Do you have any of these wishes on your list of New Year’s Resolutions:
Kill fewer houseplants this year;
Become the go-to plant expert in my group of friends;
Add “plant whiz” to my list of superpowers?
We know exactly how to get you started on getting this goal from a simple resolution to FACT!
Here are our recommendations for courses about houseplants that will get you from plant novice to plant guru in one month or less.
Now, we know that the words “course” and “class” might be fraught with memories of dusty classrooms and boring lectures. Rest assured, we’d never suggest anything that takes the fun out of plant keeping. The plant courses below are bite-sized, super practical and, most importantly, you can take them from the comfort of your own urban jungle.
1. Healthy House Plants: A Complete Guide to Gardening Indoors by BBC Gardeners' World Magazine on Future Learn
Future Learn is a UK-based MOOC (Massive open online course) platform where universities and other prestigious institutions publish courses for the general public. You can take a course on Future Learn for free, but you have to pay if you want to get a Certificate of Achievement.
We think this course about houseplants - presented by David Hurrion, Associate Editor of BBC’s Gardeners’ World Magazine - is a great free option to get you started. The course consists of a combination of lectures, assigned readings and even quizzes (don’t worry, these quizzes are fun). But our favorite part is the comments section where you can interact with people taking the same course at the same time.
The course is divided into four modules corresponding to four weeks of study:
Choosing what to grow (with information on types of decorative plants and life cycles of indoor plants);
Growing conditions indoors (how to evaluate your rooms and decide which plants to get);
Caring for your houseplants (containers, compost, watering and maintenance);
Making more plants and problem solving (what to do when things go wrong with your plants).
The nice part about taking a course on Future Learn is that the class starts as soon as you’ve enrolled in it. You can start learning right away!
2. Happy Houseplants: Caring For Your Plants by Chris Satch from The Sill on Skillshare
The Sill is an institution in the world of online plant retail. They have stores in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston, but they’re also an online store powerhouse.
Christopher Satch is the resident botanist at The Sill and the course presenter. This class is meant to give people who purchase plants online the knowledge of how to care for them. Clocking in at only 28 minutes (spread across 6 lessons), this is more of an introduction than a complete course on houseplants. But you can complement it with another Skillshare original course from The Sill: Happy Houseplants: Pick a Perfect Plant .
3. Plants at Home: Uplift Your Spirit and Your Space by Christopher Griffin on Skillshare
You may not know who Christopher Griffin is, but if you hang around the plantosphere on Instagram, you’re sure to have seen one of @PlantKween’s photos. That’s Christopher.
What we like about Christopher’s content - other than the gorgeous outfits - is their positive approach to plant keeping. And they bring the same encouraging attitude to the Plants at Home online course. Our favorite lessons in this course are Listening to Your Plant (a very underrated practice that should become more mainstream advice) and Cultivating Your Routine (aka turning plant care into self-care to release stress and self-judgment).
If you need a bit of a mindset shift around caring for houseplants, take this class first.
4. Houseplant Parenting Course - Indoor Plant Tips & Advice presented by Alice Vincent for Patch
Patch is one of the main online plant retailers in the United Kingdom so, true to form, they want people to learn how to keep their new plants happy. That’s why they offer a free video course spread over 16 episodes and presented by the knowledgeable and talented Alice Vincent (of the @noughticulture fame).
What we like about this course is that you can choose to either take it at your own pace, go through it in one go, or even have one lesson delivered to your inbox every day. We’d recommend this last option if you’re strapped for time and only have enough attention left after your workday to watch just one video.
Our favorite lessons, that we haven’t seen covered in any other classes, are: How can I control the shape or direction that my plant grows? (Episode 15) and How to make natural pesticides, fungicide and fertilizer (Episode 16)
5. Houseplant Masterclasses from Penn State University
Our final suggestion for a course on houseplant veers more into the academic realm. Penn State University has one of the top agricultural programs in the United States. The Penn State Extension, therefore, offers courses taught by Master Gardeners and Penn State staff. The courses have been pre-recorded, and they’re offered at very accessible prices (five dollars at the time of publication).
What we like about these Masterclasses is that you can pick and choose which one you pay for (you have to buy them one at a time) and they go beyond the generalist information for beginners. For example, there is a course on Specialty Plants with Focus on Flowers and another course called Understanding Orchids and How to Grow Them at Home
We hope our course suggestions have helped add to your list of resources of reliable information about houseplants. And remember to check your local university extensions and botanical gardens for classes about plants that are more popular in your area.