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Plants 101 For Beginners: The Best Tips for New Plant Parents

If you’re reading this, chances are either you own a plant or have made attempts at having a plant and keeping it alive. And maybe it worked…and maybe it didn’t Stick with me, I’m here to deliver Plants 101 for beginners!

As aesthetically pleasing as they may be to our eyes, plants are also living things. They are real, require oxygen and light, and most importantly adequate attention. Plants brighten up your home and are worth having around!

If you have ever owned a plant then you know they take work and constant upkeep. Some plants are easier than others. Some are hard to keep alive and some are just downright finicky. I’ve owned more than 150 plants. I currently have about 25ish indoor plants and many outdoor plants as well. I take pride in my plants.

It’s not just about having a plant because they look pretty or cool. In the words of the infamous Hilton Carter, “Plants are like your children. They need to be fed, nurtured and loved. Would you let your child die? I don’t think so”.

If you don’t know who Hilton Carter is, I highly you suggest you go check out his Instagram (@hiltoncarter). Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced plant parent, he has all the best tips. He owns somewhere north of 300 plants-and get this-all indoors! My jaw dropped too when I first heard that. He ask has two books out and I had the pleasure of meeting him in person on his book tour for Wild At Home

I digress.

I was a plant momma far before I stumbled across any famous plant parents on Instagram. One day I decided I wanted to try having a plant and to take up a new hobby, and I was instantly hooked! In the beginning, I’ll admit I went a bit overboard after I realized I had a green thumb. When I first started I probably had around 120 plants. I have since sold some, propagated others, and sadly a few of the outdoor ones didn’t make it through. Even with a green thumb, it’s not all rainbows on the other side.

So if you’re reading this you are likely wondering what should I get for my first plant? Or how do I take care of my plant that has been looking sad lately. Or maybe you’re just wondering why you keep killing your plants. It’s ok, I’m here to help you! Being a plant parent is about patience, love and respecting what plants do for us.

Plants 101 For Beginners

We may want to own a plant, but plants, in a sense, own us. 

What this means is without plants there would be no us. Humanity can’t exist without oxygen. Plants, forests, jungles, and nature….we depend on all of it to exist. Plants emit oxygen and absorb co2. Many plants are better than others to provide clean and fresh air. So basically, having an indoor jungle provides for some great air quality. Also it’s been proven that plants make us happier. So there are many healthy benefits to having plants around your indoor and outdoor spaces.

What kind of plants to look for:

I always say if you are looking for a starter plant, start off simple. Here are a list of the best plants for low maintenance, low light, and have the highest chance of survival.

  1. Pothos – These need water roughly once a week, bright indirect light and room for growth.
  2. Monstera – This one has the same guidelines as pothos but you need to keep these out of direct light. The leaves burn easily with direct sunlight.
  3. Snake plant – If you kill this one, well I don’t know what to tell ya. These are the easiest and can even survive on low light conditions (but that’s just cruel). They like water about every 2-3 weeks and don’t need a lot of light but they still appreciate indirect light.
  4. Cactus or succulents – These too are hard to kill. They like bright indirect light or direct light too. Water is only needed about every 3 weeks to a month, but succulents like water closer to 2-3 weeks in between.

These are honestly the easiest plants to keep up and make for great first timer plants.

Here are some key tips to keep up with your plant maintenance:

  • When watering, it’s usually best to not let soil get too dry but also you want to make sure your roots are not still wet either. I like the two inch rule. You stick a finger in the soil about two inches deep to see if the soil is still damp or if it’s dry.
  • Always use a pot with a drainage hole! Do your plant a favor and do yourself a favor and always get a pot with a drainage hole. If you must get a fancy looking pot with no drainage hole then make some kind of drainage system at the bottom of the pot. But I do not recommend this as this can still lead to root rot(over watering or puddles water causes this).
  • Big windows with lots of indirect light are always best. West facing windows are typically best. Any area with lots of light will do just fine. (Your plant will tell you if they’re not happy,)
  • Which brings me to my next tip. Give your plant love. Talk to your plant, touch your plant, and nurture it. Yes, literally. Plants thrive when you show them love. Just as you would to your dog or cat.
  • Research your plant. Google has it all. Make sure you know your plants needs and make sure to keep up with it.
  • If you are going out of town for a while, get a plant babysitter. Yes that’s a thing. Good friends look after their friends plants! That should be a motto if it isn’t already.

Plants should never be treated like a toy that is left alone after a child doesn’t want it anymore. Plants should be treated as our children and pets are treated – with love, careful and considerate care, and with patience.

If you are thinking about becoming a plant parent, remember that they aren’t just another decor statement piece, but that they are real and living things that help sustain our air quality and help give us life. Plants were here on earth long before humans and they will continue to be here long after we are gone.

Have you been thinking about owning a plant? What kind of plant is your fav?

About the Author

Jovi Casie

Jovi studied Journalism at Southwestern College. She currently works full time and is a mom to a beautiful daughter, named Olivia. When she isn't working or spending time with family and friends, she enjoys being a crazy plant lady, watching HGTV and spending quality time with her daughter. You can often find her cozied up in a local coffee shop writing for her personal blog. She hopes to one day work full time as a writer and to inspire others to live a happy and successful life.