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How to NOT Kill your Plants!

How to NOT Kill your Plants!

Not everyone is born with a green thumb and that’s okay. It also took us some research, trial & error, and unfortunately some fallen plant friends (RIP) to figure out how to take care of our little jungle here at Charley’s. If our ‘4 reasons why houseplants are good for you‘ post has convinced you to finally take the step towards becoming a plant parent, then this little article is meant to help you take better care of your little green friends by sharing with you our research results, tips & tricks to happy plants.

1. It’s not you, it’s the plant

The first thing we can recommend is to buy the right plants for you. This might seem quite obvious, but if you buy a cactus for your bathroom which resembles a small, humid rainforest in terms of climate, then it is no wonder it isn’t doing so well – cacti aren’t native to the rainforest. That’s why it is important to inform yourself by talking to your gardener, plant shop owner, or ask google to find out which plants are most suited and will thrive in the space that you are planning to turn into your own little jungle. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to find the right plant:

What is my lifestyle – am I home often & will i have time to water my plants regularly?

If you are travelling a lot or are forgetful when it comes to watering your plants then investing in succulents and cacti will be your best option as they do not need a lot of water. Also, always mention if you have pets as there are some plants that are poisonous if ingested.

Where are you planning to put the plants – how much light is there & what is the temperature?

Some plants need, in fact,  thrive in direct sunlight while others prefer indirect sunlight or shade. If you are new to the plant world then there are a few nice starter plants that are easier to care for, some of which can be found in this handy little blog post.

2. Plants don’t like change

If you finally find a spot where your plant looks happy and is doing well, then moving it somewhere else is a no-no. Plants are very slow when it comes to adapting to change, so it is important to stay consistent when exposing them to certain amounts of light, temperature, and the amount of water you give them.

If you just got a new seedling that you are planning to grow into a big beautiful plant then make sure that the spot you found is big enough for the plant when it is fully grown. The less moving around the better.

TIP: If you’re going on holiday make sure to find a plant sitter to keep up your plant care routine. After all, you would find someone to look after your cat too, right?

3. If it’s dead, cut it off

To keep your plants growing, make sure to cut off any dead leaves or stems you find. Get yourself a sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears and start clipping any brown, sad looking parts that need to go. It’s actually quite a meditative thing to do, so if you have been thinking about taking up meditation, this could be it!

Also, if you find a layer of dust covering your leaves, make sure to remove it with a wet cloth as it blocks sunlight from being absorbed by the plant – remember photosynthesis from your biology classes?  Nobody likes to be starved and neither does your plant.

4. The plant chooses the pot

Choosing the right size and type of pot for your container is important. Much like snails outgrow their little houses, plants can outgrow their pots. When you see roots poke out of the drainage holes or the top of your pot, it is your plant telling you that it wants a much needed upgrade. If you don’t, then it can cause stunted growth, the roots to be pot bound, and the soil to dry out too quickly. You also wouldn’t be comfortable wearing baby clothes, right?

TIP: Never combine different plants in the same pot.

5. Use the good dirt

We tell our children to always make sure that they eat healthy so that they get all the necessary nutrients for growth. Plants are quite similar and need certain minerals and organic matter to grow properly. You can make sure your plants are getting everything they need by using soil that you get from your local garden centre or plant shop. Using common dirt from outside can contain weed seeds, fungi or pests, so be careful. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

TIP: When you pot your plants, make sure the dirt is slightly moist so the roots can begin working.

6. Plants can drown too – did you know?

Over-watering your plants is a very common beginner’s mistake. The amount of water needed varies per plant. That being said, you don’t have to measure out the water down to the precise milliliter, but you should know the difference between watering a cactus vs. watering a plant that originates from the rainforest in Brazil. If you overwater a plant it can lead to rotten roots, or the plant can become susceptible to fungal infections.

Another thing to look out for is the water temperature – freezing cold water can shock and damage the roots, so make sure the water is about room temperature.

There are several care guide websites that have lots of great information, tips and tricks on how to best care for each specific plant in your home.

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