Plant Myths Busted
The world of houseplants can seem quite complex; it’s often full of conflicting advice and methods and for those new to the hobby it’s overwhelming!
In this post, we address some of the most common myths surrounding houseplant care.
‘Some people just have a green thumb’
Since becoming a plant parent two years ago I’ve killed plants. I know it's horrendous for someone who owns a plant shop to admit but it’s true. I’ve killed plants! The Instagram influencer you follow has killed plants and you will kill plants. You grow green thumbs, no one is born with them!
Part of the plant journey is learning how to care for your plants and learning what works for you and your home. You’ll need to research, you’ll need to talk to plant shop owners and you’ll need to be patient. Our modern society expects instant gratification but the plant world isn’t about that: it’s a timely journey but it’s a worthwhile one.
Solution: Research your plants to work out what will work for you and most importantly start with the basics! Start with beginner plants and build yourself up to the more complex plants, allowing your green thumb to grow on the way.
‘Giving plants fertiliser when it looks sickly will fix it’
Fertilising can be a complicated world. Throwing fertiliser at a plant that looks peaky won’t fix it. There could be a number of issues with a sickly looking plant and adding nutrient rich fertiliser to the mix won’t fix it. In fact, it could kill a plant quicker as it struggles to cope with and find a use for the extra nutrients.
Solution: Fertlising for most plants should be done on a fortnightly basis in the growing season (March to October in the UK). Try to use an organic fertilser where possible.
‘Misting your plants increases humidity’
Misting can be a very brief immediate quick fix for dry leaves and air but it really won’t do a lot to increase humidity for your plants long term. Humidity hungry plants need consistent humidity and a mister just won’t do it. Water from misting evaporates too quickly and leaves left wet can cause both bacterial and pest issues.
Solution: Group your plants together to increase localised humidity, place humidity hungry plants in rooms with higher humidity (kitchens and bathrooms are best) or invest in a humidifier.
‘Placing my plant in a bigger pot will make it grow bigger’
Sorry this isn’t the case! Putting your plant into a pot that’s too big can actually have a damaging impact on your plant. Often it results in too much soil which means it holds onto too much moisture and this can lead to root rot aka immediate plant death!
Solution: Only bump up plants one or two pot sizes and don’t repot a plant unless you can see roots out of the bottom of the pot.
‘You need a watering schedule’
This is a sure fire way to create issues with your plants. Different plants need different amounts of water. Calathea like to be moist whilst Sansevieria like to dry out. Terracotta pots need to be watered more often than plastic pots due to their breathable nature. Plants in direct light will need watering more frequently than those in low light. There’s a lot to consider that a watering schedule won’t account for.
Solution: Pop your finger in the soil before watering, if it’s a plant that you know likes to dry out and your finger comes out with wet soil attached it’s not time to water.
‘Houseplants die in winter’
Not quite true. Technically speaking no plants are houseplants, humans have taken tropical plants which kind of match the conditions we have indoors and labeled them as houseplants. For some plants, the colder and darker days of winter will slow growth. They won’t die but some people do lose plants in winter as they continue with the same care as they had in spring and summer. Your plants won’t be growing as quickly due to the lack of light and therefore won’t need as much water.
Solution: Increase time between watering during the winter months
‘Bottom watering is better than top down watering’
Whilst watering is a necessity when it comes to plant keeping, the method by which it is done is often hotly debated. Bottom watering is definitely an effective manner of watering if you’re guilty of overwatering. It allows plants to absorb exactly what they need without leaving all of the soil damp and soggy which could potentially lead to root rot. Bottom watering also helps to avoid fungus gnats who live and breed in the first couple of inches of damp soil.Solution: Give bottom watering a go and see how it helps your plants and your plant care method.