So, you have just received your new plant baby in the mail - now what? See below for our general tips and tricks for how to create a happy and healthy home for your plant. If you haven't purchased yet and you're worried about your plants being shipped across the country, check out this video.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Your plant has probably just taken the longest ride of it's lifetime so it may need a few days to readjust to it's new space.
Re-pot and water your plant soon after it arrives - use a pot that is an inch or two taller/wider than the pot it is currently in. Use regular potting mix for most plants - never use soil from your garden. For plants that like well-draining soil, find a potting mix made for cactus and succulents. Leave 1/2 to 1 inch of space between the top of the soil and the top of the container to make watering the plant a bit easier.
Get yourself on a watering schedule - we take a spin around the house with our watering can once a week. Try to create a habit out of checking in on your plants by tagging it onto a weekly routine that you already do. Putting a weekly reminder in your phone would also help.
- Bright Light - think "a sun-filled windowsill".
- Indirect Light - think "a bright room, without direct sun beams coming in".
- Low Light - think "man, I've gotta liven up this cubicle...I know! I'll get a plant."
Is northern light all you've got? Trying to add some greenery to your dorm room? Low light plants might be best for you. You can also place a low light plant in the center of a room away from windows.
Not enough light in your room? Light colored walls and mirrors that reflect light from windows will help brighten up the place. Otherwise, you can add fluorescent light fixtures near your plants for supplemental light.
- Keep soil moderately moist - keep soil moist at all times, but not bogged down with water. You might need to swing by these plants more often than your weekly watering run to make sure they get the water they need.
- Keep soil lightly moist - not too wet, but not too dry. Keep an eye on these plants during your weekly waterings and increase/decrease the amount of water given to them as needed. Stick your finger into the soil and make sure the first inch or two of soil is dry before watering again.
- Allow soil to dry about between waterings - still check on these plants weekly and give them a splash or two of water if the soil is dry.
Fun fact: plants do not like chlorine, but there is probably a lot of chlorine in your tap water. Watering best practices are to use filtered water for your plants or let the water sit out overnight to let the chlorine evaporate into the air.
As habitual over-waterers (we're working on it!), we always recommend finding a pot with a drainage hole and saucer. Terra cotta pots are also a great choice for over-waterers because the porous clay material lets water escape. When placing a terra cotta pot on a surface that doesn't like water, make sure to get a terra cotta saucer that is glazed, or any saucer made from another non-porous material, so the water doesn't damage the surface.
If you find a pot you love that doesn't have a drainage hole - don't fret! Just make sure you are paying attention to how moist the soil is before adding more water. You might have to water this guy a little less often. Also, don't bother adding rocks to the bottom of your container. The water will just sit there if the roots or soil can't reach it to absorb it up.
We have more information about drainage holes and talk through our personal preferences here!
PET FRIENDLY PLANTS
If you plan on keeping your plants in a spot that your cat or dog can get to, you might want to consider getting a pet friendly plant to be on the safe side. We've had luck training our pets to ignore all house plants, but do your research to see what would be the best tactic for your home. If your pets are prone to loving plants a bit too much, we've found keep a spray bottle filled with water handy to deter them from munching on stems and leaves.
After you have your plant for several weeks, add a water soluble indoor plant fertilizer to your waterings. Follow the directions for your specific fertilizer.
Check your plant yearly to see if it needs to be repotted. A telltale sign is when roots begin growing out of the drainage hole, but take that puppy out of it's pot and check out the roots to see if they need more space to grow. Increasing the pot size by an inch or two will be enough for this year's growth. Other signs to repot are if the plant becomes top-heavy or if it is showing little to no new growth. We have a video alllll about repotting here!