July/August 2021 Issue
Like most people, you were probably living 90 percent of your life indoors before last year’s stay-at-home orders spurred you to find even more things to do inside. Raise your hand if you worked on jigsaw puzzles, baked sourdough, binge-watched movies, or pedaled a zillion stationary miles. Keep it raised if you also became a bit of a plant whisperer, influenced by the influx of botanical posts on social media, a desire to grow your own food, or an urge to spruce up your Zoom background.
You’re not alone. Demand for greenery blossomed in 2020. Most U.S. garden centers reported double-digit sales increases last year, as more than 18 million Americans dug into pots and plots for the first time, and habitual horticulturists expanded their collections. The popularity of indoor plants is continuing through 2021, to no one’s surprise: Adding some living color to your living quarters doesn’t require much money or space, and tending to your leafy roommates can reduce stress, improve productivity, and make you happier.
So what are you waiting for? Here are 11 tips—and basic rules of green thumb—to help you cultivate indoor plants.
1. Make plant care easy.
For starters, whenever a plant comes with a care tag, keep the tag in or near the pot—and follow its instructions. Otherwise, your local nursery or a simple web search will tell you what any given species needs. Next, heed conventional wisdom. The vast majority of plants don’t like direct light or full shade, so keep yours near windows but not right in the sun. Plants need hydration, but most don’t do well sitting in water. Let the soil dry out so the roots get oxygen between waterings, and make sure that every plant’s pot has drainage holes. Most plants thrive at indoor temperatures in standard potting soil and don’t require frequent fertilization. Rotate each plant 180 degrees every month or two to even out growth toward its light source.