Caring for house plants and how to get the most joy from them.
Caring for plants has been beneficial to me in many ways. Not only do I feel more relaxed being surrounded by nature inside our home, but the actual care of them and seeing them thrive is so rewarding. Quietly tending to them, repotting or adding support helps me shut my mind off from everything else going on in the world. Seeing if there are new leaves or new baby plants growing is still so exciting every single time. And even better if you can share cuttings with your plant friends!
(South West facing windows)
Here are my top care and styling tips to get the most from your plants…
I have more than 100 plants (and counting!) so people often assume that watering them all is an absolute chore. But it actually only takes me about 30 minutes. Once a week in summer and once every 2 weeks in winter I work my way from one side of the room to the other, poking a finger into the soil to make sure the top few inches are dry before watering. If it’s still wet wait a few more days, if it’s still wet a week later it may need more sunlight to dry out quicker. If it has dried out…it’s definitely too close to the window!
All my plants are still in their plastic nursery pots and then put into a pretty decorative pot. If it’s a small to medium sized plant I’ll take it to the sink and thoroughly soak it so all the water drains out of the holes in the bottom of the nursery pot before returning it to its decorative pot. Watering in this way ensures the whole root system gets a good drink. For large plants which I can’t pop in the sink, I’ll water it until I can just see the water trickling out the bottom. It’s never good to let a plant sit in water as this will lead to root rot. A plant is more likely to survive from under-watering rather than over-watering.
For happy plants, don’t just buy a pretty plant for a particular spot and expect it to thrive. I try to think backwards, I look at a spot and think I need a plant here…then I research what plants are suitable for the amount of light available.
In my south-west facing rooms I have cacti on windowsills and tropical plants a metre or so away, making sure to shield them from the harsh mid-day rays. In my north-east facing rooms I have plants which are happy in lower light: Pothos, spider plants and ferns.
(North-east facing windows)
There are so many gorgeous plants that your windowsills, shelves and coffee tables soon fill up! Placing plants at different heights is a lovely way to create depth and enhance many areas of the home. Plant hangers, small floating shelves and wall planters are a great way to get plants up high.
Grouping plants together not only looks lovely but it can actually help reduce some plants getting crispy edges on their leaves. I’m no scientist but it’s something to do with the humidity. I don’t have a humidifier in the house or remember to mist them with water, so it seems to work.
If you want to create a bit of drama with plants on windowsills or shelves, putting your plant on a little stand so it’s slightly higher than others around it will really help. I personally like to put plants in unusual containers too, which compliment my decor style. Brass goblets, baskets, even an old vintage TV can be a home for a plant.
Final note - it’s important to remember that plants won’t always look exactly the same as the day you bought them. Our homes do not have the same conditions as the nurseries they grew up in. A few dead leaves as it adjusts to its new home is normal, a few dead leaves as it grows bigger is normal. As long as the majority of the plant looks healthy and you are fulfilling its light and water requirements, you should be living a long and happy life together!