Struggling with Your Houseplants? Handy Hints to Keep Them Happy
Houseplants guys. We love them, they love us, so why is it so hard to keep them alive?! And don’t even talk to me about garden plants.
Water, sunlight and soil. That’s pretty much what I learnt about the needs of plants in my Biology lessons at school. I understand photosynthesis and all that palava, so why do my precious succulents keep dying on me?
Keeping plants alive has been crucial to keeping us alive for thousands of years. The way we structure our society is pretty much based on it, seeing as we started building houses to last and communities in order to grow food (before that we were nomadic, rocking about here and there until we found a mammoth or something). And the mental health benefits of having real (yes, real, not plastic!) plants around us are numerous! We just need to keep them going.
So, if you’re an accidental plant murderer like me, you’ll want to know some easy to employ tips to keep your herb garden healthy. And yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am happy to deliver.
The first thing you’ll need to do is make sure where they’re sitting and what they’re sitting in is suitable. Plants need plenty of sunlight to thrive, so a sunny windowsill, or a bright open flowerbed in the garden is going to be lovely for them. Keep an eye on those roots too. If they outgrow their pot they’re going to flounder, so make sure you notice when that starts to happen and rehome them to a larger pot. Plastic strawberry containers are a nice choice, as they already have drainage holes and you’re helping to reuse plastic!
Next, you’ll need to know what they like. There are plenty of websites that go into the needs of specific plants, so I won’t go into the nitty gritty, but generally your plant is going to need a certain amount of water. The general rule of thumb is: if they’re normally found in dry places, use less water. If they’re generally found in wet places, use more water.
Cacti very famously are good plants for forgetful or busy people (I am the former, unfortunately) as they don’t need very much water, tending to grow in deserts. You’re also going to want to get them some good potting soil. Soil gives them all the nutrients they need to grow, so it's worth picking up a big bag of it from the supermarket or garden centre, rather than nicking some out of your own flowerbed. You can buy specific soil for specific plants, or you can buy soil that comes with fertiliser.
There are a couple of green ways you can provide nutrients to your plants on top of good soil, the right amount of water and lots of sunlight.
- Having boiled eggs for breakfast? Save the water and once it’s cooled down pour it into your pots. The water saved is full of amazing nutrients from the eggshells.
- You can do this with banana skins too, just soak them in water for 48 hours then use the water.
- Speaking of eggs, save up your shells, use a pestle and mortar to grind them to a powder, then sprinkle into your soil every Spring and Autumn!
- Have a bed that you want to prepare for next season? Save up your cardboard recycling and place on top of the bed. After months and months the cardboard will turn to mulch and give your bed the pep talk it needs.
Plants are so so important for our mental health, our food, our air quality, our wildlife and the planet. Let’s play our very small part to help them out.
If you are looking for gifts for a greenfingered (or not so green) loved one, then we have a fabulous collection of gifts for gardeners, ranging from Seed Balls to Bee Houses and BBQ's.