How to stop killing plants
If you’ve had plant fatalities in the past, don’t worry. Keeping plants alive is just a matter of picking the right plants and following a few simple tips.
Every plant owner has a few fatalities in their past. Everyone. Even if you’ve had bad luck in the past, you can keep a plant alive.
Three things to remember before we start:
- Some plants are more fussy than others. If you want easy level, try an unkillable plant
- Plants want to be alive. No plant has a death wish. They really want to help you succeed
- A plant that appears to be dying is not always dying. Sometimes it’s just dormant
If you find plants keep dying on you, let’s look at the usual causes of death.
Is your plant getting the right amount of water?
Often when someone thinks they can’t keep a plant alive it’s because they’re accidentally overwatering. Plants don’t want to be soaking wet. They want enough water to drink, not enough to swim in.
Most plants like lightly moist soil, not soggy. Plants that have been overwatered will go yellow and floppy.
Of course, a plant will also suffer with too little water. Some plants, like cacti, snake plants or succulents, like their soil dry, because they’re used to living in dry places. An underwatered plant will look crispy and shrivelled.
For most plants, the best test is to put a finger in the soil to a depth of two inches. If you feel moisture, it doesn’t need any more water. If you feel totally dry soil, time for a drink.
Is your plant getting the right amount of light?
All plants need some natural light. Some will happily live in a shady corner. Some want to feel the sun on their leaves as much as possible.
Too little light will make a plant drop leaves to conserve energy or start growing straight up with very few leaves. This is known as getting ‘leggy’. A leggy plant is shooting up because it’s looking for more light.
Plants that are getting too much light might show scorch marks on their leaves or look faded, like a photo left in the sun.
You’ll find shade-loving plants here.
You’ll find sun-loving plants here.
Is the temperature right for your plant?
The temperature of most homes will be absolutely fine for the majority of indoor plants. Plants are happiest somewhere that has a steady temperature and no draughts. If it’s the right temperature for you, it’s right for your plants.
Plants hate draughts, so keep them clear of badly insulated doors and windows.
Plants also hate extreme heat, so keep them clear of radiators.
Make life easy for yourself
If you’ve struggled to keep plants alive, go easy on yourself and get some plants that are a cinch to look after. We have a range called The (Almost) Unkillables, because they’re exactly that.
Plants like Susie the snake plant, Cassie the zz plant and Rapunzel the golden pothos can survive in most light levels and won’t care a bit if you forget to water them for a while.
Don’t make life hard by trying to keep a fussier plant happy. Get some easy ones thriving, then try your hand with the slightly trickier ones.
- Water your plants only when the top two inches of soil feel dry
- Make sure they’re getting the right level of light
- Keep them somewhere that’s warm and not draughty
You’ve got this.
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