The topic for today’s June Beginner Plant Tips is about finding the right plants for you. Choosing a plant is a very personal decision and will depend on your preferences and situation. There are a lot of factors to consider when purchasing a plant, but I do know that sometimes it is easy to ignore all of it when you see a plant in a garden center or even online.
This post is part of The Planty Potter’s June Beginner Plant Tips posting schedule. She put together thirty topics to cover in June in an attempt to help others become more comfortable with caring for houseplants and encouraging plant parents to share their plant care tips.
Here are five basic things to consider when choosing a plant:
- How much do I know about caring for houseplants?
You don’t need to know anything about caring for houseplants when choosing your first plant. I had no idea how to keep a plant alive a few months ago. But, you must be willing to do some research before bringing your first plant home. The Planty Potter phrased it perfectly when she said that for some reason we’ve decided caring for plants is just an inherent skill some people have; either you have a green thumb or not. And that is not true at all. Anyone can take care of a plant if you understand the plant and the conditions they need to survive.
- Can I provide the care this plant needs?
Some plants are easier to care for than others. If you have a busy lifestyle, travel often or tend to be a bit negligent there are loads of easy to care for plants that will thrive on neglect. If you are willing to put in the time to care for a plant then there are some higher maintenance plants that will provide a real challenge.
- What is the lighting situation in the room where the plant will be?
Light is plant food so you need to know what the lighting situation is in the room where you will be keeping the plant. Each plant has different light requirements and you will need to know if they will be able to survive in the spot you intend to place them. I will elaborate more on this below.
- How much space do I have?
If you have a smaller space it might be better to get a few small plants rather than one large plant. This will also depend on how many plants you are going to get. You might think of just getting one but buying plants is addictive and sooner or later you will have more plants than you intended to buy. Luckily you can add shelves or hang them from the roof, but you have to provide space for them to grow.
- What is the reason for buying the plant?
I believe most plant parents will answer “because I want it”, but knowing the reason behind the purchase might help you understand the plant better. For example I bought my Peace Lily because I wanted a plant that would purify the air in our apartment. I bought my Monstera Deliciosa because she was on my wish list. Some of the plants I bought just because I wanted a plant, any plant, turned out to be the plants I struggled with the most. I’m not saying you need a reason to buy a plant, but maybe take a few seconds to think about it before you swipe your card.
One of my tips for new plant parents is to start small. This one is up to you, but personally I would recommend starting with one or two plants to see how you get along with them. I started itching to get more and more, and it is tempting to fill an entire cart with plants when you walk through a garden center (we have all been there). But you want to make sure you can provide the care your plants need. Even easy to care for plants need to be cared for. Once a plant dies or you make a mistake or you have to deal with pests it can be very overwhelming.
Before bringing the plant home or before you decide to buy a plant take some time to evaluate your environment. This is very important and I am 100% guilty of not sticking to this. In the very beginning I did make a list of plants for each room depending on the light it gets and the available space, but I soon forgot about the list and just went with it. This was a big mistake and I ended up with plants and nowhere to put them, or with one empty windowsill and one that is over crowded.
You also have to evaluate the space where you are going to keep your plant because you have to know if it will survive in that environment. Whether it is in your apartment or your office, you have to know how much and what kind of light it is getting and what the humidity is like. Some plants need more light or humidity than others to thrive. If you are going to install grow lights or add a humidifier this won’t necessarily be a problem, but you have to be prepared. I learned that you have to try to recreate your plant’s natural environment as closely as possible in order for them to be happy. You don’t want to bring home a new plant just to watch it die so it is good to know which plants will do well in your particular environment or if you will have to adapt the space to suit the plant.
Now, even if you followed all these tips you might still find that you have a plant that you are just not clicking with. And that is okay. Like all relationships you will learn from personal experience. If you are a new plant parent I hope this post was helpful. If you have a few plants at home how do you decide which plants to buy? Leave a reply by commenting below!
If you would like to share your knowledge with other plant parents, use the hashtag #BeginnerPlantTips and tag @ThePlantyPotter so that she can spread the knowledge with others. By following the hashtag you can also read other plant parent’s tips and advice.