Once upon a time, I was a plant killer. I couldn’t keep a single indoor plant alive. Then, I met Darryl Cheng. He’s a gardening expert who taught me everything I know about plants. I can honestly now say that I have a green thumb… and might even be a bit obsessed with house plants!
If you ever thought you’d like to learn how to not kill your plants, read on! Not only am I going to share a few good plant-keeping tips with you, but I’m also going to show you the best products and tools for the job!
“New Plant Parent: Develop Your Green Thumb and Care for Your House-Plant Family”, By Darryl Cheng
First, before you do anything related to indoor plants, buy this book! New Plant Parent: Develop Your Green Thumb and Care for Your House-Plant Family was written by the gardening expert, Darryl Cheng, and teaches plant owners how to become plant lovers who bond with and understand their plants’ needs. This book is full of personal stories, lots of photographs, and plenty of recommendations on species to buy for your home.
The reason I love Darryl’s book is that it’s so much like my own book, Clean My Space: The Secret to Cleaning Better, Faster, and Loving Your Home Every Day, in that it’s a resource and a reference. Darryl has journaled, with very detailed notes, about how he’s cared for his plants. If you’re someone who always worries about killing your plants, he will tell you how to nurture particular plant species and includes growth strategies.
I really like that he also includes life expectancies for indoor plants. There’s no reason you should hold unrealistic expectations about how long a plant should live indoors.
Honestly, this book is perfect for both avid plant parents and aspiring plant parents. Before Darryl, I had NO IDEA how to care for indoor plants. Now, my house is looking more and more like a healthy thriving jungle every year!
The Fasmov Stainless Steel Watering Can
One of the first things that I learned about plant care is that different plants require different amounts of water. One plant may require watering once a week, whereas another plant may require watering every 2-3 weeks. Also, the distance a plant is from the nearest source of sunlight will affect how quickly the plant metabolizes the water. In layman’s terms: a plant closer to the window is going to be much thirstier than a plant further from the window.
The Fasmov Stainless Steel Watering Can is perfect for watering plants because the long slender spout allows you to pour water into the foliage and get to the plant’s roots with a controlled stream of water. Plus, it results in fewer spills than if you were to water a plant with a cup or pitcher.
I used to just dump a drinking glass full of water into my plants and say “there you go!”. Now, I realize that was not helping my plants thrive. This watering can is handy because, if you pour in a circle, it will help you saturate the entire grower pot. That is better for the plant, rather than just dumping a cup of water in one spot. “Dry pockets of soil can cause roots in those areas to die even when you think you’ve “watered” the plant,” Darryl Cheng.
A quick tip: when you water your plants, you should use enough water to fill roughly 1/3 of the planter.
Garsum Sticky Trap, Fruit Fly, and Gnat Trap
If you overwater your plant, you can experience root rot, moldy soil, and fungus gnats. Fungus gnats are tiny little flies that come from fungus growing in your soggy plant soil. If you experience this problem, the Garsum Sticky Trap will help you eliminate the gnats, while you tackle the fungus problem. Fungus and mold in your soil can be treated by spraying a solution of hydrogen peroxide and water onto the surface.
What’s great about the Garsum Sticky Trap is that it can be used for any small flying insects, both indoors and outdoors, such as fruit flies and mosquitos. It is shaped like butterflies and flowers and is perfect for small potted plants. You simply peel and insert it in the plant pot until it’s completely covered in flies.
Schultz All Purpose Plant Food Plus & Schultz Cactus Plus Liquid Plant Food
It is important to give plants the nutrients that they need and would otherwise be getting out in the wild. When you pot a plant or pick it up from a garden center, it’s going to look green and perfect and gorgeous. You should think of it as an Olympian training for the Olympics. It has been given an ideal environmental setting and ideal food. When you bring it home, now you have to keep up and give it the best that you can. Since we can’t really give our plants ideal circumstances all of the time, we really have to make sure that we are feeding them properly.
That’s why plant food really makes all the difference in the health of your indoor plants. Schultz All Purpose Plant Food Plus is suitable for all Indoor and Outdoor Plants and will encourage new growth. All it takes is 7 drops with each watering.
If you have cacti use the Schultz Cactus Plus Liquid Plant Food.
COOLJOB Gardening Gloves
A key gardening tool is a good pair of gardening gloves. I like the rubber-coated gloves with the lightweight & breathable knitted base. They are comfortable and your hands won’t sweat in them, unlike all-rubber gloves. The soft and sturdy foamed latex coating around the fingers will keep your hands from getting tired and your fingernails filthy.
