Everyone wants gorgeous houseplant in their home, but not all of us excel when it actually comes to helping these plants thrive. In truth, there’s a lot more to being a good plant parent than meets the eye. So, to all the true green-thumbs out there, we salute you – because it’s your helpful hacks that will improve our plant game tenfold! Here are 40 genius hacks every plant parent needs in their life.
This hack is all about being strategic with your houseplants, and it’ll give you great results. It stands to reason that plants who grow in similar conditions in the wild – such as humidity-loving tropical plants – should be grouped together in the home as well.
According to the plant lovers at Treehugger, clustering them closely like this will help them all benefit from the moisture given off by each plant.
Have you ever wanted to grow fresh rosemary, basil, or thyme, but don’t fancy paying grocery store prices? Well, you’re in luck, because you can actually grow new herbs from the very cuttings you bought at the store!
Simply clip a six-inch piece of the stem with leaf nodes, place it in water, and rest it in the sun until the stem sprouts new roots. Plant those roots in soil, and hey presto!
This hack involves the Variera plastic bag dispenser – available for a few bucks at your local IKEA! Simply take that handy plastic contraption and affix it to the wall.
Fill it with soil and some succulent plant seeds, and then watch as the plants grow through the holes in the dispenser. It’ll leave you with a truly eye-catching wall-mounted vertical garden – and it barely cost a thing!
Every plant pot will have drainage holes in the bottom, but sometimes they’re big enough that some wet soil can leak out through them. If you want to avoid this muddy mess – and also the potential of the holes becoming clogged, which can lead to root rot - there’s a simple hack.
Put a coffee filter over the bottom of the pot and it will let water drain but keep the soil where it should be!
Did you know that you aren’t the only thing in your house that runs on coffee? Your plant’s soil loves a cup of joe, too! More specifically, if you add used coffee grounds to the soil, it can increase water retention, open the soil up to air, and improve drainage.
It will also encourage microorganisms – such as earthworms – into the soil, and they will help the plant thrive. Who knew?!
Cat litter is obviously designed to be absorbent, and it also contains sand. These things make it perfect for adding to your succulent’s soil, as it can help retain moisture and improve drainage.
Be careful to always use the clumping, clay-based litter, though, because other types of litter could actually hurt the soil. Oh, and as the website Apartment Therapy notes, always use fresh litter – nothing that’s been used by your kitty already!
Moving houseplants from one pot to another is something we all do, but it can be riskier for your plants than you may think. You see, plants can experience “transplant shock” when they’re moved, which can weaken the plant and even lead to its demise.
To avoid this grisly fate, consider adding a solution of water and Epsom salts to the soil you’re moving a plant to and then water the leaves with that same solution!
British TV gardener David Domoney revealed this hack on Instagram, and it’s an ingenious one. He posted, “Use wine corks instead of buying pot feet for containers.
By elevating your pot you're creating a gap between the container and the patio allowing the pot to drain effectively and preventing the soil from getting waterlogged.” Think of all the money you’ll save – and wine you’ll get to drink!
This hack will aggravate anyone ever tasked with watering someone’s plants while they’re on vacation. Why? Because they didn’t even need to be there!
If the vacationer had simply filled wine bottles with water, turned them upside down and stuck the stem deep into the soil of each plant, they’d have been set. The bottle’s shape means water can only trickle out over time, which is just what roots need to thrive!
Have you ever looked at a large plant pot and thought, “Surely there’s no way any plant could need that much soil?” Well, you’d be right – this is often the case! To save yourself some cash on soil, you could try lining the bottom of your planter with crushed soda cans.
Make sure they’re clean, and add a piece of landscape fabric on top to provide a barrier to the soil, and then you’re set! It’ll even improve water drainage.
When it comes to growing plants, a rookie mistake – and one we’ve made all too often – is assuming that every plant will thrive in the same soil. Though every clump of soil may look the same to the untrained eye, the truth is that different plants need different kinds of soil in order to survive. You’d best do your research when trying to grow anything.
For example, cacti and succulents need dry, sandy soil to grow, because they traditionally grow in arid desert climates. A wet soil wouldn’t be good for them at all!
Many plant parents are constantly misting their tropical houseplants in order to mimic the plant’s humid natural habitat. Unfortunately, this doesn’t actually increase humidity – and if you’ve misted the plant so much that water droplets are visible on the leaves, it could lead to fungus and bacteria growth.
Those are two things we'd like to keep far away from our plant babies! As the ultimate plant parents, Richard Hull and Richard Cheshire, suggest, a few spritzes every two or three days is more than enough.
Adding pebbles to the bottom of a plant pot is an easy way to improve drainage – and is an especially good idea for people with a tendency to overwater their plants!
By putting the plant on top of pebbles, it raises it up and ensures water can’t pool at the bottom of the planter. The reason you don’t want this is that it can easily lead to root rot.
A University of Boulder study conducted in 2002 found that green plants grow faster when they’re fed carbonated water instead of tap water! It’s all to do with the nutrients contained in the water, which include hydrogen, potassium, sodium, carbon, oxygen, sulfur, and phosphorus!
So, the next time you’re enjoying a club soda, give some to your plants too – they’ll thank you for it!
