Caring for Your Home Plants

Authors: Becky Sizelove and Ruthie Pollard

It's incredible how some famous pastimes can connect us to history. Cooking on a wood stove can transport you to the 1800's, honoring the way pizza was first ever made. Or cycling to work brings you back to a time before cars. I feel that way about plant care. Except it doesn't tie me to a particular time in history, it connects me to my grandpa, my moms dad. He made gardens that as a child, I thought were replicas of the gardens of Babylon. He used to walk me through his garden in New Hampshire and let me pick a tomato and eat it right there. I'd bite into it and know there was good in the world.

When I first got married and moved into my house, my parents relocated to Florida. My mom gave me a few of her plants and I tried to keep them alive. The struggle was real at first. Then I started buying succulents and cacti because I didn't have to water them often and I could keep them alive. Slowly but surely I bought a few dieffenbachia's and then some ferns and ivy and more and more plants. My husband thought I had a plant problem (ha!). I started to figure out a balance of care for my gardens, both outside and indoors and I couldn't help but feel connected to my grandpa in the process. I only wish I could call him up to ask for advice. But I've come up with a few tricks of my own through trial and error. 

Here at Thrive Where Planted, we've put together some of our best tips from ourselves and our community of friends and family. Comment below with your best tips, too!

1. The best way to figure out when your plants need to be watered is to stick your fingers in the soil - if it feels damp, don't water it. If it is dry, water it. Sounds simple, right? My cousin Ashley shared this tip with me and it works! - Becky Sizelove

2. Choose a watering schedule and stick to it. Plants love consistency. - Becky Sizelove

3. Use plant coasters/trays to catch any excess dripping after watering. My friend Moriah shared this gem of a tip with me! - Ruthie Pollard

4. Full sun and partial sun window space options for different varieties of plants is key. - Ruthie Pollard

5. Most house plants need monthly fertilization. I get the Miracle Grow fertilization sticks and they work well and don't make a mess like some of the spray fertilizations (which can be stinky!). - Becky Sizelove

6. For air plants, I used to plop them in a bath for 15 minutes but I noticed it was making them soggy. Some of them even died. Now I just spritz them once a week and they love it. Get a cute spritzer to keep in house to make it even more fun to water them. - Becky Sizelove

7. Keep succulents in the window to receive direct sunlight and water them once a week. Carefully prune dead leaves to encourage growth. - Ruthie Pollard

8. Give your plants one good drenching once a month - I typically do this when I fertilize them. I put them in the shower! Always tip them to the side to ensure good drainage. If you don't do this, your plant babies roots could rot. - Becky Sizelove

9. Google your plant when you first purchase it and find out their specific needs. Some need direct light, some need indirect light. Some need watering once a week - others need very light watering. I often group plants that have similar needs to different zones of my house. For example, I put the low light/low watering plants in my bedroom because I sometimes forget to open my shades in the morning. - Becky Sizelove

10. There was one time I kept seeing fruit flies in my house and couldn't figure out why. Then I pruned one of my plants and saw fruit flies coming out of the dirt. Grosssss! So I did some research and the best solution I found was placing coarse sand on all my plants. - Becky Sizelove

11. Regular removal of dead growth is optimal for overall plant health, allowing it to thrive! - Ruthie Pollard