I love spending time with my plants. I check them for pests, look for new leaves every morning, and take as many pictures of them as I do of my toddler. As I mentioned in my last post, I used to think that watering my plants was the best way to show them love. This led to a whole slew of problems. I knew I had to figure out ways to tend to my plants without stressing them out. As it turns out, there are a ton of ways I can dote on my plants without causing root rot or fungus gnats (hooray!). Today I want to share my favourite plant chores with you, in case they inspire you to take care of your new plants in ways you hadn’t thought of before. The next time you want to spend time with your plants (but you know that they don’t need more water), pick from this list! You’ll be able to enjoy swooning over your beautiful collection while resting assured that you’re not over doing it.
When you think about it, plants that are out in the wild have all kinds of creatures disturbing their soil. Worms slither around their roots. Tiny animals skitter past. Insects bore tunnels. Each time we water our plants, the soil becomes more and more compacted. Without nature’s little critters to break up the soil, it’s up to us to ensure that our plant’s growing matter gets the air it needs. I aerate my houseplant soil using a chopstick or a reusable straw. I poke around in the soil to create little tunnels for the air (and water) to pass through. Don’t worry if you disturb the roots during this process; I find that established plants are very resilient. I love this plant chore because it mimics what our plants would be getting in their native environment, so we know it’s good for them. I usually aerate the soil every other watering, and I often leave the chopstick in the pot to remind me that it should be done!
#2: Dusting and Protecting
Plants photosynthesize much more efficiently when they’re not covered in dust. Of course, out in the elements, a nice breeze would knock any dust off a plant’s leaves. In our homes, however, houseplants are dust magnets. I’ve mentioned before that I love efficiency. Products and tasks with a dual purpose are right up my alley. Here’s where Plant Vitamins’ newest product Protect comes in. I mix this product with water according to the ratios on the bottle. I pour it into a spray bottle, spritz it on a rag, and gently wipe my plants leaves. Not only does this clean any debris off the leaves; it also protects my plants from pests. I find this process almost meditative--it’s so calming! Protect consists of 100% organic Neem oil. Neem oil is safe to use around my family and our dog, and it has done wonders for the fungus gnats I encountered due to overwatering. A couple of important things to note: on colder days, you might find that Neem oil solidifies a bit. Before using Protect, I find it helpful to place the entire bottle in a mug of warm water for a minute. Also, when dusting plant leaves, I shake the spray bottle often. I find that this really helps the solution to stay well mixed. When I’m dusting my plant leaves, I also check for new pests or signs of stress.
All of my plants live in terracotta or plastic nursery pots with holes (to ensure good drainage). Nursery pots make it easy to switch plants in and out of different decorative pots. Right now, I’m obsessed with pots made of natural fibers like rope and wicker. I have also recently acquired my first plant stand, and I constantly rotate which plants get to be featured on display! While I’m rearranging the location of my plants I remove dead foliage as I go, so that they can look their best in their new spot. I think this chore serves another purpose too: by giving my plants a new location, I can begin to learn how much light each of them prefers. It also ensures that each of them gets a chance to hang out in another coveted spot: the windowsill.
So there you have it; a comprehensive list of how I spend my downtime. Do you have any other planty chores that you would add to this list? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or over on our Instagram page. I’m still learning so much about plant care, and if there is anything else that might benefit my growing collection, I would love to give it a try.