Turkey basters aren’t just great for smothering everyone’s favorite Thanksgiving food in delicious juices – they can also be used to suck up excess water from soil!
This is a great hack if you think you’ve overwatered your plant, as it can save you the hassle of re-planting or trying to move the heavy pot to tip the water out. Just make sure to clean the baster when it’s being used for dinner again.
This one might sound weird, but hear us out. We all know that surfaces in our home need regular dusting, but we don’t often include the leaves of our plants in this equation. But guess what – leaves can get dusty too!
If that happens, they can’t "breathe" properly, and if they can’t absorb oxygen, they’ll wilt and eventually die. So, PSA – dust your plants.
Cinnamon is a natural fungicide, which means it can kill the fungus fed on in soil by gnat larvae. It can also help prevent “damping off,” which is when the lower part of a new seedling stem becomes thin and weak, and eventually collapses and dies.
So, if you want to protect your seedlings and control the number of gnats in your soil, sprinkle some cinnamon on there!
“Terracotta pots have become a standard in planting because they’re simple and easy to use,” Green Piece’s Maryah Green told Apartment Therapy. “But it’s important to make sure that you soak them before putting any plants inside.
If not, you run the risk of the pot absorbing lots of water and creating a really dry environment for the soil.” So listen to the expert and soak your pots overnight in a sink or bathtub.
If you’re anything like us, you can’t resist the urge to redecorate. When it comes to plants, this means we’re constantly moving them around the house, seeing where they look best and then changing our mind almost immediately!
This is not what we should be doing, though, because once plants start flourishing in one place, they don’t particularly like to be moved. It’s better to choose a spot and stick to it!
Yes, it's possible! You can grow a fresh new rose plant from a cutting cultivated in a potato! All you need to do is cut a six inch piece of stem from a healthy rose bush, dip the stem in growth or rooting powder, then stick it into a potato.
Dig a hole in your soil, bury the potato, and watch as, over time, a brand new rose bush grows. It's like magic, except it's not — it's science!
Sometimes when plants are growing, the leaves can get a little droopy. They’re just not quite strong enough to stand up straight yet, that’s all! You can give them a helping hand, though, using chopsticks.
Yes, that’s right – the next time you get sushi, save your chopsticks and then push those bad boys into the soil beside your plant stems. Tie them together with string, and voila! Your plant will stand tall.
If you really want to be the best plant parent you can be, you need to do your homework and earn your green thumb. But it also helps to have like-minded people in your orbit – after all, most hobbies work on a “more the merrier” basis!
Why not join a plant society, or even a plant-related Facebook group? You’ll meet all kinds of unique characters and become inspired by their tips and suggestions!
Plants don’t just like cold water from a watering can – they also like boiled water left over from cooking! The next time you boil some eggs or veggies, don’t dump the water!
It’s now filled with useful nutrients from the food and, once it’s cooled down, your plants will gladly gobble up those nutrients in their soil. And hey, it means you won’t be wasting water, either, which is a great bonus.
The next time you have eggs for breakfast, save the shells. Clean them out and let them dry, then crush or grind them into a fine powder.
Mix this into the soil in a plant pot, add it to the soil around the base of the plant, or even put it in the hole alongside new seedlings. Your plant should absorb the nutrients – especially calcium – from the decomposing shells.
Most garden centers sell water retention crystals which people use to help their soil retain moisture. But what if we said you can get the same effect from the hydrogel found inside diapers?
It makes sense: a diaper is designed to absorb liquid, after all! Before you do this, though, a quick reminder – we’re talking about clean diapers here, not dirty ones.
If you find your houseplants are plagued by pests – slugs, fruit flies, ants; the usual suspects – and you don’t want to use harmful pesticides to get rid of them, here’s a great hack: simply use orange peels!
You see, citrus peels contain a chemical known as D-limonene, which emits an odor pests can’t stand. This way you’ll have the best of both worlds because you can get rid of pests without having to kill them.
Back in the day, we used hydrogen peroxide to bleach our hair an unnatural – yet awesome – shade of blonde. Little did we know we could have also used it to combat root rot in our houseplants!
You see, if your plants have wilted, yellow leaves, root rot is the likely culprit – and a solution of water and hydrogen peroxide can attack the bacteria causing it. The roots will then have better access to the oxygen they so desperately crave.
Honey has some properties which make it ideally suited to use in planting.
It's anti-fungal and antiseptic in nature, you see, so if you dip the roots of any new plant in honey, it will protect against the bacteria and fungus which can occur in the soil. So, there you go – honey isn’t just great for our health, it’s great for our plants’ health, too.
Orchids are tropical plants, yet they react extremely well to being watered with ice cubes. It’s weird, but it works. Simply place three cubes on top of the soil – making sure they’re not touching the leaves or protruding roots – and leave them for a week.
The ice will melt pretty quickly, but then trickle through the soil for the entire seven days, ensuring it stays healthy without the risk of overwatering.
If you’re short on cash but still want to try planting, you don’t actually need to buy new plant pots. There are plenty of things around the house that can be used to house seedlings, including citrus halves, empty cardboard egg cartons, or even the eggshells themselves!
Simply clean these things out - making sure you’ve hollowed the citrus peel until it’s simply rind - then add soil, and there you go! The perfect starter homes for your seedlings.