Why did it die? Oh, I have no luck,,, I just don’t have a green thumb. Does this sound like you or someone you know? Do you really believe its luck? When you say that, its really taking the easy way out. Thats right, blame it on luck, but of course, never blame the death of your plant on yourself,
Im sure sometimes or another, you’ve hear the above statements whether from you or from a friend. Instead of blaming the demise of your plant on “luck” or the lack of a green thumb, lets be honest with ourselves and answer the allowing questions:
After buying a new plant, do you run home and put it in a much larger pot, thinking the bigger the pot, the bigger and faster the plant will grow?
Do you panic when a bottom leaf or two turn yellow?
Do you water on a schedule because it’s easier for you?
Do you constantly move your plants around the house?
Do you use old soil from a plant the recently died?
Well, if you answered yes to any of the above, then I must be honest with you. YOU AND ONLY YOU ARE THE PLANT KILLER!! Now, let’s go back to the questions and find out the truth.
Unless a plant is very root bound (which means the roots are completely wrapped around the root ball) the plant DOES NOT want to be transplanted into a larger pot. Plants, in general, do better when the roots are crowded. The next question is, how do you know when to transplant? A basic rule of thumb is when the roots are heavily wrapped around the soil, that is the time. Another rule of thumb is plants in pots 5” and less, go up only 1” and plants in 6” pots and up, go up 2”. Please remember, this is just a general rule. Also, since all the roots are in the center of the pot, make sure you water in the center. When transplanting, always do so when the old soil is dry, and remove as much as possible and adda fresh blend of mixed potting soil. Please don’t panic if a leaf or two turn yellow after the transplant. Your plant is in a new home. Ket it get acclimated. Furthermore, when you buy a plant and you don’t like the pot, then change the pot to a more decorative one, but it must be the SAME size and always remember to always drain the excess water.
Why panic when a bottom leaf dies or if a new one opens and has a hole in it? In the world of plants as is with we humans, the old must exit to make room for the babies. And what if a new leaf opens with a small hole, don’t get alarmed. The plant is not going to die. People have defects and so do plants. Please don’t be a worry wart.
Do you drink water on a schedule? No, I don’t think anyone does. We drink when we’re thirsty and the same goes for plants. Then, I must ask, “Why do many of you water on a schedule? Would you like it if I came to your house on a schedule and poured water down your throat whether you liked it or not? I don’t think so. Then, when should you water your plants? PLEASE, NEVER WATER ON A SCHEDULE. IT’S PURE LUCK IF YOUR PLANTS HAVE SURVIVED FROM BEING WATERED ON ONE. Over the years, I have developed some different strategies for watering certain plants. For example, water these plants when the BOTTOM LEAVES START TO FEEL LIMP OR BEGIN TO LOSE THEIR LUSTER: COLEUS, RUBBER TREE, PEPPEROMIA, PHILODENDRON, SWEDISH IVY, and PEACE LILY. There are so many more; come in and ask (With some plants, like palms, you have to feel the soil about 2” down and when its dry, the water. REMEMBER, IF A PLANT LOOKS GOOD, IT’S TELLING YOU “LEAVE ME ALONE” I still have enough. It’s always best to be a day late than a day early.
a. Do you move yourself and your child from one room to another every single night? NO, of course not. You, your child and your plant want familiar surroundings. Unfamiliar surroundings and constant shifting can make people uncomfortable and the same goes for plants. Just as you feel more secure in familiar surroundings, plants do better in one environment. The only exception is when you want to put your plants outside for the spring and summer months.
b. Do you like to breathe polluted air? I thick not. Plants, like us, also want to breathe clean air. If the soil is hard and cake, roots cannot get the air they need. Lack of air will eventually kill your plants. Always use a light, well mixed potting soil and make sure the pot always has holes on the bottom. And NEVER use backyard soil or soil that was in another pot and the plant died. The soil must be FRESH.
I’ll always remember something my mother said to me. She always babied her plants and panicked when a leaf died. One time she went away for a week and when she came home, her plants looked great. She couldn’t believe it that her little babies looked better than ever and she wasn’t around to take care of them. I said, “Mom, thats why they looked so good; they don’t need your constant attention.”
I’d like to sum up my message with the following: Please be patient with your plants. Don’t suffocate them with too much care. Let them grow on their own. Just water when needed, fertilize and love them from a distance. I hope my little message will help you with your plants. If you need more advice, please don’t hesitate to visit us at the Indoor Outdoor Gardener.