How to Keep Houseplants Alive: A Green Thumb Guide

keep houseplants alive

We all have that one friend who, try as they might, just cannot keep houseplants alive. They come home from Trader Joe’s, yet another green plant peeking out from the brown paper bag, and your heart sinks. You just know in two days time those bright green leaves will be brown, wilted, and sad. Or maybe you’re that friend, in which case, don’t worry. We at Albuquerque Self Storage are here to help. For those of you haunted by the ghosts of dead plants— this article is for you. 

Give Your Plants Room to Grow

If your plant is stuck in a small pot, it won’t have room to grow. Re-pot it in a holder that is an inch or two bigger than the plant itself, and make sure the new pot has holes for drainage.

Let Your Plants Breathe

Don’t suffocate your plants by placing them in pots without drainage. The pots your plants are in should have little holes to allow the water to seep through. If not, the water will be trapped at the roots and can cause mold, ultimately killing your plant. 

Invest in Insecticide 

You don’t want to wake up to a plant crawling with little black bugs. Stop this problem before it happens by spraying your plant thoroughly with pesticides or insecticides. Start from the soil and continue spraying up to the tallest leaves. 

Stock Up On Fertilizer

When your plant is in nature, it is surrounded by rich nutrients. In a pot in your living room, this is not the case. Fertilizer keeps houseplants alive by replacing the lost nutrients that your plant needs to thrive. 

Don’t simply throw some fertilizer in the pot and call it good. Pay attention to the label, which will give you exact instructions on how much to use. This amount is based on the NPK number (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium). If you follow the label, your plants are much more likely to remain healthy and keep growing. 

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Don’t Put Your Plant On a Diet

When it comes to keeping your favorite houseplants alive, it’s important to understand exactly what region your plant species is originally from. An obvious example is the popular succulent houseplant (a small and brightly colored cactus). Cacti originated in desert climates, meaning they thrive in areas of bright sunlight and little rain. So, when it comes to light, you should place your succulents in your brightest windows to keep them alive and well. 

While some plants prefer a little shade, you simply cannot forget that they need light to live. Plants literally eat light. Depriving them of the sunshine is the equivalent of putting your plant on a diet. Your houseplants will remain the most healthy when placed in your sunniest windows. The bigger they get, the more light they’ll need, so don’t be afraid to move them as time goes on. 

How Much Water Do My Houseplants Need?

keep houseplants alive

If you’re a resident brown-thumb, there’s a good chance you’re either underwatering or overwatering your plants. Avoid common watering mistakes with these plant-saving tips. 

Listen to The Soil

There’s no need to water your plants religiously every two days. When you think about it, a plant in nature is not being consistently watered on a set schedule. In nature, plants get watered when it rains, which happens erratically and in differing amounts each time. 

One way you can stay in tune with your plant’s watering needs is to pay close attention to the soil. You don’t need to be a master gardener or plant whisperer to do this; you just have to remember a few simple rules. 

  1. If the soil is dry, water it. 
  2. If the soil is moist, don’t. 
  3. When the soil is dry, completely saturate it. 
  4. If the soil is totally saturated, hold off watering until it is completely dry again. 

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Use Warm Water

The typical houseplant doesn’t come from cold regions, meaning it will respond best to warm water. The warm water will absorb into the soil faster, watering your plants quickly and efficiently. 

Don’t Spritz the Leaves

Spritzing or spraying water directly onto the plant can cause an infection or fungus to catch hold inside the leaves. To keep houseplants alive, water your plant at the base, directly into the soil, and at a slow pace. Wait for the water to absorb into the soil, add a bit more, wait for it to absorb, and repeat until the water is pooling inside the bottom saucer. 

If you dump a large amount of water into the plant’s base too quickly, you can cause the dry soil to become water repellent. The water will then flow down the sides of the pot and miss the soil almost completely. 

When in doubt, remember that plants need a lot of light, a generous amount of water, and nutrient-rich fertilizer to stay as healthy as possible. With a little effort, you can turn your brown thumb into a green one! 

Thanks for reading! We at Albuquerque Self Storage are here for all your self storage needs. If you’re interested in renting a storage unit, contact us here or give us a call at 505-431-6747. 


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