Stop loving your house plants to death
WORDS: Jess Wiltshire, Living Gifts Bendigo
IMAGES: Gingerhouse Photography
Indoor house plants. We love them. They look amazing, make you feel good, clean toxins and chemicals out of the air but for some, it can be a real challenge to keep them alive.
I’ve honed my skills over the years and live with 52 plants. I don’t mist them or put them outside for a "break", and I fertilise occasionally. But generally, my plants are happy with a bit of neglect and these top tips for keeping your indoor house plants healthy and thriving.
STOP WATERING THEM SO MUCH
Seriously, step away from the watering can. Majority of plant deaths occur because the plant hasn’t been able to dry enough between each drink and it causes the roots to rot away. Signs of this are brown leaf edges, droopy plants that stay droopy after you water, and a general lack of shine on the leaf.
The easiest way to get watering right is to finger your plants once a week. Yep, you read that right. Stick your finger down into the soil to feel for moisture. It’s that easy. If the top quarter of soil is dry, it’s time to water. If there is moisture in it, leave it for another week and check again. This small act will guarantee a dramatic decline in plant deaths.
WATER WELL WHEN YOU DO
You’ve checked your plant and it’s time to water. Take it to a sink, turn the tap on slowly and let the water run through the pot until it’s coming out of all the holes and it feels heavy.
I like to pop mine in the shower to really freshen them up. It gets the dust off and cleans the leaves enabling them to work harder cleaning the air for you.
As a general rule, watering should happen once every two weeks. It might be more frequent in summer and less frequent in winter, but I find this works for me. If you follow step one and check them once a week, you can’t go wrong.
INDIRECT BRIGHT LIGHT IS THE BEST LIGHT
This statement confuses a lot of people so let me break it down.
The majority of indoor plants are found naturally in the tropics growing under the protection of the jungle’s canopy. Plants need light to grow but in our climate the direct rays of the sun will burn them. Keep them in a spot where the light comes in and they can soak up some precious UV but still have some protection. Morning sun is usually the sweet spot. Nice and bright but not strong enough to burn. There are plants that will tolerate lower light but we will go into that in depth another time.
There is endless information out there, most of which is ridiculous bullshit. Remember that owning plants should be fun! Gardening of any kind connects you to nature which will make you feel great, lower your stress levels and foster a sense of wellbeing. Master the basics of plant care and let the plant obsession grow.
JESS’S TOP 3 INDOOR PLANTS
Plant obsession is a thing. Not only are they the perfect Instagram prop but indoor plants in the home can dramatically boost air quality and mental wellbeing. Here are Jess’s top three plants for your home.
A great beacon plant to learn when plants need water. They fall down like dramatic divas and stand back up after they get a drink. Great for airborne mould.
A tried and tested house plant. Gorgeous leaves and tough as boots! Can go a few weeks between waterings.
A beautiful trailing plant that can get tendrils over a metre long! Low water requirements and great for improving air quality.
Living Gifts Bendigo is a local stockist of quality indoor plants. You can fill your home with baskets, cover pots, terrariums, unique hand crafted furniture items and gifts.