The Basics

We all know finding the right balance of light and water is vital for plant health. Our plant tips are designed to help you best take care of your plant.

Let's Talk Light

Ideal light conditions are one of the most important factors for your plant’s long term health and growth. Take the time to really evaluate where you will place a plant - how many hours of light will it get? Is it filtered light or direct? Shop the light spectrum here and end up with a plant that will thrive!

Think geography: is your plant native to a desert or the Mediterranean? Chances are, that plant will love full sun. Give it a windowsill that receives over 12 hours of direct sunlight each day. Keep in mind that cacti and succulents go dormant in the winter and need to be moved to a cooler spot, and plants that usually can’t handle direct sunlight in the summer might really love the more gentle winter sunlight.

· Cacti & Succulents
· Ponytail Palm

Most houseplants will fall into this category. Indirect light will range from bright indirect to low indirect. Bright indirect light is best defined as the plant having the widest view of the sky as possible, without harsh afternoon sun landing on it. Low indirect light is filtered or shaded from natural light.

These plants are generally those that grow naturally in the understory of the forest or the jungle. They generally prefer to avoid direct sunlight and prefer damp, humid conditions (think bathrooms and kitchens). These work best in corners that receive limited natural sunlight or mostly artificial light.

· Fishbone Cactus
· Pothos
· Pilea
· Prayer Plant
· String of Hearts
· Swiss Cheese
· Philodendron

These plants are generally those that grow naturally in the understory of the forest or the jungle. They generally prefer to avoid direct sunlight and prefer damp, humid conditions (think bathrooms and kitchens). These work best in corners that receive limited natural sunlight or mostly artificial light. 

· Bromeliads
· Calathea
· Chinese Evergreen
· Ferns
· Ivy
· Peace Lily
· Snake Plant
· Spider Plant

And Water...

All plants need water (yes, including air plants and cactus), but their needs will vary based on the type of plant, the size of the pot it’s in, the plants you have around it, the climate you live in, whether you’re heating your home like a sauna… let’s help you buy something that you’re confident you can keep alive.

How often you should water depends on the type of plant and the season. When the weather is warm and plants are getting a lot of light, the leaves will transpire more quickly and the plants will require more frequent watering. 

Most plants can have a set schedule during the growing season. During late fall and winter this can vary dramatically from spring and summer. Most plants will recover from a little under watering and most will die if over watered. Some plants, like many Hoya varieties, even prefer to wilt slightly before being watered as they are very sensitive to having damp roots. It is much better to know the preferences of your individual plants than to try and set a schedule for watering them year round.

Feel the weight. Water is heavy. A little experience with your plant and you can tell if it needs water just by picking it up.

Check the soil with your fingertips at the surface and, if you can, the bottom of the container. Damp inner soil will feel spongy from the top.

Use chopsticks! Bury them in the soil as deep as you can and moisture will show on the sticks after 5-10 minutes.

Use a moisture meter. This is best for larger plants and trees until you get a sense of timing between watering during different seasons. Be sure to check several places around the plant near the root ball. Do not rinse off moisture meters, wipe them clean with a dry towel. Rinsing them off or submerging them in water can cause them to malfunction over time.

As a general rule, most houseplants prefer to have the top layer of the potting soil dry out before getting a good soak. Stick your finger into the top two inches of soil: if it’s dry, time to water; if it’s still damp, hold off. Avoid giving small sips of water more frequently - instead, wait until the plant needs a nice soak.

Succulents and cacti hold water reserves in their leaves and stems, so they are at an extra risk of rotting if they’re overwatered. Make sure their potting soil is totally dry before watering. 

Many houseplants will go dormant or semi-dormant in the winter, which means they will need a lot less water during these months.

Most houseplants are from the tropics and thrive in high levels of humidity. By all means, invest in humidifiers! Otherwise, group thirsty plants together to create a microclimate of humidity and mist them regularly. Bathrooms and kitchens are especially perfect for our thirsty friends.

Plant Tips

We all want our new plant babies to survive and thrive - so here are some quick tips for keeping them healthy and beautiful in your home!

