Howdy and welcome to Flawed yet Functional! It’s DIY week! Last month I set a goal for myself to share DIY projects, inspiration, or encouragement the first week of the month. Here we are at month #2, and I’m still on track! What?! Miracles do happen! Today, I’d like to show you a couple simple indoor potted plants I added to my home recently along with simple steps for how to take care of a plant indoors. Any other black thumbs out there? Me too! Let me show you how I’ve managed to keep both of my new baby plants alive for going on 2 months!
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Ok, let’s level-set expectations here. I am a novice indoor plant caretaker, so this post is aimed at other newbies who’d like to have indoor plants but not kill them. Unfortunately, I’ve killed more plants in my home than I care to admit. Even succulents!
I love the look of real plants in a home. There’s just something beautiful and calming about a living plant in a room. However, I’ve failed miserably at caring for them so for the longest time, I just kept all plants out of my house.
But then…I picked up a cute retro plant stand from my grandma’s house. That was it. I had to figure out how to keep plants alive in my home.
Spray Paint a Planter – Quick DIY Project
First, let me show you how I did a quick DIY project to make my old and new pieces flow, then we’ll talk about keeping the plant alive.
The plant stand from my grandma’s house could only hold a 7″ pot. No more. No less. It left zero wiggle room. How do I know? I went to store after store, nursery after nursery and only found one pot that would fit in it! One!
The unfortunate thing was the pot was grey, a glossy grey at that (see the photos below). Grey did not blend with the gold of my plant stand. So after many failed attempts to find another color, I decided to spray paint it white. I grabbed a can of Krylon Fusion All-In-One Paint and Primer in gloss white. The folks in the paint department recommended Krylon Fusion because it is awesome at adhering to all kinds of surfaces, even glossy.
My favorite place to spray paint is in the yard on a calm, not windy, day. If there’s over-spray on the grass, which there always is, it will be cut off in the mowing!
I applied three light coats with one minute rest in between coats then left it in the garage to cure for a week before potting my plant.
Ok, on to the real question: how do you take care of a plant indoors? Or how in the world do you keep indoor plants alive when you have a black thumb? However, you want to phrase it, here are the easy steps to take!
Indoor Plant Supplies
- Plant (Pothos, Finger Jade)
- Plant Stand (similar in gold, similar in black)
- Potting Soil
- Pot (without holes)
- Spray Paint (if needed)
Select a Pot Without Holes in the Bottom
This may be a no-brainer, but the plant will be indoors, so you don’t want excess water dripping on the floor when you water. So either select a pot with no holes in the bottom or use a tray underneath to protect your floor or table. Since my pot hangs in the plant stand, I opted for a pot without holes and without a tray.
Place Rocks in the Bottom
Rocks or some other non-biodegradable material in the bottom of the pot is absolutely essential for proper water drainage. If you just fill the pot completely with dirt, it will be much easier to over-water the plant as the dirt will hold on to all the water. With rocks in the bottom, the excess water has a place to go, away from the roots, until needed by the plant.
I just grabbed a few landscaping rocks from under my deck and tossed them in the bottom. It’s super easy, so don’t skip this step!
Surround Plant with Good, Fresh Soil
Next, make sure to use good soil that has a lot of nutrients. What I mean is, don’t use your burnt-out leftover garden soil. Either grab a bag of potting soil or use a mix of new garden soil and compost. I went the dirt/compost route, but I know not everyone has a compost pile in their back yard!
Place in Proper Lighting
Now it’s time to pay attention to the tag that came with the plant you purchased. What type of lighting does the plant require? If it says full sun, don’t try to stick it in a shadow-y corner! It will definitely die! Don’t fight the plant, put it where it needs to be to get enough light.
My little Pothos plant has been happily living in the shadow of our wardrobe for two months and the leaves are healthy and shining!
Water Properly (KEY STEP!!!)
Alrighty, folks, this is it. The humdinger of steps that has made many beginning indoor plant caretakers kill their beloved plants: over or under watering.
Once you’ve selected your plant, research how often the plant should be watered then set a reminder in your calendar to check/water your plants so you don’t forget!
The Pothos plant and the Finger Jade succulent I put on my desk require the soil to be completely dry before watering again. How do you check if the soil in your plant is dry enough? Stick your finger in it!
Put your finger in the soil as far down as you can reach, and if the soil sticks to your finger, it’s too wet and does not need to be watered. If the soil brushes off easily and is dry and crumbly, it’s ready to be watered!
Keeping plants alive indoors can be easy, but do require a few key steps: proper potting, proper lighting, and proper watering. If you are a newbie, like me, then pick low-maintenance plants like Pothos and Finger Jade which require the soil to be completely dry between watering. Follow these simple steps and you too can keep a plant alive indoors!