Embarking on a plant journey as a beginner can be both exciting and overwhelming. With a little guidance and the right mindset, anyone can develop a green thumb. Although green babies do not require as much attention as their human and furry, scaly, or feathery counterparts, they still need love and care to help them flourish. With that said, here are 10 steps and overall tips you need at your fingertips to help you unleash your inner plant parenting journey.
10 Steps to Start Your Indoor Plant Parent Journey the Right Way
These 10 essential steps and tips to begin your indoor plant endeavor will help you out when you need it the most, especially if you've just begun developing your plant fascination and want to take care of them the best way possible.
1. Choosing the Perfect Beginner Plant for Indoor Spaces
First, let’s start with the obvious—you need a plant, of course, but not any plant! Choosing your first leafy companion for indoor spaces is the most enjoyable aspect of becoming a new plant parent but you must choose carefully, as you will indeed need a beginner's plant to start with.
Read the article '5 Houseplants for Beginners That’ll Help You Start Your Plant Journey Right Away' to know about a short but concise selection of starter plants, all of which claim affordability and ease of maintenance. They'll make your plant parent journey a lot easier, guaranteed.
2. Location Plays a Key Role When Starting Your Plant Parent Journey
Considering the location is crucial when starting your plant parent journey because different plants have varying light and temperature requirements. Assessing the conditions in your chosen location helps determine which plants will thrive there. Some plants prefer bright, direct sunlight, while others thrive in low-light environments. Consider succulents, pothos, spider plants, and earth star plants as some of the best for beginners.
Temperature variations, such as drafts or extreme heat, can also impact plant health. By understanding the conditions in your space, you can choose plants that are well-suited to thrive in that specific environment, ensuring their growth, vitality, and longevity as you embark on your plant parenting adventure.
3. Understand the Type of Light Your Plant Needs
It is crucially important that you educate yourself about the particular regions you intend to place your plant children in before choosing them and the adorable pots they will live in. Better yet, pay attention to the illumination in your house.
While the windowsill and balcony may be great spots with lots of light, that part of your living room might be too dark to achieve the same. If you're unsure about an area's illumination level, you could utilize a specialized meter to determine how much light it can produce.
Consequently, you must understand the type of light that your plant space gets and where you’re going to place plants in relation to the light source. Yes, every plant needs light, and no, plants don’t like hiding in dark corners reaching desperately for the light on the other side of the room.
If your plant gets great light (6-8 hours/day), some beginner plant choices are a fiddle leaf fig, birds of paradise, or any succulent or cactus as they need several hours of direct sun. If your plant gets good light (2-4 hours/day of direct sun) then monstera, philodendrons, and alocasias are a good fit. If your place doesn’t get great light, then a ZZ plant or snake plant works amazingly as a beginner plant. If you’re looking for something to trail, a heartleaf philodendron or golden pothos is another great option.
4. Watering Your Beginner Plants
Professional gardeners strongly advise new plant parents to repot their plants in containers with drainage holes. Overwatering is one of the most frequent ways to destroy a plant, and it typically occurs when a plant has poor soil or inadequate drainage. Checking your soil before watering is crucial. To check if the soil is dry, simply stick your finger an inch or two into the ground.
A chopstick or moisture meter are other options to measure the amount of hydration of your plant. It's crucial to keep in mind that the amount of light the plant receives determines how frequently the soil has to be watered. It uses more water to photosynthesize the more light it receives. Additionally, there's no need to water on a certain day every week; instead, just inspect the soil and water as necessary.
5. Fertilizing Tips to Help Your Plant Thrive
Fertilizing your plant is in fact, the product that people use the least when they're looking to grow successful plants. What many may not know, however, is that fertilizers are a crucial component of having healthy plants at home. A steady supply of fertilizer is necessary for healthy, long-lasting plant growth.
When a plant is developing, the limited amount of nutrients in the plant pot is quickly exhausted. Your plant is reliant on you to replace its fertilizer-based food supply! When you purchase your first plant, pick up some All-Purpose Fertilizer to prevent under-feeding and you'll see the wonders fertilizer does for your green beauties.
6. What Type of Lifestyle Do You Have?
This will enable you to decide whether you have the time to care for your plants or not. Even though they are resilient, plants still need our care on a weekly average. Think carefully before buying or adopting a new plant because some, like ZZs and snake plants, can withstand greater carelessness.
Take into account your way of living and your ability to provide for your plants. A peace lily (spathiphyllum) or philodendron might not be the greatest choice if you frequently travel for work or have a tendency to forget to water plants because they require more consistent care from their plant parents.
7. Having the Appropriate Cutting Tools
Having the right cutting tool is essential when dealing with broken or yellowing leaves or stems. While regular household scissors may be available, they often lack sharpness due to their multi-purpose use. Opting for a sharp horticultural cutting tool ensures clean cuts, facilitating faster healing for your plants.
For most houseplants, plant snips are the recommended cutting tool. They strike a balance between cutting strength and precision, making them ideal for plants such as Pothos, Ponytail Palm, Snake Plant, and Air Plants.
If you have larger tree-like plants, like a Burgundy Rubber Tree or Fiddle-Leaf Fig, plant pruners would be more suitable. These robust tools are designed for bigger plants and can effortlessly cut through thick stems.
Another option to consider is pruning scissors. These scissors are particularly useful for plants that require regular shearing and shaping, such as lemon cypress. They are also handy if you plan on harvesting flowers or herbs, as they allow you to cut multiple stems simultaneously with precision.
8. Consider the Plant’s Toxicity
Another tip to start off your plant parent journey the best way possible is to keep in mind the plant's toxicity levels in general. For instance, if you have children or pets, you should think about the plant's toxicity and how it could affect both of them. Although not all plants are poisonous, some can be very harmful if your children, cat, or dog eats them. Parlor palms, spider plants, assorted peperomias, and ferns are excellent pet-friendly houseplants.
It can be both exhilarating and nerve-wracking to begin your plant journey, but with the right tools for success, you'll be confident to watch your plant develop and thrive. And before you know it, your own little rainforest will have been constructed!
9. Join a Plant Parent Community
Growing plants is like human self-development. We must exercise patience, humility, and—most importantly—passion. A crucial step in the process of development is joining a group of like-minded people to exchange, learn, and discuss ideas. You can join a local plant community or one of the numerous Facebook groups for people who love plants.
10. Have a Chit Chat With Your Plants
Sound waves created by talking can produce subtle vibrations that could potentially stimulate plant tissues. Some studies have suggested that gentle vibrations or exposure to certain frequencies of sound may promote growth and root development in plants. Read the article 'Who Said Plants Don’t Have Feelings?' to know how plants also have the ability to express themselves.
Talking to your plants can be part of a nurturing routine, and the act of engaging with your plants regularly may contribute to their overall care. Providing consistent attention, proper watering, and care is more critical to a plant's growth and well-being than the actual words spoken.
Starting a plant-growing journey aids in our better self-discovery. It is a process of having clarity, patience, commitment, and discipline.