Friday, June 02, 2017

plant care: 101 (from a recovering black thumb)

Not too long ago I was the worse when it came to plants. I think it may have been a mix of not understanding the basics of plant care and completing ignoring them 🙈 Although I somehow managed to keep a few plants alive in our apartment they were in really poor condition. However, when we moved to our current home I really wanted to make an effort to not only keep our plants alive but watch them thrive. When we moved we already had a few plants that we had propagated from Ben's research days. He did cancer research and was able to separate the genes of two of them and inject them to attack cancer cells and it worked! The research is still ongoing and I'm sure I have completely simplified the entire process haha! His and my research was the reason we met in the first place. Back when I was finishing up my last year of undergrad (I was actually a non-traditional student and switched careers from nursing) we were both chosen to present our research at the Wisconsin State capitol in Madison. One day I was running late to our first meeting with a few other students that were presenting and I walked into the room and he was the first person I noticed! He had the cutest smile and seriously the first thing I thought was, "who is this guy?!" And well the rest as you know is history 😉 

Needless to say those plants held a really special place in both of our hearts! They were hanging onto dear life once we moved in and I remember chronicling their recovery on my SnapChat at the time. It was so funny because I would receive the most hilarious messages from some of you about how sad they looked! And they truly did look especially pathethic. But I remember telling Ben to not worry and I promised that they would be better in no time. Now both the purple heart and the Tradescantia Zebrina are doing amazing. I was able to recover all of the propagated plants and bring them all back to life. After a few months they were well enough to remove and I united them to create the hanging planter we have in our 'mudroom' space. I feel so proud of that accomplishment 😆 Anywho- I decided that after a little over a year of taking care of our plants, watching them grow and adding more to our family that I could share some tips and tricks of what I've learned throughout my own recovery as a plant killer and black thumb 😂 I always love receiving messages from you guys and whenever I get a message from my fellow plant lovers it always makes me especially happy! Plants are such a great way to not only decorate but also brighten up the mood in any room. And if it wasn't for Ben's plant research we would've probably never met! 
If you're wondering my jeans are from EXPRESS and I am in love with the fit they are back in stock and available here! My tops is an oldie from LOFT but here's a similar one 

Here are few tips and tricks I've learned and I hope they're helpful for you!

Firstly, repeat after me "I am not a plant killer. I am a good plant mom/dad!"
For real- there is hope for everyone! 😊

Set a recurring reminder on your phone to water your plants. I know how life gets busy and we tend to forget these living things BUT if you need help remembering add a reminder on the one thing you're likely using all the time! I am pretty used to watering my plants niw once a week on schedule (Saturday's). There are a few plants that I don't water weekly like my Aloe vera (monthly) and my Fiddle Leaf Fig (I check the soil and make sure it's dry first then I water). Other than that once a week seems to be the winning number for watering our plants that range from Pothos to Snake plant.

Wipe the leaves. I find this is especially important for my Fiddle Leaf Fig because the leaves are so large and they tend to gather dust faster. I usually do this the same day that I water them but less frequent.

Talk to your plants! I know, now I'm sounding like the crazy plant lady 😂 But there's actually research that suggests it helps them grow because of the carbon dioxide we release when we speak. But I also find it kind of therapeutic and it's fun to get the boys involved! They help me water them and I tell them that plants can 'feel' too. It's worked so far and that are so great with our plants. Of course, we've had accidents but that's nothing a little love and care can't fix!

Repot. I know this takes a little extra time but it's necessary especially with succulents that have a tendency to grow vertically if they don't have enough space. Another thing about succulents is that they will go soft if they don't have enough light and will rot. All of my succulents never do well in low light. However, you can remove one of the leaves and propagate by simply laying it on top of soil. It will grow roots and you can watch them grow! The only plant that I haven't repotted yet or changed the soil has been the Fiddle Leaf because I read they need to become acclimated to their new environment and this helps with the transition. I might change the soil in a few months but for now it'll be there and it's looking amazing!

Know where you get the best light! This is probably the most important because the leaves will start turning yellow and the plant will die. If you don't have the best light buy plants that don't need much of it like a Snake Plant here, Philodendron here or a Zanzibar Gem that seems to do the best when I completely forget about it lol jk!

If you have little one's don't forget to get them involved! Plants are such a great way to teach your little's how to care for something! I get the boys to water them with me and we also name them together.


I hope these tips help you with your own plants! And I'd love to know if you have any tips for your own plants?! Have a great weekend!

2 comments:

  1. Karri Tait6/6/17, 5:14 PM

    I am also a recovering black thumb! I'm building my collection, but struggle with succulents and now I know why! I didn't realize they don't thrive in low light (doh).

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    1. It took me forever (and several dead succulents) to figure it out!Hope it's helpful!! xx

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