Having plants in your home is something that you should certainly consider; they add a lovely touch of colour to your rooms, plus they produce oxygen, which makes you more alert, more productive, and you’ll generally feel better. Yet whilst some people seem to have been born with green thumbs, others tend to only be able to kill off the plants in their home rather than keep them alive and thriving. If the latter sounds like you, here are some great tips on how to keep your house plants living.
Plants need to be watered, especially if they are kept inside and there is no chance that a shower of rain is going to fall on them. This is a basic fact, but something that many people do tend to forget as they go around their busy lives. The plants can become rather neglected, and although this won’t generally have happened on purpose, the problem is still there. If you do keep forgetting to water your house plants and this is the reason they keep dying, then it’s a good idea to write a reminder on your calendar, or set a reminder on your smartphones, for example. After a little while, you won’t need the reminder anymore as watering your house plants will have become part of your daily routine.
Of course, over-watering is just as bad for your plants as forgetting to water them entirely. Too much water can effectively drown the plant, which won’t allow it to grow healthily at all and the roots can rot in the water that sits at the bottom of their container. It’s a good idea to gently touch the soil in the plant’s pot before watering – if it feels slightly dry to the touch, it’s time for watering.
Another important tip to remember is to only ever use water for your plants, and no leftover drinks such as tea and coffee. The additives in these drinks can harm the plants, and they can also attract small flies which are annoying and can eat away at the leaves.
When the watering is done, you should tip away any unused water (wait for about half an hour to be sure) because plants don’t like to sit in old water for too long. Ideally, your pots should have a good drainage system, and pebbles can be ideal for this. Line the bottom of your pot with a layer of pebbles and that will keep the water away from the roots – they will be able to drink it, but not be resting in it. Make sure that whatever pot you use has holes in the bottom of it for the excess water to seep out. You can collect this in a saucer or container and then discard it.
The lighting in your home, natural or unnatural, might be having a negative effect on your plants. Some plants need to be kept in direct sunlight, or even do better on a patio rather than inside. Others prefer more shady spots, so they should be in a darker area of your home. It will all depend on the type of plant you have chosen, which is why it is best to do your research before heading out to the store to get one. If you have a specific place in your home that will work best for your plant, then over the course of a few days make a note of where the sun is and how warm it gets. Then you’ll know just what type of plant to get. At the store, read the labels to get as much information as possible.
Just as second-hand smoke can affect your friends and family, it can also have a negative effect on the health of the plants in your home. Smoke causes plants’ leaves to fall and causes a condition known as epinasty (a curvature of the leaves). Plus there are plenty of air pollutants found in cigarette smoke including sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, and these can kill plants quickly.
If you want to keep your plants alive, then it’s best to smoke far away from them or give up entirely (which is better for your overall health as well).
Plants don’t like to be moved around a lot; once you have selected a good spot for them, that’s really where they should stay if you want them to be as healthy as possible. Unlike pieces of furniture that can be moved around in any way you want, plants are living things, and moving them can cause them distress, which will make their leaves wilt and drop, or they may not grow properly anymore. In extreme cases, it can kill them.
Try your best to leave your plant exactly where you initially placed it. If you do have to move it then do so gently and gradually.
Watering a plant is hugely important, as we’ve already mentioned, but that water will only really be used by the roots. In order to make the whole plant a healthy one, you need to use humidity. Spraying the leaves and petals of the plant with water every few days will certainly help in this regard, and will make the leaves shiny and the petals bright and beautiful. Be careful though; too vigorous and the petals might fall.
It sounds rather brutal, but deadheading your plant can help it to grow more healthy. Deadheading is the act of removing any dead elements such as leaves or stems. This allows the living parts more space to grow, and they won’t be affected by whatever killed the other parts, or the rot that will eventually set in. Pruning the plant will also help – this means taking off parts that are still living but that are essential in the way of the rest of the plant living as it should to thrive and grow.