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    30 Helpful Tricks To Actually Keep Your Plants Alive

    Plant care can be hard, but not when you have the right tools.

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    1. Don't forget to repot your plants every once in a while! You tell when a plant has outgrown its home if roots are coming out of the drainage hole. Once it's time, consult this infographic:

    guide for repotting
    Apartment Geeks / Via apartmentgeeks.net

    Get the details from Apartment Geeks.

    2. Ask an experienced community for guidance when you don't know what type of plant you're working with. The subreddit r/whatsthisplant is here to help.

    screenshot of the subreddit homepage
    Reddit

    3. If your plant likes humidity, they're really not going to like it if it ever gets cold or dry in your home. Place a bowl of water on top of your heater, OR do your plants and yourself a favor and get a humidifier to keep things a little steamy.

    humidifier
    Amazon

    This humidifier runs for up to 16 hours of continuous use, has high and low speed mist settings, nightlight, and auto-shutoff when water is low or the tank is removed. It comes with an AC power adapter, disk cleaning brush, user manual, and two-year warranty.

    Promising review: "This is a great product. Cool mist keeps me from dehydrating at night. The cool blue light is awesome. I give this a 5 star rating. I noticed on some websites that this is the very best in humidifiers and I totally agree. I bought one for my son's fiancé and she is loving it, as well. Easy to refill. Easy to keep clean. Cool mist is a delight." —Charmed1

    Get it from Amazon for $39.99.

    4. Put all your humidity-loving plants in one spot.

    a bunch of places clustered together
    Rebecca O'Connell / BuzzFeed

    Remember that humidifier I told you about? If all your humidity-needing plants are in one place, you don't need to worry about getting a humidifier for every room. Having one muggy area is great because the plants can share their moisture.

    5. Opt for terra-cotta or plastic pots with drainage holes. That fancy pot is cute, but it's gonna trap water at the bottom and give your plants root rot.

    cylinder shaped planters
    Amazon

    TBH, it's prob cheapest to go buy some $5 ones at your local plant store, but if you wanna get a little fancy, check out these nice pots. They're also made out of terracotta (and can absorb excess moisture) but come in a chic silhouette.

    Get a pack of three from Amazon for $28.99.

    6. If you're feeling brave, you can try your hand at making your own drainage holes with a special drill bit.

    drill next to the bits in various sizes
    amazon.com

    Promising review: "I bought this to drill holes in my plant pots for better drainage and it works perfectly. Did about 10 pots with no issues. Came as described." —Zakk & Steph

    Get a set of seven from Amazon for $14.21.

    7. Orrr you can go the safe route and use one of these inserts that'll let the soil drain into a lower compartment of the pot. It's lighter than the traditional method of adding stones under the soil.

    The orange planter insert in a planter
    Target

    Promising review: "I have used these before. It makes for a lot less work and weight in large planters. They work great in allowing for drainage especially for large ceramic planters that do not have drainage holes. This way the water is in the bottom and can evaporate. However, in areas with heavy rain, I would still try and drill drainage holes if possible without cracking the planter."—Peggy

    Get it from Target for $6.89+ (available in seven sizes).

    8. Know your sunlight types! When researching your plant's care needs, it helps if you know what "direct sun" means in relation to your home.

    a graph showing direct sun is right on a south facing window, bright indirect is a little farther back from window, medium light is in the corner, and low light is far away from the window
    Kathy Hoang / BuzzFeed

    9. If your plants come from a humid climate, they'd probably enjoy a good spritz. Arm yourself with a high-quality spray bottle and spray their leaves at least once a day.

    Bek O'Connell / BuzzFeed

    Most of my houseplants are from more humid regions, and spraying their leaves helps them look lush and perky, even when the heat or AC is blasting. I know it's pretty weird to be passionate about a spray bottle, but I absolutely need to tell you about this mister. Just holding it in my hands makes me happy. The bottle is made with thick, dark brown glass and the sprayer is a sturdy plastic. The mist itself is evenly dispersed and covers a lot of the leaves' surface at once. Just a few quick sprays will completely douse my lovely green pals. I wish I could hold a ceremony and award this mister a "Best-Made Product Ever" award. My pilea and peace lily would be in attendance and applauding with their little stems. If you love your plants, spoil them with this fantastic mister.

    Get it from Amazon for $8.98.

    10. Use a guided plant care journal to help you record all the important deets on your plants so you don't have to Google "monstera how much water" every other day.

    CarlyCreationsStudio

    Get it from CarlyCreationsStudio on Etsy for $12.

