One of my favourite things in the world is raising houseplants! They can bring so so much joy and life into a space. If you've ever found or thought of yourself to be a "black thumb" person, I hope I can inspire you to try plants again!
Common Beginner Mistakes
When starting out with growing plants, a LOT of people are misled or make mistakes! This is completely normal, and while you won't enjoy the sudden dead plants, it's all part of learning about your new hobby.
- The Biggest Problem - Not Researching!
- What's "Easy" To One May Not Be Easy To You.
- Don't Buy Into The Hype.
- Air Plants Are Not True Beginner Plants.
A lot of people don't research the plants they wish to buy and end up with dead plants. Sometimes Nurseries have wrong information, or have information that's exaggerated to get you to buy the plants they have. Just like you would before getting a new pet, Research! Look up the common name and then the species name. It helps to do both as many species have similar or flat out incorrect common names (such as Monstera Deliciosa often being called the "split leaf philodendron" when it isn't a philodendron at all), and you want to avoid getting into the trap of confusing species and thus confusing care requirements.
Including this as I *often* see people say a specific plant is "super easy, grows well, never had a problem"... and then you scroll up and you find out they're the Fern Whisperer or the Saviour of All Calatheas. I mention ferns and calatheas as they both are considered near-expert level plants to keep thriving, and based on both *your location* and the parameters of humidity, light, and general vibes in your house (yes, calatheas will wilt if you look at them wrong). Ferns in particular all prefer near 60-80+% humidity, something that, yknow, in our homes, humans tend to not like! But for people living in places where the outside is both warm and humid all year round (cough cough florida), these plants grow like weeds! They look beautifully full and not a speck of brown on them. Don't get fooled by one person going "oh yeah totally easy!" always research!
Due to the Pandemic, a PLETHORA of people have gotten into houseplants and indoor plants as a hobby. This has skyrocketed prices and "hype" around houseplants. And while this means a lot of unusual plants are being made more accessible due to demand, you will find *crazy* prices for some plants. Not to mention, in order to sell their plants, many online and physical stores have gotten into the swing of calling every plant "rare". Doesn't that make you wanna buy it? It feels like an exclusive thing yeah? It's *rare*, it's RaRe.... no, it isn't.
With the exception of some *genuinely* rare plants, such as the Halfmoon Monstera Albo line, Spirictus Sancti Philodendrons, Albo Sygoniums, Gabby Philodendrons (exclusive hybrid created by a big nursery), and some others (no, White princess philodendrons and Pink princess philodendrons are not rare either. they are priced insanely high due to this "hype"), most of the plants you will see listed as "rare" and with prices going past $50 are often times not rare and just hyped up as being "collector plants" and "wow everyone wants this!".
There's *nothing* wrong with liking a popular plant, but don't buy into the hype and drop 200+ on a plant cutting that may or may not survive. Don't feed into the hype market of charging 300+ for a low-vareigation Pink Princess. If you want a plant, keep your eyes open! I got my Pink Princess cutting for $20 due to a flash sale from the seller, while the listing's normal price was $75. You *will* get a good deal, and you *will* eventually get your dream plants. And within a few years anyway, these plants will be wayyy down in prices.
Air plants are a *super* popular choice for beginners to gravitate towards. Often times you'll see them in places like Lowes or Home Depot chilling out in funky hanging terrariums with cool decor. Or you might see them in a giant display with absolutely massive air plants in massive containers or just hanging out in nurseries. Their price tags are (generally) low (looking at you, Phoenix, my rainforest red air plant, who was $20), and their care seems super easy! But for beginners who maybe don't have the best understanding of light, of watering, of what fertilizer to use, and of how these plants like to live, often times they will die prematurely.
My first air plant suffered this fate after his butt was glued to some fake moss for his home depot terrarium. :( This can be really disheartening to a new plant owner! If you want an air plant to start off your hobby, make sure it gets bright indirect sun, water it once or twice a week by letting it "bathe" in a shallow pool of dechlorinated water (sometimes tap water works) for 30-60 minutes at a time, and make sure to buy a special air plant fertilizer! Keep the terrarium simple!
My plants + their short care guides
I currently have a plethora of plants. Some difficult, some easy.
- Monstera Deliciosa - Generally easy to care for, Bright indirect light, watering once a week, give a moss pole for climbing. Too little light reduces holes (fenestrations) present in leaves. In direct sun the leaves can burn. Gets massive! Plan accordingly.
- Philodendron Shangri-La - Generally easy-going and easy to keep happy. Bright indirect light, water once a week, I mist mine daily. New leaves have pinkish-red stems when they emerge. Gets huge!
- Philodendron Prince of Orange - Very hardy and tolerant. A fantastic show plant. Leaves emerge brilliant orange and fade into green.Bright indirect light, water once a week, use well-draining soil and a study pot with drainage. A bit less tolerant than the above plants to fluctuating temperatures. Room temp best. Smaller Philo that doesn't get super huge, but is always stunning.
- Guiana Chestnut / Money Tree - Very Easy! Tolerates a lot of abuse.Bright indirect light. Northern and southern windows. Can be woven into unique shapes as bark grows! Likes large pots, and does get big!
- Polka Dot Plant - Very easy, can be grown as a vine or trimmed to stay bush-y. Grows ballistically when less vareigated. Can be kept in lower light, to bright indirect. Flowers are a nice purple and this plant grows quickly. Requires a trellice if growing as a vine.
- African Violet - Generally easy, but some specialized care. Bright indirect light, NEVER mist the plant - they have sensitive foliage. Water using a dish placed below the pot and allow it to drink from below. Do not use traditional fertilizers - seek out specific African Violet fertilizer. Flowers relentlessly and is quite stunning.
- Air Plant / Tillandsias - Somewhat easy to care for, grows like wild when cared for well. Requires no soil and can survive temps as low as 60F. Water them by placing their butt (it looks like a butt) in a shallow dish of water and let them soak for 30-60 minutes once or twice a week. Does not need misting but can enjoy it. Hanging terrariums with open fronts tend to be the best for these guys. I have 2 in my bedroom next to the window & they are thriving.
- String of Hearts / Ceropegia Woodii - Generally easy trailing plant. Loves light and prefers south facing windows. Requires a hanging pot. Trails can get very long very quickly. I water mine once a week + it's doing well in a north facing window.