a personal style blog by Lauren Pfieffer

Friday, May 25, 2018

5 Tips for Plant Beginners!

5 Tips for Plant Beginngers!

Something I've truly developed a passion for since moving to Brooklyn two years ago is PLANTS! Living in the city, there's a serious lack of greenery sometimes, which is a far departure from what I grew up with in Ohio. Plants are incredible because not only are they beautiful, but they also offer many other benefits like air purification, protection from pests, and add an undeniable energy to your home. 

I've learned a lot about what works and doesn't work as a new plant owner, and wanted to share my 5 tips for plant beginners and some of my favorite species with you all! I'm still learning as I go, so make sure to leave your recommendations down below in the comments. 

1) Select a plant based on your environment; not on how it looks
This is the hardest to follow (but most important!) tip I have. There are so many beautiful plants out there I love, and I've brought them home only to have them die a few weeks later because they weren't compatible with my living space. Every plant is different, and it's important before you select your first one to evaluate your home to see what sort of environment you have for a plant to thrive in. Gather information on the sort of light your home receives (direct, indirect, or shadow), the humidity (high, low, medium), the air, and the temperature. Speak with the plant shop owner when you're making a decision and share with them this information to help you make the best selection and give your plant the best shot to grow!

5 Tips for Plant Beginngers!
Plant suggestion: Snake Plant | sansevieria trifasciata
Known for it's architectural, vibrantly colored leaves, the Snake Plant was one of my first plants & I've had mine over 2 years! These can be grown in any light conditions (even no natural light), and need very little watering (as the soil dries out or every 10-14 days). Wipe leaves with damp cloth periodically.

2) Evaluate the plant's health
Sadly, not all plants for sale are in good health. Some come from farmers or growers that don't take the proper precautions to protect again pests, fungi, or just promote general plant health. Things to avoid when selecting a plant:
  • wilted looking, sagging plant leaves
  • small spots on the top or underside of the leaves
  • brown, yellow, or discolored leaves
  • shriveling or wrinkling (especially for cacti & succulents)
5 Tips for Plant Beginngers!
Plant suggestion: Pothos | epipremnum aureum
A stunning plant that can be trained to grow upward, or down with long trailing vines. Pothos can be grown in low light and only needs watering 1x a week. Grows SUPER fast so it feels so rewarding to watch your hard work pay off! 

3) Hold off on repotting immediately after purchase
I know it's exciting to bring home your new plant baby and you want to give it the perfect new pot to call home, but don't  repot straight away. A plant will already need time to adjust to the new environment you're placing it into, and nothing is more distressing than removing it from its already cozy home. To ensure the best possible plant survival, wait 1-2 months after purchasing your plant before repotting. If you want to hide the plastic pot new plants often come in, simply set it inside a slightly larger ceramic pot for the meantime. The only time it's really recommended to repot immediately is if the roots are sticking out from the bottom or starting to pop out of the soil. This means the plant is outgrowing its home, and it's time for it to move to a larger space. When choosing a new pot for your plant, size up 2-3 inches to ensure it has enough room to grow!

5 Tips for Plant Beginngers!
Plant suggestion: Rubber Plant | ficus elastic
The shiny, almost 'rubber like' leaves of this stunner are beautiful no matter where you place it in your home. This plant is very low maintance and can grow in low-medium light conditions, with waterings every 10-14 days. In between waterings, make sure to clean leaves with a soft towel and water to allow leaves to breathe.

4) Drainage, drainage, drainage!
For quite awhile after I first started purchasing plants, I couldn't figure out for the life of me why they kept dying. I was watering the appropriate amount, giving them enough sun light...what gives? After some internet searching, I found it was because none of my pots had drainage holes at the bottom. Having nowhere for the water to drain can cause the water to sit at the bottom of pot, which causes root rot of the plant. Always either purchase pots with a drain hole, or lay down 1-2 inches of volcanic rock at the bottom of the pot so the roots aren't sitting in stagnant water. 

5 Tips for Plant Beginngers!
Plant suggestion: Aloe | Aloe Vera
A type of succulent and can also be grown in a variety of environments. Aloe plants store water in their leaves, so water very infrequently and only a little bit at a time. Make sure to put rocks in the bottom, and for even better evaporation properties, put some on top of the soil, as well. Bonus: Aloe are great air purifiers! 

5) Cliché but true; give them love
I risk sounding like an absolute crazy person here, but the truth is the truth -- plants feed off your energy. They feel and take in the stresses of the environment, and definitely are reactive when you're not taking care of them properly. I live in one of the most stressful environments in the world -- NYC! There's a lot of honking, yelling, and noise at all times of the day, but that's not necessarily what effects the plant. It's about taking the time to truly care for and love each new one you take under your wing. Watch and appreciate the little changes they go through on a daily basis; mist  them if leaves are dropping before watering; move to a shadier spot if you notice the leaves are burning. Show kindness to your plant and it will reward you by growing!

5 Tips for Plant Beginngers!
Plant suggestion: Swiss Cheese Plant | monstera deliciosa 
Perhaps my favorite plant I own and adds a wonderful tropical vibe to any home! These plants love love and when given the space, time, and environment to shine, they certainly will. Since this is a tropical plant, place somewhere that receives a lot of natural, indirect light. Water once soil becomes dry, and give regular mistings.

Hope you all enjoyed this little plant guide for beginners. x

With much love, 


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