How Not To Kill Your Indoor Plants

Cultivate your own lush forest amid the concrete jungle with these seven handy tips

Love plant life but keep ending up with a cemetery? Here’s how you can boost your success rate and make your colleagues or neighbours go green with envy.

Water sparingly

The amount of water a plant needs depends on its species, so do some research before you pick one up from the nursery. Don’t get too enthusiastic with watering because overdoing it kills plants faster than not doing it at all. Once to twice a week should suffice for most species in our tropical weather.

Drainage is important

You’ll need a pot with drainage holes so you know if your plant is getting the right amount of water. The rule of (green) thumb: Many plants like to go slightly dry to the touch before getting another drink.

Give it a spritz

Apart from a full watering, leafy plants will benefit from a spritz every two days, since water fed to the soil mainly goes to the roots and stems.

Watch where you put it

In the office, particularly, avoid placing your plant near heated equipment such as printers, and also directly under an air-conditioning vent. (Basically just where you yourself wouldn’t sit.)

Go low-maintenance

Self-sustaining planters are a smart option for those inclined to forget watering duties — they boast built-in reservoirs that automatically release moisture over a period of time. 

Hardy is better

Don’t set yourself up for failure — avoid flowering plants that are known to be fussy, and go for species that can grow independently. Some good options include spider plants, philodendrons and the peace lily.

Take it to the doc

Came back from your vacay to find your plant all dried out? Here’s how you can tell if it has well and truly died: Don’t panic at the sight of brown leaves – check the stems to see if they are still pliable, firm or have a vague green cast. If so, you might have a chance at resuscitating it. Try calling on a plant doctor if need be.

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