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How to not kill your indoor plants - 5 tips for beginner plant owners

When you’re just starting out as a plant owner, it can be daunting. From watering schedules to the amount of light they need, there’s a lot to consider. And unfortunately, your plants aren’t going to be able to let you know what’s going wrong.

So, here’s five tips to help you navigate some of the most common issues for taking care of your plant babies.


1. Overwatering or under watering? Look at the leaves.


Problems with overwatering or under watering your plants are one of the most common issues that new plant owners run into. Thankfully, there’s a simple trick to diagnose what might be going wrong - just look at the leaves.

Yellowing leaves - You’re overwatering. Chill out on the water for a week or so, to let your plant dry out and see if the colour of the leaves returns to normal.

Brown leaves - You’re under watering. Browning tips of leaves means that your plant is drying out. Rescue your thirsty plant by first giving it a good soaking (see tip #4) and then increasing your regular watering schedule to more frequent waters.


2. Drainage is key.

I know, those plastic pots your plant came in look pretty ugly. They’ll look a whole lot nicer when you’ve got them in display in a pot. But before you go pulling up the roots of your plants, consider drainage. Plants need holes at the bottom of their pots so that the water can drain out. They hate having soggy feet. But the thing is, that many plant pots you’ll find won’t have a drainage hole. So, what do you do? Buy a pot that’s slightly larger than the plastic pot your plant came in, and pop it directly inside. No need to replant anything. It will look great and the holes in the plastic pot will allow for drainage, keeping your plant healthy.


3. How much sunlight do my plants need?

A good rule of thumb that works for most plants (although be careful with ferns and palms) is that they grow best in bright, indirect sunlight. This means that they love to be placed in a bright and sunny room, where they won’t have sunlight beaming down on them. Some perfect examples of this are in a sunny room, next to a window with a sheer curtain, or on the far side of a brightly lit room, away from the window. A good rule of thumb is to hold something up, and if you can see a shadow on the wall behind it, you’ve got enough sunlight.


4. Shower them, spritz them.

Most indoor plants that are popular today, like monstera, devil’s ivy and lillies - they are tropical type plants. This means that they loooove humidity. One way to simulate the rainforest humidity that they love so much is to occasionally give them a cold shower. Take your plants, and place them in your shower and let it rain. This helps to wash away dust that accumulates on their leaves, which can prevent them from absorbing the sunlight that they need for photosynthesis. Giving them a good soak under the shower also helps to flush toxins from the soil. In between showers, your plants will absolutely love you if you give them a spritz with water from a spray bottle.


5. Feed them.

Plants need food, as well as water. Try to give them a feed with a plant fertiliser every few months, especially coming up to spring. You can find fertiliser sticks at nurseries that are perfect for this. You simply stick them into the soil of your plants and they’ll dissolve over time. Best of all, they’re not messy and they won’t stink. You’ll be amazed at how quickly they start growing new leaves after a good feed.

Do you have any other tips for plant beginners? Share them in the comments below.

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