Are you one of those people who keeps killing their plants? Here's how you can be a better plant mummy or daddy!
Apart from running outdoors, flexing our WFH skills while homeschooling at the same time and killing our 30-day challenges, during the circuit breaker we’ve been working on our green thumbs to become good plant parents. Although we’re still getting used to our plant babies, here’s what we learned along the way:
Finding the right plant is like finding your soulmate
Before buying a plant, you’ll need to assess your sitch: will you have enough time to take care of it? Do you have enough room in your house? What kind of light do you have in your living space? Are you willing to repot the plant? Are you willing to do the research to find out what your plants need to thrive? These are just some of the questions you should be asking yourself before becoming a good plant parent.
What are the best plants for beginner plant parents?
In our guide, we’ve listed the best houseplants that are hard, if not impossible, to kill. Yep, these plants are best for people who don’t have the time to give their babies extra TLC. We especially love the Snake Plant for its aesthetic and resilience.
Let there be light
Before you become a plant parent, you need to think about the type of light you get at home and where you’ll put your plant. Do you get full, direct light or low, indirect light? Like any good plant parent, you’ll want to talk to a plant expert about the kind of light your plant needs and follow their instructions. Remember, artificial light is not the same as direct sunlight – if your plant needs direct sunlight, place them in a spot where it can get lots of sun for the greater part of the day.
Help! I think there’s something wrong with my plant baby!
Wilted, discoloured leaves: Check the roots for root rot. Root rot usually happens when your houseplants aren’t drained properly (aka you might be overwatering them). To check if your plant has root rot, remove your plant from the pot and feel its roots. If they are mushy and fragile, they probably have root rot. Rinse and trim affected roots and prune wilted leaves. Doing this promotes new growth – yay! When you’re done, repot the plant with new soil and use a pot with ample drainage.
Wilted, yellow leaves with brown spots: Yep, there’s such a thing as overwatering plants. Brown spots usually mean that you should go easy on the water – which could eventually lead to root rot! To check your soil, stick your finger 1-2″ deep to check if it is moist or dry. Unless your plant requires moist soil, only water the top few inches of soil.
Speak to a plant expert about how much water your plant really needs then set up a watering schedule accordingly. It helps to set a reminder on your phone so you won’t forget.
Smaller, yellow leaves: This is usually a sign that your plant needs more sunlight. Try moving your plant to a spot with more direct sunlight or a window so they can get more sun. Discoloured leaves could also mean that your plant might need more nutrients – fertilise that baby! We recommend using coffee grounds from your espresso machine to boost nitrogen content in your soil.
Common houseplant pests
Sucking insects (aphids, mealybugs, scale insects, whiteflies)
If your plants have white or yellow spots, brown patches on the leaves or curling leaves, they probably have a sucking insect infestation. Spray your plants with soapy water (use organic soap) or use neem oil.
Chewing insects (caterpillars and bagworms)
Yep, they might look cute but caterpillars and bagworms will finish all your leaves. Yikes! Unfortunately, the least toxic way to get rid of these pests is to pluck them by hand (use gloves, please!) and drop them into a bucket of soapy water.
Mining insects (moth larvae, flies or beetles)
These insects will usually leave yellow squiggly lines, spots or blotches on your leaves. By this point, they would have already bored their way through the leaves. Experts say you should get rid of leaf miners when they are still in the larvae stage – so act quickly! You can also use neem oil to get rid of leaf miners.
There you have it. Now you’re ready to be a good plant parent! By following these simple tips, you’ll have the green thumb you’ve always wanted. Although if your thumb actually turns green, you might want to call the doc…