Knowing when and how to water your indoor plants isn’t immediately intuitive. But proper watering can often be the difference between success and failure in plant care. Here are some helpful tips to help you master your watering regimen.

1) The time of year is crucial

Every plant is different, but generally speaking, most plants need much more water during their active growing season (in the northern hemisphere, think mid-March through late September) than they do during the colder months. Watering your plants at the same rate in the winter as you do in the summer is a sure-fire way to waterlog them.

2) Consider the pot

Potted plants dry out faster than plants in the ground. Plants in ceramic or terracotta pots dry out faster still. Keep this in mind when considering how much water your plant needs and when deciding what pot is best for your plant.

Plants that want to be kept on the dry side will benefit from moisture-sucking ceramic pots while more thirsty plants will benefit from plastic.

Any pot you use should have holes on the bottom to allow for drainage.

3) Every plant is unique

Some plants herald from boggy and highly moist habitats. Plants like Bacopa, Nepenthes, and ferns like to be kept moist at all times. Other plants such as succulents and figs prefer to be kept on the dry side. Your Fiddle-leaf Fig, for example, benefits from dry periods in between waterings.

Spend some time researching your plant’s individual growing requirements. If you're not sure you can always ask us!

4) Saturate the soil evenly and deeply

To encourage the plant to form a healthy and even root mass, it’s important to saturate the entire root ball when watering. Look for water flowing out of the holes in the bottom of the pot as an indication that the soil is saturated.

Generally speaking, if the first two or three inches of soil is dry, the plant needs water. You can determine this by sticking your finger into the soil to feel the moisture level.

5) Don’t leave your plant in standing water

Most plants hate having wet feet. Saucers are useful for preventing messes but ought to be dumped out after watering.

Allow your plant to sit in its saucer for 10 to 15 minutes after watering, this allows for any excess water to finish draining and for any last bit of dry soil to absorb available moisture, then dump it out.

If you're struggling with the plants you have or looking to learn more about them, book an appointment with us, we're here to rescue them.

Updated: Feb 19

Online sales of succulent plants have been soaring since the beginning of the pandemic. With so many of us spending so much time at home, people have been gravitating to succulents as the go-to type of plant for interior design. Succulents are beautiful and hardy plants that are sure to reward for years if they are properly cared for.

1. Let the soil dry between waterings

Succulents are adapted to store water in their engorged leaves and stems in order to withstand prolonged periods of drought. Moreover, most succulents are evolved to receive water only during their active growing season (e.g. summer). They do not like wet feet and are prone to root rot. To keep them happy it’s vital to let the soil completely dry between waterings and avoid watering altogether in the winter.

2. Rotate regularly

Succulents, like all indoor plants, need to be rotated frequently in order to avoid becoming unshapely as they bend toward the brightest source of light.

3. Provide them with bright light

Succulents are uniquely prone to a phenomenon called “etiolation”. Etiolation occurs when a plant is deprived of the sufficient amount of lumens needed to maintain its ideal growth form. To compensate for the low light, the plant will become pale and “stretch,” growing lanky as it desperately scrambles for light. All plants do this, but the process is most dramatic and unsightly among succulents (and unfortunately it’s irreversible). Generally speaking, succulents ought to be kept on your brightest window sill.

4. Cactus soil mix is a must

Because of their vulnerability to root rot, succulents need to be given a proper soil medium, rich in perlite and other inorganic materials that support drainage. Most stores will sell a cactus-soil mix that will meet these criteria.

5. Avoid clay pots for succulents

Not only does the soil need to be well-draining, so does the pot it’s in. It’s vital that any pot you use has a sufficient number of holes in the bottom to allow for water to immediately drain. Moreover, succulents tend to have fibrous and fragile roots that adhere to the sides of clay pots, making transplanting them tricky. This can be avoided by using plastic pots or ceramic pots with slick, glazed interiors.

6. Fertilize right.

Succulents are not heavy feeders, but they do need to be fertilized at least a couple of times during their growing season. Any fertilizer low in nitrogen and high in phosphorus will do, typically this will include “bloom-boosting” fertilizers and fertilizers made for tomato plants.

7. Schedule a Plant Checkup!

If you're struggling with the succulents you have or looking to learn more about them, book a Plant Checkup with us, we're here to rescue them.

Updated: Jan 28

Buying a new plant can be a thrill! But who among us hasn’t impulsively purchased a rather expensive plant only to have it struggle or even die under our care?

Luckily for you, we've put together some common mistakes people make when buying from a plant shop. Here are some things to consider the next time you go into your local plant store:

1. Consider your personal plant owning preferences

Knowing how involved a plant parent you want to be will save you from making costly decisions. If you're the type who prefers only watering once every 2 weeks, or are frequently outside of your home, perhaps a Philodendron would be more your style. If you'd like to be more involved, you could consider a Fiddle Leaf Fig or an Orchid. Some plants may look more beautiful but they most likely will also require more attention and care. Take note of these considerations before you walk into a store.

2. Study your space

Lighting and geographical location make a big difference in the health of your plants.

We created a chart* below to consider the lighting you have in your space:

A few popular plants per lighting category:

For low light: Silver Pothos, ZZ Plant, Snake Plant

For medium light: Boston Fern, Moth Orchid, Christmas Cactus

For direct light: Aloe Vera, Areca Palm, Ficus Audrey

For bright indirect light: String of Pearls, Dracaena, Money Plant

*the chart we created was an inspiration from other plant charts, we turned it into our own :)

3. Go beyond the tag on the plant when learning about their care

If you've found a plant you like, do a quick google search on it. Find out what its needs are. Try not to simply rely on the care instructions found on the labels in those big box stores. dig deeper. Your plants will thank you for it.

4. Inspect the plant

Don't bring home a vector of disease or an otherwise unhealthy plant. Look for common visual signs of a struggling plant such as yellowing leaves, wilt and spots.

If you see some of the concerns above, it's also important to remove the root ball from the pot and inspect the roots. You want to find a well-formed and cohesive root ball. A "root bound" plant is a stunted plant, and will display a winding mat of roots at the bottom of the pot. A plant with root rot will likely have a loose and soggy root ball with ill-defined, overly fragile and dead roots.

It's also important to take a look at the soil, ask the attendant what percentage mix there is in the soil. You can google this to verify. Different plants require different mixes. You want to make sure there is a healthy mix of peat, perlite, shredded pine bark. One of our clients unknowingly bought a plant with far too much pine bark and not enough soil, this caused over absorption of water in the soil leaving their Ficus dropping leaves only a few weeks after the purchase.

5. Skip the flowers

If you see a gorgeous plant in full bloom that you just have to have, awesome! Buy the one next to it. In other words, if you're looking for color, don't buy plants that are already in bloom, buy the ones with buds yet-to-open. If you rush to purchase that plant with the most brilliant display of flowers, chances are it's almost done flowering.

If you're struggling with the plants you have, or looking to learn more about them, book an appointment with us, we're here to rescue them.

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