Aglaonema (Chinese Evergreen)

L I G H T   Prefers medium to low indirect light.

W A T E R  In the winter, allow the top of the potting soil to dry out between waterings. In the spring and summer, keep the potting soil moist (but not wet).

C A R E  Repot every three years in the spring and keep these guys away from cool or cold drafts!

Alocasia

L I G H T   Prefers bright to medium indirect light.

W A T E R  Will absolutely prefer distilled water - alocasias can be divas. Keep the potting soil moist spring through fall, and allow the top layer of the soil to dry out in the winter. Alocasias will thrive close to a humidifier or on a tray of wet pebbles.

C A R E  Repot every two-three years in the spring and keep these guys away from cool or cold drafts!

Arboricola (Umbrella Plant)

L I G H T   Prefers bright indirect light, but can tolerate lower levels of light. Just keep it out of direct, hot sun.

W A T E R  Allow the surface of the potting mix to dry out between waterings and make sure that the water can drain easily out of the pot. This guy is sensitive to overwatering, but will let you know with yellowing leaves if you need to decrease its water.

C A R E  Repot every two years in the spring. Keep the plant nice and bushy by tip pruning leggy shoots.

Cactus (General Care)

L I G H T   Prefers bright, direct sunlight.

W A T E R  Wait until the soil is completely dried out before watering until water runs out of the pot - overwatering will quickly lead to rot! Don’t let the cactus stand in the pot or saucer.

C A R E  Most cacti don’t need fertilizer, though you can add liquid fertilizer or worm castings during the active growth season in the summer months.

Calathea

L I G H T   Prefers bright indirect light. These plants are found naturally in forest areas shaded by trees.

W A T E R  Water twice a week during the spring and summer to keep the soil moist at all times. Mist the leaves frequently. Less water is needed during the fall and winter seasons, when the top layer of the soil can be allowed to dry between waterings. The edges of the leaves will turn brown if the air is too dry.

C A R E  Generously fertilize this plant - she’ll thank you!

E X T R A  F A C T S  Calatheas are also known as prayer plants - they’ll fold up their leaves at night and unfold them in the morning to catch as much sunlight as possible.

Croton

L I G H T   Prefers bright, indirect light.

W A T E R  Keep the potting soil most from spring to fall, and let the top layer of the soil dry out between waterings in the winter. Do not mist the leaves, but definitely place it on a tray of wet pebbles or invest in a humidifier.

C A R E  These plants require high humidity and constant warm temperatures - definitely not a plant for beginners!

Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane)

L I G H T   Prefers bright, indirect or medium indirect light.

W A T E R  Keep the potting soil moist from spring to fall, and let the top layer of the soil dry out between waterings in the winter. Place it on a tray of wet pebbles or invest in a humidifier.

C A R E  Repot every 2-3 years, or when the roots fill the existing container.

Dracaena (General Care)

L I G H T   Prefers bright indirect or medium indirect light.

W A T E R  Keep the potting soil moist from spring to fall, and barely moist in the winter. Place it on a tray of wet pebbles for best results.

C A R E  Repot every 2-3 years, or when the roots fill the existing container.

Fiddle Leaf Fig

L I G H T   Prefers bright indirect light.

W A T E R  Let the top of the potting soil dry out between waterings from spring to fall, and barely moist in the winter. Be sure not to overwater the plant!

C A R E  Keep this plant out of drafts and move it away from heaters in the winter. Repot every two to three years or when the roots have filled its existing container.

Monstera Deliciosa

L I G H T   Prefers filtered light, out of direct and bright sunlight. Young plants will tolerate artificial light well, but move it into brighter, natural light as it matures. Shaded foliage is far less likely to produce holes.

W A T E R  In the warmer summer months, water only when the top of potting mix feels dry. Reduce watering in the winter months.

C A R E  Aerial roots grow from the stem of the plant - leave them be, cut some of them off if they get too long, or push them back into the potting mix. Wipe the leaves regularly with a damp cloth to remove dust. Repot every 2-3 years, or replace the top layer of potting soil every spring.

