For the majority of my childhood, I cannot ever remember a time when we had no plants at home. Let’s say my mum, has always been a Gardener at heart. Whether it was small beginners with scotch bonnets and tomatoes in our backyards, to when we had enough space around the house for mango trees, cocoyam’s, maize, Spinach, moringa plants etc. you name it! My siblings and I were subject to being her assistant plant carers whether we liked it or not. Then, I thought it was an inconvenience when I had to stop watching some TV show to go and water the plants at a specific time. Now, it’s sort of a ritual in my own place and a bonding moment when I visit my mum.
I am currently mum to about 13 plants and trust me I made my fair share of mistakes getting here. With that said, I thought I’d share a few points around my most asked question, how do I not kill my plants?
- Before you purchase your first plant (that you do not kill), it’s important to understand the space you have. I don’t just mean the size of the space you have, which is important but how much light or shade do you get in that space? Is it south facing or east facing etc.? What’s the humidity levels in the space? Bathrooms, kitchen will usually be more humid than say, a living room. Asking yourself these questions, will help you identity what plants suits your space. I have found that finding the right plants for the space you have is the first step to not killing them. Usually you may see someone plants in an Instagram post or at their home and just because it looks pretty, you go and get one, and then it doesn’t survive! It may have been the wrong space and not the plant!
- Once you have figured out your space and what plants thrive in your space, my next suggestion is to start small. With the excitement you have around being a first time plant owner, you may be tempted to go all out and get yourself 5 or more plants at a time. What happens is that you then get consumed with that many as a first timer, forget the routines and then you are back to step zero when they don’t survive. Get 1 or 2 at a time, it will allow you to get used to caring for them, learn what works and doesn’t work in your space for future plants you may acquire. No need to rush for a jungle that will look sickly and not well kempt, you do yourself and the plants a disservice when you rush. I find gardening a holistic practice and like any practice, it takes time to get a hang on things.
- Starting with low maintenance plants is always a way to help you learn the process quicker. In my space, I went for Aloe Vera & the snake Plant (dracaena trifasciata) because it was easy to manage, not too needy and did okay when I occasionally had to travel. It’s important to find what low maintenance plants will work for you and your space as we have discussed above.
- Closely linked to the point above is get plants with a similar plant care routine. This will make it way more easy for you to care for them and increase your plants chances of surviving. One of the mistakes I made the first time was get plants with different care routines and being so forgetful, I would not remember when I watered, added feed, etc. This resulted in the demise of 2 plants L. As you mature in plant care, you can begin to mix up the plants when you have built up a routine.
- This may be a bit fluffy but naming my plants have helped. I can’t remember where I read this but naming plants and speaking to plants as individuals helps you connect better with plants. I guess it’s similar to humans right, our names embody who we are, as such, I named by plants based on their characteristics. Get familiar with your plants, name them, speak to them. For self-care I would also suggest you name one of the plants after you because usually we are much kinder to plants and others than we are to ourselves. So, the next time you have a conversation with the plant named after you, you will be feeding your soul and affirming all the lovely things about you.
Remember like anything you start, you need to start slow, get the basics rights and then move to the next steps. I have only been gardening for the last 2 years so I am fairly new to the whole #plantmumlifestyle so still learning. I find it’s great to learn as we go as there is no point where we “arrive” or become perfect. If you are a plant parent, let me know in the comments below what has worked for you?