We’re strong believers in self-care at The Apothecary, and even more so when starting a new year! An excellent way to slow down, practice patience, and celebrate growth is by caring for your houseplants. Like most skills, we know plant care doesn’t come naturally to everybody, so we’ve compiled some tips and tricks to help cure what ails your indoor plants and inspire you to become more connected and intentional when caring for your plant babies.
Turn caring for your plants into a playful, intentional routine.
We know that often times life can feel busy and overwhelming; these are the times it is most important to make space for yourself and caring for your plants can become a productive and conscious practice to help you focus, unwind and nurture a beautiful form of life. Plant care is a mindfulness practice that can be an alternative to meditation if you struggle with sitting still.
1. Pick 1-2 days a week where you can carve out an hour or so for yourself and your plant friends. Reframe your thinking to make this feel like less of a chore and more of an intentional tactic to slow down your day and disconnect from the more stressful aspects of life. Try to make this a consistent routine if possible.
2. When caring for your plants, whether it be routine watering, misting, trimming, or repotting, be intentional with your actions (and words if you like to give compliments.) Take things slow and be observant.
3. Put on some of your favourite music, or play Mother Earth’s Plantasia, an album by Mort Garson released in 1976 that was composed specifically for plants to listen to (and it’s a treat for human ears too!).
4. If you’re pampering your plants, you might as well pamper yourself as well! Make yourself a cup of your favourite tea, coffee or wine, put on a face mask and get to it!
Take the time to learn and educate yourself on your plants.
It is so easy to end up with plants you know nothing about. This is completely okay, as over time you'll get to know each plant by spending more and more time with them. There are also so many fantastic resources these days, so take advantage of the internet (or Ryliegh’s favourite - the library) and learn! There are a significant number of factors you can take into consideration while caring for your houseplants, but don’t let them intimidate you. Here are a few examples:
1. Selecting the proper potting soil mix for the type of plant. Each plant prefers a unique soil method, some including peat moss, perlite, pine bark, limestone, sand, the list goes on!
2. Factor in your light. Again, all plants like different levels of light; some like bright light, bright indirect light, low light, low indirect light etc. When you’re shopping for plants keep in mind how much light you get in your home each day. You’ll also have to take into consideration the amount of space you have and how big the plants may grow.
3. Provide your plants with the correct amount of water to avoid over watering or underwatering. This also ties into choosing the types of pots you are using. Pots with drainage holes are strongly encouraged. You can also invest in a moisture metre for more sensitive plants.
4. Ensure your plants have adequate humidity levels. This can include misting your plants each day, or investing in a humidifier if that isn’t doing the trick.
5. Regularly fertilize your houseplants. The ideal time to do this is usually in the spring or summer time when they are most active!
Last but not least, control houseplant pests.
No one wants spider mites or other bugs in their home, but they can be a frustrating reality for many plant parents. Here are a few tips on how to prevent and treat this problem:
1. Always quarantine a new plant when bringing It into your home to prevent pests spreading to your existing plants. Also, try to be diligent in regularly inspecting your current plants for pests.
2. To prevent creating a environment that pests thrive in, ensure you are not over watering and clean up any fallen leaves or organic matter from the top of the soil.
3. Add dry coffee grounds and Epsom salts to your plant’s soil to provide nutrients, increase chlorophyll, promote growth, and deter pests.
For fungus gnats and other surface level pests: add a little diatomaceous earth to the top layer of soil to kill fungus gnats and other pests.
For mealy bugs and spider mites: away from your healthy plants, remove the plant from the pot, shake soil away and wash plant (including roots) with 50/50 gentle dish soap and H20. Use Neem oil to wash the plant if needed before the soap.