Who am I and why am I talking about plants?
Hi everyone! I’m Terrific Tina and I’ve been designated as our studio’s plant mom. You’re probably wondering why an art studio is talking about plants because same, me too. Well outside of teaching I guess I’m a bit of a plant fanatic and maybe some of our readers wouldn’t mind a little plant advice here and there. At the very least, I know the other teachers here at LAB would appreciate the advice because from what I’ve heard, their plants have all faced tragic ends. Plants aren’t difficult but they are definitely oversimplified. As a past plant killer myself, I know at first I thought as long as I gave them water and some light there was no way they wouldn’t be happy and thriving. Ya.. that didn’t pan out so well. That’s why I’ve decided to share my own general rules that should help with a majority of your current and future plants. I learned these rules through trial and error so hopefully they help you and you can skip the error part because man did I go through a good number of plants.
RESEARCH YOUR PLANT. You don’t need an extensive search but just look into their light and watering requirements. Then pick plants that suit your care needs. Every plant would appreciate having bright light, but there are many plants who can tolerate lower light conditions if bright light isn’t an option. There are also plants that require less watering than others. So if you haven’t been having good luck with your plant, maybe it just wasn’t the right plant for you.
DON’T OVERWATER. The worst thing you can do is overwater your plant because it can lead to root rot and it’s very difficult to come back from that. It’s actually better to underwater your plant. A good rule of thumb is to wait for the first 2 inches of soil to dry before you water. Personally, I even wait till the soil is completely dry throughout before I water.
WATER THOROUGHLY, BUT LESS FREQUENTLY. It’s better to drench your plant when it’s completely dry instead of watering it a little bit everyday. I like to bring my plants into the shower and give them a complete bath until the water runs through the drainage hole at the bottom. This way I’m sure my plant has been thoroughly watered and there’s no excess water that could cause root rot.
DUST YOUR PLANT. Plants absorb energy through their leaves, so when they’re covered with dust, they can’t absorb the energy they need to continue growing. You can just wipe them with a damp cloth or give them a rub if you’re running them under water.
YELLOW LEAVES. If you see a few leaves looking a little yellow or wonky don’t be afraid to pluck them off. When you pluck off a dying leaf, your plant can now use the energy it would’ve used on the dying leaf towards the healthier leaves. However, if it’s more than a few leaves, you should re-evaluate your plant care because your plant is showing you that something is wrong.
BUGS/MILDEW. Sadly, if you’re not paying attention to your plant, bugs can show up seemingly out of nowhere. That doesn’t mean your plant needs constant care, but maybe a bit more than what you’ve been giving it. Some personal examples that i’ve dealt with include:
Fungus gnats: these show up when you overwater your plants. They like to lay eggs in the damp soil and feed on the rotting roots. They’re not dangerous to us but they’re very annoying. To combat this, I let the soil of all my plants dry out for roughly two weeks (so they can’t infect other plants), and I treated with insecticide.
Spider mites: if you find very fine webbing on your plants and tiny white dots, that could be a sign of spider mites. To fix this, I sprayed down the infected plant to wash off the mites, and then I treated with insecticides. I kept an eye on it for a few days, and rinsed again if needed.
Luckily I haven’t had to deal with anything more than that but it's a good habit to check on your plants. Another good tip would be to wash and quarantine any new plants you bring into your home. This way you don’t bring in any bugs that could infect your other plants.
DON’T GIVE UP. You shouldn’t be discouraged if plants die because sometimes they just do. You could be doing everything right and it’ll still die. There are plants out there that will love you, and thrive, and pop out new leaves, and you’ll feel so proud because you helped it do that. At least that’s how I feel. Before I give up on a plant, I like to make sure that it isn’t popping out a new leaf because for me, as long as I see my plant trying its best, I won’t give up on it yet.
I realized this list became longer than I intended, but you know I love plants and I want your plants to be living their best lives. There’s a weird sense of pride when I see my plants getting fuller and larger so I hope you guys experience that too. Also, if this blog post is at all helpful and you guys want more plant related info then I’ll write another one!
Hope your plants live long and prosper,
Plant mom, Terrific Tina