I used to be one of those people who managed to let even the least demanding of plants droop and die. Green thumb? Not so much. While I’ve always loved a green touch in my interior, I never really got the hang of caring for them and pretty much stayed away from anything more complicated than a cactus or a snake plant.
Fast forward to today. I have 93 plants in my house. And counting. I can’t pinpoint exactly how I got here… I guess it started with a sudden urge to give my green babies a little more TLC, including new homes (the first time in my life I repotted a plant…) and a relatively regular care routine. And what do you know? They actually grew. They flourished. They made babies. How about that. I started to get hooked. I bought my boyfriend the Urban Jungle Book. He got hooked. He bought some plants. I bought some plants. We moved in together. We realised we had a little jungle on our hands. We got really hooked… and bought some more plants.
MY SEVEN PLANTLADY COMMANDMENTS
Enter my crazy plantlady life. Does it involve a magically developed green thumb? Not really. I just found myself with a practical routine and a few simple rules that make it work for me.
1. Start simple: Snake plants, cacti and aloe vera are just a few examples of plants that are very easy to release your budding plantlady skills on. Aside from overwatering, they are quite hard to kill :) In a next instance you could add a little jungle vibe with a monstera, calathea or devil’s ivy. They need a little more watering but are not the fussiest of plants either, making them nice additions to a growing plant collection.
2. Wednesday watering day: what really helped me and my cluttered mind (I watered the plants 3 days ago… right? or maybe a week ago? Or yesterday?…) is setting fixed times for plant care. Enter Wednesday watering day! (and Saturday second watering day for the more demanding green housemates, such as our beautiful banana plant). Plus: every first Wednesday of the month I take the green babies that need only sparse watering along on my round (such as the cacti, which I tend to overwater) and add some fertiliser. A simple routine, that has been working out for both me and my plants!
3. Get a little digital helper: If you have plants that have more irregular watering needs (such as a string of pearls which apparently needs a tiny bit of watering every 10 days), setting an alarm can help! There are also a few plant care apps out there that can help you manage this schedule. I tested a few and personally thought Plantbook was the most practical one.
4. Look for the light. If a good watering routine is key, a strong “light strategy” is definitely of equal importance. Especially young plants need the right kind and amount of light to do well. As a general rule of thumb: most plants fare well in bright spots with indirect/filtered light. No dark corners, no direct sunlight (beware of those south-facing window sills!). Obviously, there are some exceptions (calatheas don’t mind a little shadow, cacti love the direct sunlight), but when in doubt, you cannot go wrong with this rule.
5. Observe and enjoy: You know how they say you should talk to your plants? While that might be taking the crazy a bit too far, there is actually a little truth hidden in there. The idea behind is that you spend a moment and a dash of full attention on them. You will notice when they are doing poorly but also discover little signs of the effect of your good care such as fresh leaves, little seedlings or just plain old beautiful growth. Oh, the wonders of (indoor) nature <3 Pretty sure that’s what got me hooked.
6. Try, fail and learn: The most fun part of being a plantlady is literally getting your hands dirty: repotting, harvesting little seedlings, propagating, … And then witnessing the results of your handiwork! Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes a plant just decides to give up on you, for no apparent reason. No biggie! You’ll do better next time. Maybe you’ve even learned something. And you’ve got an excuse to buy a new plant ;)
7. It’s all about plant gangs: When styling my plants around the house, I tend to group them in “plant gangs”. Not only does this look pretty, with a smidge of jungle-feel, it’s also good for them! Houseplants thrive in groups, plus having them gathered in a few spots makes the watering routine easier and more effective (as you’re less likely to forget/skip a gang than a loner plant).
How about you? Any budding plantladies out there? How are you caring for your indoor jungle? Do tell!
PS: Even though the totebag above says plantlady is the new catlady, I’m choosing the best of both worlds ^^ Here’s a pic of our panther in his jungle to celebrate that <3