Getting outside and experiencing the natural world is easily one of the best ways to destress and relax, so it’s no wonder why so many people look for ways to bring the outdoors home with them. Caring for houseplants isn’t anything new, but over the past couple of years, there’s been a noticeable boom in sales for the houseplant industry. Younger generations living in crowded urban areas, dorms, and basement apartments are looking at house plants to brighten their rooms and freshen their air. While houseplants are a great way to improve any living arrangement, it’s important to remember they’re living things that require care and commitment. The idea of getting a plant is exciting, but learning to care for it properly can be daunting. So we sought some advice to help you keep your plant buddies alive!
We connected with Martha Kantorczyk from the Mississauga Master Gardeners to learn what should be considered before you buy, and how understanding your plant can make caring for it easier. Here’s what she imparted, and what you should keep in mind before you bring some new plant life home.
The right conditions
“Before anything, look at your conditions and work with what you have,” says Kantorczyk.
If you have little to no experience with plant care or gardening, you might want to do some research and consider your space first. The most important condition to look at is your light source. Light is needed by all plants to grow and thrive, but light sources can vary for different species. You’ll have bright light if nothing blocks the sun from your houseplant, medium-light if you have a sunny spot but no direct sunlight, and low light when your plant is positioned a few feet away from direct sunlight. If you find that low light conditions persist around your home, don’t fret! There are many plants that can thrive in low lighting situations, and there’s always the option to purchaseartificial light.
The right commitment
Even if you decide to purchase a low maintenance plant, there’s still a level of commitment to labor that you need to give your plants.
“If you’re a frequent traveler, it’s a big no,” says Kantorczyk.
There are the basics, like making sure you’re watering the plant just right (overwatering is a silent killer), and there are some ways to make sure your plants are not just surviving but thriving. Consider taking them on a vacation! Taking your houseplants outdoors is a perfect vacation for them since they benefit greatly from fresh air. When you’re ready to bring them back indoors, spray some insecticidal soap, a mild soap mixed with water, on top of the plant. This prevents bugs like the whitefly from infecting your plant.
Caring for plants is a rewarding and fun experience, and plants will care for you if you care for them. Plants make people happy, and a happy plant can clean the air and provide oxygen. If you’re finding plant care difficult, try to understand and replicate the natural environment that your plant comes from. Cacti are from the desert, meaning they grow better in dry climates. Orchids come from the rainforest and require more humidity to thrive. For beginners, it’s probably best to start small, in quantity and quality, and make sure to do your research to find the best plant for your conditions and level of commitment.
If you have questions or are interested in learning more about plant culture, get in touch with our local experts from the Mississauga Master Gardeners. There are folks like Martha who are more than happy to share their knowledge and expertise with you! And if you need some inspiration, just stop into Riverwood’s beautiful gardens!