How to Keep a Plant: The Basics

So you’ve decided to keep a plant.

You’ve figured out the environment you have and what kind of plant you can get, and went off and got your first plant.

First, congratulations! Growing plants indoors is such a rewarding activity, especially if you live in the north like I do. Winters can be brutal with no greenery and no sun. Having houseplants is a great way to stave off the seasonal depression that most of us will feel.

Now, you’ve brought your plant home and put them in a nice spot that you’ve specifically picked out for them. Now what do you do?

First thing I do is check the soil. If the soil is dry I’ll give the plant a good water. If it’s moist, I’ll leave it alone. If the soil is soggy, however, especially in a plastic nursery pot, I’ll repot it immediately.

Most plants do not like sitting in sopping wet soil. It will lead to root rot and your plant will die a slow death. People usually kill their plants because they are overwatered.

Second, I’ll make sure that the plant is happy where it is!

This particular step will take some time, a few weeks honestly. A plant may be unhappy in a certain location that you thought would be perfect for it. The only way to know is if you keep an eye on it and see how it’s growing. If your watering is consistent and you’re making sure it’s getting the appropriate amount at the appropriate times and it’s yellowing or dropping leaves, it could be a light issue.

Third, get to know your plants.

Figure out how it tells you it needs something. Some plants will curl their leaves, like Scindapsus pictus, others will droop altogether and look like it died, like Fittonias. Get to know your plant and see how it reacts to certain situations. You’ll find that plants are quite adaptable and quite resilient.

You are dealing with a life when you take care of plants, much like taking care of animals and other people. The only difference is that you don’t get to see right way if the plant needs something. It’s a relationship that takes time and cultivation.

One of the most rewarding times is when you see your plant sporting new growth. That’s what gets you hooked. You’ll end up living in a jungle in no time.

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