The following top 59 houseplant care hacks and tips are my labor of love. With these simple tips, taking care of houseplants will be a piece of cake. Let’s get started with these houseplant tips!
Tip #1: No ice cubes!
In stores like the hardware store or grocery store, I cringe every time I see the display of ice plants. That is a marketing gimmick.
You’ll see this with moth orchids and other types of plants as well. Don’t use ice unless you see a monkey with a popsicle stick.
Tip #2: A Clean Plant is a Happy Plant.
I’m sure we all have a dusty houseplant. If you want your plant to be happy, then you should clean those filthy leaves.
If you can’t stand the water, you can blot them with a sponge or a paper towel.
Tip #3: Read a good houseplant book.
There is a lot of information available on the Internet. The internet is filled with information related to houseplants, and it can also be confusing. Some of it is true and some of it is not.
Tip #4: Join a plant society!
People with crazy plant people are a force to be reckoned with. There are many characters in plant societies, and it seems like there’s a society for everything.
You can find a wealth of orchid information at the American Orchid Society. You might like the American Begonia Society if begonias are your thing. If aroids are your thing, check out the International Aroid Society.
People who love plants, unite! That way you can share plants and geek out with other plant crazies like yourself.
Tip #5: Use a turkey baster to remove excess water.
Have you just watered your big floor plant and now it’s just sitting there with a lot of water in it and too heavy to pick up?
Make sure your plant is not sitting in water by using a turkey baster to suck up the extra water! Take out that turkey baster, since plants sitting in water are prone to root rotting.
Tip #6: Let your succulent and cactus cuttings air dry before propagating.
When you cut succulents or cacti, they need to air dry for a few days and the cut should callous over.
When the cutting is being rooted, this will prevent it from rotting. Find out more about propagating succulents from my interview with an expert.
Tip #7: Repot your plant.
Perhaps you have a hard mass of roots on the surface of your pot? Are roots coming from the drainage holes?
Have you had your plant for a long time, but never removed it from its nursery pot? It may be time for repotting! You can check out my blog post on repotting a houseplant to learn when and how to repot.
Tip #8: Fertilize!
Throughout nature, plants obtain nutrients continuously from decaying animal and plant matter. In your home, your potted plants only have the soil in the pot.
Plants in pots use nutrients very quickly. Some potting mixes contain fertilizer and this will tide them over for a few months.
Then we are responsible for ensuring our plants are fertilized during the growing season. For more information about fertilizers I use on my plants, check out my blog post on fertilizers.
Tip #9: Amend your potting mixes.
Indoor plants require excellent drainage. I rarely use potting mix straight out of the bag anymore. It’s not just succulents that need good drainage.
I like Miracle Gro potting mix for most houseplants. I use that cactus, palm, and citrus Miracle Gro mix for succulents. Start by adding 1 part perlite or pumice to 3 parts potting mix in order to increase aeration in the potting mix.
This will also help prevent soil compaction. It’s amazing how much better the drainage is!
Tip #10: Inspect your houseplants for pests at the time of purchase.
Make sure to inspect any plant carefully before purchasing it. Check the leaves and stems for signs of pests such as white, cottony mealy bugs, spider mite webs, flyovers of fungus gnats, etc.
Do not buy the plant if you find any pests! Visit another nursery.
Tip #11: Summer your houseplants outdoors.
Houseplants that have been locked up inside can benefit greatly from being outside.
Rainwater, increased air circulation, and a temperature differential between daytime and nighttime can rapidly transform any plant. My blog post explains how I prepare my houseplants for their outdoor adventures.
It may not be necessary for anyone to come to your home! Read my blog post on vacation houseplant care hacks to keep your plants alive while you are away.
Tip #12: Houseplant care hack while your are away on vacation.
Are you anxious every time you go on vacation and you have to worry about who will take care of your plants?
Tip #13: Change your water frequently for water propagation.
Are you trying to root your houseplant cuttings in water? Make sure to change the water often in order to keep the water fresh and clean and to increase your chances of rooting. Additionally, oxygen is replenished in the water, another critical element.
Keep your water clean by changing it at least once per week, or more often if you notice it is cloudy or dirty.
Tip #14: Use rooting hormone if you are soil propagating your houseplants.
Although it’s not necessary, it can greatly facilitate the process!
