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What you need to know about COVID-19: August 7, 2020
A few years ago, I thought I had the opposite of a green thumb and would kill any plant left in my care. I would be filled with envy when I saw photos or videos of peoples’ beautiful sunrooms filled with greenery, but I didn’t think I could pull it off.
That all changed when I stole the coleus from my mother’s kitchen table. It was a big, wild, leafy green plant with tiny pink and purple centres and I loved how quickly it grew. It looked a little sad and overgrown on the table, so I figured I couldn’t make it much worse. I took it into my office, cleaned it up a bit, and just a week later, it was absolutely thriving.
Before long, I had this jungle of a plant pouring down from the top of my desk and the confidence boost I needed. I began to look up different kinds of plants and started picking one up now and then that I thought might be easy enough to care for.
My little collection only sits at eight right now, but adding a pop of green to my home and watching them grow is really rewarding. I’ve been told you hit a certain age between pets and kids and decide you can probably care for an ivy (maybe it’s a millennial thing). If you’re like me and have been hesitant to jump in, this piece is for you.
The great thing to know about diving into house plants today is that there’s so much information out there. From blogs, to videos, and even entire social media accounts dedicated to teaching others how to care for plants in fun and entertaining ways. Before you jump in, take some time to look around and get a sense of what the most common tips and tricks are. This can really help in the long run!
When you purchase a plant, there are a few things to take into account. What kind of light do you have in your home? Each plant has a different relationship with light and it’s important to be mindful of where you place them. For example, most ivy leaves are like tiny solar panels that soak in light like a sponge and want to sit directly in the sun, while snake plants can tolerate much more darkness.
Don’t fall for the “you can’t kill succulents” line. I’ve always been told that succulents are easy to care for and I think it’s a total myth; they’re touchy little buggers! While succulents are strong plants that have adapted to survive in harsh climates with little water, that doesn’t always translate to the shelf in your living room. If you do want to give them a shot, make sure you use a fast-draining cactus mix for soil, include drainage, and resist the urge to over water.
If you’re looking for fun alternatives for your first few house plants, here are some I would recommend: spider plant, devil’s ivy, snake plant, coleus, or golden pothos vine. You’re not restricted to this list, of course, but you’ll want to choose a plant that’s a bit more forgiving for your first time, in case you give it a little too much love or have to move it around a few times to find the best location.
The most important thing to remember is that starting a collection of house plants is supposed to be fun, not stressful. It’s a learning experience and you’ll have bumps along the way but that’s all part of the fun! If you have plant pictures or tips you’d like to share, I’d love to hear them.
Jill Ellsworth is a writer and communications specialist who lives in Dominion, N.S. Her column appears biweekly across the Saltwire Network. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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