While I often joke around, calling my plants my babies – I’m really not joking! It takes a lot of attention to keep my babies happy, healthy, and thriving! And while watering is important, there are a number of other tasks I regularly carry out to keep my plants in tip-top shape.
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Finding your routine
Over the years, I’ve gone through a fair amount of trial and error in learning to care for plants. Through my experience caring for a variety of plants, I’ve learned what to do to keep plants alive – and what I definitely should not do. And as I’ve read more on plant care and picked up pointers from my mom, I’ve found a routine that works for me and my plants.
One of the most important things I picked up is just how important it is to find a routine. Plants require consistency and sticking to a routine is the best way to give it to them. Finding a routine is one part training your plants but also requires discipline on your end. When you’re just getting started, you may want to set a recurring schedule reminder for watering.
Getting ready for plants
In addition to dedicating time to your plants – caring for plants requires a bit of a financial investment, too. If you want your plants to thrive, it’s important to invest in soil, fertilizer and the right tools to care for your plants. I promise you, the more involved you get, the more it pays off.
Small apartment care
I have a ton of friends who think because they live in a small apartment they can’t have plants – not true! All of my advice is coming from somebody in a small, urban apartment! In small apartments, you may not have as much space for storage and materials, but all you need is a small amount of space to store your plant supplies. We keep ours hidden away in a small bin, stashed on a bookshelf. As long as you’re able to give plants adequate light and care, plants make great additions to any apartment.
Want more tips on this? Check out my Small Space Gardening Tips
Here’s a look at my plant care routine:
Every day I open my blinds before leaving for work to ensure my plants get enough sun throughout the day. We have windows facing east and west, and our eastern facing windows get a ton of bright light throughout the day. We’ve made sure to place the plants that require more light by that window, and those who are ok with less light in the other.
If you have a sad plant, one of the first and easiest things you can start to experiment with is your light!
When it starts to get warm, I’ll add a spritz into my daily routine. In between scheduled waterings, I’ll walk around and give my plants and soil a quick spritz of water to make sure my plants aren’t drying out. Make sure, before you start spraying, which leaves are ok being sprayed – it’s only advisable for certain plants.
Sunday is watering day for the majority of our plants. I started off using a plant care notebook to track schedule, but at this point, we know our plants pretty well. There are a few that we water more frequently, and a plant or two that only get water every other week, but the bulk of our plants are happy with a Sunday water.
Many plants require a full soak on water day, those plants get bath time on Sunday. We’ll put the plants in the bathtub, then give them a good soak and let all the water trickle through before moving them back to their home.
I recommend keeping a schedule if you’re just getting started or have a bunch of plants with varying needs. I created this simple schedule to track my weekly watering and it was a great tool, in the beginning, to help me remember which plants require more frequent watering. Also, it’s just such a cute addition to any fridge!
While watering, I keep a pair of gardening sheers with me to trim off any dead bits. Usually, only one or two plants a week will need pruning. When pruning, I clip off any dead and crispy bits – if a leaf is just withered, I’ll leave it one more week to see if it can revive itself.
with me to trim off any dead bits. Usually, only one or two plants a week will need pruning. When pruning, I clip off any dead and crispy bits – if a leaf is just withered, I’ll leave it one more week to see if it can revive itself.
SHAKE & ROTATE.
If you have a fiddle leaf fig and want it to grow big and tall, you should give the stem a good wiggle every few days, or at least once a week. This mimics the wind and helps your plant develop a stronger root and stem system.
If your plants seem to be bending and reaching towards the sun, start rotating your plants once a week, turning the pot around ensures that more of your plant is getting the same amount of sun, and should help to straighten it out.
Ugh, our apartment gets super dusty/sooty. Because we’re on a fairly busy street, the majority of the dust around our place is actually outside grime, gross! Once a month, I wipe leaves with a damp sponge to get it all off. I’ve started using an all-natural sponge by Grove Collaborative, and love how gentle it is on my plants. Interested in trying out Grove? Sign up and get a sweet deal 🙂
Since starting to collect plants, we have only used fertilizer on our plants during the spring. To fertilize, I drop a small amount of indoor plant fertilizer into my watering can, and water my plants as usual. I repeat this for a month or two during the spring.
We have been lucky enough that our plants grow year-round, without needing fertilizer, but I’ve opted for a small amount in the spring just to see if it’ll supercharge them. If your plants are growing slower than you’d like, test your fertilizer during growing seasons – spring and summer.
This one is an on-a-need basis. If your plants are starting to outgrow their pots, move them into one that gives them a little bit more space. I like to go up one size at a time so they have more space, but don’t get lost.
For more plant care tips, check out: