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We all know those stories that are shared so many times, people start believing them.
There are a few stubborn plant related misconceptions going around. These can make caring for indoor plants unnecessarily hard.
Let’s talk plants, get the facts straight, and demystify the plant myths.
Common Houseplant Care Misconceptions
1. You don’t have a green thumb so you can’t keep plants alive.
Why do so many people believe this? Keeping plants alive has nothing to do with green or black thumbs. It is just a matter of getting some basic information on how to care for your plants.
A good place to start are the houseplant guide posts. You will find all the basics, from where to buy house plants, to how to water them, we talk about indoor plants and pet safety, and about how to repot your plants.
2. When you have a plant, you water it every week.
Well, maybe. You might find yourself watering your plant every week. But it shouldn’t be because your calendar tells you so.
I have the feeling this myth started because new plant parents want to know how often to water their plants, and the quick and easy answer they often get is “you water about once a week”. And that is where it goes wrong. The most important bit of information is missing.
It’s not your schedule, it’s your plant that will tell you when its time to water it. You can use the once a week schedule as a reminder to check if your plant needs water. Look at the soil. Feel it. If it is still moist, you should not water it. Watering when it still has water will prevent the soil from ever drying out and the roots will be prone to rot.
Related: How and When to Water Houseplants
3. If you want your plant to grow bigger, put it in a big pot.
No. Just no. Don’t do it. Your plant will literarily drown in all that space.
Indoor plants do best when their pot is balanced in size with the size of the plant and its roots. If your pot is too large for the plant, there is so much soil surrounding the roots, that when you water your plant, it will stay wet too long and becomes more susceptible to root rot.
Next time you have to repot a plant, choose a pot one size up from the current pot. You want to roots to have some room to regrow, but not drown.
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4. You water your plant when it’s wilting.
Watch out with this one. This obviously happens with good intentions. Your plant looks sad, so you want to perk it up with some water.
While it is true that most plants will show signs of wilting when they get thirsty, it could have a different reason. So before you water do a quick inspection. Does the plant have enough light? Are there bugs? Is the soil still wet, might it have been overwatered? All reasons your plant might be wilting.
If your plant is wilting but happy with the light, there are no bugs, and the soil is dry, go for it, water away.
5. Indoor plants need a lot of sun.
Yes, some plant benefit from a lot of direct sunlight. But it depends on the plant.
Most indoor plants prefer less sun and will suffer from sunburn when placed in direct sun all day. So move your plant further away from the window if it gets too much sun. Or put a sheer curtain between to soften the rays.
6. Plants aren’t safe when you have pets.
This is not completely true, but nonetheless something we should really talk about for a sec.
There are certain plants that are toxic to pets.
But not every plant is toxic. And not every cat eats plants. And not every toxic plant will seriously harm your cat when it nibbles on a leaf or two.
It is definitely important to know what type of plants you are bringing in. Do your research and if needed, place your plant out of your pets reach.
7. If a plant looks unhappy, you give it fertilizer.
Here’s another one that comes from a heart filled with good intentions. Plants don’t need nearly as much fertilizer as you might think. Don’t use it as you would take your daily vitamins. For plants, less is more when it comes to fertilizer.
The reason your plant looks unhappy is rarely due to a lack of fertilizer, so adding it won’t solve it, and can actually add to the stress the plant already has. First figure out what is wrong with your plant, fix it, and then wait for the plant to show new growth before fertilizing again.
Any other myths that need to be demystified? Please share in the comments below. Let’s talk plant truths!