Indoor gardening mistakes are bound to happen – especially when you’re starting out. Growing plants is a rewarding hobby. Plants provide so many benefits to the environment, yet many of them only require minimal attention to flourish. Indoor plants can stimulate calm and relaxation, beautify an area, and even provide food. Given their many benefits, the least we can do is care for our plants properly.
Here are 10 common indoor gardening mistakes and tips to guide you in your journey to being the ultimate indoor gardener:
Top 5 Indoor Gardening Mistakes
Mistake 1: Not Knowing Your Plants
One of the most common indoor gardening mistakes, and the one that causes the most plant casualties, is not knowing your own plants. Many gardening beginners treat all plants the same way, using the same soil for all plants and watering them at the same time.
Keep in mind that there are hundreds of thousands of types of plants, and while they all have universal needs, such as water, light, and some attention, they like different things too, like specific temperatures and amounts of sunlight.
The first advice in our list of indoor gardening tips is: Do your research. Before purchasing a plant, find out everything you can about it – ideal soil to use, longevity, watering preferences, etc. Do your research so you know how to best care for each individual plant.
Mistake 2: Growing the Wrong Plants
Indoor gardening tips sometimes forget to include this vital one – you should check the health of the seed or the plant you are buying. Some people might blame themselves for not having a green thumb, but they could have bought an unhealthy plant to start with.
The best way for you to avoid getting the wrong plants is to purchase seeds or plants from reputable suppliers.
Mistake 3: Using the Wrong Containers
Plants have different-sized roots. Before planting or potting a plant, make sure you find out about its root growth. There are short-rooted plants and long-rooted plants. One of the common indoor gardening mistakes we see often is putting plants in the wrong containers, which can stunt their growth.
Choose containers that are the right depth for your plants. If you put a long-root plant in a shallow container, it won’t grow to its ideal height. Also, consider the best material and amount of drainage for your plants. These factors are important in getting your plants the appropriate amount of water that they need. Fortunately, there is a great variety of good-quality plant pots on the market from which to choose.
Mistake 4: Overwatering or Underwatering Your Plants
Overwatering and underwatering plants are two of the top indoor gardening mistakes new gardeners make that can kill plants. Some get overexcited, overwater plants, and drown them. Some get too scared to overwater plants, eventually underwater them, and leave them parched. Both these indoor gardening mistakes are harmful for plants and can potentially kill them.
As a general rule, you only need to water most plants about once a week. To know if a plant is getting enough water, check the soil. Most plants don’t need water until 1-2 inches of the soil is dry. You can check the soil daily until you get a feel for how much water each plant needs. Another option is to use a plant soil moisture meter. They are inexpensive and will give you more accurate information.
Mistake 5: Choosing the Wrong Location for Your Plants
When decorating a place, many people like putting a lot of plants in one area for aesthetic purposes. It’s hard to blame them too; plants do look nice when they create a mini garden in your home! However, all plants need light to survive and will wilt away without it.
When deciding where to put plants, consider the sunlight the area receives in a day more than the aesthetics. While some plants do well in low-light areas, a little sunlight each day is good for most any plant.
It also wouldn’t hurt to plan ahead. It takes plants some time to adapt to their environment, and constantly moving them around is harmful to them.
5 More Indoor Gardening Mistakes…
Mistake 6: Not Pruning
The most important aspect of pruning plants is taking out damaged branches, leaves, or flowers. A plant expels energy for all its parts, even the unhealthy ones. It is not ideal for a plant to keep giving off its energy for damaged parts, as it will stunt the growth of the whole plant.
It may seem like pruning is hurting your plant, but if you do it right, it will help the plant grow.
Do your research before pruning though; there are some plants that don’t require pruning and are best left alone.
Mistake 7: Not Using Fertilizer
Think of fertilizer as plant vitamins. While plants get their basic needs from soil, water, air, and sunlight, many need additional nutrients from fertilizers.
Except during winter when plants don’t need it, quality, organic fertilizer should be applied anywhere between once a month to once every 3 months, depending on the type of plant. Read up on your plant’s needs and apply fertilizer as needed to promote healthy plant growth.
Mistake 8: Not Repotting
Soil can only last so long, as plants and insects feed on its nutrients to grow. There comes a time when the soil cannot provide the nutrients the plants need anymore. This is where repotting comes in to avoid one of the common indoor gardening mistakes. Repotting plants allows them access to nutritious soil without much competition from insects.
Except for when a plant is growing too big for its pot, repotting should be done with most plants about once every 12 months.
Mistake 9: Not Cleaning Leaves
Mud, dust, and grime particles are harmful to leaves — these particles clog plants’ pores and make it hard for them to breathe. Dust also affects plants’ photosynthesis and can hinder the growth of leaves and flowers.
Dust your plants about once a month to avoid clogging their pores. Also, consider using a plant leaf cleaner if needed.
10. Indoor Gardening Mistakes: Last but not least… Too Many Plants
While indoor gardening takes less time and effort than caring for a pet, they do have a few similarities. Both pets and plants are living things that need time and attention to survive.
You should only take in as many plants as you can care for. If you don’t have the time or space for a plant, don’t take it in. Focus instead on the plants you already have and take care of them well.
Indoor Gardening Mistakes to Avoid – The Wrap-up
These indoor gardening mistakes and tips for avoiding them should help you grow your plants better. If you haven’t started your gardening journey yet, it’s best to start with a few plants or even just one. Once you get a feel for what plants need, you’ll be able to grow your own garden in no time.