Advice for New Houseplant Owners

Where to place your plant and how to water it

Buying a houseplant to fit your lifestyle

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) -More and more people are trying to develop a green thumb while spending more time at home.

Alanna Volen owns Simply Potted Savannah, an indoor house plant pop up shop run out of an old bus. Even though she’s a pro now, she says still remembers the uncertainty of sticking that first pot on your windowsill.

“I too was super confused,” Volen said. “I had no idea what I was doing. I would just kind of stick a plant in a spot and just sort of cross my fingers and hope that it lived.”

Most labels will identify whether you should place the plant in direct or indirect light. Here's what those terms mean.

“Indirect light is basically in a bright area of your home where the sun is coming through, but it’s also filtered through an object, whether it’s a tree, any type of shade,” she said.

If your new plant thrives in direct light, try sticking it on a windowsill that looks onto an open, sunny spot on your lawn.

“You can kind of test it by putting your hand in front of the plant,” Volen said. “If that ray of sun is actually hitting your hand, then you’ll know if it’s going to be burning the leaves on the plant itself.”

When it comes to picking a planter, Volen suggests buying one made from terra cotta, and no matter what, make sure your pot drains.

"A lot of terra cotta planters, they absorb the moisture. So if a plant is getting too much moisture or getting watered too much, it will kind of pull that through. Almost every single plant needs some type of drainage."

Once you buy your plant, resist the urge to transfer it to your new pot right away.

"I've noticed if I kind of move them from where I buy them and bring them immediately home and change their environment completely, they almost go into shock. It also depends on the type of plant."

Overwatering and underwatering are two of the easiest ways to kill your plant. Here are some guidelines to follow.

“Never let your plant sit in any water, whether that’s in a tray that’s in the bottom of the pot. Any plant sitting in water is prone to root rot, which can kill your plant almost immediately. Even if its a big plant I like to carry it to the shower or the sink, rinse it, let it finish draining, and then once its finished draining bring it back to its spot. A rule of thumb for me is for most house plants is if its dry for the first inch or two, up until like the second knuckle, that’s when you know you can water it thoroughly.”

“At all of our events, people like to ask me, what are the plants that I cannot kill? Because I’m not good at taking care of them, I work a lot, I can’t tend to them all the time,” Volen says. “One is going to be your ZZ plant, these can thrive in high light environments. They can also tolerate low light. I probably only water mine maybe once every three weeks or so and it’s doing great.”

"A snake plant or a mother-in-law tongue, those are also very easy to take care of. Same exact care as for a ZZ."

“If you just want to put something outside and not really worry about it, succulents are always the way to go.”

We also asked Volen about which plants are trending at her shop. She says the Calathea plant and the Swiss Cheese Plant are so popular she has trouble keeping them in stock!

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