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  • Quick Guide for Moms: 5 Ways to Keep Your Houseplants from Dying

    Plants can help us breath and get a good night's sleep. Here's how to keep them alive.
    by Jillianne E. Castillo .
Quick Guide for Moms: 5 Ways to Keep Your Houseplants from Dying
PHOTO BY Unsplash
  • No one can deny the benefits of plants at home. They can clean the air of toxins, help you get a good night’s sleep, add flavor to your dishes, be a source of home remedies, and provide that much-needed touch of greenery in urban homes. If you’re a greenery newbie and are considering getting a plant (and you should!), here are some basic things you should know: 

    1. Know your plant.
    Plants need different ways of caring -- think type soil, amount of sunlight and watering frequency. Even if houseplants are notoriously hardy and robust, some have specific needs, too. If your plant is a flowering one, for example, it may need more light than, say, a fern. 

    Garden centers are great places to start. Here you’ll get an idea of what plants will best suit your home and family. You’ll find a wide selection of the different plants available and have a chat with expert gardeners who can give you recommendations. Check out the list of garden centers we love. 

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    2. Provide light.
    Even if they can survive being in pots indoors, it’s not a good idea to put a houseplant in a room or corner that rarely gets any light. Most houseplants need sunlight to thrive and live a long, happy life. 

    The degrees in which a plant needs light varies in three categories: bright, medium or low. Plus, your expert at the garden center will also tell you if your plant needs either direct or indirect light. For example, orchids like bright, indirect light, according to the BBC. Cacti and succulents love bright windowsills, but not so much that they’re under direct sunlight for most of the day because they can get scorched as well. 

    3. Be mindful about watering. 
    Here’s the hard truth: most houseplants are killed by overwatering, said the BBC. We know it’s how you show your plant TLC, but a heavy hand with watering can drown and eventually kill a plant. “Aim to keep the compost moist but wait until it has almost dried out before rewatering. You can check by pushing your finger into the compost.” 

    Be consistent with your watering too. “Alternating periods of drought and flood can really stress a plant’s root system,” said Gardener’s Supply Company, so keep a watering schedule and stick to it. 

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    4. Keep dust away.
    Outdoors there’s a breeze, but indoors your plant will collect dust. Regular cleaning is needed to make sure your plants are kept dust-free, not just because it’s unsightly. More importantly, dust will keep your plants from growing properly. 

    “Dust clogs the ‘pores’ of plant leaves, making it difficult for the plant to respirate,” said Gardener’s. “In addition, dust filters sunlight before it reaches the plant, decreasing the amount of photosynthesis the plant can undertake. Dust and grime can also attract and harbor spider mites and other insect pests.” 

    You can wipe away dust from your houseplants with a wet cloth or use a hand sprayer filled with water for plants with many small leaves. Don’t use a feather duster, advised Gardener’s, as this may risk transferring pests from one plant to the other.  

    5. Prune, check for pests and ask about fertilizer. 
    Inspecting your plant every now and again is important for a few reasons. First, dying leaves need to be pruned so they don’t take up nutrients that should instead go to healthy leaves. Often, you can remove these by pinching them off. 

    You also have to check for pests that can damage the health of your plant. Look for unusual coloring in the leaves, tiny eggs, or white fluff on your plant. After all this, if your plant isn’t thriving as well as you’d hoped, you may also consider plant fertilizer. Ask an expert at your nearest garden center for recommendations. 

    Here's a great video about how to keep your plants alive.  

    Sources: BBC, Gardening Know How, Gardener's Supply Company

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