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Plant 101: The basics in planting and ingredients to keep your greens happy!

We at Shopleaf love to empower and inspire people to be plant people. Studies have shown that keeping plants in indoor spaces can provide a lot of benefits to your overall well-being and it can enhance the overall appearance of your space. Plants improve air quality, increase productivity or creativity, and boost moodmaking a happier and healthier you. 

Being close to nature can also reduce stress, boost immunity, improve disposition, and can even help patients recover from injury more quickly. The effects of nature’s qualities on health are not only spiritual and emotional, but physical and neurological. Clearly, nature calls to something deep in us. Plants easily make us happy. But what happens when we can’t keep them alive and happy? 

We’ve narrowed down important ingredients in keeping your plant alive indoors. From water to light, from humidity to soil, we have weeded out the top factors to consider and best tips for healthy and happy plants!

WATER

 

You don’t want to cause death by H20 aka overwatering your plants (even succulents die from overwatering and we can attest to this!). It can lead to fungi growth, leaf spots, and root rot. One of the easiest, most impactful ways in keeping your plant alive is water properly.  Here are some tips to remember!

  • Water the soil and not the leaves
  • Water thoroughly and evenly
  • Follow the watering schedule of your plant but make sure to check soil moisture if they need to be watered or not
  • The drainage system of the pot matters
  • Throw away excess water from the catch plate 

Remember, plants have different water needs. You may also need to adjust your watering routine during summer (or depending on the season!) as plants and soil mixture get drier, faster. A great solution to prevent overwatering is Ecopots with a water reservoir. It is quite impossible to give your plant too much water with their innovative and functional system. The roots can never be soaked in water but, the soil can also suck water out of the reservoir when it needs water. 

LIGHT

While some plants prefer more shade than sun, it is quite impossible for plants to live with no light at all. It is the life source for all vital plant functions and for plants, light is food used in photosynthesis. Always check the direction your windows are facing: south-facing windows give more bright light, east/west-facing windows give moderate light and north-facing windows give low light. Who knew that plants with brightly colored foliage need more light than others? We’ve got you covered with some light tips!

  • Move your plants in a shade or when the outdoor temperatures stay consistently above 50 degrees
  • Clip off the burnt leaves and wait for new ones to grow
  • Understand the light your plant needs: No to underexposure and overexposure
  • A half-turn of the pot every day or two will keep the growth of your houseplant even, since foliage automatically bends toward the light. 

We’ve also covered in our previous article how you can give the right amount of light (no direct heat please!) for your plants during summer. Weather conditions in our country (Philippines!) are too intense and leaves can get sunburn (aka bleached foliage and wilted leaves).

HUMIDITY

Many popular houseplants are native to tropical climates and they originate from humid jungle environments. Since moisture in the air is vital in keeping the plants alive, lush, and healthy, it is essential to increase humidity for your plants especially during dry or colder months. There are plenty of signs that show your plants are suffering from low humidity: leaf curling, yellowing, bud drop, brown leaf tips, and susceptibility to pests. Here are some tips to increase humidity:

  • We recommend a humidifier as it works better (Readers’ Digest agrees!). While squirting the foliage with water is not an efficient way to increase humidity, it can still keep leaves clean and fresh! It also provides moisture to fresh cuttings that are developing roots. 
  • You can also create a humidity tray by filling a saucer with small pebbles or polished stones. Add water to just below the surface of the pebbles, then place the plant on top. As water evaporates, it humidifies the air around your plant.
  • Use soft water (water low in minerals). 
  • Mist in the morning whenever possible. Never mist plants that are exposed to full sun.

SOIL

Porous soil is important. The roots absorb water and fill up the plant’s cells. In turn, it strengthens its fibers to produce strong leaves and stems. Soil also degrades over time and needs to be refreshed every so often. Adding mulch is also useful for retaining the soil moisture of your garden. 

You may also need to think about a good potting mix when you repot. Don’t be scared to repotrepotting doesn’t mean you put your plant in a new planter, but it’s just changing the soil with fresh potting mix (we recommend organic ones!).There are often potting soils that are crafted with just the right nutrients for specific types of plants. We’re sharing with you a simple but straightforward way to repot your plants!

HOW TO PLANT

Being a plant parent is downright easy but plant care does require consistency, basic knowledge of your plant’s specific needs, and patience. All you have to remember when planting or repotting is Prep, Place, Fill, and Water. 

Here are the tell-tale signs your plant needs repotting: 

  1. New leaves appear slowly and are very small compared to older leaves
  2. Soil dries out very quickly or water rushes through the pot and out the drainage hole
  3. Roots are growing out through the drainage holes or are appearing above the soil’s surface (a sign it needs more space!)
  4. There is too much soil for the plant (which leads to overwatering!)
  5. The plants are not growing anymore or the container pot the plant came with is small for the intended growth of the plant

Every plant is different. With time and experience, you will begin to recognize the needs of individual plants and don't forget to enjoy planting to #GetYourHandsDirty!

We are on a pursuit to strengthen people’s relationship with plants as we thoughtfully source from local and international nurseries and deliver healthy fully-grown houseplants and plant kits with utmost care to every home. We hope that it brings you happiness and we are here every step of the way to help you connect with nature!

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