5 Biggest Mistakes Plant Moms Make & How to Avoid Them

Being a plant mom or houseplant owner, whichever suits you, did not come to me naturally. My mother-in-law got me into this after my only son, Caleb, passed away. She told me growing and taking care of plants will be a great therapeutic activity. I must admit, she was right about that!

It’s been 4 years now that I’ve been a plant mom and so far I have owned about 30 houseplants. Some died under my watch and some I gave it away to my friends. I currently don’t have as much as I had when I started but still, I’m always on the hunt as to which one I’ll add to my collection. Today though, I don’t want to brag about my journey, but bring some insight to some of you out there exploring the idea of starting your journey as a plant parent. 

Corine Phillips, interior designer, cares for plants

Here are some of the biggest plant mom mistakes I did and how you can avoid them.

1. Not considering the adequate amount of light. 

When I started buying plants, I didn’t know anything about the right amount of light they should receive. I just thought “Oh this plant is pretty, I’m buying it”. I didn’t even consider where I’d put it in our apartment for it to receive the right adequate sunlight. It’s after killing one of my precious plants, and almost killing another one, that I started being attentive to whether a plant will be good for my home or not. What I failed to understand here was plants have a different way of being tolerant to direct sunlight or not. Make sure, when buying a plant, that you have the appropriate sunlight for it to grow properly.

2. Not knowing if I’m a nurturer mom or not. 

Never did I even consider this could be a thing, until I realized that one of my plant was dying because I watched over it too much. There are plants that don’t need much attention, you water once a month, set it up in the right corner and they just grow. On the other hand, there are plants that need more attention and care, watering every week, cleaning their leaves, etc. And there are some that are kind of in the middle.

Today I know I’m kind of a middle parent with a preference for plants that need my attention – check out this Instagram reel where I spent time watering and wiping my plants’ leaves. I don’t do good with plants that don’t need my attention. So, it’s important to figure out what kind of parent you’d like to be and how much time you have to dedicate to those plants.

3. Giving up too fast. 

Though I’m truly a fighter, I have moments where I tend to give up, perhaps too fast. Remember the plant that died because of inadequate sunlight? My friend had the same plant and at a certain point struggled with keeping it alive, but she never gave up on it until there was new growth. When I read about her story, I thought “what if I had waited?”

A couple of years ago, my patience was put to test, when my husband and I came back from 2 weeks of vacation in Florida to find out that one of my baby plants, was dead (almost, no joke!) Thankfully, this plant was one that liked attention, so I gave her the necessary attention and after 3 days of fighting for her life, she came back! I named her “Lily the survivor”. The lesson is, do not give up now, amazing results take time.

4. Not using the right pot size. 

I used to focus a lot on the aesthetic of my plants’ pots. I would ask myself the question if it was ok with my décor, color scheme, and aesthetic until I realized that having a healthy plant was more important than a pretty container. Don’t get me wrong it still matters, but you get what I mean right? Not only did I start documenting myself on it, but I took a step forward to actually repot some of my plants in different containers to give their roots enough space to breathe. Please check this article from Tiffany Huffman of Greenhouse Studio to know more about the importance of having the right pot size for your plants.

5. Not reading about plant care. 

There is an African proverb that says “There is no shame in not knowing. The shame lies in not finding out”. For a very long time, I made the mistake of knowing much about a plant and impulsively buying it. To be quite honest, I still do this big mistake, but I’ve gotten way better. So, please don’t make that mistake! The right thing to do is to browse around, document yourself about a particular plant you’re considering buying, see if it fits with your tastes and lifestyle, then buy it! And of course, continue learning about how to care for it. 

I do not see myself as a plant expert yet, just a plant parent on her journey, and my desire is to help you avoid the mistakes I did. I hope these points will help you, and please, don’t hesitate to share this post with your loved ones.

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