9 Ways Not to Kill Your Houseplants
You got seduced at the farmers’ market again and left with a Boston fern, a spider plant and a philodendron. A little greenery at home will be nice, you thought. Plus, taking care of them is easy, right?
Two weeks later, they’re all dead.
Here, nine things to do to keep your next batch of houseplants alive.
This piece originally appeared on PureWow.
Stop Relocating Your Pots
Moving is traumatic (for everyone, not just your plants). Pick a location—like that sun-filled nook in your living room—and stick with it. Your plant is much more likely to thrive if you give it a permanent home.
Set a Schedule for Watering
If you need help remembering, download Waterbug ($3), a super-useful app that lets you name your houseplants and then sends you reminders every time “Mike” needs a drink.
But Don't Overdo It
Most plants come with instructions. Read them. That’s where you’ll learn important info, like the fact that “Mike” only needs to be watered once every other day. The lesson: More water isn’t always the answer. Before you bust out your watering can, stick your finger one inch below the dirt’s surface to do a quick moisture check. If the dirt is damp an inch down, you’ll know: No water required.
Root Rot is a Real Thing
You know that excess water that collects at the bottom of your pretty, Pinterest-worthy pot? It causes root rot, which is one of the fastest ways to kill your plant. Avoid it by letting your plant drain in the sink.
So Are Plant Sunburns
Brown leaves mean your plant is getting too much light. On the flip side, if the leaves are a paler shade of green (or simply not their normal selves), that’s your cue that they need more sun.
Pinching is Essential
It’s simple: Dead flowers + pinching = a fresh chance at new blooms. Next time you see individual flowers starting to wilt, pinch them off by gently plucking the head from the top of the stem. This is the best way to get new buds to bloom.
So is a Babysitter
When you’re heading out of town, don’t leave your plants to fend for themselves. The Plant Nanny is a cool tool that makes sure your plants stay hydrated for up to ten days while you’re away.
Backup Plan: Use the Tub
You forgot to buy a Plant Nanny. Here’s another trick: Give your plants a good drink and then set them on a damp towel in the tub (be sure to remove the saucers so the drain holes can make direct contact with the towel). Next, turn on the cold tap just enough for water to drip out. The plant’s roots will absorb the moisture in the fabric. Magic.
Slip Your Plants Some Perrier
Studies show that a little carbonated water can go a long way when it comes to healthy plant growth. A once-a-week sip—no more than a cup—is enough (hey, no sense wasting too much of the good stuff if you don’t need to). Just make sure you let the drink warm to room temperature before you use it to water your plants.