So you are planning to expand your family. Congratulations! This is a very happy time in your life, and you should soak up every minute of joy. At the same time, there’s a lot you need to learn about your new household member-to-be. Here’s 5 things you need to know before you become a plant parent:
1. It’s Not Just About You Anymore
Obviously plants do not require the same amount of attention as pets or human children. You don’t need to take them for walks or feed them three times a day or play with dolls after dinner. But you do need to learn to be mindful of their needs and carve some time out of your week to devote to their care. Making plant care a part of your weekly routine is the best way to make sure it happens consistently. It might only take five minutes on Sunday mornings, but you still need to do it, every single Sunday, or you will not have a plant for very long.
2. Learn Your Plant Parenting Style
You need to account for your plant parenting-style. Are you more of a helicopter mom that waters obsessively, or more of the free-range type that leaves your young ‘uns to their own devices most of the time? Because that “indestructible” plant that thrives on drought may in fact be destructible in the hands of an overeager waterer.
3. Things Might Get Gross
Just like kids are sometimes gross and disgusting, houseplants can be too. I say this not to scare you off, but so that you can be prepared. When houseplants are suffering there might be a number of different symptoms, but the worst are mildew and insects, and both are typically the product of too much moisture. You can defend against dampness by testing the soil before watering and making sure your plant has adequate light.
4. There Will Be Growing Pains
Nobody has the perfect home for houseplants. That’s called a greenhouse—the place where your plant used to live before you came along. You can’t do anything about how much sunlight your living room gets or force your indoor air to be humid enough for a plant’s taste. But you can be mindful about which plants you invite into your home (seeing as they don’t have any say in the matter). Do your homework to make sure your plant and its future home are going to mesh. Choose plants that are suited to your home’s conditions—whether that’s dim or drafty or blistering in the afternoon sun. And if you do this and a plant doesn’t seem to be thriving right off the bat, give it time. There is typically going to be an adjustment period as your plant gets used to its new environment.
5. You Won’t Want to Stop at Just One
Once you get your bearings and hammer out a good routine for your blossoming family, you’ll probably want to have more down the road. Plan on a whole big plant brood. For starters, plants look great in groups. And secondly, living with plants makes you feel good and keeping them alive will make you feel like a rockstar.