Pretty, but a total pain: houseplants worth avoiding
by Darina Schweizer
Have your far-from-green fingers meant you’ve had to wave goodbye to a ton of houseplants? Fear not! Marie Henze from online plant shop Mary & Plants has some bloom-saving tips for you.
Your Calathea’s died again, your fig trees have more brown leaves than green and your Alocasia’s overrun with pests. If you’re a plant parent, you’re bound to have been in this predicament before. With the help of Marie Henze from online plant shop Mary & Plants (website in German), I recently wrote about needy houseplants plants you’re better off avoiding, as well as available alternatives.
Unfortunately, however, you can also make mistakes with easier-to-care-for plants (yes, I’ve managed to kill cacti before). With this in mind, Marie Henze has seven tips for you to bear in mind when buying and caring for plants:
Marie Henze advises against making impulse buys at the DIY store. The plants there are generally cheap, but they’re neither long-lasting nor healthy. «You can save yourself a lot of bother and disappointment by buying from certified plant stores. The slightly higher prices are worth it,» she says. Before buying any type of plant, you should also consider whether you can give them everything listed below.
Tropical plants like the heat, but unlike cacti and succulents, you should never place them in direct sunlight. After all, under the jungle’s canopy of leaves, they tend to live in shady conditions. That being said, no houseplant can survive being totally deprived of daylight.
It’s better to give your plants too little water than too much. Houseplants prefer drinking lukewarm water that’s as close to limescale-free as possible, making rainwater a very suitable option. Distilled water, on the other hand, doesn’t get quite the same ringing endorsement. Although it’s limescale-free, it also lacks minerals. If using it, you’ll need to use fertiliser to feed your plants with nutrients.
Cacti and succulents don’t like houseplant soil because it contains too much humus. Use cactus potting soil for them instead.
Houseplants struggle to breathe when they’re in fully sealed, plastic pots. Not only that, but their roots quickly begin to rot if too much water collects in the pot. As a result, it’s best to go with a clay pot with a drainage hole and a saucer underneath.
Before your plants hit their springtime growth spurt, you should always give them a new pot matching their current size.
Ideally, you should repot your houseplants at the beginning of the growth phase from March to October. You should be fertilising your plants during this period too.
Migros-Bio Garden Cactus earth
3 l, Soil without peat
Hauert Houseplant fertilizer
Jaco Terracotta Como
Got any more tips for houseplant rookies? Share them in the comments.Header image: Shutterstock/RJ22
A city kid who’s returned from the countryside to live the urban life – only to turn her attic flat into a beach house dotted with aloes and lighthouses. She’s an animal lover interested in psychology. Her harmless appearance comes with a dark sense of humour and a criminal taste in books. Someday, she’d like to be able to shoot an arrow like Mulan.