Plant care is a very rewarding hobby, but it can also be frustrating when your plants don't seem to be growing the way you want them to. If you're struggling to keep your houseplants alive, no need to become discouraged, we sat down with Miche Ferret, Author and Writer of “Indoor Plant Care 101 - The Beginner's Guide to Happy & Healthy Plants”, to talk about her 10 secrets to become the House Whisperer.
1. Use the correct soil
Different plant types thrive in different soil types, however our pro-tip is to find a fast-drying soil with good drainage. A well-draining soil mix dries much quicker, therefore the plants get time to breathe between your regular watering cycle.
2. Overwatering is one of the most common problems
Too much of anything is bad, even water! Make sure the pot has smooth drainage and only water when the top inch of soil is dry. All plants have different water cycles, but the key variables to think about are:
- Container Size
- Plant Size
Although you can base your water cycles from the topsoil. You will get a more accurate understanding of your plant needs if you measure the moisture levels by the root ball (you can achieve this using a moisture meter). The root ball is where the plant is fed and is the most important place to maintain a proper water cycle.
3. Smooth Drainage
"A plant's root doesn't only absorb water, but also air Without proper drainage, your root's air intake can be blocked out which not only hinders the plant's growth but also puts its life at risk. Using a container with excellent drainage is essential to keep your plan oxygenated. Ideally, you need to use an interior pol with a large drainage hole to let water pass through the plant smoothly." (pg.36)
4. Proper lighting is key!
most houseplants need bright, indirect sunlight. Since these plants draw most of their nourishment and energy from the sun, it needs sufficient exposure to natural light to grow and thrive in your home. Here are a few signs of either too much or too little light exposure.
Signs of Too Much Light Exposure
- Plant colors lose vibrancy and seem dull
- A brownish hue on plants making them appear "sunburnt" or scorched
- Wilting Leaves
- Brittle or dying leaves
Signs of Insufficient Light Exposure
- The plant's growth has seemingly stopped or slowed down
- New leaves remain small
- Yellowing leaves
- Thin growth
- No flowering or blooming
5. Repotting is essential for the plant's prosperity
The pot size a plant sits in a crucial variable to consider when promoting healthy growth for a Plant. The most obvious signs of repotting a plant is when roots start to show through the bottom of the pot, when growth starts to slow down or if your noticing problems on the plant that are not rooted from any change in the care cycle of the plant like the container's drainage, the soil is getting moldy or spotted, or the leaves begin to drop all of a sudden. When you do decide to repot make sure to use a pot that's only an inch or two larger than the current one.
6. Solve Problems (like Root Rot) as fast as possible
If and when you encounter root rot - the effects will start to show faster than you think! within a week or so, you can use most of all of the gorgeous leaves and lowers that you (and the plant) worked so hard for. I, a pretty demotivating sight to behold, especially for novice houseplant enthusiasts.
That's why it's essential to treat problems like root rot immediately at the first sign of ailment. Here's how:
- Repot and use fast-drying soil
- Use root rot treatment using supplements
- Continue to perform root rot treatment until the plant restores to full health
- Regularly treat the plant on a monthly basis to prevent future problems
7. Use (The Right) Fertilizer
Just like humans, plants need food to grow, and much fit comes from the soil. Out in the wild, the soil gets naturally replenished with nutrients from the dying and decomposing foliage. As you'd expect, this cycle of nature doesn't quite happen inside your home, which is why you'll need to use fertilizers to properly feed your houseplants properly.
If a plant has yellow leaves or brown spots, it might have a nutrient deficiency - fertilize every two weeks during the growing season.
8. Move It Around
Lopsided plant growth is one of the most common problems that new houseplant owners face. You could be giving your plant just the right amount of light, water, and fertilizer, but it can still grow lopsided if you don't move it around. That's because if you don't change its position from time to time, its sunlight exposure doesn't get distributed evenly across all sides.Solution: To prevent lopsided growth and ensure evenamounts of light exposure, make sure to slightly rotateyour plant every time you water.
Sometimes a plant just needs a change of scenery - move it to a different spot in your home and see if that makes a difference.
As mentioned at the start of this chapter, looking after your plants is no rocket science. Sometimes, it all boils down to something as simple as keeping their leaves clean! Keeping your plants free of debris and dust gives them a better chance to survive and grow.That's because plants absorb air and light through their pores which can get clogged with dirt. Moreover, a layer of dust over the leaves also reduces the amount of light they absorb.Both of these factors compromise the plant's ability to effectively perform photosynthesis. In simpler terms clean your leaves, people! All it takes is a damp cloth or a quick rinse from a regular water hose. If you want to go the extra mile, you can use leaf sprays and lotion to get a glossy finish on top of your leaves.
Specify one day of the week to give your plant some extra attention, care, and love. It doesn't have to be a Sunday you can perform weekly checks on yourhouseplant on any day of the week. It'll help you notice small ailments and issues with your houseplants and take timely measures before they get worse.You need to check for things like brown or dry leaves, root rot, pest, and soil status - including its moisture levels and drainage. While you're at it, say a few words of kindness to your plant because they're known to respond well to an owner's positive vibe! Little things like naming your plant and saying hello to them could go a long way. That's all the secrets you need to know and apply to become the houseplant whisperer! Plants aren't high-maintenance at all generally speaking. Just make sure to get the right type of soil, follow a consistent watering schedule (with some fertilizer in the can), keep an eyeout for ailments, and take care of your houseplants' needs.Speaking of needs, let's move on to chapter 3 which is all about a plant's essentials; soil, water, and light.
If you're interested in learning more House Plant Tips and Guides from Miche Ferret's “Indoor Plant Care 101 - The Beginner's Guide to Happy & Healthy Plants” Click here.