I’m no expert by any stretch, but after much trial and error over the years I have finally managed to keep every houseplant in my home not only alive but thriving. And I realized while writing this post that I have over twenty! You can do it, too, by following just a few easy rules.
1. Follow the light requirements on the tag. This may seem ridiculously simple, but I didn’t always keep the tags or even understand exactly what they meant. If a tag says “bright” or “high light,” it needs at least several hours near a window that gets lots of consistent, bright light. A plant that says “medium” light needs a long stretch of light as well but it can be filtered light. Maybe further away from a window, in a window that doesn’t face south or light that is filtered through trees. Of course, some plants are hardier than others and may be able to withstand less than optimal conditions.
Those fiddle leaf figs everyone has these days? They need long stretches of interrupted light. This is probably the reason so many people seem to have trouble with these plants.
So important: If you see tall plants like fiddle leaf figs or palms in a a styled photo and they’re placed behind a chair or tucked in a corner where they aren’t getting much light, remember that the room is styled. And plants are interior styling props and are often placed where they look best in the shot, not where they will be realistically able to live and grow. I made this mistake with a palm because it looked so nice behind the chair and added needed height and color to that corner of the room…now that palm is dead. This one is alive because it’s in front of a window where it gets lots of filtered light.
If the tag says “low light,” your plant still needs some indirect light. Even snake plants need some light to grow.
Again, you might want to place one of these plants in a spot where it looks good in the room, like maybe on a mantle or dresser or end table, but if it isn’t getting any light it won’t grow or thrive.
2. Watering. Most houseplants like to dry out in between waterings. Only water once a week but check the soil first. If the pot feels heavy or the soil feels damp it doesn’t need watering. I take care of mine on the weekends and most of the time I’m able to keep to the routine.
3. Your container matters. Most of my plants (but not all) are still in their original plastic pot that I then place in a decorative container. You only need to repot when the roots are growing through the drainage holes. Water in an unglazed or clay pot will evaporate faster than glazed pottery and may need to be checked or watered more often.
And drainage so important! If you want to repot a plant in a vessel that doesn’t have drainage holes (not ideal), it can get waterlogged quickly. Place a layer of pebbles in the bottom of the planter and don’t over water.
Again, I’m no expert, but sticking with these things has really upped my plant game. And saved me money 🙂 Hope these tips are useful for you!