By Dan Pogust
This month we are inviting you to fall in love with a plant to help save the Earth. In our previous post we walked you through the dating phase—finding a plant that’s right for you. This week we offer tips for keeping the love (and the plant) alive.
4. Consider the plant’s personality:
Where should the plant go in your house? How much should you water and feed it? Does it want a pot or a mount or soil or bark or no pot at all? Some of this is trial and error, but don’t be discouraged if the plant loses a few leaves or flowers when you repot it or move it into your home. Plants like consistency, and changes can make plants stressed and scared. Just water it sparingly and the plant will come around. Consider this also your formal reminder that most plants should only be watered once a week (or when the soil is dry). It’s much easier to kill a plant with water than it is to kill a plant with drought. If you are a serial plant waterer try a carnivorous plant, fern, or an African violet, they’ll love you.
5. Wait for it:
Get to know your plant. Talk to it. Enjoy its company. If you want, inspect it and keep track of any growth in a journal. Make sure you’re watering and feeding in the mornings at relatively the same times. Don’t move the plant too much. Again, plants like consistency. If you had a fish and kept putting it in different tanks with different temperatures and food it wouldn’t be as happy as if you kept it in one place.
6. Find what works for you and run with it:
Congrats! You found a plant that likes you! Next time you go to your local nursery, get something related, or something that requires similar care as the plant you got earlier. If you got a Philodendron, try an Anthurium or a pothos or a calla lily. This can now be your niche. Before you know it, you’ll be growing epiphytic cacti, staghorn ferns, and orchids.
7. Join a community:
Major plant families or genera often have online and offline hobbyist communities. You can locate these communities on Facebook or Google and figure out what you can do to get involved. You don’t need to participate, but most of my knowledge of passionflower culture and knowledge came from watching the online Passiflora community and asking questions.
8. Spread the love:
Show people this list and encourage them to try again. Share your stories and learned tips and tricks from within your niche. Research how to propagate your plants and give cuttings/plants to your friends on holidays. Bond with them over the leaf-shape of your begonia or the scent of a blooming orchid. Go on a date to a nursery on a rainy day. Plants in the workspace and home are proven to lower stress and increase happiness. Some even filter toxins out of the air! With the current national political climate, it’s important to have something you can bond over no matter what side you stand on. I’ll tell you from personal experience, plants can be that thing. - DP