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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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