We recently hosted my 27th birthday at our house. Always having a flair for the dramatic, I wanted the theme to be “urban jungle.” Of course it was met with a lot of confusion from friends who are most definitely not plant enthusiasts. As soon as they strolled through the front door it definitely sunk in. Over 30 gorgeous houseplants all stacked up right there in the living room (with a chair for plant selfies of course).
Now people knew I enjoyed houseplants, but the party really brought the obsession to light. I get questions a lot online and in person about how I can keep so many (and different) plants alive. I gotta tell you, it really is super simple. I wish I had some super secret magic trick my great-great-grandmother passed down through the generations, but alas. No silver bullet plant growth tips here.
It’s all about the water and sunlight. Which I mean, duh, but it’s more than just pouring some water in and sticking a plant in front of a window. Plants, like people, are all different. Even ones in the same species have different needs. Plants I mean (well people too I guess!). I found my best plant success when I stopped listening to what the tags in the plants told me to do and started listening to the plant itself. (Insert plant whisperer imagery right here).
Sure I start off doing what the tag suggests, but I keep an eye on the plant to see if that’s what it really wants. I always start my plant off in a location I hope it’ll like and works with my decor, but more often than not the plant wants another spot. Over the next month or so if the plant doesn’t get any new growth and starts looking sickly, I’ll move it into more light or less light depending on where it is.
As for water, I water all of my plants once a week but vary the amount of water that goes to each plant. Succulents and cacti get just a little to get the top soil a bit wet while the rest of the plants get water based on the size of their pots. All of my plants have a bed of rocks and sand at the bottom of their pots before the soil, so I never worry too much about over-watering them as they have a place to store that water away from the roots. The larger the pot, the more water as it dries out quicker. Plus the plants are usually larger in those pots and need more water anyway. I also recommend rotating your plants as they’ll start to bend towards the light source over time.
It’s honestly quite simple. Your plant will tell you if it’s happy with new growth, and it will tell you if it’s not with brown leaves and droopy looking branches. Plants are quite hearty creatures, but do demand a little attention now and again. I find that succulents and cacti are the hardest plants to keep happy as they don’t show effects as quickly as other plants. So I tend to stick to the tropical or vine varieties that give me quicker satisfaction in seeing them grow.
Now you definitely don’t need 30 plants, but one or two will make all the difference in a space. Start that urban jungle!