Green thumbs don’t always come naturally. I learned this in my mid-twenties, after many years of failed houseplants. Then, slowly, one plant survived, then another, and before I knew it, my house was FILLED with plants. All with unique needs, personalities, and aesthetics! If you can’t tell, I love plants. They bring me joy and I hope this post inspires you, especially if you feel the same way I did in the beginning! Or, if you’re already a plant parent like me, maybe some of these tips & tricks can be useful to you.
First off, why houseplants?
Why not?! Houseplants are low-maintenance and there are so many benefits that come with owning them:
- They liven up your home
- Improve air quality
- Reduce stress
- Lower background noise
- Fun to watch grow & transform
- Boost productivity, concentration & creativity
- Always there to talk to =)
Just starting out?
Some houseplants have more needs than others, so here are my top 5 picks for beginners.
Snake plants have a reputation for basically being impossible to kill. These no-fuss tropical plants live well in low-light and even no-light conditions. They also require very little water, and make great air-purifiers!
These lovely trees do well in medium indirect light and only require watering once a week.
Philodendrons are super hardy plants that require little effort and grow rapidly. They have beautiful vines and heart-shaped leaves that look great on shelves and hanging pots. They can grow in both full and low light and only require watering once a week.
Aloe is as useful as it is beautiful! Its leaves can be used to sooth irritated skin, minor burns, itching and more. Simply cut off one of its leaves, squeeze out its gooey juices and apply to skin. They prefer sunny window-sills and only need watered occasionally.
This succulent plant has thick, lush stems and leaves and prefers bright & indirect sunlight to thrive. They only require watering once a week. If you have a dog who likes to snack on plants from time to time like I do, you’ll be happy to know that Peperomias are pet friendly! I keep toxic plants out of her reach on shelves or hanging baskets.
Affordable tips & tricks
Purchasing plants themselves is usually inexpensive, but sometimes caring for them can become a little pricey. Here are a few DIY tips & tricks that are easy and affordable!
Paint your own pots!
Terra cotta pots are inexpensive and make perfect canvases to showcase your creativity. I paint them with acrylic paints them to make them my own.
Supplies you’ll need:
- Acrylic paint
- Paint brushes or sponge
- Acrylic coating spray
Use leftover coffee as a natural fertilizer
Coffee can provide the soil with nutrients such a nitrogen, which helps produce stronger stems and more leaves. Make sure to dilute coffee in water first as it is super acidic and can be harmful to your plants (I typically use 1/4 cup cold coffee & 2 cups water). You can do this every 2 weeks, or once a month.
Create your own plant-safe bug spray!
Get rid of pests easily by mixing the following household items in a spray bottle:
- 1/4 cup distilled or boiled water
- 2 tsp witch hazel
- 2 tsp rubbing alcohol
- 25 drops peppermint essential oil
- 5-10 drops eucalyptus essential oil (optional)
- 6-10 drops lemongrass essential oil (optional)
- 7-10 drops clove essential oil (optional)
Also be sure to wipe dust off of leaves with a damp cloth to keep them clean and pest-free!
Create your own humidity
I live in Pittsburgh which has very cold, dry winters. Most of my houseplants are tropical and LOVE humidity. You can tell if your plant needs moisture by brown edges on their leaves. In order to achieve this indoors, be sure to mist your plants leaves frequently (I do this every other day), as well as plant them in a pot with a drainage hole and place on a pebble tray with water. As the water in the tray evaporates, it creates humidity for the plant.
Supplies you’ll need:
- Large saucer or tray
- Pebbles (these can be decorative beads, river rocks, get creative!)
Swap plants & cuttings with friends
This is a great and fun way to add new plants to your collection!
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for following along! I am by no means a plant expert and am always learning new things, so please share any tips and tricks that you have found along the way and let me know what your favorite plant is in the comments below!
Have a great day and happy planting =)