Do These Things Now & Be a Responsible Plant Parent in 2018

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Brittany Purlee)

When we’re busy making cookies, wrapping gifts, and brewing hot chocolate, we sometimes forget to look after the quietest living things under our care: our plants. But there’s no time like the present (ha) —when guests are around, and when the greenery inside looks even greener because of the barrenness outdoors — to give our plants some extra love and attention. Turn over a new leaf (another ha) in 2018 and become the plant parent you’ve always wanted to be. Here’s how.

(Image credit: Elissa Crowe)

Check Your Plant’s Moisture Levels

With lower humidity outdoors, combined with the effect of forced air heating indoors, you home’s air is likely much drier than your plant is used to. This means that soil will dry out faster, so check your plant’s soil before you’d typically water it and adjust your watering schedule if you need to. This watering meter helps.

Also keep in mind that some plants may need to be misted. This especially applies to tropical plants (like poinsettias!). In addition to light sprays with a mister, you can fill a saucer with water and pebbles and set humidity-appreciating plants on top of them. Grouping plants together also helps keep humidity at ideal levels.

(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)

Remove Dead Spots

The green thumbs we all envy have a little secret: It’s not that their plants never get dead leaves, it’s that they remove them. This simple practice keeps plants looking perfectly healthy all the time (and it also helps actually keep your plants healthy). Make sure to remove fallen foliage from soil as well.

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

Clean Your Plant’s Leaves

Plants with large leaves tend to to collect a lot of dust. This doesn’t look nice, and, moreover, it’s not good for your plant. Take a microfiber cloth, a little damp if you like, and give your plants a gentle wipe-down. You’ll be surprised at how much brighter your plants gleam. For more helpful tips along these lines, check out The Best-Kept Plant Lady Secret Is Something You’re Not Doing.

(Image credit: Marisa Vitale)

Check for Drafts

Plants, some more than others, are sensitive to changes in their environment. If the onset of colder temperatures means they’re suddenly exposed to frigid gusts of wind (when outside doors open, for instance) or if they get a blast of hot, dry air from being in the path of a heater vent, they might suffer and drop their leaves or worse. Check to make sure your plants, especially ones that weren’t around last winter, are located in spots that won’t stress them out.

Illustrations in the video are by Bodil Jane.