Tips easy enough even a black thumb like myself has a hope
Flowers might be the obvious choice when it comes to Valentine’s Day and just like the perfect relationship, with the right amount of love and care, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. If you want to see your love-fern thrive you need to take a leaf out of plant oracle Alan Chans playbook.
Being a plant parent isn’t always easy and often you know if it’s you or your soil mate that’s letting the team down. Plant-fluencer Alan Chan shares his easy and genius plant care tips for your plant babies which will be second nature to you after this.
- Stop overwatering your plants – you’re drowning them!
I know they look thirsty, but stop! In actual fact, a plant can recover faster from being deprived from water than from being overwatered.
Tip: to rescue a drowning plant you may need to repot the plant and remove any dead roots, you may also consider a new pot.
- Know your space
Each room in your house, and even different parts of each room will be suitable for different plants. Know which places get morning, midday, or afternoon sun, where it is most breezy and place your plants accordingly. A North facing window is great for bright light plants like Fiddle Leaf Fig, while Devil’s Ivy will do fine in a darker corner of the room. Keep in mind that when we say some plants are suitable for low light, doesn’t mean they can tolerate no light!
- Don’t be afraid to get a good feel of your dirt!
A fool proof way of checking whether your plant is in need of a drink or not is to really get your hands dirty and press your finger into the top few centimetres of soil. If it’s moist, hold off a few more days. If it’s dry, your plant is thirsty. Don’t forget, your plants don’t drink as often as we do (even when they’re in lockdown!).
- Fertilise me baby!
Just like the rest of us, your plants love a good snack! Fertilising somewhere between fortnightly and monthly is great, if you’re ever unsure, it’s always better to dilute the fertiliser more. And always get a high quality fertiliser; Don’t be buying yourself Soulara and giving your plants Home Brand!
- Do your research
Before you make your first trip to the garden centre and come home with sixteen new babies you don’t know what to do with, make sure your have a good idea of how to care for each plant. Staff will always be happy to tell you the individual needs of each plant, and hopefully guide you to not come home with a bunch of sun-loving cacti to go in your windowless bathroom!
- Go green!
I love any way (no matter how small) I can save resources and reduce my footprint. I save my water from washing fruit and veg for watering my plants, and all my food scraps go into a compost bin, which makes a great organic fertiliser for your houseplants. Eggshells and banana peel are an easy and natural way to add calcium and potassium to your soil!
- Sometimes Size Matters
If you’re new to plant parenthood, forking out a bit extra for a larger, more established plant may pay off quickly. Smaller plants are cute, but they can be more fragile and sensitive to changes in their environment, while larger plants are generally able take a bit of a beating and not hate you for it.
- But Bigger Isn’t ALWAYS Better
When you’re repotting, putting your baby Monstera into a huge pot is not going to do I any favours. Big pots hold more water, and can drown the plants roots if they don’t fill the pot. A good rule of thumb is to go up only one or two sizes at a time. Some plants, like Hoya, especially love a tight fit, and will flower only once their roots fill the pot.
- Only the best for your plant babies!
Don’t go splurging on some new plants and then skimp on the soil. Make sure to use premium potting mix as a minimum, and mix in some perlite and charcoal (ask your local garden centre) which will help aerate the soil and keep your plant’s roots healthy.
- Keep a Close Eye on Your Plants
Unfortunately, at some point as a plant parent you’re going to come across some pests, and it’s important you check your plants regularly to catch them before they get out of hand. Make a habit of it – every time you are heating up your Soulara you have two minutes to closely inspect your nearest plant! While you’re at it, give the leaves a dust and keep them looking fresh!
- Your Plants Need a Bath too
Like everything else in the house, dust will collect on your plants’ leaves, and indoors there’s no rain to keep them clean (unless your roof needs attending to). You can wipe the leaves down with a clean damp sponge, or squeeze them into the shower for a quick hose down. As an added bonus, this makes for a great shot for the gram! #sundaynightpoolparty
- Don’t Be Afraid of Blemishes!
Plants are more like us than you think – they get blemishes too! Brown tips, curled leaves, and discolouration are all normal parts of plant growth, and don’t necessarily mean you’ve done anything wrong. Love your plant, beauty spots and all, and they’ll love you back!
- Make Some Plant Friends – Sharing is caring
Sharing your plant experiences with others is a great way to compare successes (or lack of!) and build your knowledge about plant care. You can even propagate your plants through cuttings to share with your friends, or why not host a ‘Sip and Snip’ – everyone brings a cutting and a bottle of Rosé!
If you have more questions, Alan Chan has teamed up with plant-powered meal delivery service Soulara to give advice on how best to take care of a new plant or to be paired with your ultimate “soil mate”. Customers can email firstname.lastname@example.org with more questions for Alan or jump on Instagram @livesoulara Feb 13th to submit questions.