5 ways to not kill your plants

Don’t worry, you’re not alone in finding it hard to keep your little green buddies alive and well. With the advice of experts at Nature by Letterbox, you’ll soon be a pro

We’ve all grown up with images of wild and untameable green jungles thriving under all conditions. Whether its rainforest monsoons flooding the soil, or scorching hot sunshine baring down on their leaves, plants in the wild survive in some of the most hardened conditions known to man. So, it’s odd that when we introduce a plant to our bathrooms and kitchens, even the slightest bit of sunlight can seem to kill them off in a matter of days, as if they’re Dracula in the final scene of a horror movie.

Which can make it even more frustrating – or infuriating – when you see your friend’s apartments adorned with tropical split-leaf monstera or lushest, full-bodied succulents. And throwing your plant away has become the Millennial version of flushing your goldfish down the toilet – no one wants to see it happen!

So, with that being said, we’ve complied several effective tips to help make sure you stop committing monthly plant-acide.

When you look in the mirror, what plant do you see?

We all want the most exotic looking plants in our homes, but sometimes you have to admit to yourself that caring for a plant daily isn’t possible with your lifestyle. We’re not suggesting you take a long, hard look at yourself in the mirror, but be realistic with what type of person you are, and not what type of plant person you think you’re going to be. If you’re a person who rarely finds themselves at home on a regular basis, maybe caring for a plant that requires watering ever few days isn’t the best option for you?

So before purchasing a plant, ask yourself some questions to see what best suits you? Are you always around your partners home? Do you work 40 hours a week and rarely make it back before nightfall? Are you always out on the town? Do you have a knack for winning weekend holidays away? Every houseplant is different, and have different care regimens, so answering these questions before buying can save you a lot of heartbreak, time and money.

Bunker or Penthouse?

While you’re asking yourself what kind of social life you have, it’s also good to take stock of your living space (and yes, getting a plant does make you evaluate your life choices). When it comes to plant murder, there’s a biggie that seems to top the charts – sunlight.

Does your home resemble the set of an American 90s sitcom, full of soft lighting and open space, or is it more a Tim Burton-esque gothic paradise, all dark corners and velvet curtains? Do you have the heat turned up 24/7, or are you walking around in a jumper all year round (good on you for trying to save the planet)? Whatever your living arrangements, your plant buying needs to reflect this.

You now own a green pet

Like a pet that you’ve brought into your home, a plant is a living creature. Don’t question it – this list is literally based on keeping them alive! And although houseplants don’t bark, yelp or urinate on the kitchen floor (phew!), they do need care and attention from you as soon as they enter the home.

Just like a pet, a plant needs substance and nutrition, constant hydration, and a liveable home environment. There’s a reason plant people care for their chosen foliage like it’s a 12-week-old dachshund, and that’s because a plant becomes more than just a decretive piece of furniture like a book or cushion – it’s a living thing that should be treated like one. Once you begin viewing a plant like this, you’ll be surprised how quickly your nursing and care for it becomes more maternal.

Don’t you forget about tree

If you’re reading this and saying out loud ‘well, duh’ then first of all; we’re no longer in the 90s so you need to work on your lingo, and secondly, it’s not as silly a tip as you think. When plant enthusiasts were asked in 2020 why they think they plants have previously died, 75% of them claimed it’s because they forgot about their houseplants over time. And it’s not just a case of neglecting them, as there is also the added problem of not remembering the routine you have set for them.

It’s all very well knowing that your plant needs to be watered two times a week during summer, but it’s no good if you forget what days they are and end up watering them more or less. It may sound over-the-top, but a plant calendar is vital when looking after several plants around the home, and if the best way to set reminders for tending to their leaves, moving them around your home, and watering them.

How much water?

When buying a plant for the first time, we all do the same thing, and that’s ask the person selling it how much watering it needs. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy (we really wish it was). Plants, like any other living creatures, have routines but don’t live by them. It’s like humans and food – just because you were hungry at 3pm yesterday doesn’t mean you will be today.

How much water you give your plant depends on the type of plant you own, as well as the weather conditions outside, and the temperature of the room. Fortunately, the solution is pretty simple – just like you judge when you should eat by hunger pangs, you can work out when a plant needs water by checking the soil.

If it’s dry, it needs water. From here, you can over time gauge a good understanding of when to water your houseplants; if the soil is crumbling when you hold it in your hands, that’s a good time for water, if it’s soggy then leave it be.

Article written by Nature by Letterbox

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