Plant friends, we need to talk. Whether you’re a seasoned green thumb or are just starting out on the indoor greenery trend, it seems there’s a few misconceptions when it comes to plant care.
While we all like to give some friendly advice and help a fellow plant friend out, I’m seeing some of the same myths being passed around.
If you’ve believed some of these myths, it’s ok! The great thing about plant care is that you don’t need to know everything to get started. And once you start, there’s always something new to learn.
So to clear a few things up, here’s seven indoor plant myths that you can (thankfully) leave behind.
Repot Plants Straight Away
I’m regularly asked questions about repotting straight after bringing a plant home. But most of the time, your plant doesn’t need to be repotted straight away!
Unless a plant is root bound (has outgrown its pot) or there are issues with the soil, it’s totally fine to leave the plant in its nursery pot. Now, if you don’t like the look of the plastic pot, I generally sit it inside a more decorative pot.
This gives the plant time to adjust to its new environment without the added stress of repotting. Also, a lot of nursery plants may have been put into their selling pot shortly before you picked it up. So unless you can visibly see that it needs repotting, it’s best to leave it be.
Low Light Plants will be Fine in the Corner
If there’s one necessary component of plant survival, it’s light! ‘Low light plants’ are generally labelled this way because they are able to survive with less-than-normal light conditions. However, if you really want your plants to thrive, they’ll need more light than that dark corner. Keep this in mind – especially if you see that corner plant starting to die.
Water with a Set Amount AND Water on a Schedule
Do you ever notice that some days you’re hungrier than other days, or for example, if you do more exercise, you need to drink more water? Your plants are the same! You may be able to get away with watering the same amount at the same time each week. But really, it’s best to learn your plants’ needs so you can address them more accurately.
There’s many things that can impact how much water your plant needs. These include the season, how much light they’re getting, how big their pot is and how big the plant itself is. So it’s best to learn the individual signs that tell us a plant needs water, rather than having a ‘watering day’. These signs can include slightly drooping leaves, leaves loosing their shine or the top of the soil feeling dry.
Similar, most plants will do well to have all their roots get a drink of water. And this means watering until the excess can drain out the bottom, to ensure all the soil is wet. If you’re measuring your watering by ‘cups’, it’s likely that all the roots aren’t getting the moisture they need.
Without allowing the soil to drain when watered, it leaves the soil open to a buildup of excess salts and chemicals that can be present in tap water. Watering your plant until the excess drains will allow these buildups to be flushed out and not burn or harm the plant over time.
A Bigger Pot will Mean my Plant Grows Faster
A bigger pot does give a plant more ‘room’ for the roots to stretch out. But it can also cause issues if the pot is just too big for the plant. If there’s too much soil surrounding the plant, it can take a lot longer to dry out. This can lead to overwatering issues and root rot.
Some plants that are planted in large pots will also spend their energy creating roots rather than creating the growth we want to see – new leaves.
So make sure the pot size you choose is proportionate to the size of the plant and its root system. If you need to repot because your plant is root bound, it’s best to choose a pot that is just an inch or two wider than the previous pot.
‘Indoor’ Plants in General
Is there really such thing as an ‘indoor’ plant?! Not really! Indoor plants are labelled this way because they are hardy enough to be grown in less than ideal conditions, aka our homes.
Our homes are generally darker and drier than plants prefer, but certain plants have been able to adapt and even grow in these conditions. Keep this in mind when caring for your plants – they’re doing well to be growing in less than ideal conditions!
And try to recreate their ideal environment if you want to see better growth. (Hint: look up a plant’s natural growing location to get an idea of their ideal climate conditions).
Put Rocks in the Bottom of a Pot to Help with Drainage (And Pots with No Drainage Hole)
I don’t know who needs to hear this, but your plant needs a drainage hole! Seriously! The fact that there’s so many decorative pots available that don’t have a hole in the bottom is actually quite misleading when it comes to plant care.
Without a drainage hole, there can be some serious soil issues going on. I do know some people who successfully have plants in pots without drainage. But this requires a high level of care where you know exactly when and how much to water them without running the risk of overwatering and root rot issues.
So if you prefer to stick to a lower risk plant care, make sure your pots have drainage holes. And if you want to use a decorative pot that doesn’t have a hole in the bottom, use it as a pot cover! Place the plant in its nursery pot within the decorative one. That way you can have the best of both worlds, and take the plant out when it’s time to water.
Keep in mind that placing rocks or gravel in the bottom of a pot doesn’t replace a drainage hole either. Having water sit in the bottom of a pot (with or without rocks) is still an issue, and the roots will work their way between rocks anyway. They won’t stop the plant! So give the gravel a miss altogether and go for good drainage instead.
Plants Need to be Misted
This may be a controversial one, because it’s so popular to mist plants. The idea behind misting is that it increases the humidity around the plant (for plants that love humid environments).
Misting may help increase immediate humidity – for 30 seconds or so. But what about the other 23 hours, 59 minutes and 30 seconds of the day? For misting to be effective, you’d need to constantly be spraying your plants. In which case, just buy a humidifier.
To be honest, I think misting speaks more to our own need to feel like we’re ‘doing’ something towards caring for our plants. But plants aren’t pets. They mostly don’t need attention every day to be happy and thrive. Keep an eye on your plants, yes, but put down the spray bottle.
Have any of the above points busted an indoor plant myth you thought was real? Let me know in the comments, or ask away if you have more questions!