At some point in time, most of us have believed we lacked the skills and knowledge to have a “green thumb”. While losing a plant can be discouraging, nature gives us plenty of opportunities to bounce back from perceived defeat. As humans connected to nature, each of us innately has the ability to nurture plant life.
In our post-industrial, advancing world, it’s easy to feel far removed from primitive skills and knowledge that once cultivated alignment with the natural world. Plant care feels less intimidating when we have information to prepare us for success. We can take some of the pressure off with 5 tips for Green Thumb confidence!
#1 - Understand the 3 Key Needs All Plants Have
All plants have unique needs to stay healthy and grow. Some are more adaptable than others if you make a mistake and understanding their needs will help greatly with the learning curve!
LIGHT (Need #1)
- Low light can be found in dim rooms and near North-facing windows.
- Medium light can be found at the interior of rooms, through curtains/blinds in corners, or on shelves.
- Bright light can be found in rooms with east, south, and west-facing windows.
- Tip: Download the compass app on your phone to figure out window direction!
WATER (Need #2)Tropical plants require soil that remains slightly moist while plants from arid regions thrive when soil is allowed to dry out.
- Use the finger test to assess soil moisture + ensure your pot and soil have adequate drainage.
- Common signs of a water imbalance are drooping, wilting, yellow or brown leaves, and dry, brittle soil versus wet, soggy soil.
ENVIRONMENT (Need #3)
All plants require comfortable temperatures around 65-85º with few changes. Tropical plants require humidity while cacti and succulents prefer dry air.
- Boost humidity through regular misting, a pebble tray, or adding a humidifier nearby.
- Avoid drafts and drastic changes in temperature and placement.
#2 - Grow Your Skills With Beginner-Friendly Plants
Rather than facing discouragement with a sensitive, needy plant, build your confidence with plants that require simple care first. This helps you recognize signs of stress and builds a habit of care until you feel comfortable expanding your collection.
For beginners + those prone to neglect:
#3 - Find a Sustainable Routine
Life passes quickly before we realize we haven’t given our plants what they need. Most plants should be checked on at least once per week, while cacti and succulents can often go 2-3 weeks without attention. Choosing 1 day per week when you have the capacity and time for plant care may be useful in creating a consistent routine that you and your plants can rely on. Set a calendar reminder or commit to checking off these tasks first thing on your day off.
Some plant enthusiasts attest to caretaking becoming easier once a connection has been built. Regular care creates an invested bond and mutual exchange. This is also why some people name their plants - to establish a respectful + loving relationship! Soon enough, the care will come naturally.
#4 - Take Photos to Document Growth
Photos make it easier to track our plant's growth and changes in conditions. Slow-growers don’t offer many rewards to validate the care you’ve given them and it can be difficult to remember what changes came first if something goes wrong. Capturing photos not only helps troubleshoot issues but also documents all the growth there is to celebrate!
#5 - Be Patient With Yourself
Like any new skill, plant care takes time. Most of us learn from making mistakes and understanding the ways each of our plants communicates. Once you’ve researched each plant’s unique needs, be honest with yourself and your lifestyle to ensure you’re a good match. Even some of the most fragile plants can forgive you - you should, too. The best tip we can offer is to be patient with yourself - we are rooting for you!
Resources to Become an Expert in Plant Care
With a mission to reconnect people to nature, we’re eager to support you and your green thumb! Check out our specialized resources and tips to become an expert (at your own pace)!
- Complimentary service for all Grounded customers
- A 15-minute consultation with our in-house Plant Specialist
- Schedule a personal appointment here!
- If your plant is suffering or holding onto life, try these:
- Propagate a healthy part of the plant and discard any damaged parts
- Assess the plant for pests or other issues
- Gift it to a friend for hopeful saving
- Shop our Beginner-Friendly Collection at feelgrounded.com
Show off your Green Thumb pics with us at @groun.ded!