Top 10 Commonly Asked House Plant Questions

In this blog post, we will answer the top 10 commonly asked house plant questions that we receive. We hope that you’ll not only enjoy reading this, but that you will also learn something new or find this information useful.

1. What are the best plants for a beginner?

With such a large variety of house plants available, it can sometimes be hard to know where to start. Five plant species we would recommend for a beginner plant parent are Pothos, Peperomia, Snake Plant, Cast Iron, and Haworthia. All have low-maintenance care needs and can thrive in different kinds of environments.

2. What plant can I grow in a room with no light?

A fake plant. In all seriousness, all plants require sunlight to photosynthesize and create energy to survive. Grow lights are great for a boost if your space doesn’t get a whole lot of light, so they’re a great temporary solution, most commonly used in the winter-time when the days are shorter. That being said, some plants can survive in very low light, such as Snake Plants, Pothos, and Cast Iron Plants.

3. When should I water my plants?

Well, there are a few things to take into account when it comes to how frequently you should water your plants. Does your plant need a lot of moisture? Is it drought-tolerant? How much sunlight does it receive? Is your space dry or humid? What season is it? The general rule of thumb for house plants is if you stick your finger one-third of the way down into the soil and it feels completely dry, you can give your plant a drink. If the soil still feels damp, or if your finger comes out with lots of soil stuck to it, you may want to give it a couple more days before checking again.

For succulents, since they are drought tolerant and susceptible to root rot, it is better to underwater than overwater them. A drink of water every other week in warm months is recommended and cutting back to once a month during the cold months.

For air plants, a good soak in rain, bottled, or de-chlorinated tap water once or twice a week is optimal. To dechlorinate tap water, simply fill a bowl with water from your sink and let it sit out overnight before using it to water your air plants.

4. Why are my plant’s leaves turning yellow?

First, you want to establish if the plant is carrying out its natural cycle of shedding old leaves, or if there is a deeper problem, such as root rot. If the yellowing leaf is an old leaf (these are generally smaller in size and are located closer to the base of the plant), likely, your plant is just shedding its older leaves to redirect its energy into producing newer, bigger leaves for you. However, if you’re noticing multiple leaves suddenly turning yellow at the same time, especially if they’re not older leaves, then it’s possible your plant has been overwatered and may have root rot. If this is the case, stop watering right away. You may want to re-pot your plant into dry soil and while you’re at it, trim any rotted roots – these will appear brown in colour and mushy to the touch.

5. Why are my plant’s leaves turning brown?

The most common reason why a plant’s leaves will turn brown or crispy around the edges is that it’s lacking moisture or humidity. Certain species of plants, such as Ferns, Calatheas, Birds of Paradise, Fiddle Leaf Figs, really enjoy warmth and humidity and do very well in home that can provide both. They are otherwise prone to getting a little crispy if their environment is too dry. You may want to consider modifying your watering schedule and/or increasing humidity for your plant. Daily misting, purchasing a humidifier, or making a pebble humidity tray are all great ways to help boost humidity for your plants. 

6. How can I prevent bugs?

Bugs are icky and no one wants them around, we get it! But it is the nature of the beast and it’s best that you just accept the possibility so that you can help prevent an outbreak. The most common pests are scale, mealy bugs, spider mites, fungus gnats, and thrips. No plant is completely safe from a potential bug infestation, but we have some tips on how to prevent a breakout. The most important thing you can do is be proactive. Inspect all new plants or quarantine them before placing them close to your other plants. There are products you can take to prevent a breakout such as an insecticide or neem oil if you prefer an all-natural option. Inspect your plants weekly and act fast if you find any bugs. Also, you’ll need to decide quickly whether the infestation is going to be manageable for you or if saving that plant is worth risking the others in your collection. If you decide to save the plant, treat it right away and quarantine the infected plant. Inspect the plant every few days and treat weekly until you see no new bugs after a few weeks. Again, if you do not want to use insecticides to treat your plants, many alternative and all-natural remedies can be found online. 

7. How do I care for my house plant in the winter?

With the days getting shorter and the temperatures dropping, understanding the importance of winterizing your plants will help them get through the cold months until Spring comes back around. Firstly, if you have any plants near the windows, be sure that the window is not drafty. Sudden cold shock can be damaging to your plant and can cause irreversible damage. Secondly, with the lack of sunlight and summer warmth, it may take your plant’s soil much longer to dry in between watering. Make sure you are checking if your plant is ready to be watered (review #3). You might find that you may only need to water your plants once every 9 days in the winter. Lastly, many homes become quite dry in the winter due to heating. Make sure your plants are far from any radiators or heat vents and if you start noticing their leaves getting brown/ crispy, find a way to increase humidity for them.

8. When should I re-pot my house plant?

Your plant can live in a nursery pot for a couple of years max before it either outgrows the pot or if it has used up all of the nutrients in its soil and needs a refresh. It is always best to plan to re-pot your plants in the Springtime, leading into peak growing season, as they have a much better chance of bouncing back from the stress of a re-pot.

9. What kind of soil is best for my plants?

It is always good to invest in a good soil mix to ensure the longevity of your plants’ health. Good soil is packed with nutrients and will provide good drainage. Nowadays, there are specially formulated mixes for different kinds of plants as well. A little research will help you find the soil that’s right for your plant. In our shop, we carry our very own house plant and succulent soil, mixed in-house!

10. Should I fertilize my house plant?

Fertilizing your plants will help give them a boost and will even help them flower. Note, that some soils already have slow-release fertilizers mixed in – they are round in shape and are usually green or yellow-white in colour. If this is the case, you will not need to provide your plant with any extra fertilizers or plant food. In terms of what kinds of fertilizer you should feed your plants, a quick bit of research will provide you with the answers you’re looking for. Avoid fertilizing in the Fall/Winter to reduce stress on your plants when all they’re trying to do is preserve their energy to make it through the winter months!

Thanks for stopping by to read today, we hope you find this information helpful! If you came here looking for answers then we hope you found them. And if you are a beginner, we hope that this post will give you the confidence and basic knowledge to start your house plant journey! Happy planting  

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