For my entire life I have watched my mom grow luscious gardens from seemingly thin air. Her ability to grow, nurture and tend to her garden for hours on end has always amazed me. She states it is her therapy, and she loves it. Me, on the other hand, up until this year could not even keep a cactus alive. My succulents dried up (yes, seriously a succulent dried up on my watch). Even my one attempt at starting a pre-planted (foolproof) pot ended in it never blooming. For my 25th birthday I want to do 25 things before 25, and gardening is at the top of the list! As I slowly reform my ways I hope to attract other aspiring plant moms alike. So fellow plant moms, here are my 10 tips for the aspiring plant mom.
As much as I would like to claim I’m a gardener extraordinaire, I am not (yet). This is merely part of a project for myself to take on a new challenge and work towards something I have always wanted to master. These tips may be able to help you out if you are also an aspiring plant mom (like myself) to get you started, keep you motivated, or to realize plants and gardening aren’t your thing!
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Just For Fun
The important thing is that you’re always having fun! If you don’t like plants or gardening, that’s totally okay! I personally grew frustrated with killing every plant I ever owned, and decided it was time for a change (not a complete failure, I turned the other plants into compost for my mom!). Now, let’s get to my 10 tips for aspiring plant moms!
10 Tips for the Aspiring Plant Mom
These are some of the tips I used to get started/maintain motivation with my gardening! I can only wait for the snow to melt so I can move my gardening outside!
1. Start Small – Think Cactuses and Succulents
I’ll admit, this is still the road I’m taking despite previous failures (really though, the only failure is giving up!). I have a new succulent trio on the go and I’m still looking for names. But I didn’t purchase something finicky like an orchid. Choose something that is low maintenance, and is a little more forgiving as you figure yourself out as a new plant mom.
You need to walk before you can run, and an important part of gardening is keeping things alive. Set yourself up for success by choosing something that will likely still live if you forget about it for a little (which you aren’t going to!).
2. Make Sure You Can Give Your Plant the Basics
Pretty simple right? Don’t go buying a temperamental tropical plant if you can’t maintain the environment it needs to thrive. If you analyze the plant stats and assess the plants basic needs such as water, light and temperature, and realize you can’t provide that – perhaps it’s not the right plant (for right now!). A plant only grows as well as it can in the environment it is provided!
For example, my darling friend owned an air plant (pretty simple right) but her room is in the basement with no windows. Despite trying her best (bless her soul), this tiny air plant didn’t really live because there was no light. Meeting a plant’s basic needs are key to that plant simply surviving!
3. Create a Reminder to Actually Take Care of Them
Calling all aspiring plant moms – this may be the holy grail that saves you! This may seem a little extra, but how many times have you forgotten to water your plants? (Me too, don’t worry). It can be easy to forget to water your plants, or move them into a sunnier place when you’re just starting out! It’s okay to create a reminder (like you would create one to do something to take care of yourself!) to make sure you remember!
4. Spoil Your Plant a Little
I’m not going to lie, I’m automatically drawn to my plants more when I pick out a cute pot for them. That being said, I also recently got an adorable mister from Chapters that I use to spritz my plants!
It’s little things like this that keep me interested. Investing in my plants makes me take it a little more seriously, and feel more like the plant is my own. Plus the little mister that says ‘you girl grow’ was too cute to pass up! (You can get the mister here!)
5. Watering Instructions Are Not a Light-Hearted Suggestion
Seriously, if I could go back and redo this part I may still have plants from previous attempts. Whether the plant needs a little or a lot of water, try not to exceed or underestimate the recommendations. If you have to, google search what others are doing to ensure you don’t over/under water your plants. Keep in mind that over-watering is a thing and can be just as detrimental to plants as under-watering!
6. Stay Away From Extremes
Like humans, plants need balance. Chances are your plant doesn’t only need light or only need a ton of water. Balance is key, and again, extremes are never good for anything or anyone. Chances are, if a plant requires a lot of something, doesn’t mean it only needs that condition 24/7. Stay away from extremes in light, heat, darkness and watering.
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7. Don’t be Afraid to Research
Sometimes plants come with a little tag full of pictograms that can leave a new plant owner guessing everything. (I see that the plant needs a little bit of water, but how much is a little?!) As a new plant mom, trying to figure out estimated amounts of light and water can be a little tricky if you haven’t done this before. Don’t be afraid to do a little research or ask a friend for advice!
You’re better off searching and getting an answer you pretty much already knew, than to waste time with trial and error. Just like you would with any other task you’ve never done, instructions or research never hurt to ease your mind!
8. Expand Your Horizons
Once you master the mundane of keeping a cactus or succulent alive, it’s okay to branch out and try new things! This can mean starting a different type of plant or branching out to gardening outside! Whatever it is, once you feel confident, take on that new task!
I started growing a little potted lavender I call Larry from a small Eco Cube I picked up at Chapters. Eco Cubes are great because they’re a little more challenging than a succulent (you get to germinate the seeds!) and then you need to eventually transplant them into a bigger pot!
I chose lavender, but they have a great selection of them here! So far Larry the Lavender has sprouted, and I’ll continue to nurture him and wait for the day I get to transplant him (plus he comes with written instructions so that makes my life easier!).
P.S. Pinterest is a gold mine for gardening tips. You can check out Pinterest, yourself and find examples like One Crazy Mom’s tips for beginners to grow their own vegetable garden!
9. Recognize Your Limitations
If you want to simply grow cacti and succulents for the rest of your plant mom career, that’s okay too. It doesn’t make you any less of a plant mom to stick to what you love, especially if you get good at it! Outdoor gardening isn’t for everyone, just like indoor plants aren’t for everyone. Find your gardening niche and flourish there! Bloom where you are planted!
10. Have Fun With It!
Again, having fun is key to all of this. If you aren’t having fun or gardening isn’t for you, that’s okay too. Get messy, explore a little bit or go out of your comfort zone! The world is your oyster. Not everyone was meant for planting and gardening, and that’s completely fine. However, it never hurts to try. This way you can figure out what you like and don’t like, and what you’re willing to learn or try!
Becoming a plant mom is still taking on a responsibility! At the end of the day, something is somewhat relying on you to keep it alive. Grow, explore and bloom yourself in this new role. This is purely for fun, to challenge yourself or to start something new! I’d love to hear all of your plant-mom stories or gardening triumphs in the comments!