How not to kill your houseplants |

Houseplants for Beginners – Follow-up

How Do I Even Orchid

Although I mentioned that I keep orchids at the beginning of my post, I didn’t bring up how to care for them. This for two reasons: Firstly, the most important bit of advice (that is, drainage and watering) applies equally to orchids. Secondly, I’m going to give orchids their very own post!

They get a bad rep as being totally impossible to care for, which I think is sad, because they’re really just like other houseplants. Some of them are easy-peasy, some of them need to live in an ICU watched over by a team of specialised horticulturists. Or, you know, a terrarium. Point is, there are plenty of orchids that are suitable for beginners, and I’ll tell you how to take care of them sometime in the next few weeks.

But if you simply can’t wait until then, well, the main thing I do differently with mine compared to the rest of my plants is how I water them. Instead of pouring water on top, I dip the whole pot in a bucket of water. Plus, of course, when repotting I use special orchid potting mix, because of reasons I’ll get into in my upcoming post!

How Much Water?

Another question that came up is how much water to give your plants when you do water them. The reason I didn’t say anything about amount is that this is highly variable, depending on plant, temperature, humidity etcetera. Basically, the soil should be moist but never feel wet.

Many plants like to dry up a little (but not completely) and then get lots of water in one go. Some plants can’t handle drying up, however, so if you get one like that, make sure give small amounts of water more often.

Plants also tend to require less water in the winter than in the warmer months, simply because they don’t grow much then and because less water evaporates due to heat.

Eventually you’ll get a feel for how much water to give your plants. And speaking of feel, touch is the best sense to use here. Stick your finger in the soil and wriggle it down a bit to check moisture – the surface is generally drier than the rest.

Sunscreen for Plants

Though many indoor plants love lots of light, south-facing windows can prove too harsh an environment. If you want to keep anything other than cacti and succulents in a south-facing window, you may want to consider putting up a sunscreen, at least during the summer.

To protect my orchids during the brighter months, I cover the lower fourth of my windows with a piece of sheer white cloth that I attach with sticky tack. Because I’m classy like that.

Room for Roots

When talking about pots in my last post I totally forgot to mention one very important detail: The smaller your pot, the quicker it’ll dry out. So if that’s a problem for you, consider getting bigger ones.

Sometimes shops will sell lots of tiny plants in tiny pots for almost nothing. One way to get the most out of these with less of a risk of them drying up and dying is to co-plant them in a bigger pot.


And that’s all for now! As mentioned, there will be a post on my favourite easy-to-keep plants, as well as a slightly more detailed explanation on how to care for orchids.

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