Over the last two and a half years of caring for my house plants, there are a few lessons that I have learned in my time as a new plant owner. If you are thinking of becoming a plant parent, these 5 valuable lessons learned in two years of house plants are for you!
5 valuable lessons learned in two years of house plants
Side note: I resent the term “plant parent.” I usually just say I have plants. I don’t like to refer to myself as a parent in any regard!
You will kill several plants!
In the last two and a half years, I’ve probably killed ten plants out of the twenty I’ve either purchased or propagated. That means I have about a 50% success rate. I’ve experienced many failures – from the occasional overwatering/underwatering, to figuring out the right soil mix for a particular kind of houseplant.
You’re bound to error when you are learning how to care for something you haven’t cared for before. That’s no big deal! Don’t become discouraged and instead keep trying different techniques and/or house plants until you are successful!
Remember, most house plants are replaceable. If you fail, just get another one.
Your plant needs more sunlight than what the label says.
Notoriously, many of the information cards that come with your new house plant will convince you that a plant can survive in low light. That might make you feel that your plant can survive in any room in your house, i.e. putting a snake plant in your small, northeast-facing bathroom with a single window.
Sorry – that probably will not work! There’s a chance you could make it work (probably with a grow light), but it will not be as simple as leaving your plant to thrive on its own.
Conversely, some plants’ information cards say that a plant likes bright, indirect light. It can be frustrating because you may be thinking, “What does bright, indirect light look like in my house’s southeast facing room?”
To clarify this light conundrum for you, let’s take a common pothos plant. It can survive in low light, but it will barely grow.
So, although it can survive in low light, it may not thrive in low light. Therefore, it would be better for your pothos plant to live in bright, indirect light.
That is why my pothos in my southwest facing room (where I keep the curtains closed most of the time) died, while my pothos in my north facing window flourishes!
Pick your battles: Heat or plants.
That southwest room I just alluded to is a bedroom. Naturally, It gets extremely hot there in the evening, as the sun sets in the west.
As a result, I choose to keep that bedroom cool by closing the curtains. Sadly, no house plants survive in that environment! In that bedroom, I choose human comfort over plant comfort.
In most cases, I choose to keep certain rooms in my home as cool as possible. Thus, I have to move all of my plants to my north facing windows. House plants probably prefer your home hotter and more humid than you probably like it.
Be careful gifting plants.
Gifting folks a responsibility may not be the best move! Sometimes, people really enjoy having an easy plant like a pothos to try plant ownership. Others couldn’t care less.
If you do want to spread the joy of having house plants, it makes for a great opportunity to propagate from your more mature plants! However, make sure you choose the right person to whom you give your propagated plant.
Make it as easy as possible on them. Gift an easy plant like a pothos or heartleaf philodendron and provide all the essentials that the plant needs to your plant newbie friends. Think plant food and a cute pot!
You probably won’t be able to nurse that plant back to health.
If the plant looks sickly in the store, it’s probably not worth buying. It’s hard to nurse plants back to health and is probably not a beginner friendly endeavor.
Those are my 5 valuable lessons learned in two years of house plants.
Those are 5 valuable lessons learned in two years of house plants under my care. Experienced green thumbs: Are there any lessons I left off the list that you think I should add? Plant newbies – have you experienced any of these five lessons yet? I’d love to hear from you!