Plant care is a pretty personal thing. Ask any plant parent or professional how they care for their plants and odds are their answers will actually differ quite a bit. Sure, there are the usual things you have to do like make sure you don’t overwater your plants, ensure they’re getting enough light, and repot them when necessary.
However, if you speak to plant professionals they’ll probably have tools and items that they use to help assist them with these duties. And that’s where you’ll start to find the differences. One person may swear by a moisture meter — never waters their plants without using one first! — and another may have a favorite pest control method to warn off fungus gnats. There are so many different items out there that can help you care for your plants, so we asked the plant pros which ones they wish they’d bought sooner. Here’s what they had to say.
Fruitsuper Plant Stick
There are a lot of circumstances in which plants start to fall over or lean. Maybe it’s gotten too heavy on one side so it tilts. Perhaps you’ve forgotten to rotate it so it’s starting to grow towards the sun, making the growth uneven. Or maybe you have a trailing plant that you want to grow upwards. Whatever the reason, using something to stake them up is key.
While you can of course always use a simple stick or garden stake, it can be hard to get the plant to actually stay put where you want it to. Why not use something a little flashier with more support options? “Something I wish I’d bought sooner is Plant Sticks — If your plants aren't cooperating and need a little help standing up straight, Plant Sticks have got your back,” says Puneet Sabarwal, CEO and co-founder of Horti. The supports come in a set of three different heights and shapes and are made of brass. They’re not only functional, but incredibly stylish, so they’ll fit into your home decor better than a stick. “Keep your plants tall and proud, supporting them as they grow,” encourages Sabarwal.
Garden Safe TakeRoot Rooting Hormone 2 oz.
Some plants are definitely easier to propagate than others. It’s also a lot less daunting to try your hand at propagating a common houseplant like a pothos or monstera. But when you want to propagate a plant that’s rare or expensive, you don’t want it to fail. “I now often use rooting hormone. When propagating plants in the past I typically did not reach for the rooting hormone," admits Matt Aulton, head grower at Plant Proper. . "Rooting hormone is the edge that is needed when propagating."
Rooting hormones can help roots grow. They come in powder, water, or gel form. “Propagating can be tough at times and when not successful it can be a waste of plants and time. That is never fun for your confidence or for the plants," says Aulton. "After using a rooting hormone to help in the rooting process my success rate went way up along with my confidence level."
Mosquito Bits Granular Biological Mosquito Control 30 oz.
No one wants pests on their plants or in the soil. It’s the worst when you find an infestation, especially if you have a large collection as pests can spread really fast. If you do find any pests, before doing anything else, quarantine your plant. Get it as far away from your other plants as possible. Then clean the plant thoroughly to try and get all of the pests off (a good spray in the shower can help). And if it's a pest located in soil, you may have to replace it all.
“I wish I would have bought multiple varieties of plant pest control sooner—better safe than sorry,” says Bryana Sortino, COO and co-founder of Horti. There are a number of different plant pest control products. Mosquito Bits, used to control mosquitos, can also help get fungus gnats under control—no soil replacement necessary—and it won't harm your plants. If you want to use something organic, neem oil works great, too.