There’s nothing quite like fresh, vibrant green plants to spruce up our home, refresh our space, and lift our spirits. Plants not only enhance our environment, but they boost our mood and improve our overall quality of life, too. This is why plant sales have skyrocketed in the last couple of years and why new plant parents flock to the internet for advice on how to keep them thriving. Of course, there’s a lot of misinformation about plant care, which is why the plant and flower experts here at Gordon Boswell are setting the record straight. We’re listing common plant care myths we’ve come across over the years that will do more harm than good to your greenery. Take care not to do any of the below!
Common Plant Myths to Ignore
MythI Don’t Need to Water My Cactus or Succulents
Cacti and succulents still require water, even if it is only a minimal amount. During the summer months, while these plants are in growth mode, they will need more water than during the winter months. Monitor their soil and make sure the leaves and stems are plump and firm.
MythPlants Grow Faster in Bigger Pots
Plants are genetically predisposed to grow at a certain rate – the size of the pot does not affect how quickly it grows. Rather, the amount of sun, water, and nutrients a plant receives has the most effect on how quickly a plant grows. It’s best to keep the container size in balance with the size of the plant, though, or you run the risk of having too much soil retaining too much water, which could lead to root rot.
MythHouseplants Should be Watered Consistently on a Routine Basis
Many factors determine how much water a plant needs, and it varies from plant to plant. Some plant varieties require more water than others, and plants in bright, well-lit areas require more water than plants in low-lit areas. Sticking to a routine schedule could lead to overwatering. To determine if a plant needs water, stick your finger into the soil about an inch down. If your finger comes out clean, the soil is dry and needs water. If there’s soil residue on your finger, it’s still moist and doesn’t need water. You can also determine how dry a plant is simply by picking it up. If it’s very light, chances are it needs a good soaking.
MythMisting Plants Increases the Humidity
Misting plants causes only a negligible rise in humidity unless you’re misting every hour every day. Misting your plant will keep help keep the leaves clean, though.
MythIndoor Plants Need to Be in Direct Sunlight All Day Long to Thrive
Very few houseplants benefit from being in direct sunlight as it can be too harsh. Indirect, bright light that is dappled or diffused is the ideal lighting for most plants.
MythA Wilting Plant Requires Water
Several things can cause a plant to wilt, so do a little investigative work before watering. Check the soil; if it’s wet, the plant may be suffering from being overwatered. Check the leaves for insects or pests that could be causing damage. Not enough sunlight can also cause drooping and wilting. If all signs point to the soil being dry, give the plant a good soaking and recheck it in a few days.
MythOrchids are High-Maintenance and Difficult to Care For
Don’t be intimidated by an orchid’s reputation of being fussy. Once you have a regular water regimen that works for your orchids, they are pretty much hands-off. Just remember that orchids are tropical and enjoy warm, humid conditions, so if you live in a high-humidity state, your orchids will do just fine. If not, keep them in high-humidity rooms such as the kitchen or bathroom. Orchids thrive best in Indirect light. As for the ice-cube trend…. some orchid purists will tell you never to use ice cubes to water your orchid, while others state it’s not only is a great way to water them but that the coldness of the ice cube promotes flowering. We advise doing what works best for your orchid. If your orchids are doing fine with the ice cubes watering method, there’s no reason to change it.
MythStones, Pebbles, Bricks, etc., Should be Placed in the Bottom of the Plant Container to Improve Drainage
Studies show water does not drain well when moving between layers of different particle sizes. Only when the water reaches an over-saturation point that the pressure forces it into the lower level of debris. At this point, though, the soil will be overly wet, which can lead to root rot. Resist the urge to place anything other than soil in the container, which should have adequate drainage holes.
MythHumidity Around a Plant Can be Increased by Placing it On or Near a Tray of Pebbles and Water
This myth has been around a while, and you may have heard it from a grandparent. Placing water and pebbles under your plant will have no impact on the humidity levels around your plant. As water molecules evaporate, they spread in all directions – not just towards your plant. An effective way to increase humidity levels around your plant is to group them close to each in a reduced space, such as a shower stall or bathtub with the curtain drawn. This is a good way to raise the humidity levels and keep your plants moist if you leave on vacation for a week or two.
MythPotting Soil Should Not be Reused
When transplanting a houseplant into a larger container, don’t toss out the used potting soil. It’s still as good as when you first used it straight out of the bag. Most potting soil is composed of a peat moss mix that decomposes very slowly, so go ahead and re-use the old soil – it’s perfectly fine.
Learn more about plant care essentials and how to care for certain popular houseplants by visiting our Plant Care page. Then, peruse our plant and flower selections to add even more greenery to your life!