Dare I say it. I think I have too many plants. And I just got another one (and even swapped for some cuttings) recently.
When I first got seriously into houseplants in April 2020 we were in lockdown, and I wasn’t working. I had ample time to care for my new plant babies. My life has changed a lot since then—I started a new job and took on more freelance work, which means I'm a lot busier these days and have less time to dedicate to them.
Also, now it’s winter, which doesn't bode well for my houseplants. Between the cold weather and work, I've had a few plant casualties while I adjust to my new schedule. Thankfully I've found some tools to help.
Here are the five products that help keep me on track when caring for my houseplants:
01 of 05
I love the Planta App. It helps me keep track of all of my 70-plus plants. I have them categorized by room, which makes things a lot easier for me because I have six different golden pothos, two peace lilies, and a whole lot of other repeats.
How It Works
It’s easy to add your plants to the app; just snap a photo of it, and the app will tell you what it is. Once you submit the photo you can see different care tips for the plant. Each morning, I receive an alert that it’s time to water, fertilize, or clean certain plants.
What I Find Most Useful About Planta App
The Planta App helps me keep track of which plants get watered more frequently and which ones like to be left alone (it can be hard to remember which plants like their soil to stay moist and which like it to dry out completely between waterings). It’s also helpful if you’re having an issue with anything in your collection.
02 of 05
Plants can really suffer from overwatering in the winter because the soil doesn’t dry out as quickly as it does in warmer months. Remember that even though the top two inches of soil might be dry, the bottom of the soil or root ball can be soaking wet. Because of this, in the winter I like to use my water meter.
How the Water Meter Works
You just stick the metal prongs into the soil and it will indicate if the soil is dry, moist, or wet. My water meter helps me figure out if it’s really time to get that watering can out.
Again, I don’t use this as a strict measurement because each plant is different. I know what works for some of my plants, but the water meter helps when I’m not totally confident or I have a finicky plant (I’m looking at you English ivy). You can also look for telltale signs in certain plants to know if they need watering. My alocasias and peace lilies droop when they’re thirsty, whereas my scindapsus leaves start to bend.
03 of 05
If you read my previous article about preparing houseplants for winter, you know that I was having an internal struggle about whether or not to move some of my plants away from the radiator in fear that they’d suffer from the dry air. I decided not to move them after all, and instead I set up a humidifier nearby. I have one from Elechomes and I like it because the water tank is large enough that it can run for 40 hours. I have it on a timer so it only goes on until the environment reaches 60% humidity. It goes on and off throughout the day to maintain humidity levels. This has helped keep my tropical plants happy in what would have been a very dry environment.
04 of 05
Grow lights are not completely necessary. I only use them in my bedroom because my boyfriend's work schedule is such that he sleeps until 1 pm. That means that during the winter my plants are only getting, if we're lucky, three hours of sunlight a day here in the UK. So, I try to put on my grow light two or three times a week for six-hour increments. It gives my plants a boost of sunshine so they don’t start to look sad.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05
Oh how mosquito dunks have saved my sanity as well as my plants from fungus gnats. While fungus gnats are totally harmless, they are extremely irritating. Someone on Instagram told me to buy mosquito dunks and leave one soaking in my watering can and then water the plants with that water. It took about a month, but I finally have started to see the numbers of gnats decreasing.
If you find that you’re struggling with caring for your plant babies, try some of these tools. Remember that everyone’s situation is going to be different because our living conditions are different. Climates vary, humidity levels can change quickly, and sunshine can be different depending on the direction your home faces. So keep in mind that what works for me might not work for you, but there’s something out there that will help, just be patient.
Fungus Gnats on Houseplants. University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Horticulture.