While to some of us the term “plant parent” is a
relatively new thing, it’s not really new at all. It’s not exactly the same as
parenting a child or caring for your pet, but it is about nurturing and
attending to the needs of something other than yourself. It’s about being
responsible. With that in mind, it’s important to put in a little research
before jumping into potted plant parenting. As with pets or kids, you want your
plant to have the best life possible.
How to Become a Plant Parent
Becoming a plant parent means more than just running
to the store and buying some random plant and bringing it home. Likewise,
ordering one online before learning more about the responsibility you’re about
to take on is equally unwise. There are some considerations you must take into
account first. Preparation is important.
This cannot be stressed enough and I speak from
experience. When I first became a “plant parent,” albeit many moons ago, I
didn’t know what I was getting into. I simply starting growing plants without
giving any thought to their specific needs – no surprise this led to heartbreak.
Choose your plants wisely. I know in this fast-paced day and age, taking the time to read isn’t #1 on the to-do list, but it’s important to thoroughly research the plants best suited for you and your particular situation. This not only includes how much space you have to accommodate your plant but the parenting style you have in mind. How much room is there? How big will the plant grow? Likewise, how much time will you be able to commit to this plant? Will you be a stay-at-home parent with plenty of time to devote or are you away a lot and in need of something less attentive that can basically care for itself?
Consider its location. It’s true what they say about location, location, location. Choosing the right spot for your plant will determine how well it thrives. And it’s just as important to consider how you will display it. Will it grow vertically in a hanging basket, sit on a table, or grow on a window sill? Or will it take center stage as a tall floor houseplant? Plants must be well suited to the space you have available. Your choice of plant will dictate this, as will its particular needs.
Research your plant’s needs. Just as each child has a different personality requiring different needs, every plant is different too. Some require more care than others and you need to understand the individual needs of each plant you plan on bringing into your home. This includes light, moisture, soil, maintenance, etc. If your home receives plenty of light, then you don’t want to grow a low-light plant. Likewise, if your plant requires minimal water, such as with succulents, overcome the urge to water as frequently as you might for moisture loving ferns. I’ve killed many a plant this way.
Choice of container is important. Yes, I’ve said many times that if it holds soil, it can accommodate a plant, and for the most part this is true. BUT there are special considerations to account for here. Not all plants are well suited to just any type of container and some plants perform better in others. Take, for example, those succulents again. Since these require less water, something porous, like a terra cotta pot, is better. Plastic is a good choice for those that like more water, since these take longer to dry out. Just as there are different needs for different plants, there are different types of containers to think about.
Don’t go overboard. It’s easy to fall in love with plants and, for just this reason, you can pretty much expect or plan on having more since one will never be enough. That being said, be careful not to overload your behind by taking on more than what you intended. This can be harder than you think, and again, I’m speaking from experience. As your confidence grows, inevitably your houseplant collection will too, but keep in mind that first tip and the amount of time you actually have in caring for your growing brood.
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