Going DIY this week with our favourite plant care hacks. Some of these you may know already, others might be a surprise. There are a million of these floating around on the internet but these are the ones we've tried and tested ourselves. As always, if there is something we've missed - then hit us up!
Get Your Greenhouse On
Depending on your home, getting your humidity levels right can be tricky. Older homes, drafty windows, or just living in a city that has real seasons (looking at you Melbourne). To help keep things consistent, hooking your plant fam up with a greenhouse can allow them to thrive. And you don't always need to spend big bucks (but hey, we're not going to stop you). More economical options include grouping plants together, covering smaller plants with clear glass vessels, or even placing chopsticks around the edge of the pot then wrapping in cling wrap (leaving the top open!). Sure, the last one doesn't look so great but it can be a literal plant-saver if your place really suffers from cold dry spells!
Wondering why that favourite plant has a lean? Or how come one side is looking so much better than the other? Plants will always lean towards the sun (or light source), and if one side is receiving a heap more light then another, then the plant will put all its energy into creating foliage on the side that's catching more light. The leaves main function is to produce food via photosynthesis and it can't photosynthesise if there its not getting any light. If you'd like to avoid your plant tilting too much in one direction, or just want to make sure it has even foliage growth on all sides, rotating your plant weekly can really help. It doesn't have to be much either - a simple 90 degrees each time will suffice
Ok we have been hammering this home for a while now. In fact, we've even written a whole blog about it. If you're not doing this already, make it a thing. Indoors, our plants aren't able to access the elements like they would in their natural environment. No wind or rain to keep the foliage dust free. They rely completely on us. And no matter how clean you like to think your place is, dust will gather. When dust accumulates on the foliage, it limits the plant's ability to photosynthesise. Cleaning your plants leaves regularly will have a massive effect on plant health and growth. How often you clean will depend on your home - children, pets, living near a worksite, these can all increase dust levels and may require more regular cleaning.
Reuse that Kitchen Water
This one has been floating around for a while on the "Old Wives' Tail Circuit" but we're here to tell you its definitely a thing. Using the water left over from your pasta, potatoes or boiled eggs is an absolute winner. Two things that are absolutely essential to remember when using this hack though.
1. Let the water cool over night before pouring on your plants. Should be a no brainer, but we don't want to open ourselves up to any angry readers after boiling their plants roots to death. Let that water cool down to room temp over night so they can drink it up in comfort the next day
2. Don't salt your water. This is a choice, and we fully recognise that there are some of you out there who just can't fathom the idea of not salting your pasta water, which is fine. But, if you are happy to forgo a little seasoning for the sake of your plant fam, your plants will be all the happier for it. I
The reason this is so good for your plants is that the starch left in the water is lapped up by plants, and the left over nutrients are absorbed by the plants.
Aerate the Potting Mix
Aerating your potting mix can help increase drainage and airflow in the mix. Outside, this is done by earthworms but inside its up to us to keep things fresh. Best tool for this? A chopstick. Don't go overboard and be careful around the root zone though!
Keep things Tidy
If you have potting mix falling out of your drainage holes, grab yourself a used coffee filter, or just cut up a small piece of permeable cloth and place it over the drainage hole before potting up. Easy!
And to really keep things tidy, when potting up around the house lay out on old sheet or compostable potting tarp so you can reduce your cleaning time.
DIY Drainage Holes
It can be frustrating when you find a pot you love but it doesn't have any drainage holes to allow the excess water to drain out and avoid root rot. If you have a ceramic pot without drainage holes that you really want to pot into, don't stress. Using a power drill with a ceramic drill bit allows you to create holes where there were none. Just make sure when you drill the hole, you have that pot on a hard, flat surface.