How to Start an Indoor Garden and Care for Your House Plants
No green thumb? No worries.
If you’re like me, quarantine made you a plant parent. Before 2020, I had two plants from Trader Joe's that somehow survived weeks of neglect at a time. Once I started staying home, I started wanting little projects to attend to each day, and started wanting to fill more of my space with greenery I used to get from my daily commute. Did you know? Seeing greenery and nature helps us feel more relaxed and calm, which in turn benefits your every day mood.
Not all of us are born with green thumbs. It’s a learned process that takes time and patience, which is why we created this guide to get you going on the right path. Check out these tips to get your plant parenting skills up to par.
1. Befriend a local plant shop.
While online stores for plants like The Sill are great for finding stylish potters and sizable plants for your space, if you’re a beginner, try to get your plants and potting supplies local. This way, if you ever have any issues or questions, you can resort directly back to them.
2. Know your space and how to work with it.
While plants make great interior decor, no one likes dead leaves as an accessory. If there’s a specific space you’re itching to fill with a plant, take a picture of it during all three stages of sunlight: the morning, afternoon, and evening. Go to your newly-befriended local shop and show them the photos, knowing the level of light this spot gets will help them find the perfect plant for that space.
3. Download an app in case things get rough.
Apps like PictureThis, Planta, and Blossom are great to have on hand. Not sure what kind of plant you just took home? Snap a pic: these apps will identify it and tell you it’s needs. Plant not looking so hot anymore? Snap a pic: these apps can tell you why your plant is sick and how you can help it get back to health.
4. Drainage, drainage, drainage.
The reality of decorating your space with plants is: you’re only 50% decorating with the plants themselves, and 50% the planters they live in. Every plant, even very tolerable ones, should be equipped with a drainage pot. I was so disappointed when my baby snake plant began mottling after I repotted it in the cutest Anthropologie planter. Snake plants are supposed to be nearly impossible to kill, what did I do wrong? The planter didn't have drainage holes, and I didn’t put it in a plastic liner either. Water built up, the roots got too wet, and it began to die.
If you fall in love with a planter with no holes, no worries. Remember that local plant shop you befriended? Go ask them for a plastic pot liner (the ones plants usually come in when they’re not in glass or ceramic planters). Lots of shops sell these, or even give them away as they repot new orders of plants.
5. If you repot, be sure you know your audience.
Once your plant has outgrown the pot it came home in, it’s time to repot. Be sure you’re using the right potting mix for your plant and as always, make sure it has drainage!
And here's some types of soil to keep in mind:
Indoor plants: you don’t need anything too fancy. Try Scott’s Miracle Grow Potting Mix.
It’s no surprise succulents and cacti need different soil than your everyday houseplant. Luckily, theres potting mixes made just for them, like A.H Hoffman’s Cactus and Soil Mix and Scott’s Miracle-Gro Cactus, Palm, and Citrus Potting Soil.
Are you a plant parent too? How do you keep your plants happy?