there are a few things to consider, including how much light it needs and whether or not it needs to be kept away from your pets. You likely found all of this out during the research phase, but you also need to consider how much light and sun in different areas of your home get.
You might have a nice big window that seems like it gets enough sunlight, but then you realize there is an umbrella or other outdoor furniture that blocks the sun from really getting inside. This is when you need to make some adjustments to ensure you are choosing the proper location for your plant.
Plants That Don’t Need Much Light
If you live in an apartment or your home doesn’t get a lot of direct, natural sunlight, then you can look for houseplants that don’t require as much light. This might include:
- Devil’s ivy
- Weeping fig tree
- Spider plant
- Silver pothos
- Snake plant
Be Careful if You Have Cats
While dogs typically can’t jump up as high as cats can, you also need to be concerned about plants that are toxic to them. But cats are especially at risk because they can jump just about anywhere in your home and sniff the plant. Either don’t include these houseplants if you have cats or keep them in a place your cats can’t get to:
- Aloe vera
- Peace lily
- Sago palm
- Jade plants
4. Choose Your Soil Based on the Type of Plant
The soil you use is also really important and determined by the environment that the plant natively grows in. There are many soil mixes meant for houseplants, but your plant will likely do better with a more specialized soil, depending on the type of plant and what environment it is accustomed to. It is also good to look into if your type of houseplant needs fertilizer for extra nutrients.
Houseplants don’t typically do well just with dirt from outside, because they need room for root growth and drainage in the pot. Therefore, a combination of coconut fiber, wood fiber, peat moss, sand, and other materials works best for soil.
For most houseplants, an all-purpose potting mix meant for indoor plants should work well enough. However, if you are growing succulents or cacti in pots, you want to get a mix specifically for these varieties of plants. They often include denser and more alkaline materials.
5. Water Your Plant, But Not Too Much
In general, it is better to slightly underwater houseplants, than to overwater them. It can be tempting to constantly look at your plant and assume it needs to be watered again, but this is a mistake. A good way to start with watering is to fill up the pot to about a quarter of its volume in water, then let the water naturally drain out. Keep doing this every few days until you notice the water isn’t draining out as much; that is typically when it has enough water.
You also need to be aware of what plants need more or less water, which should be included in the care instructions. For example, succulents tend to need the least amount of watering, about every 2 weeks. Aloe, peace lily, and snake plants all do well with watering about every 10-12 days, while plants like spider plants and palms need watering about once a week.
6. Pay Attention to the Leaves
The leaves of your houseplants can tell you a lot about how they’re doing. If you aren’t sure if you are watering your plant often enough, the leaves on your plant will tell you. When your leaves are wilting and getting dry, it is typically a sign that you need to water your plant a little more often. Remove these leaves from the plant with some pruning shears.
On the other hand, if the leaves are brown at the tip, but seem damp and weak, you might be watering your plant a little too much. You can also look for damage from possible insects as a sign that you need to address that issue.