I have no luck with plants. My first ever plant was a cute little cactus that I bought at a school fete. It was in this glass pyramid and the lady who sold it said it just needed a tea spoon of water once a week. It looked a bit like this (except it was a cactus not a succulent – that much I know!):
Diligently every Friday night as I brushed my teeth I would fill a tea spoon with water and drop it into the little pyramid. After a month it had gone to plant heaven. Since then I have known I did not inherit my mum’s green thumb and I have avoided owning plants ever since. I have tried a few different ones, thinking that maybe this time I’d get it right. Just this year I purchased a cute little hanging succulent, this one only needed a quick spray with a spray bottle of water when you could feel the dirt was dry. Surly I could do that! Nope, the poor little thing shrivelled up and joined old cactus.
So why am I writing tips for people to learn great indoor plant skills when clearly I have none? Because people without green thumbs want to be able to have house plants too! I am fortunate enough to have been able to get some great tips from my mum, as well as some helpful nursery staff who assure me there are house plants that you can’t kill!
So here are some tips on how to look after your indoor plants:
1) Make sure that you replant your new plant in a pot with proper drainage. Most will come with at least one hold, but if it doesn’t have at least one to drain the water, it’s not a good idea. Plants don’t like to sit in water as the roots will rot.
2) Did you know that most plants die from over watering, not under watering them? (I do now! No thanks to cactus lady). Don’t forget to water them though, a good indicator is usually if the dirt is completely dry, or the leaves look a bit wilted. Setting a timer on your phone just until you get in the habit might be a good idea. Every other day can be enough, but it depends on the weather – when its hot they need more as they dry out faster.
3) Choose healthy plants when buying new ones. This may seem obvious but to the non-green thumb tiny white dots or brown leaf tips wont be as easy to spot as the well trained eye.
4) Sunlight is important, most plants come with a tag that tells you their ideal lighting condition. Make sure you follow that. You will not successfully grow a plant that needs a lot of light in that dark corner of your bathroom, bad idea.
5) Peace for plants and pets. If you have pets make sure you know what’s poisonous and what is safe. Lilies are known to be toxic for cats, so steer clear of those all together if you own cats. Click here for the Burke’s Backyard guide to plants poisonous to pets.
And now I’d like to share with you 5 great plants for keeping indoors, these are the ‘cannot kill em‘ bunch.
1) Rubber Plant: No it isn’t actually a fake plant despite the name, these have strong roots and only need to be watered once a week. Click here for a run down from Australian Gardeners.
2) Jade Plant: This is a good one for warmer climates (or people that prefer to keep the house warm). Jade plants that are several years old may produce clusters of white, star-shaped flowers if given enough sun. They don’t need a lot of water and love sunshine. For some more info on the Jade Plant follow this link.
3) Heartleaf philodendron: This is a popular house plant because it is extremely easy to grow. This one is good in medium light and tolerates low light. This one will tell you if you water it too much by turning its leaves yellow. For more info click here.
4) Cactus House Plant: These babies love sunlight (which is where I went wrong with mine). They like to have dry roots and prefer seasonal watering – for details follow this link.
5) Snake Plant: This one is also known as Mother-in-Law’s Tongue and is one of the most carefree house plants you can grow. It thrives in just about any light. Prefers dry air and soil. Rarely needs re-potted. Tick, tick, tick! For some more details follow this link.
And there you have it! Some practical tips for event the ‘ungreenest’ of thumbs!