It’s been a year and a half since I acquired my first houseplants. Over the course of 18 months I’ve grown my collection to over 20 plants, and lost a few along the way. I have learned a lot about my new leafy friends AND myself. Today’s post is going to be a roundup of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from my plants, and includes just some of the reasons why I will always be a plant parent.
Lesson #1: How I Finally Kicked My Overwatering Habit
If you know me, you know I was a chronic over-waterer. At first, with my tiny collection of tiny plants, I mitigated this by bottom watering. But eventually, as my plants got bigger, they were too large for this method. This is where the moisture meter from Plant Vitamins came in handy; it allowed me to monitor the moisture level of my large potted plants. I am constantly shocked at how sparingly some of my plants actually need to be watered. I like to let most of them dry out completely between waterings to avoid fungus gnats. Using the moisture meter from Plant Vitamins has helped me to do this, and has really allowed me to scale back on the amount of time I spend worrying about my plants.
Lesson #2: Pests Are Part of the Package
I recently had my first encounter with thrips. It wasn’t the first plant pest I’d ever encountered, but it was definitely the scariest. I detailed in an earlier post how I treated the affected plants and to give an honest update, I lost a large philodendron to those pesky bugs. The good news is, I didn't lose any other plants. And I learned a big lesson along the way: there will always be pests. Plant parenthood isn’t about avoiding pests all together. It’s about how you deal with them when they show up. You can’t avoid them, but you can react in appropriate ways (quickly and consistently). Repeated and scheduled treatments of dish soap and water seemed to save the less affected plants, but I know that I will always check my plants regularly from here on out, since early detection seems to be key! The goal isn’t perfection, and that’s been a great lesson for me to learn.
Lesson #3: Every Effort is Worth It
Despite the fact that house plants can require a lot of effort, I’ve learned that every little bit is worth it. The repotting, pruning, dusting, and watering are a small price to pay for what I get back from my plants. Fertilizing my collection is a breeze with Plant Vitamins, and optimizing their conditions brings me a lot of satisfaction. I love the way my collection brings me joy and lowers my stress levels. I’m grateful for the way the plants have elevated my decor. And I really like that having houseplants has been a great way for my preschooler to learn to be gentle and caring. At the end of the day, the benefits far outweigh the work that I’ve had to put into my collection.
I know I still have a lot to learn before I can officially declare that I have a green thumb (especially in my outdoor gardening spaces!). But I am so proud of the learning I’ve done in the last 18 months, and even prouder of the healthy and beautiful plants that are thriving in my home. The humility that comes with this hobby is so important; while I’ve learned some hard lessons along the way, I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.