Hello Plant Lovers!
Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Hiba Khan. A postgraduate student pursuing MSc Finance and I live on-campus accommodation. I call myself a Plant Aficionado and my favourite houseplants are Pothos, Sansevierias (the hard to kill plants) and Philodendrons.
While you’re spending time at home during these difficult times, indoor plants can not only beautify your space but also uplift your mood and can actually get your body moving! I have grown a mini indoor jungle in my room. Their beautiful colours are such a stress buster when I am having my lows.
This is the photo of my plants corner. It includes a Monstera, RattleSnake Calathea, Alocasia Polly, an English Ivy and a Golden Barrel cactus.
Now that you have seen my mini indoor jungle, I would like to share my experience of how I rescued some of the plants in the library and had my Houseplant Hero moment!
On my way to LimeTree, to grab the meals provided by the University, I cross a window every day where my eyes got trapped by the charm of some indoor plants. When I came closer to the window, I saw the plants inside were on the verge of dying and had been longing for a good water soak. That is when I turned my Detective Conan mode on and tried to figure out how I can contact the owner of the plants. I realised that it was the Library building and so I looked up online for the library staff and wrote down an email to all of them (some 50ish contacts) requesting if I could access the office and water the plants.
I now started to wait for a reply from the Library team and to my surprise, the next morning; the library team put me in contact with Lizzie (the library archivist) and soon we planned my trip to the library so I could come in and rescue the plants and have my heroic moment.
When I went in, there were several kinds of plants. From a large Boston Fern to a dramatic Peace Lily, some Chinese Money plants and Sansevierias. I wasted no time and got to work. I trimmed off some dead foliage off the Boston Fern and Peace Lily so that it pushes out new growth. I watered the plants till the soil was completely moist and made sure the extra water drains out of the pots properly. Also, since the plants are locked down and we don’t know when the owners will be able to come to the library to pick their beautiful plants; I placed all the pots near windows so that they all get enough Sun Light.
Left to right: the beautiful Boston Fern after pruning. The Peace Lily and Sansevierias after a good soak. The Chinese money plant placed in front of the window.
I had a sense of relief when the plants gulped in litres of water and also guided Lizzie on how to look after them from there onwards. I know she will do amazing!
Taking good care of your houseplants involves a few basic tips:
- Water- Moderation is the Key!
If you are a beginner, there are chances you might be thinking that you aren’t watering your plants enough, when in fact the reality is that you are overwatering!
Houseplants hate to have a “wet feet” and this can also cause root rot. Make sure that your plants are potted in a well-draining soil mix. This allows excess water to drain from the pot and provides breathing room for the roots.
To check if your plants need water, the key is to insert your finger in the soil and see if the soil sticks to your finger, if it doesn’t; it needs water!
That means a watering schedule of once or twice a week is suitable for most plants, where you water the plant thoroughly but infrequently. When I water my houseplants, I will pour water onto the soil at a slow, deliberate pace, until the water starts escaping from the drainage holes of the container. That’s your signal to stop watering!
We all learnt this in our school time, Plants need Light in order to photosynthesise (Basic Science kids!). Depending on what type of plant you have, its light requirement also varies. Plants like Aloe Vera love Direct Sunlight whereas Boston Ferns, Chinese Money plants want bright, indirect light.
The warmer months are approaching and the good news is that your houseplants will love this! Just keep in mind to provide the plants with some air circulation, and rotate its face!
Keep plants away from areas of cold drafts in the winter. The warmer it gets for houseplants, the happier they are!
These are some basic houseplant tips that will help you be a Houseplant Hero.