Plant Care

We know taking care of a plant can be a little intimidating for some, but it doesn’t have to be. With every Plantsie you will receive a care card that will tell you everything your plant needs. (Spoiler alert, it's sunlight, water and soil.) Below, you’ll also find a few simple tips to ensure your plant pals are living their best lives.

Keep in mind there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to caring for plants. Once you start caring for your Plantsie, you’ll get to know it better and will start to see what your specific plant likes and doesn’t like.

Happy growing!

Sun

What is bright, indirect light?

The plant should be close to a window but should not be in the direct sun for any length of time. North facing windows are also considered to be bright and indirect.

What is bright light?

Direct sunbeams should be hitting your plant for most of the day. Think south and southwest facing windows. These plants prefer as much sun as they can get.

What is moderate light?

This doesn’t have to be all day sun, but should be getting sun for most of the day. Plants can take exposure to direct sunlight from east, south, or west windows.

What is low light? 

No direct sunlight on the plant, and should be at least 6’ from a window. This would be light from a north or east window.

Water

How often should I water my plants?

This is really dependant on the type of plant you are caring for. For example, succulents like to fully dry out between waterings while most tropical plants prefer to always be slightly moist, and not dry. It’s always best to under water rather than over water any plant, as overwatering can cause the roots to rot and may ultimately kill your poor little plant.

Here are two easy ways to check if your plant might need a drink:

Stick your finger in the soil. If it feels dry 2.5 cm down then give a drink. Become familiar with how heavy the pot is after watering. Lift the pot occasionally to check weight. If it feels much lighter then it’s safe to give the plant a drink. Water from the bottom allowing the plant to take up what it wants, let the pot drain a bit afterwards before returning it back into its pretty covered pot.

What does “allow to dry between watering”?

This means that this plant doesn’t like its roots to be wet all the time. It appreciates a period of relative dryness in between waterings. For most tropical houseplants, allow the soil to dry at least 2.5 cm below the soil surface before watering again.

What is consistently moist?

This means the plant prefers it when its roots never dry out completely. So always try to keep the soil moist, but not soggy.

What does “dry” mean?

Most plants that prefer “dry” soil are succulents and cacti, since they come from areas that are prone to very dry seasons like the desert. Since their leaves hold water, they can go for a long period of time between waterings.

Water these plants carefully especially in winter as they can easily rot if given too much water. 3-4 weeks between watering would not be unusual for these types of plants.

Soil

What is well-drained potting soil?

Soil that has larger particles, usually perlite, to maintain air spaces. This allows water to move through the mix easily but excess drains out fairly quickly. 

When soil holds on to too much water the roots suffocate.

What is well-drained cactus mix?

Soil that has extra perlite or grit added so water moves through it quicker, the roots get what they need, with the excess draining away.

What is moisture retentive potting soil?

This type of soil usually has smaller pieces of perlite to allow smaller air spaces and will hold water better and isn’t quite as free-draining as other soil mixes. Some potting mixes have moisture holding crystals incorporated, so as always, it’s important to ensure you don’t overwater your plant.

OTHER QUESTIONS

What are the easiest house plants to take care of?

If you’re new to taking care of plants, we recommend you start with one of these low maintenance and fairly forgiving plants:

  • Snake Plant
  • Pepperomia
  • Jade Plant
  • ZZ Plant
  • Aloe Plant

Can I take good care of a houseplant if I run a busy schedule?

Of course you can! In fact, most easy-care plants prefer a little bit of neglect. Especially during the winter months when they can be killed with kindness.

When will I need to transplant my plant into a bigger pot?

This depends on the mature size of the plant. But be careful not to be too hasty about repotting, most plants only need to be repotted once every year or two. A simple way to check to see if it’s time to upgrade to a bigger pot is to pop the plant out of its pot to check the roots. If they are circling the root ball or are growing out the drainage holes then it’s time to repot. For most small to moderately sized houseplants, they will be happy in a 6-10 inch (15 - 25 cm) pot. Larger plants can be removed from their pots, prune off some of the roots around the sides and bottom and then repotted back into the same pot with fresh soil.

What is a root-bound plant?

This is when a plant has been in the same pot for a long time (or is a very fast grower) resulting in the roots growing around and around the root ball essentially strangling the plant. This requires pruning the roots and potting it into a larger pot, or if already a big plant, back into the same pot with fresh soil.

How do I prune a plant’s roots?

Roots that are circling the root ball need to be loosened and cut off to at least the edge of the soil. When moving a large plant back into the same pot remove some of the soil (1-2.5 cm) as well.

Root pruning may seem drastic but when repotted into a larger pot or the same pot with fresh soil, the roots will quickly fill in and ultimately the plant will be much happier.

What is the number 1 reason a plant dies?

Overwatering! (Even too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.)

Why are the leaves drooping on my plant?

There can be a couple of reasons for drooping leaves:
The plant has been overwatered and is suffocating in water-logged soil. 
   •  Remove the pot, gently shake off the too-wet soil and repot into drier mix. Wait at least 3-5 days before offering any water from the bottom. But don’t worry, the plant should fully recover.

The plant is getting too much sun. 
   • Try moving it a little further away from the window and check the moisture level.

The plant needs some water. 
   • If this is the case, once given a drink, your plant should perk up again quite quickly.

Why are there brown spots on my plant?

There can be a number of reasons for brown spots on leaves: Browning on the tips of the leaves can be due to not enough humidity (moisture lovers) or burning from too much sun. Spots within the leaves can be due to a number of viral or disease type organisms. Unfortunately, in most cases, it is best to dispose of the plant if the plant is deemed to have a viral disease. Keep in mind that plants are living things and will have their little imperfections. A little discoloration on the leaves can be completely normal. 

Can I cut back my plants and where do I prune them?

Most plants can be lightly pruned. This usually means nipping off the growth tips just above where a leaf or pair of leaves comes off the stem. Doing this makes for a more compact plant and in some cases can encourage new growth. Be sure to do some research on your plant first as not all plants appreciate being pruned.

Should I mist my plants?

This is a commonly perpetuated myth. 

You can actually do more harm to the plant with misting. The effects of misting are short-lived as it causes the stomata to open, which results in the plant losing more moisture than it takes in.

How can I take care of my plants in the winter?

During the winter months, most plants are resting and not growing much so don’t require a lot of attention. Just ensure they have the right amount of light, water only when needed, check for pests, occasionally dust the leaf surfaces if required.

What is the little white stuff in my soil?

Good question! This is perlite, a naturally occurring volcanic substance that helps aerate and hold some moisture in potting soil.

What is a nursery pot?

These are standard sized pots, usually plastic, that nurseries pot their plants into. 

Smaller plants routinely come in 4 or 6 inch (10-15cm) pots. They all have drainage holes on the bottom of the pot.

What is a cover pot?

A cover pot is a more decorative pot that a nursery pot can be placed into. 

It does not have a drainage hole in the bottom. It’s important to ensure that any water that collects in the bottom be removed.

What is sun scorch?

Simply put, it’s when your plant gets a sunburn. When a plant is placed in more sun than it is accustomed to the leaf tissues will burn. Always place a plant in its desired light conditions. Even plants that prefer direct sun must be acclimated and gradually moved into brighter conditions to prevent scorching. 

What is variegation?

Variegated plants have at least two different colours on their leaves.

Most commonly white or yellow but occasionally pink, dark burgundy and silver. Variegated plants can be more demanding around appropriate light conditions.

They are also slower-growing as coloured tissues don’t contain, or have very little, chlorophyll needed for photosynthesis.
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