When Uniqueka Davis-McKinney is not working hard in her professional endeavors, she enjoys slowing things down to enjoy gardening and landscaping. Plant care is a rewarding experience that does not take much to get into, something that has contributed to its growth in popularity over the past year. Even with its accessibility, starting a plant collection is not without its difficulties. After all, there are several ways to unintentionally mistreat a plant, and they certainly cannot speak up for themselves if something is wrong.
Luckily for those just starting out, people like Uniqueka have learned a great deal during their journey into gardening and are happy to help individuals that are still “green”. While there are many facets of being a good gardener and plant owner, Uniqueka notes that it is simplest to address caring for plants at home first.
Don’t Be Afraid to Research
When many of us first get into caring for plants, we tend to choose plants purely based on their appearance. While this is an excellent way to find plants that we find aesthetically pleasing, it can also mean that we may end up with plants that have a bit of a learning curve. In the beginning stages of plant ownership, don’t be afraid to look up the needs of a plant that you plan to purchase. This ensures that your growing collection is not overstuffed with plants that are difficult to care for. If a plant that requires an expert touch catches your eye- don’t fret! There are many resources online that can make caring for the plant much easier if you are willing to research them. Cursory research is a great way to figure out your plants’ needs as well as plan for common issues that primarily effect the species.
Beware of Underwatering or Overwatering
Because plants often wilt when they are overwatered and underwatered, it can sometimes be difficult for a novice to tell what is causing their plant distress. Crispy leaves can be a sign of overwatering and underwatering as well, again adding to the confusion. Luckily, there are several ways that you can tell if your plant is overwatered or underwatered. Uniqueka Davis-McKinney recognizes that the soil is one of the best ways to tell. When checking soil with a finger, the first two inches down should be dry. Underneath the top layer, the soil should be moist for most plants, but not overly wet. Pots with drain holes can help keep your plants from being overwatered and developing root rot. Some people like to utilize soil moisture sensors to tell if they should water their plant again.
Strategically Place You Plants
When people first start to learn about plant care, many are surprised to discover that even simple house plants can have drastically different needs. Uniqueka Davis-McKinney realizes that, even though you may have a specific place in mind for a plant, you should always be sure that the spot is conducive to their needs. For example, some plants may favor direct sunlight. For these plants, a spot near a window that receives tons of light or under a growing lamp may be a great space for them to grow. This is not true of all plants, however, and some may become discolored or weak if they are placed in a very light area. Similarly, some plants may prefer a dry environment and only need a little water. Others may require humidity and may need a humidifier to get the air quality that they require for growth. When adding to your indoor collection, always place plants where you think they will thrive. This means that you may want to group plants with similar needs in the same area- even if that means breaking your collection up into several smaller groups.
Look for Plant Groups in Your Area
As with any hobby, it can be helpful to get connected with local groups filled with people that share your passion for plants. Uniqueka Davis-McKinney acknowledges that there are quite a few ways that local plant groups can be helpful for a person just getting into plant care. For example, plant groups can be a great way to get free plants or materials from a trusted source. Plant groups can also be helpful if any of your plants start to develop a problem that you cannot figure out the cause of. Generally, the people in local plant groups have seen many different types of fungi and plant ailments and can help you determine the best way to fix things. These groups are also a good source of inspiration, as they will likely have people with indoor garden set ups that are beautiful and well thought out.
Don’t Get Discouraged
Uniqueka Davis-McKinney can attest to the fact that most people have lost a few plants on their journey. Sometimes this is due to simple human error as we learn the ropes but sometimes a plant will start to decline for any number of reasons outside of our control. While it can certainly be discouraging if one of our favorite plants starts to decline early on, it is always important to remember that most plants do not last forever. Don’t get discouraged if it takes you a while to build up to the point where all of your plants are stunning and thriving without you needing to stress over their care. If you are enjoying yourself, your plants, and feel as though you are learning the ropes, it is perfectly fine if things are not perfect right away. With the right amount of dedication and time investment, you will get the indoor garden that you dream of.
Uniqueka realizes that even a hobby that seems as simple as gardening can be difficult when you are just starting to learn. To this point, she hopes that she can draw from her own experiences to use this site as a resource for those that are just beginning to care for plants. Future posts will address topics such as how to propagate plants, ways to prune without harming your plants, common plant mistakes that beginners make, and crucial factors of outdoor gardening.