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Surviving vs. Thriving

All living things want to survive.

When a plant isn't receiving everything it needs, it will continue to survive as best it can. This post is about how to help your houseplants thrive.

A "black thumb" does not exist!

With a little bit of guidance, you can easily create a space to enjoy houseplants - minus the anxiety.

1. Know your environment.

Walking around your local nursery, it's all too easy to fill your shopping cart with the pretty leaves that catch your eye. This is how my collection began. It's also how I killed a lot of plants!

Above all, it is important to know what you are willing to provide your houseplants before bringing them into your home. I'll use my San Antonio home as an example to illustrate this idea.

The ambient humidity in my house is around 55-65% and we keep the temperature around 72 degrees. I'm not particularly willing to increase the temperature of my home to 80 degrees in order to house some plants that I'd really like to thrive in my care. Instead, I will look for houseplants that do well in a wider range of temperatures (lots of gorgeous houseplants even enjoy a dip in temperature at night!).

2. Manage your expectations.

I could keep a Hoya finlaysonii in my home without any problem. The plant will survive and sit fairly happily in my north facing window. I know, though, that this plant will not show off some amazing growth in these conditions. How do I know this? Check it out:

I got this amazing plant about a year ago. It sat, with my other Hoya, in my north facing window, occasionally receiving some grow light and humidity from a pebble tray.

It. Did. Nothing. 

For many months I watched this guy, hoping it would show me some sign of life! It never declined and even pushed a peduncle at one point (which shriveled and fell off pretty much immediately), but overall, it just hung out with its Hoya pals and its four pretty leaves.

Don't get me wrong - I've enjoyed this plant every minute I've kept it. However, just to show you what it's capable of under the right conditions:

Everything above the red line is new growth after only two weeks in slightly warmer conditions with higher humidity.


Look at her go!

3. She has range!

As a beginner or someone who isn't aiming for the hobby to take over every waking moment - aim for plants that have range.

I use this metaphor to explain that you want the Mariah Careys and Adeles of the houseplant world. These lovely ladies can sing any song in any key and, while it may not be their claim to fame, they still perform beautifully when they're just singing Happy Birthday. 

Plants like Hoya have range. In general, the genus tolerates most light conditions and can handle temperatures 60-85 degrees. They give you lots of room to enjoy them without being too particular about their environment.

Other oscar-worthy genera that have lots of range include:

  • Chlorophytum (Spider Plants)

  • Sansevieria

  • Dracena

  • Aglaonema

  • Pothos

Make Google your best friend, find out what a plant needs before you bring it home, and seek plants with range!

Enjoy your collection!

1 comment

  • We are so very proud of you! We love you!
    Dani and Dad

    Danielle King

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