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How To Keep Houseplants Alive

People who have never had houseplants really do not get it. It is hard to explain the feeling of watching something grow in the way a plant grows. Plants are completely subject to their environment. They thrive when the ecosystem allows them to thrive, and they die at all other times. That frailty is resonant with people.

Houseplants are pets that are moody, fragile, and at the same time unexpressive of their needs and completely reliant on you. To some people, this is an unacceptably one-sided relationship. But to others, being needed by a plant is therapeutic. If you are of the latter, you have one question: How do you keep your houseplants alive?

The needs of a plant come in two varieties: The obvious, and the obscure. The obvious needs are well-known to humans. Those are water, sunlight, and soil. The obscure needs are obscure simply because they are discussed less. Those consist of safety, potting, and shade.

Water And Soil

Water is the most intuitive of the needs to fulfill for your plants. That is because you can usually tell how much water a plant needs and how much water is enough simply by watching the soil absorb it. Water and soil go hand in hand because of this. You need to keep the soil healthy, and you keep it healthy by watering it.

Humans have an intuitive sense of how soil absorbs water, and if you watch closely, you can see when the soil begins to absorb less of it than before. Now, you should keep in mind that it is possible to over-water plants. However, it is far easier to under-water plants. You should be more scared of the latter than the former.

For that reason, you should water your plants once a day and give them as much water as you think they can take. Simply water them until the soil stops immediately absorbing the water. This will give them plenty of water, and only doing it once a day will mean you do not over-water your plants.

The thing is, people who are new to taking care of plants tend to be nervous. They can develop bad habits, such as watering their plants more than three times a day. This will lead to the plants quickly drowning. You do not need to water your plants that much. Water them thoroughly once a day and it will be enough.

Sunlight And Shade

Sunlight and shade are easily the lowest maintenance of a plant’s needs, though some people are surprised to hear how important shade is. “Plants need shade?” They ask, not realizing that plants are as dependent on the nighttime as they are on the daytime.

During the day, plants absorb sunlight and breathe in carbon dioxide, producing oxygen as a waste product. During the night, they “sleep” and breathe in oxygen and produce carbon dioxide as a waste product. Now, if you are giving your plants light by way of a windowsill that gets plenty of sun, this will happen naturally.

But there are people who use harsh UV lamps that give their plants perpetual “sunlight” at all hours of the day. This is not only unnecessary but harmful to the plants. Imagine getting a cat and keeping the cat awake at all hours of the day. The cat would not have a very pleasant time. Plants need to sleep as much as animals do.

Safety And Potting

Keeping plants safe is a matter of knowing what to expect out of the environment. It is not like keeping a dog safe, where you have to account of the wild unpredictability of a living, moving creature. Plants are not going to chase a squirrel up a tree they can’t climb down from. Plants’ natural predator is being knocked over.

Safety and potting go hand in hand because a good pot or plant is a safe pot. The bigger your plant is, the wider and squatter you want your pot to be. It is natural for people to want tall, slender, aesthetically pleasing vases to carry their plants. The thing is that plants can support their own structure, and a tall pot is a waste.

Not only is it a waste, but it is far easier to tip over something with a high center of mass. This is part of the reason why wide, flat sports cars are so desirable: They are less prone to flipping over as compared to high-mounted pickup trucks. So, in short, keep your plant pots low and wide to keep them stable.

Related Questions

What Are The Best Plants For Beginners?

Bamboo and succulents are the two plants most commonly recommended for beginners, and for good reason. They are both incredibly durable, able to survive harsh sunlight, deep shadow, humid forest, and dry spells.

But the most important feature of theirs that makes them beginner-friendly is the fact that they do not bare fruit. Society has become so goal-oriented that it can feel almost subversive to have a hobby that does not lead into a hustle. Even home growing suffers from this, with many people expecting their plants to become gardens.

Get yourself a plant that does not bare fruit. Otherwise, you may start thinking of the plant as a monetary investment that yields a monetary return, rather than the friend it could be.

What Plants Are Dangerous For Pets?

There are many plants that are dangerous for pets, but most of them are hardly used in the household, and luckily most pets know what is dangerous for them to eat. Plants like lilies and rhododendrons are the most common plants that can be toxic to pets, but it will not kill them instantly, they will probably just throw them up.

All the same, take note of whether your pet is overly curious about your plants. Whether the plants are outwardly toxic or not, pets should be getting their nutrition from elsewhere, as most plants do not carry with them the nutrients to sustain life.

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