Bugs, like you, love your houseplants. I was horrified to discover tiny insects chowing down on my potted kitchen herbs. Suddenly, my pepper plant which had been blooming was thinned out like a junkie. My basil’s leaves became nearly see-through. All my hard work and nurturing was being defeated by these things.
I am a rookie at growing plants indoors, but in these past few months, I’ve learned, simply from trials, failures and successes, that there are some very specific hacks to encourage indoor plant health. And–caring for plants seems to improve my health too.
8 Life-Saving Indoor Gardening Hacks
1. Hydrogen Peroxide. This cheap useful stuff is a MUST for indoor plants. Hydrogen Peroxide is basically nothing other than all natural oxygen that effectively kills bacteria and wards off fungi. Also, plants love a little bubbly here and there; watering with a hydrogen peroxide mixture emulates aerating the soil. I found that a shot of hydrogen peroxide in my gallon of water for watering really assists in keeping plant health.
2. Rocks or shells. Not all of my pots have drainage holes at the bottom. Actually, surprisingly, it seems that the prettier the pot, the less likely it’ll have these important drainage holes. An excellent solution to this problem is placing rocks or large shells at the bottom of the pot before the plant and soil. While it’s not as effective as drainage holes, it does a great job of separating the plant from potential over exposure to water.
3. Dish Soap. Yes, dish soap. Dish soap, when mixed with water, can ward off pests and even kill them. I put a few drops in my spray bottle and spritz any bugs I see. I like Seventh Generation’s soap and other natural earth-friendly soap, however literally any dish soap works. Also, like hydrogen peroxide a few drops of dish soap in your watering can helps keep the soil clear of fungi.
4. Pruning. I seriously did not realize that indoor plants, like outdoor plants require pruning. Periodically, when you start to see some yucky leaves, snip them off. This helps the plant grow strong because yucky leaves drain energy from the plant. Not pruning can prevent the plant from reaching its potential as it’s being dragged down by injury.
5. Food. Feed your houseplants every once in a while. Remember that when your plant is in a pot, the soil needs a little help. Soil only has so many nutrients. Like your fridge you must replenish it. In terms of plant food, there are many options–from natural compost to a few droplets of miracle grow. The method of feeding is your choice; some methods like adding miracle grow to water are really easy, while composting, the better option, takes a lot more time and work.
6. Pinterest & YouTube. Dude, if it weren’t for my Pinterest account, my plants would be dead. I look up everything about gardening on Pinterest. The best thing about Pinterest (rather than the typical search engine) is that simple infographs quickly explain and demonstrate gardening techniques. It’s much faster to gather information; plus I can pin some tips to my gardening board and review them later.
YouTube is less time efficient, but more thorough. I’ve found videos about every element of gardening. Plus, the people that make these videos are super passionate about gardening, and it kind of motivates you.
7. Patience. When I had plants out on a sunny balcony, the plants seemed to grow faster. There were more exciting changes in the plants when they were outside. Indoor plants tend to grow a little slower. I had to get used to this when we moved.
8. Love. Plants like every other living thing thrive more with attention. It sounds cheesy, but based on my own experience, plants that you look at and check up on do much better. I try to check on each plant everyday. When we went on a four day trip, I was shocked at how crappy my plants looked when we got back. I don’t know the science behind it all, but I do know that the more you love your plants, the more they love you.