5 tips to have a “Green thumb”, easy peasy!

It is more than common having troubles keeping plants alive; having a full-time job, social life, and few rest days, make it difficult to have a “water-your-plants” routine at home.

You’re not alone if you feel this way; We’ve all been there (yes, I’m including myself in this) and, if you LOVE plants as much as I do, keep reading, so next time you’ll be posting about your beautiful plants on your feed.

I wanted to start right away by saying one big affirmation:
We all have the “green thumb“.

Now repeat it out loud.
Trust me, we do!.

How do I know this?

The answer is so simple it will surprise you, the thing is, we’ve been buying the wrong plants for our needs.

That’s it.


Plants should adjust to our lifestyle, not the other way around, that’s why our beloved plants die.

We tend to think that plants just need water, but plants, like human beings, have their likes and dislikes; Some of them love water, some of them not, some of them prefer bright places, some of them like shades, and the list goes on.

The secret to keeping our plants alive is to select “the right plant for us”; Plants have to be part of our daily/monthly routine and it has to fit on it. If you work all day long, five days a week and have other million things to do outside your home, how on earth will a water-lover plant survive if you probably don’t even remember you have it?

So, we need to find the right plant for us, according to our daily routine and according to our needs.

I’m going to show you how to find Mr. or Mrs. right for you!.


Follow these tips and you’ll be posting about how beautiful your plants are in no time.

1. Start with one low-maintenance plant at a time. Having a low-maintenance plant means to have a plant that doesn’t need your attention every single day. However, low-maintenance plants DO need some basic cares so they can grow healthy and beautiful, like watering, cutting off/ cleaning brown leaves and fertilizing once or twice a year. Following simple steps such as water and cleaning a few times a month, will be enough to make them happy.

Musa balbisiana

Note: One of the easiest low-maintenance plants to have is the Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum), they are perfect in a window sill, no direct light, and a couple of strong waterings per month (depending on the season). You will notice if your plant needs your help, for example: if the leaves are bleaching, it means they are receiving too much light.
There are lots of low-maintenance plants and you will find the one that you love, you can choose from a great variety of succulents, cactuses, falling plants, moth orchids, etc., you just have to find the one you like and understand its needs.

Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

2. Know your audience (or your plant). Plants have specific needs and you just have to know it and work with it. As I said before, plants have likes and dislikes, they like sunlight, shades, dry soil, moist soil, humidity, etc. Learn about your plant and find a place at home that suits those needs. Once you’ve found the appropriate place for your plant, leave it there and see how it grows. In a few days, you’ll notice if things are going well or not. If something’s not right, change spots and try again (you can notice damage on the leaves like brown tips, bleaching, dry, burnt, dark dots, etc). Analyze the problem and do something about it, depending on the problem you will have to add water, let the soil dry for longer, change the plant to another place at home, either way, do something different and give it another try, your plant will thank you with shiny leaves and maybe, beautiful blooms.

Your bathroom is perfect for tropical plants (like monsteras), the humidity and indirect light will keep them happy

3. Try indoor plants first. Besides being so satisfying to be surrounded by plants, it is also the perfect way to take care of them. By having an indoor plant, you’ll notice right away if they need water, if they have brown leaves, etc. You will also appreciate new leaves or blooms during the year. Having your plant in a visible place will give you less chance to forget about it and more chances to care about it.

Direct light + Indirect light

4. Sometimes, dry soil is better than wet soil. Watering plants (especially in containers) can be tricky but it’s way easier than it sounds, you just have to keep a few things in mind. First of all, the best way to water your plants is soaking them in water, put the container in the sink, fill it with water and leave the plant there until the container is heavy or until you see the soil is wet (about an hour). The second thing is to keep in mind that if you give your plants a good amount of water once every 10 days (depending on the plant, some cactuses need less than that), the roots will go down the soil and they’ll be protected, the roots will stay moist for longer periods and you will have a healthy plant. If you water it poorly, the roots will stay in the soil’s surface, they will dry faster and if you forget to water it, the roots will suffer damages and so your beloved plant.

Watering your plants the right way is key to healthy plants

5. Fertilize your plants. As humans do, plants also need nutrients, the best time to fertilize them is in spring when they are preparing themselves to be active again, so you only have to do it once, maybe twice a year. There are different types of fertilizers, pick the one you like and feel comfortable with and feed your plants.

