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assorted houseplants on shelf under lights

Plant Parenting, Part 1: Tips for Happy Houseplants

lush green potted houseplants in light room

Did someone say “plant mom?” Millennials and Gen Z’ers are taking to the streets, buying plants left and right, and bringing them home. Have they ever taken care of a plant in their life? Well…probably not, but it can’t be that hard! Social media regularly splashes around photos of greenery-filled bedrooms and living rooms, but fostering plants into lush beauties isn’t as easy as it looks. Once you set up your new plant-mates in the living room, A.K.A. photo studio, you may realize how much care they require. It takes practice to be able to read your plants and give them what they need. No need to fear; My Thyme Gardens is here with a two part series that will connect you and your plant. You won’t be able to see where your hand ends and their leaves begin.  

Your plants communicate their needs in all sorts of ways. They’re trying to stay alive regardless of the environment they’ve been placed in; maybe they’re dropping a bunch of leaves because they need to conserve energy for their roots. Perhaps their leaves are displaying weird patches of discoloration as they battle pests or disease. Whatever your plants are trying to tell you, you have to become a kind of scientist; getting to know your plants and interpreting their messages. 

close up houseplant seedling

The most basic place to begin is with your watering routine. Use the finger check to gauge the level of moisture in the soil. Many houseplants need to be watered about 1-2 times per week, and between waterings, the top inch of the should be slightly damp (stick your finger into the soil and check how damp it is). The plant needs to be able to drain before you water it next, meaning that you should water it when the soil becomes dry again. You can even pick up the plant when it has just been watered, and compare it to how heavy it is when it is needing water. These methods are straightforward ways to monitor your plants’ thirst levels; but certain plants need less moisture. Succulents and other tropical plants can be happy with a watering about every 1-2 weeks. For these types of plants, let the appearance of the leaves indicate your watering schedule. Leaves should be plump and firm.

A few other ways to shower your houseplants with love is to:

small houseplant in white pot in sunlight
  • Water them in the early morning. This goes for all plants! Watering them early in the day gives them the entire day to soak in that moisture before the day (or your house) heats up. It also gives them enough time to dry out before the sun goes down (or before your house cools down). They’ll be able to absorb way more water in the morning than any other time of day. Their roots will also be able to dry out, staying protected from fungal pathogens. 
  • Houseplants jive more with water that is room temperature. Water that is too cold or too hot can shock your growing buds!
  • Every time you water, rotate your plants so that they get a more even exposure to sunlight. This will help your plant grow full and lush on all sides. 
  • Keep your leaves free of dust, allowing maximum absorption of sunlight. 
small potted houseplants in window

We dive into all things leaves in the second installation of our Plant Parenting series.

Until next thyme,
My Thyme Gardens

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