Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Why plants are the best & my tips on how not to kill them

silver haired girl and pothos plant
A lot of you might know that I'm a teeny bit obsessed with house plants. I've had a crazy couple of years at uni, and one thing that's kept me sane is having my room full to the brim with cute house plants (I called my fourth year room "the plant cave" and it was a pretty accurate name tbh. I've been meaning to make a proper post about plants for a while, and I got a comment asking for some plant tips recently (hi!) so here goes nothing:
monstera deliciosa cheese plant leaves


Why plants are the best//

♡ They look great- a splash of green makes any room look better! I have been in grotty student housing for the last couple of years, and trust me when I say that nothing distracts from beige cracked walls like a big majestic tropical plant. As a blogger, there is also the benefit of making my flatlays/ instagram selfies look better too! ;)
♡ They make you happy- having something to look after is good for you, and plants are so rewarding- especially when they sprout a new leaf <3
♡ They can be as low maintenance (Snake plant) or high maintenance (Chain of hearts) as you like
♡ They have all sorts of health benefits- purifying the air etc

But you've probably heard all that before. It's safe to say that house plants are having a bit of a moment right now.

flatlay with house of plants book, watering can, coffee and house plants
My tips on keeping plants alive//

I am not the world's most proficient indoor gardener (I think that honor quite possibly goes to Jan- @homebyfousna on instagram) buuut I have kept most of my plants alive so far, so here are my personal tips:

♡ Identify the plant and research the plant's needs- ask the seller if they have any advice, often they are plant people and will be very happy to recommend the perfect light/water conditions for your new pal
♡ Pick plants that fit your lifestyle- if you're away a lot or forgetful, something like a fittonia or a fern that needs a lot of watering might not be the ideal plant for you
♡ Remember that over watering is often more deadly than under watering- it can cause root rot, whereas a dried out plant can often come back to it's former glory with a little splash of water. Succulents and cacti are especially vulnerable to over watering- remember they live in the desert, so it doesn't take much for them to get waterlogged
♡ Make sure your plants have enough drainage- if you have drainage holes in the bottom, you can water them from the bottom by placing them in a dish of water and letting it soak up. After a while, when the plant has stopped soaking up water, take it out/ empty the dish. This way takes more time and attention, but it's much easier to make sure the plant isn't sitting in a pool of water at the bottom of the pot.
♡ Some plants like misting- I've just got a really zazzy Hawes mister, but I've been using an old bottle from a hair product which was fine tbh.
♡ Start with easy plants to take care of! There's a reason that succulents and cacti are popular starter plants- it's because they are low maintenance and harder to kill. My personal recommendations for a new plant parent are Pothos- it's so hardy and can tolerate periods of neglect- Succulents and cacti, as mentioned above, and Snake Plants- these only need watering rarely, and over winter (in the UK anyway) can go months with no attention whatsoever.
♡ Get into the habit of checking the soil before you water your plants, so you can gauge whether it actually needs water
♡ Check your plants for pests regularly- check the condition of the leaves, and the joints of the plant/ the base of the plant especially for signs of mealy bugs (they are the worst. The worst)
♡ MEALY BUGS ARE THE WORST. If you do find them, they are really hard to kill, so while spraying the plants ( some places suggest a soapy water mix, or a bug killing spray) can help, I'd really recommend you quarantine the infected plant. There isn't much you can do to prevent them, as far as I'm aware, apart from keeping your plants as healthy as you can and checking them all regularly so you can catch an infection early
♡ Get some plant food, but don't over feed your plants as this can be damaging
♡ Sometimes plant death is unavoidable (mealy bugs) and try not to let this put you off!  

A lot of it is about paying attention to your plants

shelf with plants, vintage camera, watering can and plant mister
Plant care essentials//

A watering can
Soil (try to get peat free)
Plant mister or spray bottle
Plant food

My go-to places for plant care tips//


Ro co's House of Plants book
The Sill- they even have plant q and a- I've emailed them in a panic before and they were v friendly and helpful!

Where I buy my plants from// 

I buy my plants from all over, but recently I've preferred to get them from dedicated plant sellers- although you can get cheap plants from the supermarket (or even on amazon) sometimes they might not have been looked after super well and they might die on you. If you're buying from somewhere like Ikea, a supermarket, or even Urban Outfitters (their plants are v expensive) check the plant carefully- a lot of them are probably healthy and happy, but just in case. I'd recommend checking over all plants you buy though, as it's sad to have something you're taking care of die.

Some places to look include:
Your local garden centre
That being said, Waitrose Garden is from a proper garden centre, and all of the plants I've had from them have been pretty happy.
I also love to get plants from more independent sellers- Geo Fleur and Short Press are both Yorkshire based, with Geo Fleur online and in lots of partner shops across Leeds and Manchester, while Short Press, a plant and art store, has a physical shop in Burley in Leeds. I also love the plant guy at the Leeds Uni market <3 
shelf with jewellery and plants


Where I get my pots from//

I haven't had a tonne of money lately as a student, so a lot of my pots have been second hand or repurposed from other places.
Check charity shops!
I've swiped a few pots off my Dad- it's always worth asking more experienced gardeners if they've got any spare pots (a lot of them probably do)
A lot of my pots have been re used or recycled- old Jam Jars, tea cups and candle holders etc.
plain terra cotta pots from Waitrose
Geometric concrete pot from Geo- Fleur 
Metallic pots from Urban Outfitters and Homebase

I also made a diy macrame plant hanger following a tutorial by the lovely Audrie Storme. If you can hang your plants, I'd completely recommend it- it really adds something to a space and looks super impressive.

My favourite places to go for plant inspiration//

Ro co's House of Plants book
Instagram and pinterest/ There is also a pretty big 'plant community' in the blogosphere and on instagram- start with #urbanjunglebloggers and see how many amaaazing interiors there are. And how plants make everything better.


That's about it! Happy plant parenthood ♡
If you've got any questions/ suggestions, feel free to shoot away! I'm obviously no expert, but I am a proud plant mama :)

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2 comments

  1. Yay! Thanks for finally doing this post, I especially love the family photo at the end. My own plant babies are two rescues from IKEA and so far I've managed to keep them alive for a month (a new record for me, personally). Your echeveria at the bottom right is particularly cute, I can't wait to see it once it's grown to fill that pot.

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    Replies
    1. Well done for keeping them alive! And I'm glad you liked the post! Thanks for sticking around until I got this post together ♡♡

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