Indoor Plant Addiction: What it is and how to keep it going!
How many plants are too many plants? That depends on your space and the amount of time you have to spend. If you immediately know the exact spots in your home where you could probably fit another plant, just how much sunlight each of those spots receives in which season, and how much time (in terms of hours) it takes to care for and feed your plant babies, you might have what we call an “Indoor Plant Addiction” or “the other IPA.” Look, we’re not here to judge, we’re addicts just like you and – like many IPA’s – we’re not about to stop! But we will admit to having run into some….emmm….limits when it comes to keeping indoor plants and we’re here to tell the rest of you how to avoid our mistakes.
Know Your Space:
First things first, know your space. It’s easy to want to go overboard and get ALL of the plants in ALL varieties to fill ALL the corners, but – breathe. You do still need some space for other things in your home. Keep in mind, some outdoor plants may need to become indoor plants in the colder months, so keeping available space may be necessary. Each individual plant requires a certain amount of natural light as well as growing space. It’s tempting to start thinking of live plants as decorations – we get it, they’re pretty – but they also require the right environment. In other words, for the spot to be right, it must be right for the plant, not your color scheme (although that's also nice).
That will, to some degree, vary on the plant (more on that later) but some spots like vents or perpetually dark places are obviously not suitable for most varieties. So don’t try to spruce up a corner if that corner is a dead zone. Even if that aloe looks incredible in your nook, make certain it’s getting the amount of daylight to thrive. Don’t overcrowd your plants to ensure they aren’t competing for light. When in doubt, listen to your plants – if they don’t seem to be happy in your “perfect spot” it may be time to reconsider.
Likewise there are lots of areas that are perfect for plant life. Try to position most of your plants in these areas (assuming you’re not using artificial lights to grow). You’ll also need to rotate your plants from time to time to promote even growth. If you find the space filling up with contrasting, mismatched planters, or to give the space an added element of style and texture, try using a decorative basket to house the planter. Ours are made of natural sea grass and come in a rainbow-array of colors! Or, for an even more romantic feel, there’s our hand-made macramé baskets.
Know Your Plants.
Just like you should consider the space you’ll be putting your plants in, you should also consider the type of plant you want to grow and it’s unique needs. If you want to grow a cactus, you’re going to need a lot more direct sunlight then, say, a snake plant, which actually prefers a shadier spot. Also take into account the full size of the plant you’re looking to grow. Just because a plant fits a spot perfectly when you buy it, doesn’t guarantee it’ll have enough space to grow to it’s mature size. When in doubt, turn to the all-mighty Google. There’s no shortage of information and personal advice from fellow plant-lovers and experts.
Use Water – Intelligently
You know what kills 99% of household orchids? Overwatering. Succulents? The same exact thing. OK, that statistic is completely bogus, but this statement isn’t: Not all plants are meant to be watered the same amount or the same way. If you aren’t already, make yourself familiar with your houseplants’ watering needs and try to act accordingly. Getting a good quality watering can will let you better control your pours. Soon it’ll become second nature to give your plants the right amount they require.
Plants like orchids, for instance, need a slow watering in order to absorb nutrients. This can be done in a number of ways:
Soak: This one’s easy: just fill up whatever container your orchid lives in, soak for 5 minutes, then allow to fully drain. Alternate between clean water and nutrient water (water mixed with orchid food) according to your specific plant’s directions.
Spray/Mist: Orchids love humidity, but if you don’t have a greenhouse or live in a particularly humid area, you may need a little bit of help. You could invest in a humidifier, but a simple hand mister will do just fine.
Ice Cubes: This is a great, easy option for most orchids. Adding a couple cubes of ice will slowly allow the melting water to get absorbed by the plant. No need to drain. If you’re overzealous, you can try freezing some water mixed with orchid food and alternate watering your plants with that and the regular ice cubes. Just be careful not to accidentally put one in your drink instead!
For any plant enthusiast, multiplying plants is the ultimate dream. That's why it's important to know how to propagate your existing plants or those you might be able to get from your friends or relatives. If you can get a healthy cutting of any plant you should be able to propagate a new one. No need to buy new ones. Alternatively, you can clone your favorite plants and give them out as gifts for loved ones! We're big fans of these stylish terrarium stands because they let you display cuttings like the pieces of art they are!
Don’t Forget The Fertilizer
So often we get carried away with watering our houseplants, but we fail to realize their nutrient supply can be very limited if you’re not actively adding fertilizer. OK, so nobody really loves the idea of bringing fertilizer into the home, but maybe we could re-evaluate what counts as fertilizer in the first place. For instance, you might think of smelly manure (which we’re not opposed to in any way), but there are alternatives that are much less offensive to the nose. For instance, multipurpose organic pellet fertilizer is widely available in any gardening store, and is very effective on a multitude of plants. In our opinion, the most effective natural fertilizer can be water recycled after cleaning a fish tank. If you keep fish, this is an easy way to re-use the soiled water while making your houseplants incredibly happy. Full circle – like it should be.
Keep planting and growing,