Don’t Commit Houseplant Murder – 5 Ways to Not Kill a Houseplant

by on February 9th, 2015
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Murder has been committed in most every home across America, houseplant murder. Houseplants come to live with us for a variety of reasons and our intentions are to keep the plant alive and thriving. Our good intentions often go awry and we inadvertently commit houseplant murder, usually by over-watering. Take these few tips from someone who has killed a few houseplants in her time and has learned the hard way how to not kill a houseplant.

Water Less

According to a recent article in USA Weekend magazine, the number one killer of houseplants is over watering. Don’t water a houseplant until the top of the soil is visibly dry and then saturate the plant with water until it is running out of the bottom drainage holes. If the plant is small, take it to the sink for an easy, mess-free watering.

Feed More

Water is not all that houseplants need to survive, plants also need food. I use and recommend a water soluble plant food (like MiracleGro) mixed at half the recommended rate and fed to the plant at each watering. That allows the houseplant to enjoy a steady diet in a form which is easily accessible to the plant. It also takes care of feeding and watering in one step, I’m all for quick and easy!

Let There Be Light

All plants need light, how much light depends upon the plant variety. Read the plant label to discover how much sunlight your houseplant needs each day. If a plant label is non-existent, sunlight from an east face window is the safest choice.

Be Honest

Be honest with yourself when choosing a houseplant and select a plant that matches your personality and time constraints. For example, if you tend to forget to water plants or if you are away from home for days at a time, something in the cactus family is going to have the best chance of survival at your house.

Unless I know for certain a person has a green thumb, I always select a Mother-in-Law’s-Tongue (aka Cast Iron Plant, Snake Plant or Sansevieria Trifasciata )

Keep The Houseplant Visible

Keep plants in a part of the house you visit often, like in a kitchen or bathroom window which you look out of frequently. Keeping the plant visible will help remind you to take care of it and it will also allow you to notice the first signs of houseplant distress so you don’t commit houseplant murder via neglect.


My Own Experience

USA Weekend

Guide To Houseplants

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