The beauty of plants goes beyond all expectations. That’s why I think everybody should take at least one green friend. In part I of the Greenery trilogy we talked about finding the plant that fits your personality and possibilities. So now that you’ve decided or already bought your new roommate, we can take a look at the care he or she needs.
Fact: Did you know that plants have feelings? Not the kind of feelings we have as humans, but for example plants grow faster and healthier when there are other plants near them. Or the cutest example is when you regularly talk to them, they also grow better and have less diseases. They even like classical music, a pity for the rock and roll fans.
1 | What they all want
Every plant likes water and light. The quantity depends on the kind of plant friend you’ve chosen. Some plants like it every week while others can survive with a watering once a month. Regarding the light there are some basic facts to know whether your plant gets enough (or too much) light: You can chose where you put your plant, the north, south, east or west.
The South side: the plants have to be able to deal with strong direct sunlight. This because they’ll have the sun on a visit on the hottest part of the day. This side is perfect for a cactus or succulent. If you only have a window on the South side, you can hang a curtain which keeps the direct sunlight out but still let some light in. This way you can place other plants nearby the window too.
The North side: plants you put on the North won’t get a lot of sunlight, that means it’s perfect for plants who don’t need that much light and can’t bear direct sunlight.
The East and West side: This is the place most plants want to be. They’ll have a bit of soft sunlight in the beginning or ending of the day and constant light during the whole day.
2 | Where does he comes from?
Knowing where your plant grows originally helps you with finding out what care it needs. The cactus for example grows in warm and dry places with lots of direct sunlight. This means that you should put the plant on a very light place where it can get direct sunlight (= a window on the South side). And also don’t water him more than once a week in summer and every two weeks in winter.
How can you find out where he comes from? If you know the name of your plant, just google him and you’ll have your answer. If you don’t have a name, it’ll be a bit more difficult. The first thing we’ll need to do is find out what kind of plant it is. You can do this by browsing a plant encyclopedia or posting a picture on one of the fora (other people help you with the name of the plant). One of these fora is Gardenweb, a website which belongs to Houzz (a site on everything that has to do with your house). Secondly and finally google the name you’ve found and you’ll have your answer too.
3 | Rescue team, on it’s way
Does your plant look a bit sad and unhealthy? No worries yet. When you’ve seen the bad signs fast, you can still rescue him. It’s mostly something stupid that made him unhappy. Plus, if he doesn’t smell bad and still has some leaves over, he isn’t dead.
His leaves are falling off or get an autumn color
There multiple things that could be wrong. First check on the soil, it might be too dry or too wet. Most plants don’t like it when their roots are constantly wet, so give the soil time to dry between two waterings. On the other hand plants don’t like it either when their roots aren’t watered for too long. They’ll slowly dry out and rot away. I keep a watering calendar on which I indicate when each plant needs watering, it’s super efficient and totally not time-consuming.I’ve found a beautiful one on Coccorina (a wonderful site with graphical beautiful freebies!)
The second possibility is that when you water the plant, you pour the water over the plant in stead of underneath it. When that water stays on the leaves, they can start to grow moldy and eventually fall off. The solution here is to make sure that when you water him, you only water the soil under the plant and don’t mess any on the leaves. When you by accident do mess a bit, you can take a tissue and suck the water up.
Finally the plant’s pot might be too small. You can check this by observing the plant and his pot. When you see the roots coming out of the soil again, he really needs a new pot. If not, check the bottom of the pot. There should be a little hole in the center. When you see some roots coming out of that hole, he needs repotting too.
His leaves are hanging down
This mostly means that he needs some new soil. When your plant doesn’t get enough nutrition of the soil anymore, it won’t be able to grow or keep his leaves straight up. The only thing he needs is a new load of soil. In the third part of the trilogy, I’ll explain how to do so.
Tip: You can buy different kinds of soils depending the plants your having. The regular soil works for every plant, the cactus and succulent soil works for (duh!) cacti and succulents and there’s also a special soil for young plants, cutting soil. If you don’t know which soil is best for your plant, don’t hesitate to ask the people of your gardening store, they’ll help you.
There are holes in the leaves
This means that your plant has an unwanted visitor or more specific a bacteria or mold. In the next small part, I’ll tell you what you can do.
4 | Oh no! My plant’s are having an unwanted visitor
Your leaves have holes, they’re falling off or turn brown. Those are all signs of a bacteria or mold on your plant, fast reaction is very much needed in this situation. I’ve learned that plants can have diseases which are not directly visible for the eye. Most bacteria are on the bottom side of the leaves. So when you see small white or black dots on your plant or several leaves dried out, it’s time to save him.
What I do to save him is I remove the infected leaves or try washing the bacteria off with some water and a soft rag. Ooh. Also check the other plants, they could be infected too. If this first method does’t work I pinch the infected leaves off, so only the healthy ones remain. And if that doesn’t word either, you can use a special product which kills the bacteria, but I surely don’t recommend it because I think it’ll hurt the good parts too.
5 | My favorite five
Pancakeplant | missionaryplant | chinese money plant: Our lovely, little friend. Not so easy to take good care of. I nearly got mine killed by giving it too much water and not planting it well. From this (a bit panicky) moment I’ve learned that the soil of the pancake plants needs to dry between two waterings. It also doesn’t like it when the soil is between is leaves, although it looks tempting to put the soil everywhere, it will do no good to your friend. For those interested in the ending of my panicky-situation: Odette, my plant is alright again. She evens grows new leaves. Yay!
Aloë Vera: Generally it’s a very easy plant with few needs. What it does need is a lot of light, direct sunlight but also half shadow. As regards the watering, it’s good to let the soil dry between two waterings. A good way to test whether the soil dried is to put a thin metal stick in the soil. When any of that soil is seen on the stick after you’ve put it out of the pot, it’s not yet dried. You can compare it with checking whether you cake is ready baking.
Chain of Hearts plant (Ceropegia Linearis Sups. Woodii): A very small plant which looks best when you hang it on the ceiling. What concerns the care of this hanging friend it’s important not to give him too much water, especially in winter. A benefit of the Chain of Hearts is that you can hang him nearby a window because it can handle direct sunlight. One last tips is to put him in cactus soil, that will favor his growth. And that’s about it for him, a good plant to get your collection started.
Plumosus (Asparagus Setaceus): It’s not the easiest plant, but what a beauty she is. Taking care is based on a few rules that must be followed. First of all our beauty princess needs often watering and a lot of light. She doesn’t like direct sunlight and having wet roots for a long time. It’s the perfect plant voor some bathroom-home-stylings.
Cactus: Like every cactus, mine doesn’t need much water. Like I’ve mentioned earlier in this post, it needs watering once a week in summertime and once every two weeks in winter. Further cacti love love love much sunlight and really hate it when they’re cold. I have put mine closely the window, so it can catch as much sunlight as it wants.