Friday, April 5, 2019

Indoor Plant Care Tips & Tricks

So today I thought I'd bring you a different kind of post talking about my own experience with indoor house plants. Here is what I've learned along the way while curating and collecting my ever changing and evolving indoor garden in my home.
I hope you enjoy! 
Read and scroll down to learn a bit about how I care for my green babies:

General Green Thumb Insight
When to Water:
 Typically you should water your indoor house plants once a week to every other week depending on the season and humidity in the air. A little tip to help me decide if they need a soaking is to dip my index finger into the soil past my knuckle to see if the soil is still moist from the last watering. Ideally, potted plants need to completely dry out in between watering otherwise rootrot can occur. A common newbie house plant owner mistake is over watering your plants, so don't let them drown in their own pots, my friends. In the winter months, I usually water my plants every other week because they go dormant and don't need as much attention plus there's usually more moisture in the air so they don't need the extra water. Although in summer months it's the opposite, I found myself watering my plants twice a week sometimes if it was super dry and hot out. An easy way to know if your plant needs water is when the leaves start to droop or turn yellow, that's a definite sign they need to be watered.

When to Re-pot:
I tend to re-pot my plants for several reasons... If my plant dies or simply didn't survive a season, or perhaps it couldn't handle a move, weather change, or maybe it lacked the right light or even outgrew its pot then you know it's time. Time to change it up. If a plant is put in too big of a pot then the roots can suffer and suffocate trying to find the walls or get root rot these are some reasons you know you potted it in too big of a pot. If the plants are overflowing and spilling out of the top of the pot then it's time to change it up and let it grow up into adulthood and move it into a bigger space. Lastly, sometimes plants just die and no matter how much you love it you must so goodbye bye and let it go. Go buy yourself a new easier plant to care for. You'll be glad you did. I had to do this with a fern I had on the top of my kitchen fridge when I accidentally let it die because I didn't water it enough. Apparently, ferns love water and should never let them dry out, oops lesson learned. At least I bought it on sale at the end of last summer for a cheap price so it's all good. Next time I just won't get a fern, they're very finicky.

What to shop for at a local Nursery

Follow These Easy Guidelines:

*Buy local plants because they tend to have a better chance of surviving. Buying tropical plants when you live in a dessert may not be the easiest way to get a green thumb.

*Ask the sales attendant about the plants and where you hoping to put your new plant in your home, trust their advice they are the experts.
*Take note of what you are drawn to (it will help you decide) chances are there is probably a plant in your budget and capability to care for. Like for instance, I realized I love trailing plants and things that are low maintenance. I'm very over succulents which I got so sick and tired of from living back in Southern California. Now I just go on Pinterest for inspiration when I want a new plant.
*Ask about the care instructions, odds are you'll want an easy pant if your a beginner and your reading this. Plants like Orchids and ferns for me are super hard to keep alive so I tend to go for plants that don't need much attention just water and the right sunlight.

Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

For my fiddle leaf fig tree, first of all, I bought it from a local nursery here in Portland called, Solabee. I had been eyeing this plant online and around town for a while so I already knew I wanted it. I went into the shop asked about the price of the tree and found a specimen in my price range then proceeded to ask the sales lady all I needed to know about the plant so that It will have a good life in my home. She basically told me to water it weekly or when it needed it and to make sure it got some direct. So that's what I did, once home re-potted it into its appropriate clay pot and since then I've been watching it grow. It's twice as big now from when I first got it and continues to thrive thanks to the good advice and care I give it. If your Fiddle leaf fig's leaves are turning yellow or brown then you should try watering it first. Or if it's getting dried out you should consider that it may be getting root rot and may need a transplant with better drainage. 

A few basic things to remember: 

1. water weekly
2. Direct Sunlight
3. Good soil in a proper potted pot with good drainage


What I've found is that these can grow HUGE and live very well and for a long time indoors in the correct poted situations. I recently brought home this guy and potted it in this clay pot and placed it in front of my south facing living room window for it's best life and so far so good. 

Pilea Peperomiodes Plant 
(Also known as the UFO or Pancake Plant because of its shape)

This plant is near and dear to my heart because I got to let my boyfriend Grant help me pick it out. I was browsing at one of my favorite Portland terrarium and plant shop called Artmesina when I came across this pot situation. I knew I wanted a new hanging plant for my living room window above the TV where I have ample space. That's where this creature now lives and thrives very well. This plant is super happy in the east window light and keeps growing like crazy. I might have to propagate it soon to get more out of it. 

Care Instructions:
*Place in bright direct light
*water once a week (less in winter)
*propagate in the spring when it's most active

String of Hearts

I love this little guy and its so stinking cute. I bought this guy from a local plant nursery on Mississippi Street here in North Portland from Pistils about 6 months ago. I saw these plants all over the internet and just fell in love with the delicate string like little heart-shaped leaves. It's been easy to care for so far as long as I keep watering it once a week and keep it in the window for that direct East rising sunlight.