E X T R A  F A C T S  The Monstera is native to Mexico and Central America. In its natural habitat, it will grow edible fruit that is considered a rare and expensive delicacy in some parts of the world. And that’s why it’s called the “fruit salad plant.”

Palms

L I G H T   Prefers a bright, indirect light and will love direct morning sun for 2-3 hours if possible.

W A T E R  Palms are relatively thirsty plants and require a good amount of water with each watering. Make sure to water until water runs freely from the drainage holes.

Pilea Peperomioides (Chinese Money Plant)

L I G H T   Prefers a bright indirect or indirect light. The leaves will grow larger in partial shade - sometimes as large as your palm!

W A T E R  Water regularly and avoid allowing the plant to sit in soggy soil. Overwatering will lead to root rot, and underwatering will lead to yellow and dropped leaves.

C A R E  Use a houseplant fertilizer during the summer months.

E X T R A  F A C T S  This plant is native to southern China and thrives in humid forests at high altitude. It’s incredibly easy to propagate, constantly growing new shoots that can easily be separated from the mother plant.

Rubber Plant

L I G H T   Prefers filtered, indirect light. Direct sun will scorch its leaves. The more sun it gets, the faster it will grow and the deeper its burgundy color will become.

W A T E R  Water only when the top of the potting mix has dried out during the summer months. Keep the plant moist in the winter.

C A R E  Prune your plant in the spring to maintain a good shape. Repot every 2-3 years to prevent it from getting root-bound. Avoid large fluctuations in temperature and drafts - both can make the plant drop its leaves.

E X T R A  F A C T S  This plant is native to northeast India, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, China, Malaysia, and Indonesia. In its natural habitat, it can grow over 100 feet high, but will stay a much more manageable 6-9 feet inside. It contains a milky white latex which was used to make rubber in the past. Careful: that sap is irritating to the eyes and skin and toxic if ingested. In India, living bridges are grown with its roots: a Ficus is planted on either side of a river, the roots are guided along a hollow tree trunk that will eventually rot away, and after 10-15 years creates a bridge strong enough for people to walk across. No big deal.

Snake Plant

L I G H T   Can thrive almost anywhere, from bright indirect light to even low light conditions - these plants are particularly perfect for darker bedrooms and offices.

W A T E R  Snake plants will rot if they’re overwatered, and the soil should be allowed to completely dry out between waterings.

C A R E  Snake plants prefer to be root-bound, so they don’t need to be transplanted often. These are incredibly low-maintenance plants that thrive on neglect.

E X T R A  F A C T S  Snakes plants are native to tropical Africa and Asia, and come in a wide variety of shapes and colors. Be careful of damaging the tips of the leaves - if the tip breaks off, that particular leaf will stop growing.

Spider Plant

L I G H T   Prefers filtered or indirect light. It will tolerate more shaded areas, but may not product plantlets.

W A T E R  Keep the potting soil moist from spring to fall and allow it to dry out completely between waterings in the winter.

C A R E  Cut the little plantlets from the parent plant, pot them individually in small pots, and voila! You’re now that person who brings tiny plants as a hostess gift. Adorable. Repot every 2-3 years in the spring when the plant is root-bound. Plant it in a 50:50 mix of multipurpose and aerated potting soils in a pot that will accommodate the root ball.

Succulent (General Care)

L I G H T   Prefers bright indirect light and direct light. The more colorful the succulent, the more sunlight is needed to keep the color from fading.

W A T E R  Use well-draining soil and only water when the soil is completely dry. It’s usually better to underwater than overwater. Never water into the rosette.

ZZ Plant

L I G H T   Prefers filtered or indirect light, but can tolerate most light conditions.

W A T E R  Water sparingly during the warmer summer months and only when the top of the potting mix has dried out. Water once a month in the winter.

C A R E  Keep your plant compact by trimming back stems that are getting a little leggy. Repot every 2-3 years in a 2:1 mix of aerated potting soil and sand.