    11. Seeing some yellow leaves? Don't freak out! This guide will translate what each color is trying to tell you.

    guide that shows that leaf problems could be a sign of dehydration, lack of sunlight, overwatering, or a pest problem)
    saferbrand.com

    It could also be a nutrient deficiency, which you can learn about here.

    12. Add stickers to your agenda to remind you when to water your plants.

    stickers of a dead flower that says water plants
    frannielambstickers

    Get a pack of 50 from frannielambstickers on Etsy for $3.99.

    13. Aerate soil with toothpick or chopstick every now and then.

    hand holds toothpick
    Nontawat Thongsibsong / Getty Images/EyeEm

    Breaking up dense soil every now and then will give your plants' roots more room to grow, allow more oxygen flow, and help even moisture throughout the soil.

    Learn more about how to aerate plants at Notable Life.

    14. Stick some plant food spikes in the soil to keep your leafy friends fed for up to two months.

    amazon.com

    It's recommended to change the spikes every 30 days during the spring and summer months.

    Promising review: "I have several houseplants that had stopped flowering, so I put a few of these spikes in the pot (there are directions on the back of package for quantity), and approximately a month after using these spikes, my peace lily had three flowers on it, and my African violets plants all got several blooms on them! This worked wonders for my plants that don't flower also! I noticed that my ivy and cactus plants started growing faster, and they became more green and healthy looking. I am very happy with this product, and I will buy it again." —Elizabeth

    Get a pack of 24 from Amazon for $2.98.

    15. If you're looking to start an indoor herb garden, read up on the basics:

    indoor herb garden guide
    Chadwicks / Via chadwicks.ie

    Read how to perfect your indoor herb garden from Chadwicks.

    16. And while you're at it, figure out which herbs are better grown indoor vs. outdoors. This chart is here to help!

    an herb grower's cheat sheet
    anglianhome.co.uk

    Check out the transcript on Good to Be Home.

    17. Attach plants to pack of green plant stakes with plant tape so they can keep growing vertically without putting too much pressure on their delicate stems.

    amazon.com, Amazon

    Promising review (tape): "I have tried so many products and variations of trellis ties over the past five years and have finally found a product that I LOVE. Unlike its competitors, it stretches with the growth of the plant and does not cut into stems, branches, or tomatoes. I used it to support my container grown tomato plants and tied it along the stems and a bamboo stake. I also used it to support the tomato or cluster of tomatoes along the branch while it ripened. It supported ten tremendously without damaging the stem and ripping off the tomato (which commonly happens with other ties). I can't recommend this enough." —LJGBrooklyn

    Get them from Amazon: the tape from Amazon for $6.90 and 25 stakes for $7.99.

    18. Collect rain water to give your plants, you know, as a treat.

    rain drops on a window
    Anna Blazhuk / Getty Images

    My tropical plants always perk up when I give them a thorough soak with rain water.

    Generally speaking, tap water is fine for most houseplants. There are some finicky plants that prefer distilled, but overall, a tap water shower is the easiest and cheapest way to go. That said, if you have softened waters, the salts can build up over time and hurt your leafy friends.

    19. Stick butterfly-shaped sticky traps in your pots so you can finally evict all those tiny fly free-loaders.

    Amazon, amazon.com

    Promising review: "I have a plant in my office that had terrible gnats. I ordered this product and put one in my plant. Within one hour, there were about 10 gnats stuck to it. Within four days, it was covered on both sides with gnats. Very pleased with this product! Very easy to use, no odor, and even looks cute in my plant!" —HD6774

    Get a pack of 25 from Amazon for $14.39.

    20. Add some Miracle-Gro water storing crystals to soil that'll prevent both under- *and* over-watering, which I believe are the top two killers of houseplants.

    Amazon, amazon.com

    Promising review: "I have deck rail flower boxes and they get full sun most of the day. I filled in the drain holes to hold more water and added these to the soil. Both made a huge difference in the quality of life for the plants. They were and still are gorgeous even if I couldn't water every day. I do have to admit I used more per planter than the recommended amount." —Pattijwr

    Get it from Amazon for $8.72.

    21. Use a banana peel to gentle dust your plants' leaves.

    model wipes down orchid leaf with banana peel
    Elva Etienne / Getty Images

    Bonus: The residue left behind wards away certain pests. If you're not a banana person, also consider this handy spray.

    22. Install a ringed plant stake that'll keep your leggy boi standing tall. It's ideal for plants that tend to slouch, like roses, lilies, sunflowers, minimas, and orchids.

    stake with loop at top keeps bulb plant straight up
    Amazon

    Get a pack of four from Amazon for $11.59.