 The African Violet

An indoor and outdoor hardy plant which is very hard to kill. I literally bought this plant from a Trader Joes back when I used to live in San Francisco (5 years ago) and it's still alive!!!
Somehow after moving 4 times with this pant from different cities and states it lives on. This is the best and easiest house plant of all. I literally water it when I feel like it because the soil stays so moist I can even skip waterings and it will be fine. Maybe it's doing so well because I potted it in a mug, yes coffee mug that a best friend gave me a few years ago and because it has no drainage it just chills. I make sure to not over water it but if your scared of getting your first house plant go find and African violet. This plant has bloomed in the past when I first got it but because it's in a shallow mug now and has nowhere to grow it just stays as is. Maybe I should be nice and re-pot it eventually into something bigger so it can spread its wings... lol

The Peace Lily

Okay, so this plant as you can see is a perfect example of a plant that needs to be re-potted. It's getting too big for it's hard working clay pot and next time I'm at the plant store I should pick up a bigger pot for miss Lily. I actually bought it on sale from a Lowes around Christmas when I bought my live Christmas tree and brought it back to life. At the store, it was yellowing and had dropping leaves so I took it home started watering it regularly and it perked up, problem solved. Lily just needed some loving TLC. 

Care Instructions:

*DO NOT PUT IN DIRECT SUNLIGHT it will get a sunburn. Seriously.
*Water regularly, give it a good soak 1-2 times a week since it's a tropical plant
*Indirect light and good soil, regular watering and she will be a happy camper

Trailing Plants

 My Pothos is easy to care for and I highly recommend getting yourself this type of plant no matter what area of climate you live in. These types of plants and survive with minimal sunlight, water neglect and basically, you can just forget about this plant and it will still stay alive. Although if you want your plant to thrive just make sure there's enough, light, water, good soil and fertilizer and it will grow like crazy...

A few Pothos Species to Lookout for:
*Golden Pothos, (the most common)
*Jade, Neon, Marble (my next plant purchase) and silver

 Mother's Touge (Otherwise Known As "The Snake Plant")

The snake plant has grown on me since I used to find them strange very dramatic looking but when I found out about the natural air purify benefits they give your home, so now I'm a sucker for them. Any plant that ensures a simple way to clean my air in my home I'm a fan. Also, this type of plant is super hard to kill and easy to care for. Just remember to water this plant regularly and place it near a window so it gets a decent amount of natural sunlight and your good.

 Red Oxalis Triangularis 
(Also Known As The False Shamrock Plant)

Native to Brazil, this plant is toxic to cats and dogs so don't ever let your furry friends chew on the leaves or stems. This is my boyfriend's favorite plant in the house since he thinks it's alive, which it is but it moves. During the day its leaves open up big and lean toward the sunlight to get that vitamin D and in the evening they close up like a fist. This plant is easy to care for and doesn't need much attention just regular watering but not over watering since it's a bulb plant it needs to dry out in between waterings. Otherwise, as long as its placed in a dark pot and gets an adequate amount of light and fertilizer and water then you should have nothing to worry about.

Plants In The Bathroom:

My Spider plant that's hanging in my shower and new little succulent is happy in here. I normally would suggest getting an Orchid, fern or humidity loving plant for the bathroom as long as it gets some sunlight but these guys do just fine in here. I do have a west-facing window in my shower area so plenty of natural sunlight filters in. All I have to do is water once about once a week and send it good vibes. The spider plant is among the basic house plants to collect since it's easy to care for, hard to kill kind of green buddy. As for my succulent, I do typically let it dry out in between waterings and I often keep the bathroom window open to let the air flow in which helps the plants as well. 

Let's Talk About Meely Bugs

What To Watch Out For:

I hate these suckers! I found them on my swiss leaf philodendron plant that I absolutely loved and realized that they had infested the whole plant so badly that I had to throw it out. Now, these are literal little white fuzzy mold like bugs that suck the life out of your plants. They will hide under leaves and nest there sucking the sap from your plants and living off them. The mother bugs will lay eggs and they will populate quite quickly if you're not paying attention. These bugs can trail in on fruit, other plants you bring into the house or even off your clothes and shoes.

What To Do If There's An Infestation:

So the harsh reality and simple way to fix this is to throw out the plant like I did. Personally, I did not want to risk the spread of these Mealy bugs throughout my house to my other beloved plants. So I might've overreacted by doing this but it was the only for sure way I could rest easy knowing the rest of my green babies would be safe. I did, however, do some surgery on my plant's veins and cut off the veins that were not infested to propagate so not all was lost. A week later I found this pesky bug on one of my kitchen plants that you see in the image and quickly picked off the leaves and checked the rest of the plants. Sometimes these bugs can be difficult to get rid of and treat. I read a dozen of articles online that say to spray the infested plant with distilled water or castile soap to wash off the bugs which I tried before throwing out my plant but it didn't seem to work. Other sites said to dap the Mealybugs with a Q-Tip soaked in alcohol to kill them off but I thought this was silly since you had the eggs to worry about which drive me nuts. Lastly, I might add I want to remind you to check your soil, chances are those Mealy bugs infested in the dirt your plant sits in as well. 

This wraps up all the tips and tricks I have on plants.  I hope this has been helpful and hopefully you learned something about house plants. 
This was fun! 

Jordan Jones

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