My Advice for a Beginner/New House Plant Parent
So, you've purchased your first house plant, Congratulations!
You've officially joined the community and are on a slippery slope to wanting every single house plant available on the market.
As you bring your new baby home you've probably got a million questions already... for example:
- How do I take care of this plant?
- Where will I put it?
- When can I go plant shopping again?
There is MUCH to learn about the ups and downs of plant parenthood, however, I have a few words of advice for all you brand new plant mums & dads!
Keeping in mind, this advice is all based off my own experiences.
There are a few things I wish I had been clued in on before jumping into the community like a deer in headlights. That's exactly what it feels like at times!
Start with one or two relatively cheap and easy to get plants and learn how to care for them properly. Taking the time to research a plant and its unique care requirements before you make the purchase is the way to go! This way your initial experience with house plants will likely be a more positive and rewarding one. Nothing like the disappointment of buying an expensive house plant and killing it in a week! EEK!
Don't rush out and purchase 100 houseplants at once. Grow your collection slowly and learn to enjoy the process! It is also a good way to figure out if you actually have the time (and energy) to spend on caring for them. House plant ownership can become overwhelming VERY quickly, you want it to remain a hobby because when it becomes a chore... it's no fun anymore!
Buy the plants you LOVE, not the plants that are trendy. This is in my opinion one of the best piece of advice I wish I was given when I started out. It almost always leads to regret. Trends can consume us SO quickly. I can't even tell you how many times I have rushed out to purchase a plant, simply because it is a 'new release' or 'popular' and then regretted it later. Buy plants that make YOU happy, because in the end it's you who will be looking at them all the time and your wallet that takes the hit!
Don't go into debt for plants! Just like anything else in life... house plants are not worth going into debt for! Yes, maybe you've just seen someone selling a wish list plant for a great price... but you will get the opportunity to purchase it again! There will always be another one. Don't panic buy! This also leads to spending more than one can afford on plants. If you can't afford it, don't buy it! Every day expenses should always come first! Remember your family are also affected by your plant purchase decisions!
Take the time to check for pests on plants while in the shop. No matter how reputable the shop is you are purchasing a plant from, everyone is vulnerable to pests. Have a good check of your plants before you take them home, this can save a lot of hassle later & save the rest of your plant collection from infection. If you get it home and find it DOES have pests, contact your store and they'll help you out! I also recommend quarantining new plants for at least a week when you bring them home, so you can catch anything before it spreads.
Avoid pre-sales at all costs! Pre-sales have been known to work in the past, HOWEVER there have also been some absolute failures in recent times, so if I were you... I'd steer well clear. If you aren't aware, pre-sales are (a lot of the time) when a business/individual is selling you a product that they don't have yet or isn't quite ready. Unless they can prove to you that your pre-sale purchase will be fulfilled, a lot of the time the reason they need the money in advance is because they don't have the money for the product in the first place. You are paying for their investment. Just make sure you do your research before jumping in!
When interacting with others in the plant community, don't be scammy! Speaking from experience here, there is nothing worse or more annoying than being nagged or almost begged for 'free or reasonably priced' cuttings or plants. A lot of people believe that just because people have large plants or a lot of one type of plant, that they should just cut it up and share it around because it didn't cost them anything right? Wrong! People spend a lot of time and effort into propagating & growing their plants and deserve to be treated with a bit of respect for it.
Unless it's offered, don't ask for free plants!
Swaps are an amazing way to expand your collection, just be polite! Swaps can be an awesome way to expand your plant collection without spending a cent! Just a word of caution, make sure you do your research on the person you are swapping with and don't be scared to ask for certain photos or proof that the plants actually exist! Many people have been scammed out of their plants this way and it's a quick way to loose your faith in the house plant community. Also, be polite when organising a swap! Don't be afraid to haggle, but also don't be offended if someone declines a trade. Trades are opinion based, so don't always work out.
Just be kind :)
Thank you so much if you have made it this far!
To sum it all up, just enjoy it! The moment you get dragged into drama, overwhelm yourself with too many plants or get sucked into plant trends you don't actually enjoy it will spoil the experience of plant ownership.
Purchase the plants you enjoy & take good care of your plants and they will reward you 1000x over!