Become a Better Plant Parent With Plant Awareness
If you asked us to name the one thing that we wished we had known at the beginning of our plant parenting journey, it would be this:
Take the time to get to know your plant and increase your PLANT AWARENESS
Yes – we know this sounds like we are a nagging mom.
But we can say, with a hand on our heart, that this one nugget of advice would have saved us many anxious days and, dare we say it, a fair few of our own plant babies 🕊🦢🤍🌿!
That is why we at the Garden Bench Top have integrated this all-important step as one of the three LAWs (Lighting Awareness Watering) of being a thriving plant parent.
In this guide, you will learn the following:
- the exact information you need to know about your plant
- where to find your plants information, and
- how to apply this information to you and your new plant baby.
So go make yourself a cup of coffee, get comfortable, and let’s get our hands dirty!
STOP! Don’t GIVE IN to Your Impulses!
Okay – if you unintentionally fell into plant parenthood, for instance, you were gifted or inherited a plant from a cherished family member who recently passed, you can skip over to the next section.
This message is for all those plant parents who listen to that inner voice that whispers, “I MUST HAVE IT!” when they walk past a stunningly beautiful pot plant. C’mon, be honest with yourself…
We get it – we’ve all been there! Who hasn’t left their house for their weekly grocery shop, only to return with three leafy friends in tow? Definitely not us…🤣
Next time, we implore you to stop and do just one thing.
Before you proceed to the register to pay, take out your smartphone and do a quick search online for the care instructions for your potential new plant baby.
This one action, which takes no longer than 5 minutes, might just save you future frustrations and heartache. Not only are you taking steps to become a better plant parent by increasing your plant awareness, but you may also discover that this stunning plant isn’t suitable for your parenting lifestyle.
So, resist those impulses and tell that inner voice…maybe next time 😉
Plant Awareness 101: What Type of Information Should You Look For?
Now that we have strengthened your willpower let’s explore the type of information you need to research about your new (potential) plant baby.
What Type of LIGHT Does It Require?
Let’s begin with one of the other Plant Parenting LAWs, lighting requirements.
One key thing you’ll want to remember is to ensure your plants get enough light. Light plays a vital role in helping plants grow and stay healthy.
In simple terms, plants go through a process called photosynthesis, which is like their way of eating. They take in sunlight and use it as energy to grow and flourish. We won’t go into detail about indoor plant lighting because we have a detailed guide HERE.
Understanding your plant’s light requirements will give you a good indication if it will flourish in your home or whether it will struggle and become stunted.
For instance, if you live in an apartment with limited exposure to sunlight, we recommend avoiding indoor plants with high lighting requirements, such as succulents and some tropical plants that flourish in direct sunlight or bright indirect light.
The other element of plant care critical to master is your new plant friends’ water needs.
So critical that it completes the three Plant Parenting LAWs.
Water is essential for indoor plants because it helps them create energy, grow strong, and stay healthy. When you give your plants enough water, they can easily absorb nutrients from the soil and use sunlight to make food through photosynthesis.
Plus, when plants release water into the air (called transpiration), it helps them stay cool and move nutrients around so that every part of the plant remains happy.
The more you make yourself aware of your plant’s water needs, the easier it will be to determine whether your new plant baby will fit into your parenting lifestyle.
Many factors affect how a plant receives water, like soil quality, light intensity, etc. This is why we recommend jumping over to our other Successful Plant Parent LAW Guide, Understanding Your Plants’ Water Needs.
What TEMPERATURE Does Your Plant Like?
The temperature preferences may not be Plant Parenthood LAW. However, it still can have residual impacts on your plant’s health.
As the temperature changes, so does your plants’ water absorption rate. In addition, extreme temperatures (like extreme heat or freezing temperatures) can harm indoor plants.
So, it is important to understand your plant baby’s temperature preferences.
A good example is if you live in a climate that experiences sub-freezing temperatures in winter. You may reconsider purchasing a tropical plant, as it is unlikely they will thrive during the colder months. And even though they will generally transition into a dormant period, the freezing temperatures could cause irreparable damage to the plant’s cells.
Our point is to stick with plants that thrive locally. Trust us; you will thank us for the saved hours of heartache and frustration.
If we could count the number of times, we’ve held a stunning orchid in our hands, only to reluctantly place it back on the store shelf because we know that it will be a fleeting affair that inevitably ends in disappointment and regret 😢
Humidity is one element that many new plant parents tend to overlook. And it is easy to see why.
It is not something you consciously control and can easily take for granted. If the air around us is too dry, we can grab a glass of refreshing water or apply some moisturizer to our face for protection.
However, for our leafy friends, it is more complicated. The moisture in the ambient air around a plant will directly impact its processes.
- Moisture Matters: Plants “breathe” by taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen through tiny openings on their leaves called stomata. These same openings also control the amount of moisture they release. So, having the right humidity level helps plants maintain their moisture balance.
