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Green Thumb- 5 ways to keep your plants alive!

For all of you who think you have been cursed with a black thumb, there may be hope for you after all. Nothing breaks my heart more than seeing pictures of new plant babies posted all over social media and just about everyone says, “you will be dead within a week”. Yikes! Well, I am going to provide all my green thumb trickeries on how to keep your plants babies happy and thriving. I truly believe anyone can be a successful plant parent simply by following these basic rules of thumb.

5 Simple Ways to Keep Your Plants Alive

1. The perfect pot.

I always make sure to have these two main key factors in mind when choosing the perfect pot.

Adequate Drainage

Give the roots proper drainage. Adequate drainage is crucial for your plants. Every pot should have a draining hole in the bottom so the excess water can drain out of the soil and collect in a tray underneath the pot. If there is no provided hole, all the extra water is trapped in the soil. More than likely, this is more water than the plant is capable to absorb, and this can result in a plant drowning.

Note: During Winter, herbs will drink slowly. To prevent root-rot,make sure they have proper drain holes or rocks.

Space to Grow

Just like humans, we need our space. In the same way, plants need plenty of space to grow to their roots and remain healthy and strong. If the roots run out of room to stretch out, the plant will become top-heavy, and the roots won’t be able to support the amount of foliage on your plant. This could result in your plant withering and eventually dying.

Fun Fact: Propagating succulents is satisfying, and easy breezy! From plantlets, separation, leaf cutting, or beheading, you can make room for new growth and expand your assortment of plant beauties.

Some succulents drop plantlets. Like seeds, they take root where they fall. On the other hand, some need that extra boost. Here are my tips!

READY, SET, GROW

Remove plantlets from the mother plant, or cut off a piece of leaf or stem. Then, you need to callus the end of the stem or leaf petiole before you place it in soil.To callus, take the leaf or stem cutting from the mother plant, place it in a warm dry place out of direct sunlight.

The trick is to keep it totally dry. Check them in about five days and see if each has formed a callus on the cut end. This protects the exposed soft tissue from bacterial penetration.

Watch for the growth of roots over the next few weeks. Leaf cuttings will begin to wither as they become food for emerging new plants.

2. Potting Soil

Again, similar to human, plants depend on nutrients in their diet to remain strong and healthy. In the spring as the plant enters active growing season, or depending on type of plant you’re which plant you have, the soil mixes contain nutrients or fertilizers to allow them to flourish. That’s why it is extremely important to make sure and re-pot your plants AT LEAST every sixth months.

3. Bomb Lighting

The correct amount and type of light is perhaps the most essential part of plant parenting. Plants use light for a process well-known as photosynthesis to make chlorophyll, which is the life blood (literally, it’s similar in cell structure to our blood) of plants. All plants depend on this process, even carnivorous and parasitic plants that depend on other living things for nutrients.

Fun Fact: Herbs need 4-6 hours of direct sun everyday to grow healthy indoors.

Low light

Low light means shady. That said, never put the plant in direct sunlight.  Too much light can cause silent screams of “it burns us” subsequently leading to crusted, yellow leaves (or plant sunburn) and dried out soil.  To avoid this, place them in a room with a north facing window or on a dim shelf.

Plant Example: Dracaena. Snake Plant, Areca Palm, Tropical Bromeliad, Pothos. Peperomia, Spider Plant, & ZZ Plant.

Also- Monstera can tolerate all types of lighting conditions and it helps purify the air.

Moderate light

A step up from low light.  Plants in this category will like moderate sun, but not extended periods of direct sunlight, say more than 4 hours.  Keep them out of west facing windows, as afternoon sun is the most powerful. An east or south facing window is best.

Plant Examples: Dracaena Deremensis, Ivy, Air Plant, Yucca, String of Pearl, String of Banana, kalanchoe & Jade

Fun Fact: Wandering Jew and Purple Heart are tender perennials which make for a gorgeous groundcover. They spread their stems root in the moist soil, to create a carpet of ground-hugging shrubbery.

High light

 #Send #Aloe – Plants such as succulents + cacti thrive on sunlight. Unless you are in a very hot climate, make sure that these little fellas have plenty of sunlight and are near a window facing the west. Though east and south will be fine too.

Plant Examples: Succulent, Cactus, Aloe, Birds of Paradise, & Burros Tail. 

Most plants come with instructions that mention about direct and/or indirect lighting.

If you think you will forget, simply keep the tag on your refrigerator momentarily for a reminder.

4. H2O

Plants are just like us humans when it comes to consuming water. They too need water in order to survive, and it’s our duty to provide them with it. The soil should be moist but not extremely damp, or waterlogged.

For example: Succulents do not need a lot of water to begin with. Remember, they are desert plants. Watering 1-2 times a week will work just fine. If it’s hard for you to keep track, keep a calendar on your refrigerator and mark every two weeks. It will eventually become habitual after so many months. It vital not to over-water because this will cause them to rot and die pretty quickly.

5. Temperature

Consider climate fluctuation where you reside. For example, many succulents grow naturally in warm or hot climates. Therefore, room temperature will be fine. However, be mindful that plants do experience climate shock when transferring outdoor to indoor and vice versa. If you know the temperature is dropping, plan ahead and bring them inside. Some can be sensitive to cold temperatures. For example, aloe does not do well when it frosts, so in many climates aloe is grown indoors.

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