I started getting into plants a few years ago when I was going through a winter heart break. With the cold outside, all I wanted to do during that time was nestle in at home with my fur baby. Breakups are hard, y’all!! But I’d made the conscious decision to counter the sadness inside of me, with beauty all around me in my home. I set my sights on making my home the most comfortable refuge possible and started pinning inspirational images to mood boards on my Pinterest page. I noticed I gravitated toward images with indoor plants over and over. I’d always idolized my grandmother’s green thumb, but had decided long before that I had a black thumb after killing a handful of (poorly maintained) succulents. (RIP plants) I decided, in order to bring my vision to life, I was going to have to turn my thumb green somehow! After lots of trial and error, I became a self proclaimed #plantlady with over 30 thriving plants in my home! Keep reading for tips from this plant lady…
How I take care of my plants
Over the years, I’ve used the trial and error method to learn how to take care of my plants, plus always taken good notes from the plant shop owner where I purchased the plant. And let me emphasize on error… I’ve made LOTS of mistakes with my plants, like the time I let my home stager move my philodendron outside (poor baby got so scorched by the sun and is still recovering a year later!) Let’s face it, plants can be intimidating! But here are some of my tips for taking care of the lil guys.
Every plant has different preferences – light, water, and temperature all have to be taken into account when considering if a particular plant will be the right fit for you and your home. I started off with cacti and a Pothos plant, to be on the safe side, and gradually have invested in larger, and more “challenging” plants, like a Fiddle Leaf Fig (renowned for their fickle and reactive qualities.)
It’s hard to say how much I water all of all my plants due to their varying needs, but generally I water the leafy guys once a week, and the succulents and cacti closer to every 2-3 weeks. I always check each plants’ soil to determine how much water to give them. Some plants like to be on the drier side, while others enjoy a good showering.
It’s also VERY important that plants have a drainage system. When you water a plant, it drips down to the bottom of the pot. If there’s nowhere for the excess water to go, it will mold at the bottom and cause root rot, not good! Be sure to purchase pots that have a drainage hole at the bottom and a saucer to catch the water. For my plants in baskets, I just have a small plastic saucer under them that you can’t even see!
Here’s Philip, our Fiddle Leaf Fig (or “fiddly fig” as my boyfriend calls him), currently loving his life!
Some plants looooove to be in full, direct sunlight, while others want a bit more indirect light. When I first moved into our current house, I noted what direction each of the windows points to, and placed my plants accordingly. For example, my succulents all sit in window sills on the Northwest side of my house and grow to the West, toward the sun. I unfortunately don’t have great window options directly toward the West, so they all grow to the left a bit, which is A-okay! On the other hand, my Dragon Tree is super happy chillin’ in our bedroom next to a window that gets indirect light.
I keep an eye on my plants when I water them and check to see if they’re dusty, or maybe need some new soil. About once a month or so, I walk around with my glass spray bottle and give the leaves a good spritz to remove dust and give them a bit more moisture. Plants are pretty good about telling you what you need – you just have to pay attention and do a little research to diagnose their needs!
There’s my Philodendron in the corner, stayin’ alive!
Where to get plants in Austin
I love to support local businesses, so I don’t personally have any plants from places like Home Depot. It may be a bit more expensive, but shopping local invests your money in the local economy, plus shop owners are typically more helpful and knowledgeable since they curated their supply! I get my plants from these spots around Austin:
The Fox Den is currently moving to a new location, but I’ve heard they’re staying on the East side. Candice, who owns the shop, is so helpful every time I come in, and I’m never disappointed by the selection! I got my Prayer Plant, Spider Plant, Bird of Paradise, and split leaf Philodendron here. I also got the hanging stand my Prayer Plant sits on here, as well as the mini peacock chair one of my plant babies sits on.
Here’s Banjo at The Fox Den!
Frond is the most beautifully curated shop! I go to Frond mostly for their plant accessories – they have the best selection for minimalistic ceramic planters, pots, saucers, watering cans, and misters. My Fittonia and N’joy Ivy are also both from here.
A happy, plump Banjo at Frond.
I feel like I’ve traveled to a tropical oasis when I’m at The Great Outdoors nursery, yet it’s only 2 miles south of downtown Austin! The Great Outdoors is a garden center, so it has a great selection of tools, rocks, soil, etc. Plus, I really love their greenhouse area for indoor plants. This is where my boyfriend got me my Fiddle Leaf Fig for my birthday!
This is where I get my, you guessed it, succulents! I literally have spent hours at this little nursery. They will pot any succulents you purchase, and have a great selection of rocks and crystals to add a little oomph to your display. Plus, they have a little pug that runs around the nursery, how do you top that?
The remainder of my plants are typically hand me downs from friends or neglected office plants I take in and nurse back to health. My Pothos, Dragon Tree, and a few I’m not sure of the type, are all hands me downs.
Plants are pretty easy to take care of, once you get the hang of it! It’s also so satisfying to watch them grow and thrive. Here are a few cute, and informative, books to purchase and have on hand for reference:
Are you a plant lady? What types of plants do you have? Do you have any tips for how you take care of your plant babies?