- Prevent Drying Out: When the air is too dry, some plants can lose a lot of water through their leaves, leaving them dehydrated and stressed (think of how our skin feels when it’s super dry!).
So, familiarizing yourself with your new plant baby’s humidity preferences will make your parenting journey much smoother, with fewer bumps along the road.
Ideal Soil Type
Did you know there is more to a pot plant’s soil than the commercial mixes available at your local nursery?
Different plants prefer different types of soil. And knowing your plant’s ideal soil properties will go a long way in helping it stay healthy and vibrant.
A good example is the popular indoor plants, Monsteras, and Philodendrons. Both are classified as aroids and grow naturally in tropical regions. They prefer chunky, well-draining, slightly acidic, loose, and aerated soil that retains moisture without staying too wet.
So, if you used a regular commercial potting mix, the soil may be too heavy, and your indoor plants may not thrive due to the lack of aeration around the roots.
Even though you’re holding a unique and gorgeous plant that is begging to be taken home, you should first ask yourself:
Is it a needy plant that should be checked daily?
Or can it thrive on neglect?
Plants will range in difficulty for ongoing tending and maintenance. These responsibilities include feeding (or fertilizing) your babies. As well as repotting your indoor plants every so often to ensure they don’t become root bound.
Some plants, like Venus fly traps, demand particular environments, such as chemical-free water, growing mediums, and plenty of light and moist conditions.
While at the other end of the spectrum, snake plants tend to thrive on neglect, growing better when you don’t even give them a second glance when you pass them by in your home.
As a matter of fact, we have heard so many stories in our community of new plant parents loving their snake plants to death by fussing and over-watering them!
But most importantly, if you have a high-maintenance plant baby, do you have the time to tend to it each day?
Your plant parenting style and daily commitments will impact your ability to meet your new indoor plant’s demands.
If you have a busy schedule and work away from home, demanding plant babies are the last thing you want to contend with when you arrive home from an exhausting day’s work.
Are you beginning to see the importance of increasing the PLANT AWARENESS of your plant babies?
Where Can You Find More About Your Plants?
Well, what are we going to say?
At the Garden Bench Top, of course!
You’re already at one of the best resources you can find to learn all about indoor plants (at least, we think so 😉)
But leaving biases aside, we recommend starting with the plant care instructions tag that usually accompanies your plant babies.
Notice we said ‘usually‘ only because sometimes the plant care tags are appallingly generic and only provide standard care instructions for a plant category rather than the specific details for that particular type of plant.
If you don’t believe us, check out this helpful plant tag Reddit user tstx128 found with their indoor plant 🤣
Failing a detailed plant tag, a quick online search will reveal almost everything you need to know to successfully care for your plant baby.
You can also discover a wealth of knowledge in forums like Reddit, Quora, and Social Media groups.
WARNING – Shameless plug approaching!
But the Garden Bench Top community is our number one pick for learning about your plant baby’s needs. Plenty of fellow indoor plant enthusiasts with varying levels of experience are happy to help and share their wisdom.
So poke around, introduce yourself, share some pics of your plant babies, and don’t hesitate to ask any questions.
How to Apply this New Found Plant Awareness Knowledge
Please excuse the slight philosophical departure from our usual friendly banter. However, the quote from the influential Napoleon Hill was an excellent way to bring everything we discussed to a close.
You’ve taken the time to get to know the quirks and needs of your new plant baby. Congratulations, you have already surpassed most new plant parents who usually purchase plants on a whim.
So how do you now use this knowledge to take your parenting skills to the next level?
What Does Your Ideal Plant Parenting Life Look Like?
This is where you have to get honest with yourself, reflect on your lifestyle, and ask yourself – The care instructions indicate this plant baby is high-maintenance; is it compatible with my routine?
Do you have the time to dedicate to needy, high-maintenance plant babies? Or are you willing to change your way of living to find time to tend to their needs?
As lovely as that orchid would look in your reading nook, will it survive the frigid temperatures of winter? Can you tell we really want an orchid?
How to Apply Plant Awareness In Your Home
While reading up on our potential new plant babies, we usually begin visualizing and planning how to approach the care and maintenance of the plants.
- Spaces in our home that will provide adequate lighting,
- Rooms in our home that have suitable temperatures and humidity levels (away from outside drafts and away from air conditioners and heaters),
- Do we have plants with similar care requirements so we can group them together for convenience, and
- Do we need to adjust our lifestyle or care regime to accommodate any special needs of the plant?
Increasing Your Plant Awareness – What’s Next?
If you’ve made it this far, we are confident you have what it takes to be a successful plant parent.
We know this because you have taken the time to grow and become a better carer for your plant babies.
Keep up the great work, and continue this momentum by exploring the other two LAWs of successful plant parenthood; Lighting, Awareness, and Watering.
Once you master all three LAWs, you will be on your way to a fruitful plant parenting journey with a thriving indoor plant collection.
- Photosynthesis. (2023, May 21). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosynthesis