Houseplants are an excellent addition to any home, whether you're interested in cultivating a beautiful blooming plant or prefer to grow vibrant ferns and succulents. The following are some excellent tips and hacks that will help you take better care of your houseplants.
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Know the difference between lighting needs
Lighting is an essential component of houseplant care, and knowing your plant's needs – as well as what could potentially harm the plant – is important if you want them to grow correctly.
Some plants may require direct sunlight, which is direct exposure to sunlight through a window; others may require shaded sunlight, which is sunlight through a filter or shade such as blinds, curtains, and screens; while others may require darkness or even a combination of the above types of light. Remember to research the houseplants you keep in order to find out what kind of light is best.
Add household scraps to the soil mixture
Add items such as eggshells, leftover coffee grounds and scraps or trimmings from vegetables. These can be mixed right into the soil and will help nourish your plant. They can even act as a repellent for certain pests!
Use coffee filters to keep the area around your plant clean
If you don't want scraps of dirt or wet mud from watered potting soil to get all over your table, shelf, floor or windowsill, line the base of your pot or planter with some coffee filters. This will keep the soil – and any compost or fertilizer you happen to use – inside the pot where it belongs.
Use the "2-inch trick" to determine if the soil is moist or dry
Knowing when to water a plant and when to leave it alone can be difficult. Many variables go into watering plants, but for most plants, you can use this simple "2-inch trick" to determine if it's time to give some water.
Simply use your finger or a measuring stick and push about two inches into the soil. If the soil is dry for the 2 inches and becomes moist or wet after 2 inches, then it means the soil is drying out, and your plant needs more water. However, if the soil is moist before 2 inches of depth, then you don't need to add any water yet (unless your plant needs to stay moist.)
If you prefer, you can use a soil moisture gauge, a great tool for those who tend to overwater. It's inexpensive(it costs less than $20) and extremely easy to use. You just insert it directly into the soil, and the display will tell you whether it's dry, moist, or wet.
Rehydrate dry plants through the roots
If your plant is dry, it is very tempting to pour as much water as possible on top in order to add moisture. However, this can often flood the roots and have the opposite effect of your original intentions.
The best way to rehydrate a dry plant is with bottom watering. Place your plant inside a bowl of water and allow the soil to soak up the water from the roots – it will help rehydrate the roots without overwhelming them. After 20-30 minutes, once the water has soaked through the soil, you can place your plant back inside its regular planter.
Keep plants away from air conditioners and heaters
It can be tempting to place your plants in a nice and aesthetically pleasing spot in your home, but you need to take care that this spot is far away from air conditioners and heaters.
There are two reasons for this: first thing first, plants are sensitive to both heat and cold, and placing them too closely to either element can result in severe stress for the plant; the second reason is that plants are sensitive to any draft, which also adds stress and can cause growth problems.
Print out a guide to your plants or keep a journal
If you have trouble remember which of your plants needs what type of light or which of your plants needs to be watered with special care, then all you need to do is write it down!
Create a guide to your plant's needs and stick it somewhere you can easily check, such as the fridge. If you want it to look nice, take the extra step to put it in a cute frame and hang it near your indoor plants.
If you feel like taking the time to know your plants and understand their behavior, you can start keeping a plant journal where you write down everything happening to them. By observing your plants every day, you will become more tuned into their needs!
Repot your plants once a year, and do it during the springtime
It's a good idea to repot your houseplants once a year. Although not every plant requires annual repotting, it's better to get them all done out of the way at the same time. Springtime is the best time to repot plants, while you want to avoid repotting during the winter.
Repotting your plants will give the roots a chance to grow and help prevent overcrowding, as well as issues such as mold development, root rot, and similar problems.
Use garlic to keep the pests away
If your houseplants have a pest problem or you're worried about pests in the future, use this simple kitchen hack that anyone with a pantry staple can accomplish – simply put a clove of garlic inside your planter!
Garlic is a natural insect repellent and will keep the pests away. If the garlic happens to sprout, just cut it off and stick it back inside the planter.
Use windowsill extensions
If your plants need to be by the window, but your windowsill is too thin, don't worry! Just buy windowsill extensions designed to hold up pots and planters, and you'll have plenty of room for your houseplants to grow.