I wear these particularly when I’m potting plants to keep my hands clean. After I’m done using these, I will give them a rinse and let them air dry. The 6-pack is great to have so that you don’t have to go searching for a clean pair.
GROWNEER 3 Packs Tomato Cages
If you’re trying your hand at vegetable gardening, these tomato cages are a must-have. Tomato plants particularly, can get quite tall and sag over to the side if not properly supported.
You can stake large indoor plants with these cages too. They are a good shape for staking, since they are triangular, and have an adjustable height.
Keep in mind, when using a large stake, the stake may stick out a bit awkwardly in the beginning. With patience, you will see the plant take to the stake. Before you know it, you won’t even be able to see the stake anymore.
For smaller plants, such as peppers, or small tomato plants, check this out: 4 Pack Garden Plant Support Tomato Cage with 24″ Trellis for Climbing Plants, 4 Self Watering Spikes, and 20 Plant Clips (24″).
LMX Garden Soft Plant Ties
When staking plants, you won’t regret buying this green soft garden wire twist tie. After you re-pot your plant, or set up your vegetable garden, and carefully put your stakes in, cut off little pieces of this soft plastic tie (it feels a bit like velvet) and use it to direct your plant in the direction you want it to grow. Most importantly, it won’t harm your plant. If you use string, chain, or twist-ties to hold your plant to the stake or cage, it might cut into its flesh.
Dr. Meter Digital Light Meter
I mentioned earlier that plants all need different amounts of water, well this is also true when it comes to sunlight. If you’re wondering about how much sunlight your plant is getting and if it’s in an optimum location within your home, you can use a digital light meter.
This is not a beginner’s tool. If you are someone who is taking your plants seriously and wants to make sure they are getting an appropriate amount of sunlight, this is a great tool to take your plant care to the next level. The light meter will tell you exactly how much light your plant is getting. You’ll be surprised how much light changes when moving just a couple of feet away from a window.
XXXFLOWER Plant Terrarium
This is the most adorable way to propagate your plants. What is propagation, you may ask? Propagation is basically the process of creating new plants using parts of your existing plant, such as the seed, bulb, root, stem, or even a leaf. If you want to learn more about propagation, check out the book I mentioned at the start, New Plant Parent: Develop Your Green Thumb and Care for Your House-Plant Family.
This wooden plant terrarium with glass bulbs is so cute you could set it up as a centerpiece on your dining room table.
I sometimes like to give people a beautiful piece of my plant through propagation, and this cool terrarium would make it look so beautiful in the process! I could even gift the whole thing—terrarium with the new growing plant—what a great gift idea!
Gar-Life Bamboo 6-Tier Plant Stand
If you are a plant lover or are learning to become one, you may discover there just isn’t enough space for all the plants you want. The 6-tier bamboo plant stand is the answer to a shortage of horizontal space. It’s perfect for small rooms or offices. These are fun because you can put a variety of planters and plants on each tier.
As a bonus, this stand is made of 100% Eco-Friendly bamboo. With two layers of surface varnish, it is mold and insect-resistant.
La Jolie Muse Large Indoor/Outdoor Garden Planters
It’s generally recommended that you re-pot your plants every year. That’s because after a year the plant has pretty much tapped the soil of all the available nutrients, even if you use plant food.
When you rejuvenate the soil sometimes that means putting your plants into a larger pot as the plant grows. If you want to keep your plant as its current size, prune it and keep it in a smaller pot. Otherwise, you will likely need a pot that’s 2 inches in diameter larger than the current pot, every year when you re-pot.
These large weather-resistant pots are nice for decorating your living room, or for placing outside on a balcony, patio, or porch. I like this particular pot because it’s designed to withstand intense sun and harsh winter temperatures, and resists damage such as fading, cracking, and peeling.
Plus, this outdoor planter comes with 4 pre-drilled, built-in drainage holes that create a healthy living environment for your indoor and outdoor ferns, ivy, and spider plants.
The drainage holes are really important for preventing root rot in plants where water can build up in the planter without anywhere to go
I have to control myself on amazon because I could literally buy a new planter every single day! I’m in love with them!!
My hope is that this list will help you on your journey to becoming a plant parent—and not a plant killer. Plus, once you become a true plant lover, you can find other “plant lover friends” and start to trade plant cuttings and expand the variety of plants in your home. Good luck!