Houseplants bring us so much joy, whether you keep plants for their decorative look, companionship, air purification, or as a mood enhancer. Plants aren’t set and leave decor however, and need a little care to stay happy and healthy. This article will talk about the various supplies you need for houseplant ownership including must-haves and nice-to-haves.
- Potting soil – This is the material that you will use to pot your plants in. Make sure to choose a potting soil that is appropriate for the type of plants you are growing. Soil inclusions such as peat moss, vermiculite, perlite, worm castings, and bark chips are helpful if you want to make a custom soil blend.
- Pots or containers – Most plants you will buy come in a grow pot from the nursery. We recommend keeping the plant in the grow pot and putting the whole thing in a decorative container. This makes it much easier to check for excess water and repotting. However, many people like to direct pot the plant into a decorative container and this is perfectly fine as long as there are holes for drainage. If direct potting, keep in mind that certain container materials such as terracotta allow the soil to dry out more quickly so we don’t recommend using it unless you are confident in your watering schedule.
- Fertilizer – Most houseplants will benefit from being fertilized on a regular basis. Choose a fertilizer that is appropriate for the type of plants you are growing.
- Watering can or hose – You will need a way to water your plants. A watering can is a good choice for smaller plants, while a hose may be more convenient for larger plants like the fiddle leaf fig or those that are outdoors.
- Pruning/potting tools – Pruning shears and scissors are helpful for trimming dead leaves and maintaining growth. A spade and plastic box are helpful for repotting.
- Plant saucers – These can be useful for catching excess water and preventing spills from drain holes or gaps in baskets. You can use the saucer inside the pot which looks tidier and keeps water from touching the container. You can also set the container in the saucer which makes it easier to see excess water.
Nice to have
- Gloves – Not everyone needs gloves, especially since houseplants aren’t as rugged as garden plants, but if you’re not someone who enjoys playing in dirt, definitely get the gloves.
- Grow Lights – Most plants need 8-16 hours of light per day so using grow lights can be a great way to provide artificial light to plants, especially for indoor gardening or in areas with limited natural sunlight. There are many different types including regular bulbs, strip lights, gooseneck lights, and more so finding something to fit your needs is simple.
- Plant stand or shelf – A plant stand or shelf can be a good way to display your plants and keep them out of reach of pets or small children. Some cabinets come with grow lights which is helpful for low light areas in the house.
- Humidifier – Some plants need a more humid environment than exists in some homes. We recommend using a humidifier near your plants because it can provide moisture to the air in a controlled way. Just make sure to keep it from directly blowing on your plants as this can cause moisture buildup on the leaves and soil. Misters are unhelpful because they just don’t provide enough moisture to the air and if droplets are left on the leaves, this can lead to fungus growth. Pebble trays can be helpful for small plants but this isn’t viable if you have large plants or a lot of them. Here in Houston, most homes have enough natural humidity to keep your plants happy.
- Propagation containers/rooting powder – These are helpful for growing new plants from cuttings. Some plants like monstera will root just fine in plain water. Adding a bit of rooting powder to the water or soil stimulates growth and increases the chance of a successful propagation.
- Pesticide – Neem oil is a natural pesticide that can be used to treat plant pests. Dish soap mixed with water can also be used but might not work on everything. A cotton swab dipped in alcohol can be used as a spot treatment. If an infestation is bad, you will likely need a chemical pesticide. And it is important to quarantine any infected plants during treatment.
- Moss pole or trellis – These allow vining plants a place to climb and plants with air roots something to grab onto.