Contrary to popular belief, plants need a little more than a sunny spot and regular watering to thrive. Without proper attention and care, plants can experience a range of issues, from rot to pests to being too root-bound or pot-bound. Here’s an example of a plant care routine that we recommend trying:
As Needed: Water Plants
It’s important to pay attention to the specific water requirements for your plant and not overdo it. Most houseplants that die are killed with kindness; it’s much easier to overwater than underwater. If you’re unsure, or tend to fuss too much with your plants, check out our Moisture Meters to help you best assess when your plant is really thirsty. While most plants can be watered either from the top or the bottom, we recommend top-watering your plants at least once a month. This flushes out the soil completely and helps keep any unwanted fungus, bacteria, or other debris from accumulating on your plant.
Once a Week: Dust Plants
Something not enough plant parents know to do is to dust your plant’s leaves off regularly. This has a number of benefits. First, it helps the plant look its best, keeping its leaves shiny and beautiful. Also, when dust is coating the leaves, it prevents the plant from absorbing sunlight to its best ability, making photosynthesis harder. Your plant will grow faster and healthier with clean leaves. Finally, regular handling will help you stay ahead of any pest problems. Pests can fly onto your plant from other plants, your clothing from being outside, or through an open window. No plant parent is safe. Regular leaf dusting is a great way to spot any unwanted guests early, and evict them before a potential infestation.
Once a Month: Wash Plants
About once a month, in lieu of a typical dry-dusting, we like to wipe down the leaves of our houseplants with a gentle soap. This helps keep dust down to a minimum and kills any unwanted pests or bacteria that may have found their way onto your plant. There are a lot of recipes for DIY plant sprays online; we like ones with minimal ingredients such as water, neem oil, and castile soap. Spray this heavily diluted solution onto the leaves of your plants and wipe clean to restore their natural luster and help them look and feel their best.
Once a Month/As Needed: Fertilize
In most growth zones, houseplants can be fertilized year round, though most prefer less-frequent fertilization in colder, darker months. Regular fertilizing helps plants maintain the nutrient levels they need for optimal health and growth, and it also helps their immune systems remain at full strength to help ward off pests, fungi, or other diseases.
Once a Year: Replace Soil
Even with regular fertilizing, nutrients in soil don’t last forever, so it’s a good idea to switch out the soil your plant’s living in once a year or so. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to repot into a larger vessel; many plants like to stay pot-bound.
As you can see, there’s more to caring for even the most low-maintenance plant than meets the eye. But if you’re pet parents like us, you’re used to unexpected surprises and responsibilities. Following this basic plant maintenance routine will help you carve out regular time in your schedule to enjoy your plants and help them live their healthiest, happiest lives.