    23. Consider using clay pebbles to absorb water and nutrients. They ensure good aeration, prevent excess acidity, and thwart root rot.

    burnt orange colored pebbles with a plant's roots grabbing hold of them
    Amazon

    These provide a great drainage system and keep air circulating so roots can get oxygen. You can also crush them up and put them in soil to increase water retention. Just remember to rinse and soak properly before use. Here is what you can do with these bad boys: seed propagation, insulation from temperature fluctuations, terrarium drainage (put them below the soil of a pot with no drainage hole), and orchid rehab.

    Get 2 pounds* from Amazon for $18.88.

    *some reviewers note that they got less than 2 pounds in their order.

    24. Harness the healing power of cinnamon.

    powdered cinnamon
    Sommai Larkjit / Getty Images/EyeEm

    Houseplants and cinnamon go together like Batman and Robin. There's a lot of ways this common kitchen staple can help out. It can:

    1. Ward away pests like gnats, ants, and spider mites

    2. Be used as a natural rooting hormone

    3. Heal and disinfect plant wounds

    Learn more about cinnamon's benefits from Fathers in the Woods.

    25. if you lack the coveted ☀️SOUTH FACING WINDOW☀️, get an adjustable, three-headed LED grow light that will ensure your plants get all the sweet, sweet rays they need to photosynthesize away.

    a collection of small plants on table under the light
    amazon.com

    Promising review: "This light is perfect in every way. Definitely would recommend to anyone who is growing anything from butterfly pea flowers to sunflowers. My daughter and I started indoor planting as a hobby during this COVID-19 crisis to keep our minds and souls at ease, and what a wonderful experience. We started with the butterfly pea flower trellis plant as an experiment and now have a great variety of plants. The basil once under this light sprouted in two days — totally incredible. Our succulents have grown, and the tomatoes and dwarf sunflowers are looking beautiful. We even have a baby bonsai in the mix that is stunning and healthy. We ordered another light and can’t wait to get it in so we can plant the seedlings we just got in the mail to grow rare succulents and — believe it or not — a fuzzy pink banana tree, LOL." —webyty

    Get it from Amazon for $28.99.

    26. When looking for a product to keep produce fresh longer, opt for a pair of Blueapples to soak up the ethylene gas. What does this have to with plants, you ask? Well, once it's time to replace the contents of the apples, you can dump the used powder into your plants as plant food. A waste-free solution!

    a reviewer's before and after that shows a close up of an ivy plant that's brown with small leaves and then the same ivy looking fuller and greener
    amazon.com

    Promising review: "Not only do these things work great to keep produce fresh longer, I wanted to review how it works as plant food. I swear my ivy plant looks like those stupid Miracle Grow commercials, the leaves are double in size. I love that there's zero waste with these, but I can't believe the effect it had on my plant. I posted a before and after so you can see just how much bigger the leaves are — not all of the growth is attributable to the food." —AliceL

    Get two from Amazon for $11.99.

    27. Install the Leaflow device so all the water actually gets in the pot instead of all over the place.

    a leaf-shaped funnel that connects to side of pot
    Amazon

    Get a set of three from Amazon for $10.99.

    28. If your plant is getting too leggy, try pruning the top to promote bushier growth.

    model clips the side of a houseplant
    Westend61 / Getty Images/Westend61

    Get some shears from Amazon for $5.94.

    29. Install floating clear shelves that offer up much-needed surface space for your plants, because you only have so much windowsill real estate.

    The three-tiered shelf holding nine plants
    Indoor Window Gardens

    Indoor Window Gardens is a small, family-owned business based in South Carolina. The acrylic unit comes preassembled and secures with a single fastener.

    Promising review: "Not only do these shelves look amazing and give me so much more room for my plants but the customer service is also amazing! I forgot to order extensions with my order so I contacted the shop and they helped me by making a special listing for the extensions. They placed them in my original order so everything came together. If you’re looking for a window shelf this is it!!" —Jamie Mine

    Get the three-shelf display from Indoor Window Gardens on Etsy for $104 (available in three styles).

    30. Opt for easy, low-key plants if you're a beginner.

    three pots with plants
    The Sill

    In my experience, the mighty pothos is completely unkillable. I have watched those vines thrive in even the most hostile and unforgiving conditions. Other recommendations for forgiving plants: peace lily, spider plant, monstera, pilea, Chinese evergreen, and iron plant.

    Get a beginner set of houseplants from The Sill for $65 (comes with snake plant, ZZ plant, and hoya variety; available in three pot colors).

    Looking for the perfect gift for any occasion? Check out all of BuzzFeed’s gift guides!

    illustrated gift guide
    BuzzFeed

    Reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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