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How to become a (indoor) plant lady

August 23, 2018

The irony of this post is that I wrote the title and then came to the horrific realisation that I have literally DROWNED one of my indoor plants. Whoops. But you know, we all make mistakes and I’m going to take that learning and pop it in a blog post! So here we are, how to become a (indoor) plant lady (regardless of gender here pals, all inclusive!).

So you want to start getting some indoor plants but not really sure what to do. Well, I’ll start with my plant tribe and then some tips I’ve learnt in my first year of being a indoor plant owner.

When I moved in with Paul, he had a few plants dotted around, of which we ignored them all and well obviously they all died. Tbh I barely paid attention to any of them so it was bound to happen. We then had a few years where we had no plants. I was convinced that any plant to enter the flat I would immediately kill.

Fast forward to last year, the spot by the window was just screaming out for a plant to fill the space, and what with my Insta feed quickly filling with plants galore, I decided a trip to the garden centre was in order. I bought a giant calathea and then a wee tribe of succulents to go along too.

And cally the calathea thrived! I had a bit of stress at the beginning, figuring out what to do with it and when to water but with trial and error, leaf after leaf kept growing and I knew we were into a good rhythm.

Until I went on holiday and there was a heatwave. I literally thought the plant was GONE. Maybe 2 out of 20 leaves was still standing and I was not surprised but still sad. I prepared myself to take planty down to the bin but decided to give her a chance.

As she looked so very sad in her little corner, I popped to the garden centre to get some other pals – came back with my giant Mr Monstera, Boston the fern, 3 kitchen cactuses and Tyra, a succulent. I then won another little calathea and the tribe is complete.

And what of Cally? Well, she rallied. From 2 leaves, this summer she has popped back out another 10! Almost back to her old glory. And I think that’s one of the joys of plants, if they are under watered, they are amazing at bouncing back!

So, with all that journey, what are my top tips for how to become a indoor plant lady?

Go to a garden centre but google the plants – not just the little tags

The best place to find plants is obviously the garden centre! There are loads of indoor plants to choose from, and often you can only go off the tiny little tag as to what they need. And the tag is often just confusing tiny symbols which doesn’t help. So when you see the plant you want, do a quick google and see what the reviews say as that is often much more helpful.

When I first picked my calathea, the tag basically said that it was super easy and happy. And then on googling, it had loads of reviews about how picky the plant is. And luckily it has done well at home but it did require me changing up how I was looking after it!

Watch for indoor plants which need humidity

A lot of indoor plants are really sensitive to humidity which can be super hard to control in the UK. Our humidity levels are lower so be sure to look what kind of humidity the plant needs. Unless you are popping it in a bathroom then try and look out for plants which aren’t as sensitive to humidity.

My calatheas and fern do like a higher humidity, so for both they sit on a tray of pebbles which is covered in water. I also do a lot of misting to all the plants which helps keep them happy.

Give them a name which reminds you of the species

Pretty much all my plants have a name – from cally the calathea, to boston, to Mr Monstera. And to be honest that’s so I can remember their species! I need something memorable and it really helps when you need to do some googling about what to do if something is going wrong.

Do NOT over water (the irony…)

Basically when I got indoor plants, everything said just do not over water. And generally in the colder months I’m really good at this! Get used to your plants, feeling the soil to understand when they do need more water. It’s harder in the summer when it’s so hot lately – in the cooler months, if you’re watering more than 1-2 times a week then you know you’re doing too much!

In the case of my fern, I had read so many things saying that it needs lots of water to thrive, and with the current heat, I was watering away! Without realising it had stopped draining and was in a giant pot of water… But you know, these things happen! Maybe it will bounce back, but if not, I’ve learnt my lesson!

Don’t re-pot into decorative pots

To go along with the one above, what I’ve found best is that if you keep your plants in plastic pots with drainage, and then put that whole pot within a decorative pot, it makes the plants so much easier to manage.

If you pot directly into a decorative pot then you can’t see if the plant is draining and if it has too much water. If you do a pot in a pot, then I often take them out to check that it’s watered and at a happy level!

Spot the signs of bugs

My most recent lesson has been that of bugs!! Yes, indoor plants do get bugs, no matter what you do, sometimes they happen! I noticed on one of the plants, the leaves were getting weirdly sticky. After a google, it said that it had scale bugs which are super common. If that happens, see if you can get an organic bug spray with some oil in it. I sprayed all the leaves with that and bam, bug free minutes later!

Phew, I think I had more to say about plants that I originally thought. I’m excited to keep building up the plant team, and fingers crossed I can continue to keep them alive!

Do you have plants? What are your top tips?

 

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