Houseplants are an asset to the home and garden. Asides from their plentiful health benefits, they add an instant splash of colour to your home, while supplying new oxygen to the air you breathe in.
However, in order to thrive, they need to be cared for correctly, and there are many tried and tested hacks and tips for maintaining healthy houseplants, as we’ve detailed here…
1. Put a sponge at the bottom of the pot
Every plant necessitates water in order to grow, and most need it fairly regularly. This is when doing your research before you buy houseplants is a must, especially if you have a busy schedule to contend to or travel on a regular basis. If this sounds like you, choose a low-maintenance plant that is able to withstand a few days without a drink!
Unlike outdoor plants, which are able to rely on Mother Nature to provide irrigation, indoor plants rely on you. If you’re pretty forgetful when it comes to watering your plants on a regular basis, a simple, and inexpensive hack includes using a sponge. Sponges are designed to soak up water, so when you repot a plant, get an ordinary kitchen sponge, place it on the inside of your chosen plant pot prior to filing with potting soil, and voila.
It will absorb the excess water and store it at the bottom of the container, acting as your healthy houseplant’s very own personal reservoir, meaning its roots will never go thirsty.
2. Bury a water bottle in the soil
Another easy houseplant watering hack involves using a small plastic beverage bottle. Cut a small split in the base of the bottle and dig a hole in the soil of your houseplants container. Plant the water bottle in this hole so that it stays standing upright.
It’s important to ensure the top of the bottle is at soil level. When you fill the bottle with water, it will slowly seep into the soil as and when the plant requires moisture.
3. Water with ice cubes
If you’re looking for a hack for small plants that live in containers that don’t have room for a buried bottle, look no further than ice cubes. Simply scatter a few ice cubes over the surface of the soil, taking care to avoid your plant’s foliage.
As the ice melts slowly, it allows the soil to absorb water over time. This is particularly useful for the likes of orchids that thrive with very little water. One ice cube per week will suffice for a small orchid.
4. Use pots with drainage holes
A number of ornamental pots and containers often don’t include a drainage hole in the bottom, which causes excess water to build up. If the soil can’t absorb all of the water, it often damaged the roots of your plant and is a primary cause of root rot.
This is especially the case with the Snake Plant, as overwatering, can severely reduce its lifespan. In order to maintain healthy houseplants, look to ensure that the pot you use has a drainage hole, and place it on a saucer to collect any extra water.
5. Share your morning cup of coffee
Many can’t begin their day without a morning cup of coffee! But did you know that houseplants can benefit from coffee too? While they don’t crave that hit of caffeine like we do, it’s the acid in the coffee that gives our ferns, gardenias, and other acid-loving houseplants a quick injection of energy!
For best results, thin out leftover coffee by adding water and then use the mixture to irrigate houseplants. Tea drinkers can also get in on this method by using brewed tea to the same effect.
6. Use paper coffee filters and grinds
On the subject of coffee, another houseplant trick makes use of paper coffee filters. When repotting a plant, use thin coffee filters to line the base of the container – one or two should suffice. This is an extremely low-cost way to keep both compost and dirt at bay while enabling excess water to drip through.
You can also add coffee grinds directly to your plant’s soil after your first cup in the morning! The grounds will up the acidity levels of the soil, while also helping to deter ants.
7. Irrigate with leftover water from boiled eggs or veggies
Coffee isn’t the only food and drink item that works wonders for healthy houseplants. If you enjoy boiled eggs, save the egg water for your green friends. Allow it to cool to room temperature and use it as a nutrient-rich beverage for your houseplants. T
his hack isn’t limited solely to eggs, as you can use the water from boiled vegetables as a homemade fertilizer.
8. Dust those leaves
As well as giving your floors and furniture dust off, it’s important to dust your plant’s leaves too. Those picture-perfect green leaves aren’t just there to look beautiful and ornamental, as their main purpose is to serve the plant. All shrubs use their leaves for photosynthesis, which allows them to take in carbon dioxide and transform it into energy with the aid of sunlight and water.
If the leaves are clogged with dust, they won’t be able to breathe as easily! Try to wipe your plant’s foliage at least once a week in a gentle fashion, using a moist paper towel. You can also give your plant’s leaves a spray of water mist for an extra clean.
9. Shine the leaves with mayonnaise
To ensure your face looks its best and stays moisturised, many put lotion on it. Plants can also benefit from extra moisturisation in the shape of “leaf lotion” that should be applied every month.
Whilst there are many expensive leaf creams on the market, many of which promise to make your plant’s foliage shine, there are also a number of tried and tested hacks that cost a great deal less, one of which is mayonnaise.
Rub a little mayonnaise on each leaf using a paper towel or your fingers and watch your healthy houseplants glow!
10. Turn the containers regularly
Think about the last time you were at the beach topping up your tan! It’s normal for you to begin on your back and then, switch to your stomach so that the rest of your body can enjoy the rays too. The same goes for your plants.
Your houseplant’s leaves will appreciate the same treatment, which is why it’s a good idea to move them from time to time to ensure all the leaves get the same amount of sunlight.