What to Expect When You’re Becoming a Plant Parent

First things first: congratulations. You're going to rock this whole plant parent thing — we be-leaf in you (and also in plant puns). But if you're confused about what comes next, explore the comprehensive FAQ below. There's an answer for every question. Let's grow!

Bringing your plant home

1How do I know if I'm ready for a plant?

3How much does a plant cost?

4What kind of plant is right for me?

5Does the size of my plant matter?

6OK I can't decide: what's a foolproof first plant?

7What plants are best for pets and small children?

8What kind of pot is best for my plant?

9Is all soil the same? What do I need to know?

10Do plants come in pots or do I have to do it myself?

11How do I pot a plant?

12OK my plant's in a pot. Now where should it live?

13If I have an outdoor plant, what should I do with it when it's cold outside?

14Should I name my plant?

15What are good plant names?

16This is a lot. Should I maybe just get fake plants?

Care and feeding

17I have my plant. Do I need any other supplies?

18How often should I water my plant?

19Is there a "right" way to water?

20Is there a best time to be watering my plant?

21How can I tell if my plant is thirsty?

22When do I need to worry about fertilizer?

23Do plants "eat" anything other than water?

24Should I water them with something besides plain H20?

25How can I tell if I'm over watering?

26How do I know if my plant isn’t getting enough light?

27Can a plant get too much light?

28What about under watering?

29Is there an ideal temperature for plants?

30What about humidity?

31Why does my plant have dry, brown, curling, or dead leaves?

32What's pruning? Do I need to do it?

33Do I need to... clean my plant?

34What happens to my plant when I travel?

Growing up

35How can I tell if my plant is happy? Am I a good plant parent?

36Do plants have feelings? Should I talk to them? Or sing?

37What should I do if my plant outgrows its pot?

38Is my plant ready for a plant sibling?

39I have to move: can my plant come with me?

40I'm doing everything right and my plant isn't thriving: why?

The birds and the bees

41Let's talk about propagation...

42Can all plants propagate?

43How can I tell if my plant is ready to propagate?

44It's ready to propogate — now how do I do it?

The tough stuff

45What do I do if I see bugs on my plant?

46What does it mean if my plant starts dropping leaves?

47How can I tell if my plant is dead?

48Can it come back to life?

49OK, it's really dead. What do I do with it now?

50I have a question you didn't answer. What now?


  • Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Indoor Gardening edited by Anne M. Halpin
  • The Indestructible Houseplant by Tovah Martin
  • The Houseplant Encyclopedia by Ingrid Jantra and Ursula Krüger
  • Edible Spots and Pots by Stacey Hirvela
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