Beginner’s Guide: 5 Tips For New Plant Parents

Caring for houseplants to me means learning to grow and growing as you learn.

If you follow me on Instagram or if you’ve read some of my other posts you will know I am completely new to caring for houseplants. My journey started in November 2019 when I made an early New Year’s resolution to focus on growth. It started with one plant and before I knew it our apartment was turning into a mini jungle. I would like to share some things I have learned over the last five or so months and will update this again as I go along. I decided to only share 5 tips as I don’t want to make this post too long.

Mix Your Soil

Mixing my soil is probably the most important thing I learned and a little bit too late I might add. There are loads of videos on YouTube and Instagram on how to mix your soil so that they drain well. I cannot stress enough how important this is. In Ireland it is dark and cold most of the time so soil does not dry out as quickly as in warmer or sunnier countries resulting in me only watering my plants once in three weeks during winter and some plants were over watered due to poor drainage. I don’t want you to stress, but store bought houseplant soil is not good enough on its own. You have to mix it with perlite or moss or bark depending on your plant and their environment. Luckily I managed to save all my over watered plants thanks to Perky Plant’s advice.

Start Small

This one is up to you, but personally I would recommend starting with one or two plants to see how you get along with them. I started itching to get more and more, and it is tempting to fill an entire cart with plants when you walk through a garden center (we have all been there). But you want to make sure you can provide the care your plants need. Even easy to care for plants need to be cared for. Once a plant dies or you make a mistake or you have to deal with pests it can be very overwhelming, especially if you are an over thinker or if you have anxiety like me. During the first two months I only bought four plants. It did go downhill from there though as I normally walk out of a garden center with at least two to four plants at a time. I just ordered seven new plants last night.

Evaluate Your Environment

This is very important and I am 100% guilty of not sticking to this. In the very beginning I did make a list of plants for each room depending on the light it gets, but I soon forgot about the list and just went with it. You have to evaluate the space where you are going to keep your plant because you have to know if it will survive in that environment. Whether it is in your apartment or your office, you have to know how much and what kind of light it is getting and what the humidity is like. Some plants need more light or humidity than others to thrive. If you are going to install grow lights or add a humidifier this won’t necessarily be a problem, but you have to be prepared. I learned that you have to try to recreate your plant’s natural environment as closely as possible in order for them to be happy. You don’t want to bring home a new plant just to watch it die so it is good to know which plants will do well in your particular environment or if you will have to adapt the space to suit the plant.

Join A Plant Community

The plant parent community is one of the most valuable assets when caring for houseplants or growing an indoor jungle. They are also some of the nicest and best people you will ever meet. You will learn so much from other plant parents so make sure you sign up to a group at your local garden center or nursery, join a group on Facebook, follow other plant parents on Instagram and take time to read through their posts and to watch their videos. Also don’t be afraid to ask questions. Everyone started out as a new plant parent and learned along the way. No one was born a horticultural expert.

If you are a new plant parent welcome to the community. If you have been at this for years and reading this, thank you for welcoming me into the community.

Mr Houseplant, House Plant Journal and Planterina are some of the first people I followed and learned from. They share loads of information and tips on plant care and becoming a better plant parent so check them out on Instagram or YouTube. There are also loads of other people and accounts worth a follow so do some digging!

Learn From Your Mistakes

Above all and most importantly don’t stress too much because I swear plants can smell fear. If you make a mistake and a plant dies, know that it has happened to all of us once or twice or a few times. You will learn from it and it will make you a better plant parent. Houseplants will bring so much joy to your life and shouldn’t be stressful. If you have any worries ask another plant parent for help.

Homestead Brooklyn has 10 tips for beginners where she goes into detail on all the technical aspects of caring for plants like potting, watering etc. You can read it here.

Working with and caring for houseplants have taught me so much, not just about plants (obviously), but also about myself and my own growth. What is the most important thing you’ve learned while caring for plants? I would love to hear and learn from you! Leave a reply by commenting below!

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