house plants

2020-08-03 07:03

npr life kit article on happy house plants

six tips to be a better house plant farmer:

1. what kind of light is it getting?

Houseplant light requirements are categorized into low, medium, and bright. You can check these by using the shadow test.

shadow test
Bright light

sillhouette has sharp lines

Medium light

sillhouette has fuzzy lines

Low light

barely enough light to read

You also have to think about direct and indirect light.

Direct light

light follows one direct path from sun to plant

Indirect light

light passes through or bounces off of other stuff to reach your plant.

Direct sunlight can roast some plants, but on the whole most house plants will tolerate bright and medium light well. Plants that spread outward might not be getting enough light. If you are working with low light, consider a specific plant type or a grow lamp.

2. Remember your roots

Good soil mixes have pockets of air. This helps with drainage and serves as a stockpile of oxygen. This is why potting mixes are heterogeneous.

Overwatering and under draining can cause root rot, where these air pockets are clogged and the plant will either succumb to fungus or basically drown.

Normal, healthy roots are white or cream colored. Root rot is a scummy brown or black. This is easiest to see when the soil is dry and you pull gently upwards on the plant to inspect.

Wait at least a month after buying a plant before transpanting it into a new pot.

If the plant is root-bound, it may be time to upgrade the pot. You will likely spot this if the roots grow out of the drainage hole in the pot.

3. Ditch the stict watering schedule

Terra cotta pots will wick moisture, glazed ceramics will not.

Most people overwater their plants. Do not water on a strict schedule, instead regularly check the soil by poking a finger down two inches. If the topsoil is dry, re-water.

Over-watered plants will yellow and may have root rot. This is still salvageable if you allow the soil to dry out, cut off the rotted parts with sterilized scissors and transplant to new soil.

Over/under watering can be difficult to tell, so check the soil, roots, and read up on warning signs for your specific plant (e.g. drooping or curling leaves)

4. Name your plant

Instantly makes you a better parent.

5. Constant vigilence