12 Plant Essentials That’ll Keep Yours Thriving Year-Round

Photo: Getty Images/ jose carlos cerdeno martinez
There are many benefits to having healthy, non-artificial plants in your home (think: purifying the air, improving concentration, and even absorbing sound). But the responsibility of keeping a plant alive can be daunting—especially once you realize that you need more plant essentials than just some water and sunlight.

Utilizing small things, like pruning shears and moisture meters, can have a dramatic positive impact on the health of your plants.  Plus, they're pretty simple to use. Whether you're getting ready to add some new greenery to your home or are looking to repot a plant you already own, these are the 12 plant essentials you need to keep them happy and healthy.

The right soil

best soil for plants
Sun Gro Horticulture Black Gold Cactus Mix` — $17.00

Different plants need different types of soil. For instance, cacti and succulents do best in a soil that dries quickly and allows them to drain properly, while outdoor gardens and indoor herb gardens benefit from soil that contains ingredients that help increase resistance to disease and infestations. Here’s the full breakdown on the best soil to buy for your plants.

Moisture meter

Plantx Moisture Meter — $10.00

While the finger test works for determining if smaller plants need more or less water, if you plan on getting larger plants it’s a good idea to invest in a moisture meter. This lets you go deeper into the soil and check the bottom of the pot.

Sticky traps

Garsum Sticky Traps — $9.00

Overwatering is one of the main ways people accidentally kill their plants, and one of the telltale signs that your plant is beginning to drown is the appearance of gnats. Sticky traps like these can help catch these pesky insects (just be sure to also stop giving your plant so much H2O).

Terra cotta pots

Tula Plants & Design 3" Terra Cotta Planter — $2.00

If you’re worried about overwatering, house your plants in terra cotta pots because they’re porous and provide airflow to your plant’s roots. Also, they generally have drainage holes which makes it nearly impossible to give your plant too much water. This planter comes in sizes ranging from two inches to seven inches.

Mister or humidifier

Mister — $15.00

A mister or humidifier is especially important during the hot summer months or dead of winter win the heat is on in your house in order to help keep your plants from drying out.

Pruning shears

Tula Plants & Design Niwaki Mainichi Secateurs — $45.00

If you only buy three tools to keep your indoor plants alive, experts recommend a moisture meter, spray bottle/mister, and pruning shears. If you’re a new plant parent, the shears may sound a little intimidating—but using them to prune your plants isn’t too complicated. If you don’t prune dead or dying leaves on your plant, it can lead to mold and pests, not to mention those sad leaves are sucking up energy that could be going to the healthy leaves. You can use pruning shears to propagate your plants, as well.

Organic neem oil

neem oil
Organic Neem Oil — $11.00

One of the best ways to get rid of common household pests is to clean the leaves, then spray with a blend of neem oil, water, and a tiny bit of dish soap. And don’t worry—this naturally occurring pesticide is safe for people, plants, and “good” bugs (like ladybugs).

Automatic watering system

Kollea Automatic Watering System — $40.00

If you anticipate needing to leave your plant babies alone for days at a time, an automatic watering system is extremely helpful. A tech-y one like this can be scheduled to water your plants for up to 60 days. For a more analog options, self-watering globes can simply be inserted into the soil, and will keep your plants hydrated for nearly two weeks. Here are some more automatic watering systems to shop.

Indoor garden

Click and Grow The Smart Garden 3 — $130.00

Indoor gardens are great for people who are short on space or want to have fresh herbs on hand year-round. This Click and Grow one is pretty hands off and easy to use. Here are a few other indoor gardens we love.

Grow lights

Aspect Luxury LED Grow Light — $150.00

If your home doesn’t get much natural light, you may want to consider getting a plant lamp to give your plants the light boost they need—especially during winter. A budget-friendly option is a fluorescent light, you just need to make sure the bulb is super close to your plant. If you can spend a bit more, LED lights are particularly great for tropical plants and groups of greenery. For more botanist-approved grow lights, click here.

Stylish planters

Brown And White Reactive Glaze Planter With Tray — $13.00

Technically, planters don’t need to be stylish-yet-affordable like this one in order to keep your plants alive—but they do need to offer proper drainage via a hole in the bottom. (Looking this good is just a bonus.) We rounded up the best inexpensive planters under $30 here.

Stylish planters

Indoor Window Gardens Window Plant Shelf — $74.00

All plants need different levels of light, but for those that need a lot, window shelves like these can be a real game-changer, as they allow more plants to get full exposure without shading anyone out. Shop more of our faves here.


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