Tip #15: Stop misting because you think it will increase humidity
because it won’t! Sure, you can use it for other purposes, but if your goal is to increase humidity, it’s a waste of time. You’ll be able to work your forearms though.
Tip #16: Group plants together to increase humidity.
When plants grow together, their humidity will increase. Grouping plants closely together will create a microclimate of higher humidity because they transpire water through their leaves.
Tip #17: Just get a humidifier to increase humidity.
Well, duh! I just installed a new humidifier in my sun room that I absolutely LOVE. You can find all the details about this humidifier as well as general humidity information in my humidity blog post.
Tip #18: Water your plants thoroughly.
You are not watering properly if you are just adding a little water each time you water. There are a lot of factors involved in houseplant care and watering is just one of them.
Tip #19: Loosen the root ball when you repot a plant.
Did you ever just take a pot bound plant out of its original pot and put it in another one without loosening the roots?
In that case, the plant’s roots may remain that way and won’t be able to grow into the new soil! You’ll have to loosen the root ball. For detailed instructions on how to pot a pot bound plant, make sure you read my blog post.
Tip #20: Increase light.
Is there a plant in your home that doesn’t grow because it sits in the dark corner of the room? Enough said. To grow, plants need light. They manufacture their own food using light.
Withhold sunlight from your plant, and it will be deprived of food. Without food, it will fail to grow.
Tip #21: Shake those air plants!
Do you have any experience with air plants that rot out on you? It’s important to shake your airplant after watering to make sure excess water doesn’t get trapped between the leaves and cause rotting.
Tip #22: Air layer your leggy houseplants.
Is there a houseplant that you have grown leggy, and you wonder how on earth you will revive it? Try air layering!
Rubber plants, fiddle leaf figs, Dracaenas, and many other species can be successfully inoculated with this method. It takes some time to propagate your houseplant, but the process is rewarding, and avoids any shock.
Tip #23: Stop watering by your calendar.
Have you adopted the “water once a week” philosophy? Watering should not be governed by your calendar.
Whenever your plant needs water, you need to water it. You do not need to water your soil after a week if the surface remains moist. Your plants should be checked regularly and the soil moisture monitored.
I simply use my finger. When the surface of the soil is dry (between 1/2 inch to 2 inches, depending on the pot size), then you can bring it back to life by watering again.
Tip #24: Use this hack to get your Christmas cactus to rebloom.
Have you noticed that your Christmas cactus is not reblooming? You may not be able to get your Christmas cactus to bloom if the nighttime dark period isn’t uninterrupted during the nighttime!
During the evening hours, if you have a lamp or overhead light on, it can prevent your plant from reblooming. You can learn more by reading my blog post on caring for Christmas cacti so you can discover how to finally make your plant bloom again!
The same applies for Thanksgiving cactus.
Tip #25: Can’t distinguish between a new root or new flower stalk on your moth orchid?
Taking a closer look at the differences in my orchid flower spikes and roots blog post, you will not be confused!
Tip #26: You know you shouldn’t be watering again, but you can’t help yourself.
Trying switching to terra cotta pots if you are heavy on the watering can and love watering. These pots tend to dry out much faster than other pots because they are very porous.
Tip #27: Soak terra cotta pots before using them.
Were you aware that terra cotta pots really need to be soaked before being used? Make sure they are soaked in warm water for about half an hour before use.
Terra cotta pots already dry out rapidly, so this process will help condition them before you use them. Otherwise, they’ll dry out even more rapidly.
Tip #28: Soak your orchid bark mix before using.
Whenever you are using orchid bark mix to repot your orchids, soak the bark chunks in hot water for half an hour before using.
It is necessary to condition the bark so it will accept water. If not, water will run straight through the bark and lose moisture very quickly.
Tip #29: Turn your plants for even growth.
Have you noticed that your houseplant is growing towards the window? You will notice your plant reaches towards light whenever it is exposed to light. This is a phenomenon called phototropism.
Plants should be turned regularly, maybe even once a week, to promote even growth. The exception to this is if your moth orchid is in the process of growing its new flower spike.
It is always best to leave it facing the same direction so that your flower stalks grow evenly toward the window. Otherwise you will end up with a crooked flower stalk if you keep turning it.
Tip #30: When you repot, leave a small space between the soil level and the rim of the pot.
By creating a water reservoir, you will create a water supply that will be contained when you water your plant.
When you fill the pot all the way to the top with soil, you are likely to make a mess every time you water.
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