How To Purge Your Houseplants and Why You Would Want To 

Purge Houseplants

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Purge your Houseplant is something collectors tend to do at the start of the new year. Out with the old and in with the new. It is not something every plant enthusiast does every year but it is something almost every plant collector and grower does eventually. Just like the proverbial spring cleaning or new year organizing plant parents purge their plants for many reasons. Space becomes limited over time and it can be part of the preparation for starting spring seeds or bringing in new houseplant collections. This is just one of many reasons to purge plants and there are so many ways in which to accomplish the goal. Today we are going to cover all of them in this article. 

**Why Purge Plants?**


The number one reason for getting rid of a plant is because they are a stressor. They are something you constantly stress over. They could be unhealthy and struggling in your home conditions or care habits. Also they could have pests like thrips or spidermites that just take up a lot of energy to treat.

They could continually call to pests and be a source of constant hassle for them even after treatments. Alocasia Polly is a prime example of this in many households. A plant can also need a lot of extra work for a specific home environment. Humidifiers are a great example of this. Some high humidity plants in low humidity. Environments require the humidifier to be refilled daily or they will get crispy leaves and be prone to diseases. Some people do not mind this but for others it can be a constant source of stress and a viable reason to purge the plant. 

Dying plants:

Purging plants is a perfect time to get rid of those plants that are dying anyway. The struggling succulent and that one weird plant in the corner with root rot can finally be let go. Some plants suffer damage at their grower, during shipping, or in the stores and they just never recover for whatever reason. Some plants just have poor genetics and do not do well despite years of effort. The failed propagations can also be cleaned up during a purge. Failure is just part of propagating houseplants and many of us don’t face those failures until we have to when we finally decide to clean everything and purge our plants. 

Unloved plants

Some plants over time we just stop liking. Just like a shirt or a dish. Sometimes it is just not for us anymore. There is absolutely no shame or guilt in this. It is a normal part of plant growing. We could have been obsessed with Philodendron and collected all the Philodendron. And have now moved on to some other species like Antherium or Hoya. Another aspect is you could have purchased a plant and expected it to grow. Or look a certain way and those expectations just have not been met. Perhaps the plant was not as advertised or the plant grew a different way in your conditions vs conditions you had seen it grown in. Our homes are unique mini ecosystems that vary from room to room and sometimes plants just don’t work in it for us. 

Unmanageable Numbers

Eventually you wake up and look around and realize there may be a plant or two to many in your space. There is a running joke in the plant community where one can never have to many plants but unfortunately plants grow and between propagating plants and leaves sizing up and purchasing new plants the space starts to become limited. When purging plants sometimes the one to go or at least to be chopped are the largest ones. The plants that you have multiples of are usually adding to the unmanageable numbers. To many plants to water or remember to fertilize can cause issues as well. Eventually there really are to many plants. Even greenhouses need to purge plants periodically. Its just a sad reality for most of us plant loving people. 

What To Do Once You Decide What Plants To Purge?

After the arduous task of determining which plants to get rid of, the next difficulty is deciding how to get rid of them and where exactly these plants should go. There are many options and every situation is different so we are just going to go through them all so that you can determine which is currently best for you. 

6. Trash or compost them

Trashing or composting is really the quickest and easiest method of removing your plants. Composting is one of the most eco friendly things to do. Allowing the plant and soil to breakdown so you can reuse the material for more plants later can save you a lot of time and money and put less strain on the environment with traveling or shipping costs. 

Some things to consider though are pests and diseases in the soil or on your plant. Will your ecosystem be able to handle them and could the diseases spread through your compost or into the land and damage other plants. Most of the time it is not an issue but if you have a particularly nasty fungus it may be better to find a way to eliminate that first. Another thing is the cost of trash removal or a dump trip. Sometimes the weight can add up if it is a lot of plants. Soil especially can add up to be pretty heavy. 

8. Swap or trade them 

If plants are fairly healthy and still growing but you simply do not wish to care for them anymore it may be worth looking into trading them for other plants, items, or services. Many communities have plant swap events, online plant trading groups, and even buy sell free local groups where people can trade furniture, services, or foods for plants. Many friends will share plants between them as well and even mail plants back and forth across the country to share duplicates of plants they have and give plants they don’t enjoy anymore to friends and family. 

9. Donate them

If you want to be rid of plants quickly but still make sure they go to a good cause you can donate them to local schools, local garden clubs. Community centers, auctions or raffles for community outreach or simply give it to a local friend to learn how to grow. Many houseplant enthusiasts got their start by simply having a friends bring a plant over and leaving it with them. 

10. Sell them 

Probably one of the most popular ways to get rid of extra plants is to sell them. The ways to do this are endless. Facebook groups, local selling groups, eBay, and even etsy are all great places to sell plants. Local auctions or farmers markets are usually full of plant lovers and if you cant leave your home there are instagram and tiktok lives in which you can sell your plants. It is very easy to sell plants.

The difficult part of selling plants is getting the plants to the buyer.

If it is a local pickup that can make it easier but it also may make your plants harder to sell in the short term. You will probably have to mail out plants and ensure they have good packaging if you want to sell quickly. Include heatpack for the cold and insulation from heat in the summer. Tape plants and use internal packaging to ensure the plant isn’t damaged. This can add up to a lot of inconvenience and cost depending on how much you sell your plants for. It is worth looking into but decide if your running a plant business or a hobby and how much you want to be making to make it worth it. 

Plant purging serves as a necessary practice for all of us plant enthusiasts, offering a fresh start and addressing various reasons such as dealing with stressors, managing dying plants, parting ways with unloved ones, and tackling unmanageable numbers. Once the decision is made on which plants to purge, options like composting, swapping, donating, or selling provide diverse avenues for disposal. Whether opting for a quick composting solution or engaging in plant exchanges within communities, the process allows plant parents to reshape their collections and contribute to sustainable plant care practices. Ultimately, the art of purging becomes a mindful and essential aspect of cultivating a thriving indoor garden.


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