Mix your liquid fertilizer with water and give it to your plants. If you have solid fertilizer, open 3 or 4 little holes around the base of the plant and place there the fertilizer, cover with soil and water.

After mastering the care of one plant, you can go crazy at home or in your garden, you’ll notice that you do have the green thumb, because having a plant doesn’t have to be scary or stressful.

If you want other examples of low-maintenance plants, check this post where I talk about the easiest plants to grow at home with no effort.

I hope this post works for you and that you’ll find the right match for you and your home.

Best Low-Maintenance houseplants that also work as air-purifying!

Indoor plants

Everybody (including me) want the perfect living-room but sometimes it feels like a never-ending homework of details, and to be fair, sometimes it is, that’s why I’ll show you how to make the difference in your living-room, make it stand out with some beautiful and functional plants and especially, no effort required!.

This topic came to me because my husband and I are moving into a new house, we are leaving a downtown apartment, to live in a house, surrounded by nature, with a real garden and a bunch of noisy roosters around… but we love it!. Somehow this has become a goal for some people, they’re getting tired of living in the city chaos and they’re connecting more with nature, but, that’s another topic for a different post.

Enough about me, let’s get to the real thing: beautiful and functional plants for your living-room, this list is all about plants that will make your living-room look good, they require really low maintenance and the cool thing is that NASA agrees with this selection 🙂

 

This low-maintenance plants also require low-light orientation, so they’re perfect for your workspace!

 

Before getting to it, you will notice a connection with basic care steps and that’s a good thing, once you memorize it, having more than one plant will be a piece of cake;

  • Indirect light: they need moderate to indirect light so finding a place for them will be easy.
  • Moist soil: most of them are native to tropical environments so humidity is important for their growth, but remember: Moist doesn’t mean Wet!
  • Green leaves are healthy leaves: if you see some brown tips, pale green or sluggish leaves, check the soil, something’s not right.
  • Fertilize: they need nutrients just like us, give it to them.

Remember: is better to water your plants with abundant water in long intervals, that way, the water can go deep in the soil, the roots will grow down to feed themselves and be protected. If you put little water, the roots will stay in the soil’s surface, so whenever you forget to water them, the roots will dry quickly enough to damage the plant.

 

Let’s divide the plants so you can choose wisely

 

Colorful leaves

Sansevieria trifasciata or Snake plant: an ornamental evergreen, its young leaves are dark green and with time they get that nice yellow edges that will stand out in your living room or workspace. This is one of the most tolerant indoor plants, they grow by rhizomes so they need a good and draining soil; they can root easily, so few water is more than enough to take care of this elegant and structured plant.

NASA research has shown that snake plants are able to clean the air, filtering and removing toxins like formaldehyde and benzene formed at home.

 

Dieffenbachia or Dumbcane: an ornamental evergreen with different dimensions and colors (depending on the variety), It has big leaves in shades of green, yellow and white that will decorate your room very elegantly and it definitely will stand out from any angle. It rarely blooms indoors and it likes a moist drained soil. It’s convenient to rotate the container just to make sure that it can receive light in a uniform way.

Basic care:
– Filtered light
– Moist soil (not soggy)
– Removing the dry leaves to avoid fungus.

It is important to know that the leaves if chewed or eaten are poisonous, so place it where babies or pets can’t reach it.

Dumbcane

 

Falling plants

Hedera helix or English Ivy: this one can survive every condition, sun, shades and little water, it is a warrior and you can take care of it, trust me, you can!
This climbing and/or falling plant is an evergreen perfect to grow indoors with indirect light, they even survive in shady angles but the leaves will lose its variegated margins and stay dark green.

You just have to maintain a moist soil watering it about every 7 to 10 days (depending on your home temperature) during winter and if you don’t want/can’t do it, you can buy a special container with a water dispenser and you’re done, no headaches for you.

Climbing English ivy

 

Epipremnum aureum: also an ornamental with nice heart-shaped leaves and clear green-yellowish lines, very decorative, subtle and romantic, with nice and soft falling shapes.

For this plant, you can use an aerial container or a simple vase on the edge of a library to let the leaves fall. It grows fast so it’ll cover your corner in a few seasons and of course, it will clear the air at home.

