A Quick Guide to Starting out with Plants

Here’s to those who think they don’t have it in them to keep their plants alive!

I had never even owned a plant before moving into my own apartment but I knew from the beginning that plants would be the key pieces to add life to a very still space. And if like me you have no idea what to put on your walls (apart from mirrors and clocks), they’re a great addition for decoration.

That’s why I’m giving you 5 simple tips today to show you that with a little bit of commitment, you can add greenery to your home. Bear in mind that I’m no plant expert, I’m just sharing what I’ve learned along the way!

Do your research

Before splurging on the biggest plant you can find, it’s a good thing to think about all the areas in your flat where you can potentially make space for your new leafy friend. Think about whether these areas are getting direct sunlight or on the contrary if they are very shadowy. You can then find out which plant will benefit from that kind of exposure (or lack of) and if it’s realistic to get a plant that requires a lot of sunrays when your flat isn’t getting any. Also, think in terms of available space. If you put a plant that’s supposed to grow easily in a small corner, even if it’s getting the right amount of light, it’s going to feel constricted and won’t be able to spread like it should.

Don’t over-water

This goes with doing your research but you must know what your plant requires in terms of humidity to live a happy life. Some plants don’t like to get soaked too often. Over-watering can lead to too much moisture and will get the plant to rot. I’ve lost a couple of plants due to too much watering and once the heart of your plant has started to rot, there is no going back. Make sure the soil is completely dry before adding any more water.
Another tip is to switch from tap water to demineralized water. I know the water in Paris (and, mostly, in every big city) is hard water and it doesn’t do much good to our plants.

Pay attention

The most obvious tip but the easiest one to forget is just to observe and pay attention to your plants. If you can’t remember to water your plants, set yourself reminders (I know I do) but keep in mind that all plants have different needs and don’t drink water at the same pace. Looking at your plants every day or at least every two days is really the best you can do. Not only it allows you to check on the humidity but you can also remove dead leaves as it’s not a good thing to let them cohabit with younger ones too long. You can also be aware of new leaves coming up and it’s always an exciting moment!

Repot if necessary

It’s always a bit scary to repot a plant that’s doing well. Will it be happy in its new container? Am I using the right soil? But if the original pot is too small, it can prevent your plant from growing nicely. That being said, don’t repot too often. The plant needs to become familiar with its new home before you can think about moving out again.

If you bought a plant that’s in a pot that doesn’t have any draining system, it might be a good idea to repot as well. You don’t want any water being retained, leading to root damage in the end. And if you just don’t like the plastic pot they usually come with, just buy a cute planter!

Trial & error is part of the process

It might be the most boring tip ever, but it’s important to acknowledge the fact that you will most likely make a few mistakes throughout your journey of becoming a plant lady – or guy! Try to point out any error or thing you should have done some other way so you don’t repeat these mistakes. And if you can’t figure out what went wrong, well, it’s okay, maybe it wasn’t doing so well in the first place when you bought it! Because, yeah, it happens. I had to talk myself out of getting a really beautiful Calathea this weekend as you could see new leaves that were already dying, and I knew then it was bound to die sooner than later. In any case, don’t beat yourself up over losses. You did your best and it might be a good occasion to spruce up your home again with a new one!

Caring for your plants is some kind of adventure. I’m currently in the process of growing an avocado tree from a seed, and I think it’s going pretty well so far as you can see in the photos above! My next step is to try to do my own cuttings but I’m just not there yet. Baby steps they say…

Are you a plant lover too? Any tips to add to the list?!