Growing plants indoors is an easy way to boost your home’s interior and bring life to a space. However, caring for houseplants can be intimidating if you’re a new plant owner! In this post, you’ll learn the most common mistakes to avoid for proper indoor plant care.
This post is sponsored by Breck’s. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Indoor Plant Care | Houseplants that Thrive
I recently received three new varieties of houseplant from Breck’s. (Keep reading for a fun coupon code!)
I was so excited to get them and try out my plant lady skills on some new varieties. After almost 4 years of caring for indoor houseplants, I was ready to tackle some indoor plants that weren’t considered “beginner level”.
That prompted me to go back to all I’ve learned over the last four years of growing plants indoors, so I wanted to round up that information into one post to help you care for houseplants that thrive!
Common Mistakes to Avoid for Indoor Plant Care
I’ve certainly made my fair share of mistakes, so learn from my experience. Here are the most common mistakes to avoid when caring for indoor plants.
Selecting The Wrong Plant for Your Expertise
This is the most common mistake beginners make when diving into houseplant ownership. It is true that plants have varying levels of temperament.
Some are easy to care for. Some are more prone to disease. Some are only suitable for certain gardening zones. Some are happy to be neglected while others are like a third child.
So, the first mistake to avoid is to purchase your indoor plants without doing research first.
Breck’s has an incredible selection of indoor plants, as well as perennials and bulbs to choose from. However, you can’t simply buy the one that looks the prettiest!
Make sure to do you research to determine which plant is best to start out with and practice your plant care on a beginner plant to start.
My favorite beginner houseplants are pothos, hoya wax plant, ZZ plant, snake plant and philodendron.
Not Journaling a Watering Schedule
The second most common mistake for houseplant care is incorrect watering. Whether you’re overwatering or under watering, your plants will suffer.
Consider your fingers. When you are in a pool for too long they become pruny. Conversely, when they are overly dry they crack and can be painful. Plant roots have the same problem. Soggy roots can kill a plant just as quickly as roots that cannot get the nutrients they need to grow.
I highly recommend starting a watering journal for your plant care. With the whirlwind of life, I can barely remember what I ate for breakfast, much less when I last watered my plants.
So, when I get a new plant I record when I water and how much, and then see how the plant reacts to it. Make sure to test the soil before the next watering. If it is still moist an inch into the soil, then it is not yet time to water again (for most plants).
By keeping a journal and getting onto a watering schedule, you’ll be able to easily give the appropriate amount of water to each plant based on it’s needs.
Not Giving the Proper Foundation
Next, make sure you have the proper foundation for your plant to grow. So many novice plant owners simply grab whatever soil they can find without regard for the type of plant they have.
An overarching standard is that garden soil is NOT for indoor plants. It is too dense and doesn’t offer the proper drainage for most indoor plants. Potting soil is a much better choice.
But, you must also do your research on what your plant needs. There are so many varieties of plants and they all require different soils. Some need sandy soil, others need nutrient rich soil, and some even prefer no soil!
Make sure to read all the details that Breck’s offers for each plant to know which type of soil to use.
Never Amending the Soil
Another mistake that many make is not paying attention to the soil once your houseplant has been planted initially.
Plant food, epsom salt solutions, coffee grounds, egg shells and certain spices all give different additives to the soil to help the PH levels for your plant.
If you notice your plant is starting to look sick, make sure to do the research necessary to see what the cause is and then adjust your feeding or watering schedule appropriately.
This is important to do at the first sign of droopy leaves, yellowing, or brown spots before your plant is too far gone.
Ignoring Signs of Sickness
That leads me to another common mistake for indoor plant care. Ignoring the signs of sickness because you just don’t know what to do! Even after researching the symptoms of a dying plant, it can be confusing to know where to start.
Here are a few commonly overlooked issues.
- Root bound – When roots have overgrown their pot size they cannot absorb the nutrients needed. Try repotting in a larger pot.
- Dirty Leaves – When leaves are full of dust they cannot absorb the nutrients needed from sunlight. Clean them with a shower in the sink or tub. For large leaf plants, wipe them down with a damp cloth and coconut oil.
- Overpacked Soil – If your plant has gone too long without the proper watering schedule it can become hardened. Aerate the soil with chopsticks to allow air to circulate.
- Incorrect humidity – Some plants prefer a more humid atmosphere than others. Group humidity-loving plants together so they can feed off each other!
- Improper Drainage – If you’ve planted your houseplant in a pot without drainage, it will rarely survive. Make sure there are enough drainage holes and proper soil so the roots aren’t sitting in moist soil continually.
- Incorrect sunlight – Make sure you’ve placed your plants in a place where they get the appropriate amount of sunlight. This beautiful Pink Dutch Anthurium from Breck’s is one of the first plants I’ve been able to place in my double sided fireplace because of the light!
Giving Up After One Failure
Finally, I constantly hear this from my Instagram followers. “I’ve killed everything I’ve ever tried.”
Perhaps that is true, but I’m guessing they made one of the common mistakes above! For instance, I’ve killed every succulent known to man. (I’ve since figured out that I had the wrong soil and was overwatering!)
Had I stopped trying, I would never be able to enjoy over 25 house plants that bring life into my home, clean the air, and provide other health benefits to my family. Plus, they are my favorite type of decor!
Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today! Make sure to check out the beautiful selection that Breck’s offers of both indoor and outdoor plants.
Make sure to use my coupon code Grace20 for FREE SHIPPING on your purchase through 12/31/20!
And, if you’re looking for more plant care advice, make sure to check out my most popular plant care posts.