Life is stressful enough, but you shouldn’t have to worry about whether you are being the best plant parent or not. Here are some one-sentence reminders for new and seasoned houseplant lovers to help you get through any doubts about your plant parenting skills.
Having a Green Thumb Is Not Required
"You don't have to have a 'green thumb' to collect plants," says Rachel Mayo, photographer and sustainable living enthusiast of Grow in the Light. "Even the most expert gardeners have lost plants along their journey."
Mayo's love for houseplants bloomed three years ago even though she's been around them her whole life. Although she has lost several over the past few years, she doesn't let that stop her. She mourns the loss and keeps loving her other plants.
Develop a Routine
An ever-expanding plant collection can become overwhelming. Kevin Espiritu, the founder of Epic Gardening, also started his houseplant collection three years ago and this has grown to around 50 plants so far. He also grows edibles outdoors.
With so many plants to take care of, how does he keep them all healthy and happy? "Blend your plant care into your routines, and you'll never lose a plant to neglect, pests, or disease," suggests Espiritu,
Your plants are there to bring joy into your life, not stress you out. Developing a routine will not only keep your plants healthy, but it can also help you manage stress and anxiety.
Treat Them Like People
Tiana Florence, the owner of Botanical Safari in Atlanta has been a plant lover her whole life. This led her to plant competitions in high school, and now she owns a boutique plant shop with two locations.
She reminds her customers that plants are like people—they all have different requirements to thrive. Some plants prefer more sun and others need extra shade. Once you get to know a plant's likes and dislikes, you can personalize its care. Florence has successfully cared for her collection of 100-plus plants on top of her shop plants.
Pick a Plant That's Right for YOU
Plants like Pothos and Sansevieria are often listed as suitable for beginners. However, that doesn't always mean they are the ones you should get. "There isn't the right starter plant for everyone," says Maria Failla, founder of the Bloom and Grow Radio podcast, "It's all about picking the right plant for YOUR personality and lifestyle."
Failla was a notorious plant killer until around four years ago. She then decided to take the time to research what plants would thrive in her home and suit her lifestyle. From then she was hooked and never turned back.
Picking the right plant isn't hard; it's all about matchmaking. To help pick the right plant, Farilla has even developed a Plant Parent Personality Quiz to help pair you with the right plants.
Some people don't develop a green thumb overnight, but that doesn't mean you should give up. "Be patient, keep learning, and don't be afraid to ask questions. If you grow yourself, your plants will too," says plant influencer Katie Anne.
The proud plant mom started her collection a little of a year ago, and it's now grown to over 250 plants! The secret to her success is her community. "The best part about being a houseplant lover is that there is a community of others who also love plants and are open to helping and sharing their experiences," says Anne.
Get to Know Your Light
Lighting is perhaps the most challenging part of growing plants, especially indoors. "Light dictates the growth potential of the plant - watering/fertilizing/repotting are done to realize that potential," says Darryl Cheng, creator of House Plant Journal and author of The New Plant Parent.
Knowing how much light each area of your home gets will determine how well your houseplants will thrive. "'Bright indirect light' doesn't mean just anywhere in the room is fine," continues Cheng, "It means the plant should be as close to your largest window as possible and block the sun only if the duration of exposure will exceed 2 or 3 hours."
Cheng has been an avid houseplant lover for seven years and is currently a proud plant dad to around 100 plants.
Don't Give Up
It's hard not to get discouraged when, despite all your efforts, your plant dies. "My message is never to give up," says Brian Atchue, founder of Hanging Houseplants. "I struggled in the beginning, but plant care is a journey where you're constantly learning and improving. Everyone has a green thumb; it just takes some of us more time to find it!" Atchue's houseplant journey began eight years ago, and he now owns over 200 plants.
Remember These Two Ingredients
“Taking care of plants comes down to two simple things: light and water,” says living wall artist, Gennaro Brooks-Church. “Get that right and you’ll have a jungle of happy plants.”
Brooks-Church is a renowned plant expert and specializes in residential living walls. He’s also has a collection of thousands of plants.
Less Is More
For Tina Huffman, landscape designer and home and garden blogger at Greenhouse Studio, a collection of 45-plus houseplants may not precisely qualify as a small collection. Fortunately, when it comes to her "less is more" mantra, she's referring to watering. "Most plants tolerate being underwatered," says Huffman, "But many more plants are 'killed by kindness' from overwatering."
Keep It Real
Instagram feeds make plant parenting look super easy. However, you have to remember to keep it all in perspective. “As a plant parent, remember that perfection is a myth, “ says Brooke Blocker, owner of Outside In, an eco-friendly online houseplant shop.
“Plants are living things that'll experience things (like yellowing leaves), it's only natural!” Blocker grew up taking care of plants at her parents' nursery. Her love for houseplants started at the age of 10. Although her houseplant collection is a modest 20, she takes care of hundreds of plants on a daily basis.