I’ve had houseplants for over a decade and currently have 35 house plants in our home. For me, indoor gardening has been a journey of trial and error. When a plant doesn’t seem to be working in a certain area, I move it and go from there.
When we moved into our current home after living in our home in Utah for five years, we loaded up our Uhaul and brought all of our plants with us! They all survived too! However, bringing them into a new home was an adjustment (Our fiddle leaf figs shed leaves like crazy, they were not down on being moved…but they adjusted with time!). Needless to say, I over watered some plants and some plants were not getting enough light, etc. It was a whole new challenge to figure out where to put all my plants with all of the new lighting conditions.
4 tools you need to make your houseplants thrive
1. Get a moisture meter!
Overwatering my plants led me to find the moisture meter. This tool is hands down the number one tool that will help you when it comes to meeting your house plant’s watering needs! We got our moisture meter at Lowe’s for less than $10!
The way it works is that you insert the moisture meter into the plant’s soil and the meter will point at the soil’s current moisture level which will range from dry to wet. When it gets into the red, dry area, I know that I need to water the plant. I will check my plants with this a few times a week and it hasn’t let me down! I no longer overwater or underwater the plants. This is especially helpful for the winter months when people tend to overwater their plants. It also can be used to test the light and PH level so it truly is a magical little device!
Mila watches us check the plants with it all the time that she loves to use it too. She will grab it and put it into the soil, like in the photo below. It is too cute!
2. Get some houseplant books and take notes on your houseplant’s specific needs
I found the House Plant Expert by Dr. D.G. Hessayon and shortly after The Hyponex Handbook of House Plants by Elvin McDonald. The House Plant Expert is my favorite and truly the only book you will need to know about houseplants. It is divided into lots of different sections with photos, plant names, basic facts, secrets to success and special problems each plant can encounter and what to do about it.
Sure you can Google tons of information about each plant but I love to have all of the information in one place so that I can quickly and easily refer to it when I need it.
I got a notebook and wrote down all of our plants with page numbers to their specific info in the book with my own little notes. So if I am ever needing to reference the plant’s needs I refer to the notebook with notes and then to the pages directly in the book.
The book has helped me improve the conditions for my houseplants. I had our Dumb Cane, Dieffenbachia Picta Superba, pictured below, in the entryway and wasn’t seeing any growth in the plant. Then I got the book and discovered in the ‘secrets to success’ section that this plant prefers bright light in the winter. So I moved it under the window in our dining room and it has been thriving since!
I also moved our Dracaena Marginata, Madagascar Dragon Tree, pictured below closer to the window in our living room. Since I’ve moved it, it is much happier to be in more sunlight and is growing!
I highly recommend purchasing some house plant books because they will help you make your houseplants happy and grow successfully in your home, as long as you follow the tips in the book!
3. Get a plant mister!
Many house plants need moist air to thrive. While you can place plants in moist places like bathrooms, in the kitchen or a terrarium, plants in other parts of your home will need help. This is where a plant mister comes in handy. A plant mister will help you increase the humidity for the plants, it reduces dust that can collect on leaves and it controls pests like red spider mites.
Mila and I walk around the house in the morning misting all of the plants that require misting. It has become an enjoyable morning ritual, walking around misting plants while I also sip my morning cup of coffee. I find it fun to mist the plants each day!
It also helps to have a pretty plant mister. I got mine at Terrain, it is no longer available but here is a similar one. I tried a plastic one, which I thought was metal, but the plastic quickly broke and I had to return it. I love my plant mister because it is made of metal and glass and is a quality tool.
4. Invest in a watering can, this will make watering your plants much easier
You can use lots of things to water your plants like a bucket or mason jar, but the best thing to invest in is a watering can. You can base how large of a watering can you need on how many plants you need to water. I have this green watering can and it does a great job in helping me water my plants. We also got Mila the little pink watering can at Home Goods and sometimes I will use that one to water smaller plants, so it is nice to have a variety of sized ones to fit the different plants, especially if indoor gardening is one of your hobbies.
When it comes to watering the plants, I only water them when the moisture meter shows me that the plant’s soil is dry and it needs water. When I do, I do it intuitively, pouring water until I think it has been watered through. Usually I do a good job watering the plants but once in awhile I’ll water them so much that the saucer will overfill and leak. This may happens and it is all good, just make sure to empty the plant saucer so that it isn’t sitting in the wet tray.
I hope that these four tools will help you to make your houseplants thrive! Please let me know if you use them and if you have any other questions!
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