Much as I love the look of a house full of flourishing houseplants my success rate at home is pretty abysmal. And as I’ve already committed myself (in writing no less) to addressing this failing in 2020, there was no other answer than to turn to the experts for some much needed advice. The following tips were put together by Garden Buildings Direct and I’m going to follow them to the letter! Watch this space.
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1. Choosing the wrong plants
Even if you have zero gardening experience, you’d know not to plant cactus in Siberia. So, you need to choose plants for the growing conditions in your region and even for their placement in your house, as even interior spaces have their own ‘climate’ requirements: hot or cold, sunny or shady. Sometimes, it’s as simple as knowing which plants are good for certain locations and environments, because by choosing a plant that won’t grow in your home’s conditions, you’re setting yourself to fail.
The one thing most houseplants need above all else is a steady supply of water – but just how much depends on the species. As such, one of the most common things people do wrong is overwatering. Overwatering, especially when the plant isn’t growing, is one of the biggest causes of a plant‘s demise. As a general rule for common houseplants, compost should be kept moist but not wet, but specialist plants like orchids, succulents and cacti will need completely different conditions. It is always recommended to check plant labels.
Image Credit: Primark
3. Watering all your plants on the same schedule
Similar to the previous point, but this emphasises it further. Your succulent does not need to be watered as often as your monstera, and these will require different levels of moisture to your kitchen herbs. So, whilst it’s easy to remember to water if you do it on the same day every week, it’s not always ideal for your plants, as they could be getting over-water or under-watered. A good test is to stick your finger in the soil. If it’s dry an inch or so down, water it, but if not, come back in a few days. This will also help you get to know your plants individually and you’ll get better at predicting when they need water as time goes on.
4. Purchasing with no labels
This particularly rings true if you’re a complete beginner with no houseplant experience or ability to recognise different species. Attempting to grow a plant without a name or specific care instructions is like trying to bake a cake without a recipe. At the very least, you need to know its name so you can research care instructions yourself.
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5. Putting plants near a radiator
There isn’t a single houseplant that would be happy above or near to a radiator because no matter how much you water it, the relentless heat will dry it out and cause wilting.
6. Placing them in direct sunlight
It may surprise, but ideally, most houseplants should be kept out of direct sunlight. If you find that your indoor plants are still wilting even with regular watering, try rotating them every few days to avoid lasting damage. On the other hand, too little light will also stunt growth and damage plant health, so place individual plant species carefully.
Image Credit: *Next Home
7. Giving up after your first casualty
If your houseplant dies, it doesn’t mean you’re a useless plant parent with nothing but black thumbs. It could simply be that your home didn’t have the right growing conditions, or that the plant was already dying when you bought it. Plants die sometimes, but you can only learn from your mistakes. After all, a green thumb is a skill you earn, not something you’re born with.