Plants are a great way to liven up your apartment.
You know… if you can keep them alive.
Living in an apartment presents challenges to houseplants. You may not be in control of what direction your windows are facing or how well your place holds heat. But your plants can still thrive.
These five tips will help you keep your plants healthy all year long, regardless of what you have to work with. After all, a green thumb is something you grow with practice!
1. Do Your Research
When you bring home a plant (or even before you go out to buy one), spend some time researching the plants you want.
The more you know about the plants you want, the more likely they are to survive.
Find out as much information as you can about the conditions your plants thrive in. How much light do they need? How much water do they need? How often do they need to be watered?
No detail is too small if it means your plants stay healthy.
Be honest about your ability to provide for the plants you want. It’s possible to keep any sort of plant in an apartment, but some are more difficult than others.
If you’re just now dipping your toes into the world of raising plants, you may be better off getting one that’s already well-suited for your apartment.
Once you feel confident about being a plant parent, you can add more green children to your collection!
2. Keep Them in the Right Light
The health of your plants will more than likely depend on their light source. Along with water, sunlight is the most important thing for your leafy pals. They need just the right amount to thrive.
As a general rule, most plants do best in direct sunlight from a south-facing window.
If your apartment lacks sunlight, you can make up for it by investing in a grow light. Faux-natural light is just as good for them and will keep them well-fed even in the depths of your home.
Watch for signs that your plants are getting too little or too much light.
If your plant’s leaves start to fall off, they’re probably not getting enough light. On the other hand, if your plant is drying out too fast or its leaves are getting scorched, it’s getting too much light.
It’s important to remember that not all plants need or thrive in direct sunlight. That’s why you should always do your research.
3. Get a Humidifier
Humidity is great for your plants. It keeps them from drying out, especially in the winter when dry heat is a big problem.
A humidifier will provide a warm, humid environment that many plants crave. You won’t need one as much if you already live somewhere that stays humid, but it’s still good to have on those unavoidable dry days.
If a humidifier is out of the question, there are a few other ways to keep the moisture levels up:
- Put together some simple pebble trays to retain the water in your plants longer.
- Group plants close together so they create their own humidity.
- Take your plants in the bathroom with you while you shower.
Humidifiers are the most reliable source of humidity, but make sure you clean it out at least once a week to avoid adding mold to your collection of houseplants.
4. Clean Their Leaves
This is especially important for any broadleaf plants. Their larger leaves have a tendency to collect dust, which blocks out light and makes it more difficult for them to absorb food.
Treat your lovely plants to a sponge bath once a week or so.
All you have to do is use a damp cloth to wipe off their leaves. It’s as simple as that. You could also set them in the shower and give them a quick 30-second bath. That doubles as cleaning and watering!
While you’re at it, don’t forget to inspect their leaves for trouble.
If one of your plants shows any sign of fungus or common pests, isolate it from your other plants and start treating it immediately. The faster you catch and take care of the problem, the less likely it is to pass to everyone else.
In this instance, sharing is not caring.
5. Water Less in the Winter
This last tip covers a very specific time of year: the cold months.
When winter rolls around, most plants go dormant to survive. This is the case even if they’re living indoors. That means they don’t need nearly as much water during this time of year.
One of the easiest ways to kill your houseplants during the winter is to overwater them.
Avoid giving your plants too much love by testing the soil before you water them. Stick your finger about an inch into the soil. Does it still feel moist? Then your plant has enough water, and you don’t need to water it yet.
Wait for the soil to dry out and the pot to feel light before you add more water.
You could also purchase a soil moisture gauge to stick in your plant’s pot to let you know when it needs water. It takes the guesswork out so you don’t have to worry about causing damage.
Plants can go anywhere from two weeks to an entire month without water while they’re dormant.
Now you’re ready to turn your apartment into the jungle escape you’ve always dreamed of. Or at least to put a few ferns in your entryway.
You do you!
Don’t shy away from flexing your green thumb. You can raise your favorite plants with some attention to detail and a dose of tender, loving care.
By following these five tips, any plants you bring into your apartment are sure to stay happy and healthy all year round.
Angus Flynn is the Business Manager for SLX Atlanta, a luxury apartment community in Atlanta, GA.