They love indirect light and water every 8 to 9 days in winter.

Epipremnum

 

Tree-like

Ficus benjamina or Weeping fig: is an erect plant with a tree-like shape, dark green and glossy leaves. It will make a statement in your living room so don’t be scared to use some big indoor plants. They are slow-growing (up to 3m tall) and they will bright up and refresh your room. Water roughly, then allow to dry out slightly between watering, it does not tolerate soggy soil. Keep soil slightly drier in winter.
This fig tree will help you breath easier being one of the best plants used to improve indoor air quality, it’ll help you remove rates of toxins like formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene.

They like bright indirect light and no air drafts, in early fall it will lose some leaves but, they will be fine by spring, this is a long-lived house plant so if you take care of it, it will take care of you.

Weeping fig

 

Shrubs

Chlorophytum comosum or Spider plant: considered one of the most adaptive plants and one of the easiest to grow, so it’s perfect if you want to try your abilities and “green thumb” with “one” plant at a time; its spider-like leaves are clear green or variegated.

You just have to provide:

– Bright indirect light,
– Well-drained soil
– Moist but not soggy soil, let it dry between watering.

Spider plant

 

Palms

Dypsis lutescens or Areca palm: also known as butterfly plant and awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit; NASA tested it and concluded it is one of the best plants at cleaning air at home and working spaces.

Dark and shady areas or direct sun are not good for them, so try to find a place in between (indirect light) at home so they can grow big and stylish as they are. This plant is always thirsty, but don’t exaggerate with water, there’s have to be a balance.

* This plant needs more cares than others, but it’s not impossible to do it, just practice with other plants before you engage to this one and then you’ll be prepared 🙂

Areca palm

 

Chamaedorea seifrizii or Bamboo palm: they have dark green leaves and erect strong stems, they’ll grow well and fast (in comparison to other indoor plants, about 2 to 5 years) if placed in a bright place with indirect sunlight; they don’t like sitting water, it can rot the roots and stems. You will notice if you are overwatering if new leaves are clear green and you’ll notice some brown tips or brownish new growing leaves.

This plant will give you instant gratification and that’s what we all want in a plant, right? If you take care of it, it will give you years of nice foliage at home. It also grows well in bathrooms and you wouldn’t have to water them so often.

Clean the leaves every now and then with soft soapy water and if you want a regular and even palm shape, turn the container every week or so, to let the plant have even light.
If you put it in a shady place, it’ll still grow, but slower.

Bamboo palm

 

Blooming plants

Spathiphyllum or Peace lily: they have dark green leaves and white “flowers” that are actually a specialized leaf bract that grows hooded over the “real” small flowers and catch the attention of pollinators.

You may think they need extra attention because of the flowers, but they really don’t and that’s what makes them perfect for someone new in the plants’ world.

They prefer shade over bright spots, but, it will depend on how you want your plant to look like, more sun means more spathes and flowers; less sun means fewer blooms and a green foliage look; they are native from tropical rainforests so they demand basic needs like:

  • Medium to low light
  • Water them when the soil is dry
  • Mist/Spray the flowers and leaves to imitate the humidity in rain forests (once a week or more in summer time)
  • Cut brown, yellow or soft unhealthy leaves; re-pot when it’s big enough to cover the container and cut away rotted roots.

Peace lily

 

Phalaenopsis or Moth Orchid: are blooming plants that will grant color to your living-room for long periods. Sometimes is a little bit difficult find a place for them to adapt, but, following this basic steps it will grow nicely and catch everyone’s attention:

  • Find a (moderate) bright windowsill and test its adaption to the spot.
  • Use good draining soil, roots are the most important thing to care.
  • Buy a container with little holes around it, this will let the roots to breathe.
  • Water when the soil starts to look dry (every 7 to 10 days, depending on the season)
  • Use a specific fertilizer for orchids and when the bloom season is over is good to re-pot them with fresh soil, they will appreciate it!

Moth orchid

 

This is really a nice list of easy-growing/low-maintenance houseplants and they will reward you by giving you clean air, bright colors, and beautiful shapes at home.

You can do this, try your skills with one of them and soon enough you’ll see that is totally doable, believe me, you’ll see and feel the difference at home.