image of various indoor house plants
No tea, no shade, but when someone tells me they can't keep a plant alive, I'm like "...but how".

For the most part, I find plants are easy to care for if you provide the right conditions (water and light), and fertilize and repot when needed. I currently have 64 types of plants in my home office alone, but caring for a large amount of plants comes with its own challenges. I've had a lot of plants die from overwatering or underwatering, had plants swarmed by pests, and had plants that straight up were like, "nah fam" and plan their exit strategy (caring for ivy is somehow my greatest struggle). ノಠ ∩ಠ)ノ

There's a lot of houseplant tips out there, but here are some of the important things I've personally learned over the years!


Image of Burro's Tail, Graptosedum California sunset, Moonstones succulent

1 | Inspect plants before purchasing

Carefully checking the leaves (especially the underside) prior to purchase helps reduce the chance of bringing pests home. (Anti-vaxxers won't know this, but prevention is key) The most important pests I check for are mealy bugs, soft brown scale, and spider mites. 

Mealy bugs are white and create fluffy cotton-y mass on plants, soft brown scale are small round insects usually found along the midribs of leaves, and spider mites spin webs that are generally found on the underside of leaves.

I've dealt with all 3 of these, and can 10/10 confirm these guys are @$$h0les.

Some people quarantine new plants when bringing them home, which is also a great idea.

2 | Don't let your plants touch

This is a huge benefit when you discover one of your plants has bugs—arranging your plants so that the leaves don't touch means crawling pests can't travel via touching leaves.
Image of Graptoveria Opalina

3 | Group plants that require similar conditions together

My high-humidity plants sit together by the humidifier, while my succulents sit away from the humidifier, since y'know tropical plants and desert plants have different needs.

Also: don't put your succulents in terrariums! They need good air circulation, whereas terrariums tend to trap moisture inside. Terrariums also tend not to have drainage holes, which is bad for all plants anyways.

4 | Determine compatibility when making plant arrangements

If you're planning a plant arrangement, pay attention to the needs of different plants.

For example, even different types of succulents require different amounts of water and light. Cacti require less water than most other succulents, and I've found my string of pearls require more water.

Image of soaking plants

5 | Soak your succulents

Watering succulents from the bottom up was a life changing discovery I made last year. This ensures the water doesn't just run through the sides when watering, but actually gets the soil evenly soaked. Succs get thirsty too!

You can tell when a succ is thirsty when the leaves start to wrinkle, like my hands in this -30°C we've had in Toronto this winter.

Take a vessel slightly larger than your succulent pot and fill it up with water. Place your pot inside the vessel and leave to soak for a few minutes, then pull out and drain.

(⬅️Image of this process on the left)

There's tons more I could talk about when it comes to plant care, but I wanted to keep it simple. Caring for this many plants has probably leveled me up to Asian granny status, but I ain't even mad.

How do you keep your plants alive?

No comments