So you've got your new plant and he's looking spiffy in his new abode, now what?
Most of the plants we sell are hardy low-maintenance creatures but they are living things and therefore need some care and attention to keep them happy and healthy. It is quite normal for them to experience slight stress as they adjust to their new home but if you refer to some of the following advice you're on your way to becoming the perfect plant parent!
LET THERE BE LIGHT
Most indoor plants do best in bright indirect light. That is, not direct sun that can cause their leaves to burn. So keep them far away enough from a window to prevent harm.
If your space is lacking in the light department opt for a low light plant such as a Zanzibar gem or Devil's Ivy and try and give it a holiday to a light-filled spot when you can.
When it comes to plant care one of the biggest mistakes people make is overwatering. You can very easily kill your precious plant babies with kindness!
But fear not, here are a few tips to help you figure out when it’s time to water, and how to do it...
As a general rule most of our foliage plants need a good drink once a week. It is best to let the soil dry out between waterings so that the roots don't become waterlogged. To check if your plant is thirsty, simply stick your finger in the potting mix toward the edge of the container. Most plants should be watered when the first inch of soil has dried out. Simple as that!
To water, gently lift your plant’s foliage and flood the potting mix with tepid water until a trickle appears from the drainage hole at the bottom. Let the plant soak up the water for 30 minutes, then empty any remaining water from the saucer.
It's a good idea to get in to the habit of checking in with your plants every 3-4 days to assess where they're at. Changes in temperature or conditions can affect the frequency at which they need watering. A lot of indoor plants hail from the tropics and do best with a certain level of humidity. If humidity is low, giving your plants leaves a light mist every few days can revitalise them.
For succulents and cacti the watering needs are very different. These guys need to be watered much less frequently as they store water in their succulent leaves. A lot of people make the mistake of spritzing or misting succulents but the most effective way to water is by soaking the soil and then letting it dry out completely before any more water is given. Fortnightly to monthly watering should do the trick particularly if the weather is particularly humid.
Plants get minerals from the air, water, and their potting mix. They are nourished and energized by sunlight. It is not essential to fertilise your plants and many of them will get along just fine without it, talk about low maintenance!
If you would like to give your plant babies some extra nutrients here are some tips...
Liquid or slow release fertilizer is generally the best for indoor plants and try and go for an organic option where possible. With liquid fertilizers, err of the side of caution and dilute slightly more than the instructions specify to insure you don’t burn the leaves of your favourite indoor plants. You can always up the amount down the track. Slow release fertilizers such as Osmocote are sprinkled on the soil and will leech nutrients into the soil over a sustained period of time. Generally this will need to be done every 4-6 months but check packet instructions for exact timing.
If you've done everything you can to care for your green buddies and they're still not doing so well you can always drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll do our best to offer some suggestions. It's a good idea to include some photos of the plant, both close up and in context so we can try and determine what might be going on.