My houseplant collection is growing so rapidly that some might call me a crazy plant lady. My leafy pals bring me so much joy and tending to them is one of my favourite hobbies. Plus they have so many benefits, from boosting air quality and reducing stress through to revitalising your home interior. If you’re new to the houseplant world, you might need a beginners guide to houseplants. You may want to know what the best house plants are and how to care for them. I hope these beginner friendly tips and tricks help you take your first steps into the life of the leaf.
Let’s do this!
Where To Buy Plants:
There are numerous online retailers who deliver houseplants straight to your door. They often have key information about each species, categorize them into groups such as “air purifying” or “hard to kill”. Personal favourites are Patch Plants, Pointless Plants and Leaf Envy.
Stores & Supermarkets.
Many large supermarkets will now stock a small selection of houseplants, and many homeware shops like B&Q have a whole garden section with a large selection.
Who doesn’t love a trip down to the local garden centre! Here you will find a whole range of both indoor and outdoor plants plus all the tools of the trade you could ever need.
A Watering Can.
Let’s be honest, you can always just water your plants from a glass or a bottle, but who doesn’t love having a pretty watering can. We got ours from Haws.
A Plant Mister.
Many plant varieties need a good mist of water, so invest in a misting spray bottle if you can such as this one.
Your plant will come in its own pot, but will need to be placed inside a larger display pot to avoid soil and mess. These can often be purchased directly from the retailer where you get your plants. Make sure you get one with some extra wiggle room, for example if your plant comes in a 16cm pot then get an 17-18cm diameter display pot.
This isn’t an immediate purchase, but if you’re going to repot any of your plants down the line then good compost is essential.
When your plants start to grow, you may need to trim off a few dead stems. This can always be done with kitchen scissors, but the clean cut of a pair of secateurs is optimal for plant health.
In the summer you can add a few drops to the plants water every couple of weeks to watch them grow and thrive! My dad highly recommends this fertilizer.
The Best Houseplants for Beginners
When choosing your houseplants it is essential that you go for the right species for your home and lifestyle. Pick ones which you have the time to care for, the space to give and also which aren’t toxic to any animals you may have as pets. Here are my top five “hard to kill” plant species which are beginner friendly:
This sturdy but beautiful plant can handle most light conditions and doesn’t need a lot of water, so you can forget about it for a while and it won’t be the end of the world.
This is perhaps one of my favorite plants. Another resilient species which gives maximum growth for minimal effort.
A gorgeous hanging species which jazzes up any room, but again needs little water and handles most light conditions.
Another pretty easy plant that needs minimal care, the only thing to note is that a rubber plant loves a bit of mist on its large leaves.
The ultimate easy to care for plant, succulents are used to long periods without water so you can leave them for weeks and they will be absolutely fine!
How to Care For Your Plants
Each individual plant has its own preferences, so I recommend looking into the particular species you have and catering to its needs. There are tonnes of online resources, videos and guides on how to care for specific species so you’ll have an abundance of guidance. However, here are some general tips and tricks:
This is the most common mistake, we get over excited about our new plants and then drown them! I definitely did this to a couple of plants when I first started out… oops! Pay attention to each species watering preferences, and don’t water a plant if the soil is soggy. Watering tends to be more frequent in spring in summer and less frequent in the colder months.
Pay Attention To Lighting.
Some species love bright direct sunlight, some like dark shady spots and some want cooler indirect rays. Buy species which fit with the lighting you have in your home.
Humidity is key.
Certain species, such as ferns, love a humid spot so thrive in a bathroom.
When you first get a plant it may take a few weeks to adjust to its new environment, so give it time. Also, don’t expect rapid growth in winter. Most of a plant’s growth will occur in the warmer months and it may become more dormant in the colder seasons.
Dust your plants.
Many plants need their leaves to be nice and clean, so every couple of weeks give them a good dust or wipe with a damp towel. You can also take them in the shower for a speedy way to remove dust!
Listen to your plants.
Plants show signs of distress or discomfort, such as curling, wilting and yellow or scorched leaves. If this happens, check in with the plants preferences and ensure you’re catering to them.
Prune your plants.
Not all plants need pruning, but many species will benefit from a little trim here and there to remove dead leaves and damaged stems.
Repot when needed.
Once your plant really starts to thrive it may get to the point that it outgrows its original pot. Signs it needs repotting include roots growing through the drainage holes of the pot or popping out the top of the soil. Repotting is a fun process, check out some tips on how to do it optimally here:
Get into a routine.
The care tips above might sound like a lot, but the reality is that you just need to get into a regular routine of watering, misting and dusting. In the warmer months I do this once or twice a week, and in the cooler months more like once a fortnight depending on the species. If you struggle with juggling your plant care, there are great apps to help guide and remind you such as Planta.
Good luck on your houseplant journey!