House Plant Club On How To Look After Your House Plants In 5 Simple Steps

ByMorgan Doane & Erin Harding

Hi! We’re Erin Harding and Morgan Doane, two plant obsessives who run online community House Plant Club, where people around the world share their plants with each other using the hashtag #houseplantclub. We knew each other at first only as our Instagram usernames @cleverbloom (Erin) and @plantingpink (Morgan). We sealed our online friendship by trading plant cuttings in the mail. From Florida, Morgan sent a Pilea peperomioides to Erin. From Oregon, Erin returned the favour with a Chain of Hearts (Ceropegia woodii). Despite being about as far away from each other as we could be in the contiguous United States, our shared love for greenery grew.

While we’ve been actively sharing our plant passions online for only the past few years, we’ve both been “plant people” for decades and inherited that trait from the plant people who came before us. Neither of us is a botanist or biologist, but we know a thing or two about how to raise a houseplant. We believe raising plants can be an easy and rewarding hobby.

Through House Plant Club, we have answered thousands of questions about plant care and identification, and it is in that vein that we decided to write a book – How to Raise a Plant and Make it Love You Back. We’ve filled it with our best tips and tricks for new and seasoned plant parents alike. We believe raising plants comes down to a few simple concepts and once you master them, your collection will grow and thrive. Start out with these 5 basic steps and you’ll be well on your way to a greener and more beautiful home.

1Choose The Best Plant For Your Space

One of the biggest mistakes a soon-to-be plant parent can make is bringing home a plant that doesn’t work in their space. Read the label on the plant or ask a knowledgeable staff person if they can help recommend a plant that’s right for you. As a rule of thumb, Succulents and Cacti need the brightest level of light, and tropicals tend to enjoy bright, indirect sunshine. We don’t recommend bringing any live plants into a space without adequate lighting. No one wants to see a plant fade and die because of lack of sunshine!

2Quarantine/Preventative Pest Control

Keep your new plant away from plants that are already established in your home for about a week. This allows you to observe the overall health of the plant and ensure there are no pests. Use a systemic insect control granule in the soil of all the plants in your collection. This will kill existing pests and prevent future infestations.

3Locate The Best Spot In Your Home

Knowing the direction of your windows is key. Placing a plant near a south or even west facing window will allow it to get the most amount of light. Be sure to keep your plants away from vents and areas with drafts. A plant hanger is a great way to display plants - especially if you need to keep things out of reach from pets or children.

4Get To Know Your Plant

It sounds silly, but when you get to know your plant, you’ll understand its needs better. When the leaf on your Monstera deliciosa starts to curl under, it’s probably time to water. Puckered or wrinkly Succulent leaves are probably thirsty too! Sometimes the soil of a plant becomes so compacted it can’t retain moisture. If the water goes straight to the edges and right out the drainage hole, it’s time to aerate the soil.

5Give Your Plant The Proper Care

Research your specific plant in a book or online. You can find a lot of good information these days. Joining a plant group like @houseplantclub can give you access to people who are more than willing to share what they know. This will help you to learn the basic needs of your particular plant. Focus on these three main points: soil, water, and light.

How To Raise A Plant And Make It Love You Back

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'How to Raise a Plant and Make it Love You Back' by Erin Harding and Morgan Doane is published by Laurence King. Available at www.laurenceking.com and all good bookstores, RRP £12.99.

Start off with something easy like a Sansevieria (Snake Plant) or a Chlorophytum comosum (Spider Plant). Once you get the hang of it, move on to something a little more needy like a Senecio rowleyanus (String of Pearls). Before you know it, your plants will be growing and thriving to where you can propagate them and share with fellow green thumbs!