5 Houseplant care myths, BUSTED!
There are many valuable pieces of advice out there when it comes to plant care, but there are definitely some myths out there too. Today we’re going to bust some of of those care myths. Last week on our Instagram we asked you to share what you think are the biggest plant care myths. Here are the five most common responses.
1. Using rocks in the bottom of a pot with no drainage.
2. Not fertilizing your plants in the winter.
3. Using Ice Cubes to water your plants.
4. Having a specific day of the week you water your plants.
5. You can never have too many houseplants.
Before we get started, we’ll say this. If any of these 'myths' are something that works for you, that is wonderful! Unfortunately, we see these myths doing more harm than good. Read to the end to learn about how these myths can be misleading and potentially hard, your beloved plants. One of the beauties of being a plant lover is that you get to learn and grow alongside your plants.
Using rocks in the bottom of a pot with no drainage.
The concept does make some sense, by adding the rocks, it helps the water drain all the way through the soil. The problem a rises becasue the pot has no drainage holes, so there is no where for that water to go. With any amount of water sitting at the bottom, it traps unnecessary moisture with nowhere to go. Additionally, roots fill the spaces they are in, there is nothing stopping a plant's roots from groing right into the rocks at the bottom of your pot.
We talked about drainage in a previous blog post and why it is imperative. Your roots need oxygen! That trapped layer of water creates a significant risk for your plant to get root rot. Trust us, you do not want that! If root rot is not caught in time the plant will not survive.
Not fertilizing your plants in the winter.
For us in Minnesota, winters are extremely cold and snowy. With shorter days and less intense light, our plants tend to grow at a slower rate. As a general rule of thumb, if your plants are actively growing in the winter, keep on fertilizing! If your plants growth has slowed down, dilute your fertilizer a little more or space out fertilizing a tad longer.
If your plants are in a coco based soil, leca, moss, or any other media without nurtients added, fertilizing in the winter is a must.
Any plants that have gone dormant, or aren’t producing new growth, cutting way back on the fertilizer is fine.
When growing plants in any climate controled environment (think grow tent or IKEA cabinet) you almost trick your plant into thinking Summer is the only season. We have found plants in these environments can be fertilized consistently all year.
Using Ice Cubes to water your plants.
When you water your plants, watering throughly soaking the soil while allowing for excess water to escape through the drainage holes is ideal. This way you know that the soil is completely saturated and your roots are able to get a big drink of water.
If you use ice cubes, picture how much water an ice cube contains, a pretty small amount, that is going to leave your plant thirsty for more! Ice cubes are not nearly enough to saturate the soil of your plant. Additionally it is going to water the plant inconsistently.
Setting a specific day of the week to water all of your plants.
This may work for some plant parents with a smaller collection of plants that have similar plant needs. Generally, not all of your plants have the same care routine.
All plant types have different watering requirements. Some like to dry out completely, some like to stay moist, etc.. Lighting, humidity, temperature, pot size, and soil type all are variables in when plants need water. If you have some of your plants in a bight, south facing window and the others in a North facing window, the ones with brighter sun will most likely dry out faster, even if they are the same plant in the same pot size.
Generally not all of your plants are going to be thirsty at the same time, so always check the soil before giving your plants a drink. Having a day of the week to check on your plants is an alternative to a blanket watering day. This allows you to check-in on all of your plants and see who needs a drink and who can wait a little while longer.
You can never have ‘too many’ houseplants!
We’ll just say, there is such a thing!
Your plants should always bring you joy. If you have a lot of plants and it is stressful taking care of them, you may have too many! The capacity of this will vary from person to person, but what we know for sure is happy plant parents usually leads to happier plants!
So, if you’re not enjoying taking care of your plants, it is okay to say goodbye to some of them. Plant breakups are okay! Post your plants on Facebook Marketplace, or in local plant pages. If you just want them gone ASAP, that is okay too! Before you go for the garbage, check to see if anyone wants them for free.
There are always teachers or other folks looking for free plants to teach with or use make local impacts. Reach out if you are ever looking to donate plants, we can help you make sure they go to a good home.
Thank you for all the submissions and helping us with this post!
Until next time, Get Lost