A Beginners Guide to Buying House Plants

So you’ve caught the bug – you spotted something leafy and green and now you can think of nothing else except turning your house into an indoor jungle!

I totally get it, and I’ve heard this scenario quite a few times. But if you’re just starting your plant parent journey, it can be a little daunting to know what to buy, what to do and how to care for your new house plants.

If you’re looking for a beginners guide to buying house plants, then you’re in the right place! Here’s my top tips on what to look for, what to choose and how to make sure your new plant babies won’t end up dying once you bring them home. Read on for more.

The Beginners Guide to Buying House plants | Dossier Blog

Before you go buy out all the plants in Bunnings, it’s a good idea to ask yourself a few specific questions. These questions will help you choose the right plants for you. These three questions to ask yourself are:

-What spots do I have available, or where do I want to put my plants?

-How bright is my home and these locations?

-How much time do I want to put into my houseplants?

Answering these three questions can save a lot of discouragement, because there are different plants that are suited to different skill levels and locations. Let’s take a better look at these questions.

Guide to buying houseplants - plants lined up | Dossier Blog

What locations do I have available to put plants in?

This is a question about considering your home. Maybe you have a bare corner that you want to spruce up with a plant? Or maybe you hadn’t thought as far as where to keep your plants, you just knew you wanted them!

Either way, it’s a good idea to assess your home and see where you could keep said plants. Take note of these locations and think about what size plant would fit there or match your decor. If its a narrow space, you may want to look for a tall skinny plant or hanging plant. If it’s a wide space, you could fit a broader plant.

How Bright is My Home and these Locations?

Now that you’ve thought about the spots you could keep a plant, it’s time to take note of how bright they are. Light is critical for indoor plants and I would say is one of the main reasons plants can not do well inside.

Think about how far these locations are from a window or door, and if they get direct sunlight or indirect (shaded) light. This will determine what sort of plants would best suit your home.

How Much Time Do I Want to Put into My Houseplants?

Don’t get me wrong, owning houseplants is a pretty low maintenance hobby. But there’s a difference between throwing the leftover water in your cup onto a plant once a month and a plant that needs to be watered and checked every few days.

How likely are you to remember or be observant enough to attend to a plant if it starts looking a little worse for wear? Don’t worry, there’s plants to suit all maintenance levels (just like pets!)

When I started on my plant journey, I owned around five plants before I thought, ‘that’s enough! I can’t maintain any more!’ As I learned more about caring for plants and my interest grew, so did my collection! It’s ok to start out with a few plants and see how you go. There’s no competition for the most-owned house plants!

Once you’ve thought about these three questions, it’s time to go plant shopping! You may wish to do some research online to see if you can find plants that suit your conditions first. If not, a good old wander round the nursery will do the trick.

Here’s what to look for once you’re ready to buy some plants.

Fiddle Leaf Fig - buying house plants | Dossier Blog

Tips for Buying House Plants

Read Plant Labels

Plant labels aren’t the be all and end all of plant care, but they are a start. Consider how well the label says they’ll match your space in terms of light and maintenance (watering, fertilizing, etc). Some tags will specify that plants are low maintenance or easy care. Others might take a little more effort.

Check the Plant

I’ve often found a plant I want at the nursery and not noticed anything wrong until I’ve brought it home! It pays to give the plant a good look over to assess its condition. Is it wilting or browning?

Look for signs of health, and stay away from any major damage or sad looking plants. Plants that are already looking unhealthy will have less chance of survival when you bring them home.

Check the Soil

Most nursery plants will be in a pot that they can stay in for some time, and don’t need to be repotted. But it does pay to check the plant at soil level. If there’s lots of visible roots or it looks root bound, the plant may need repotting!

This shouldn’t scare you off getting the plant. It’s just something to keep in mind so that you can arrange a new pot and soil for it.

Check for Pests

Unfortunately, some plants can come with some extra life in them. While I can’t guarantee your new plants won’t have pests if you can’t see them, it’s still a good idea to check before you bring them home. Check for any damage such as leaf discolouration or holes.

Also see if you can see anything small and moving on the plant, or any traces of pests such as tiny webs.

Consider Plant Size

There’s pro’s and con’s to buying both small and large plants. I’ve always leant towards smaller ones because they’re cheaper, and less risk if they die.

But something to consider is that larger plants are often more mature, which means they’re generally more hardy than smaller ones. This means they are more likely to be able to withstand changes in environment, less than ideal conditions or even rookie owners 😉

Small plants may carry less risk if they die on you. But a lot of small plants have been newly planted from tiny propagation socks, which means they are very much still developing. This means they are more delicate and sensitive to changes. And potentially, smaller plants are more likely to die from environmental changes!

There’s no right or wrong to buying smaller or larger plants. But keep in mind your investment, how confident you are in your abilities and your home.

Compare the Plants

If there’s multiple plants of the same variety, you’ve got the opportunity to choose the pick of the bunch! Remember that the tallest isn’t always the best choice – look for how lush or full a plant is, and how many individual stems or stalks it has too.

Some plants may have quirky or unusual shapes. They can add interest to a space too.

So there’s my tips on buying house plants! Hopefully they’ll help you choose not just lush and healthy plants, but the right plants for you and your space. If you’re looking for a few low-maintenance varieties, here’s a few recommendations:

Devils Ivy (trailing plant)
Spider Plant
Peace Lily
Yucca Plants
Fishbone prayer plant (Ctenanthe)
Peperomia Jade
Rubber Plant

Let me know if you have any questions on the topic, or come follow me over on Instagram for regular plants tips and updates.

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