Do you want to learn how to keep your houseplants happy and healthy? Plants offer us so many benefits, from purified and cleaner air to improving our mood and reducing our stress levels. In return we want to make sure we are caring for them properly and creating an environment which they will thrive in.
As a plant mom I want only the best for my plants! It’s heart breaking when the plants you love so dearly, start looking unhealthy and turn brown or drop leaves. I’ve been growing my houseplant collection a few years now and have quite a bit of experience with both plant fails and plant successes, and as always I want to share all of those experiences with you.
Keep reading to find out my 10 tips to keep your houseplants happy and healthy!
1. Research their needs
I know how easy it is to spontaneously buy a plant without doing any research first. When you see a beautiful plant at the shops or in the garden centre, and you just know you will forever regret it if you don’t bring this plant home. Been there, done that! However, if you can just do a quick google search before you buy the plant you will save yourself a lot of stress later on. Especially if you’ve bought a plant which just wouldn’t thrive in your home environment.
Every plant has different needs and some are a lot more dramatic than others… Calathea’s I’m looking at you! Some plants are known for being serious drama queens and require a lot of attention and very specific needs. If you don’t research what type of environment you plant needs, then it will soon show you just how unhappy it is.
- Check out my A-Z Houseplants to check your plants requirements
2. Work out what type of plant parent you are
What type of plant parent are you? Are you a forgetful plant parent? Or are you a scientist when it comes to plants? If you’re a forgetful plant parent, then you would suit having a plant collection of easy going and hard to kill plants. These types of plants thrive on neglect and would rather you forgot about them for the majority of the time.
If you’re the other end of the spectrum and would class yourself as an expert when it comes to plant care, then you would feel comfortable adopting those drama queen plants the majority of us have problems with!
- Shop plant prints on Those Positive Plants Etsy shop
3. Know when to water them
Knowing when to water your plants is key to keeping them happy and healthy. As each plant needs to be on a different watering schedule, it can be difficult to remember how often to water each plant, especially if your home in turning into an indoor jungle! While I’m learning each of my plants needs, I like to use my Plant Planner to remind myself when my plants needs to be watered.
Some plant parents have a set watering day, when they will water each of their plants. If you do this, you just need to keep in mind that some plants will need to be watered more than once a week, especially in the hotter months. While other plants would prefer to be left alone, and watered monthly.
It’s usually best to underwater your water your plants than to overwater them. This is because too much water can result in root rot which will kill your plants. Whereas most plants will forgive you if you’re a little late watering them.
The best plan of action is to research your plants needs in advanced and write down your plants requirements inside your Plant Planner. You can also check your plants soil before watering, if the top 2 inches of the soil is dry then it’s probably okay to water. If the soil feels moist then you can leave your plant without water for a little longer.
4. Let the water drain
While we’re on the topic of watering, it’s a good idea to let the water drain from your plants. You can do this by making sure your plants have drainage, which is basically a hole at the bottom of the planter.
Some plant pots such as terra cotta pots, usually have a drainage hole. You just need to remember to put a saucer or a tray underneath the pot to avoid getting water everywhere.
I tend to use ceramic planters for my indoor plant pots, which don’t tend to have drainage holes. This is why I keep my plants inside a plastic pot which has plenty of drainage holes. Then I put the plastic pot inside a slightly larger decorative planter. This means I can pour away any excess water which drains from the plant.
5. Understand how much light they need
Does your space provide the right amount of light for your plants? Most houseplants prefer bright, indirect sunlight, which is when the room receives full light from a south or west facing window, but the plant isn’t recieving direct exposure to the sun. For example there might be a sheer curtain between the light and the plant.
The image below is of my lounge. The plants on the hexagon shelves receive bright, indirect light. This is because the window at the front of the room is south facing. However the plants are tucked in-between the hexagon shelves with a sheer curtain blocking any direct sunlight.
If there were plants on the window sill, they would receive bright, direct light. This would be okay for Cacti’s and some succulents and aloe plants. However for most plants, this could cause sun damage to the foliage.
6. Raise the humidity levels
Most houseplants, especially tropical plants, prefer to live in a humid environment. By increasing the humidity in your home, you are trying to replicate your plants natural habitat.
Humidity is the concentration of water vapor present in the air. 0% humidity would be a very dry environment, whereas 100% humidity would be similar to fog. Most houseplants would be happy with around 30-40% humidity, whereas tropical plants such as Monstera’s would ideally prefer around 60%. You can check the humidity levels in your space by using a humidity meter.
How to increase humidity levels:
Humidifier: The easiest way to increase the humidity in your space is by using a humidifier. There are so many different types of humidifiers which you can get. From large ones which will help control the humidity levels in the entire room, to smaller ones which you can place next to fussier plants.
Misting: Another way to increase the humidity in your space is to using a spray bottle to mist your plants with water. This is a cheap option however you will need to keep misting your plants to keep the humidity level up.
Pebble Trays: You can also place your plants on top of a saucer filled with water and pebbles to increase the humidity of an individual plant.
7. Clean your plants leaves
Keep your houseplants happy and healthy by cleaning their leaves. Over time dust will accumulate on the leaves, if left there, your plants will have a difficult time photosynthesising, this is because the layer of dust will stop the plant from absorbing as much sunlight.
8. Keep your plants stress free
Did you know that plants can get stressed? Extreme changes to your environment can cause stress to your plants, these changes could include sudden changes to the temperature or being moved to a different spot which has unfavourable light conditions.
These sudden changes can cause your plants to drop leaves. I had this problem during winter of 2020, my beautiful Fiddle Leaf Fig was so stressed and dropped countless leaves. I believe it was the sudden change in temperature which caused the issue, but it was be difficult to pin point the exact cause.
I invested in a grow light for my Fiddle Leaf Fig which I think it appreciated and I was very careful with my watering schedule, making sure not to water it too much as plants require less water during the colder months. Luckily my Fiddle Leaf Fig survived the winter and hopefully next summer it will grow some new leaves to make up for the ones it lost.
9. Repot your plants with fresh potting mix
When we repot our plants into large planters, will treat them to some fresh potting mix. However, some plants won’t need to be re-potted as often and actually prefer to be a little pot bound. But that doesn’t mean they should miss out on some fresh potting mix. Fresh potting mix will give your plants extra nutrients which the old potting mix no longer has.
10. Make a habit of checking your plants
Keep your houseplants happy and healthy by regularly checking them. Make a habit of checking your plants once or even twice a week, is their soil dry, do they need to be watered more regularly or maybe their soil is too moist and they would be happier on a reduced watering schedule.
By keeping an eye on your plants you can spot any issues before it’s too late. Especially when the weather changes as your plants will have slightly different needs during each season. For example in the summer your plants will require more water, while in the winter your plants may be struggling with the lack of sunlight.
Do you have any tips to keep your houseplants happy and healthy? Leave them in the comments below!