I am not a houseplant expert. I have had the basic ‘this-will-live-through-anything’ plants die while in my care. But I’ve also had plants thrive, and a few successful plants even propagate! Since college, I’ve had some sort of houseplant living (or barely living), and I’ve learned a few houseplant tips along the way.
Shop the Sale Rack
I feel like everyone loves a good sale! And the plant sale rack at the big box stores can offer up some good options to try out a new houseplant for just a few dollars. It’s exciting when you can care for a discarded plant and see it thrive. This is also a great place to find decent containers at a huge discount. I’ve purchased discounted plants merely because I liked the container. I’ve even just thrown out the plant and kept the container.
Let it go!
Yes, you can throw out or discard plants. I feel like houseplants should bring joy, and if you have a houseplant that is giving off frustration instead of happiness, it’s okay to let it go. For so long, I’d feel guilty for throwing out a plant–like I didn’t do enough to help it or that I let the dreaded bugs win. I’ve come to accept that some of my houseplants don’t make it. And I’ve realized that it’s freeing to let them go. I only have so much time, and some of my plants aren’t worth my frustration. And bugs. Ugh! Those little gnats and worms can be the worst and can quickly take over and spread to other plants. So, I’ve learned to cut my losses and throw out the bad plant!
Learn what you can
I like a good challenge, and I like learning new things, so houseplants are enjoyable to me. There are many places where you can learn how to care for houseplants. Besides grabbing a book from the library, there are some great local shops where you can purchase supplies and ask questions. It’s always fun to go to Snakeroot or Grounded Plant and Flora to see what they have, and the people who work there are usually very helpful and willing to answer questions you may have. You can also check out houseplant swaps. The people who attend these events are usually willing to teach and learn about houseplants and their care. Some of my favorite little plants that have done well came from a plant swap at Garfield Park a few years ago. Most attendees are willing to give tips and cuttings for free! There is also a wealth of knowledge about plants on social media. While you can search Google for your plant question, you can also join a Facebook group or look through Instagram and TikTok and find some great plant content creators with various houseplant tips.
Enjoy it and document it!
I like to have a few houseplants by my kitchen window. It allows me to see them daily and do a quick check-in, and it’s fun to see their growth. I also take photos of new plants, and when I notice a change, good or bad, I’ll snap another picture to help document my plants’ changes. I throw these pictures into a ‘Houseplant’ album on my phone. I’m sure there’s an app that would be better, but this works for me. Having plants in the kitchen where I see them daily brings me joy. I have a cute bottle of fertilizer from Happy Happy Houseplant that sits next to them as well. Happy Happy Houseplant also has some great house plant tips on their Instagram. But, be warned–I’ve found that if I like or follow a houseplant account, they start to fill my feed. But I don’t mind. I’ve also found joy and excitement in propagating plants that are doing well. Some house plants like a pathos variety are easy to propagate–just take a cutting, put it in water, and watch them root. This is a great way to share plants that you enjoy and a fun way to see your plants grow.