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  • Lydia Ojuka Riley

Caring for Plant Babies

Updated: Aug 26, 2019

Entering the world of plant motherhood is a beautiful journey! I started with one little succulent in my dorm room in college and a decade later I have at least 25 big gorgeous and diverse plants in my home. I love them. They've come to me in various ways- an exes mom handed me down one that remains a favorite for me, it has a history and I love that he likes living with me. I left an estate sale a few weeks ago with some freshly clipped starts from a vine that are thriving. Some of my favorites were given to me by my mother as she moved a few states away. I feel like plants gather around me like woodland animals gather around snow white - they flourish in my presence. As you begin this amazing endeavor, let me share with you some fundamentals of being a great plant mommy.



Connect with your little guy.


Caring for plant children is not all that different from raising human kids, or fur babies... They all need to feel loved and receive proper care in order to thrive! I learned this the hard way as I got busy ( with a human baby) and I definitely noticed that my lack of as much attention started to show in some of my fellas leaves. I actually ended up losing one or two.


Quality food, clean water, affection, and words of affirmation are all part of mothering any living thing. Plants are so much more than ornaments, they are alive and capable of so many amazing things: gorgeous blossoms, delicious fruits/veggies, living for hundreds of years, and so much more! Seeing the magnificence of plants is the first step of being a fantastic plant mom.



Prepare yourself.


Another important keystone of great plant motherhood is research. You want your plant children to grow as much and as healthy as they possibly can! It is also very important to keep the rest of your household in mind when choosing a new family member. Some plants are toxic to pets and human children, so make sure you are bringing in the best fit for a cohesive and safe family dynamic.


Don't over think it, but do at least some research.


Keep a water schedule- ish.


I clump my plants into three main areas of the home and water each section once a week. I water my kitchen ladies on Monday and the other two sections on Wednesday and Friday. Again, don't over think it but having it scheduled will help you keep track of when to water who. Great plant motherhood requires some discipline and planning, as well as patience. I just keep an eye on everyone and note when I see that one of them hates his location, is drying out or is feeling crowded in his pot. All plants have different needs, so make sure you pay attention to what they are telling you! A thirsty plant will start to dry out, while a plant who does not like the cold right next to an air vent will stop growing. Be attentive, and you will easily see when you have happy plants and when you do not.



Re-pot properly.


It can overwhelm your new plant child if you re-pot them as soon as you bring them home. Let them acclimate to their new environment for a few days before you change out the pot they came in. Also, be aware of the best kind of pot for the kind of plant you have! For example: clay pots are very porous, so a plant that needs a lot of water may not thrive in one. This also applies to drainage holes... Drainage is important for potted plants to avoid root rot! I learned this the hard way and had an SOS re-pot situation a few Sundays ago. Once your plant is ready for re potting, make sure you do it very carefully so as not to add extra stress on the plant baby. Research the best way to re-pot the kinds of plants you have.



Be aware of sun exposure.


Positioning your plants properly is another keystone of great plant motherhood. Direct sunlight can be good for some plants, but deadly for others. All plants have differing needs, so it is up to you to be aware of them so they can thrive. Take into account where sunlight falls and for how long, and place your plant children where the sun exposure is best for them. This may involve some trial and error, but your green babies will thank you for taking the extra time to show your love for them.


Plants can drown too!


Overwatering is a thing and is just as harmful as underwatering. so be very careful to avoid this mistake. When a plant is overwatered, it can develop root rot and die. This is when the roots are so steeped in water, that they are not able to get any oxygen. Since this happens within the soil, you will not be aware of it until it is too late. To keep from overwatering your plant children, make sure you are watering properly. Depending on your plant’s needs, this could be spritzing once a week, or a daily watering regimen. Know what your plant’s soil should feel like before waterings, and you will always be able to keep them perfectly watered.




Special water VIP treatment


Look, plants love rain water. Dont be wierd about it but if you've got a little guy and its rainy outside, give him a few minutes in the great outdoors. Im not gonna haul my big pots outside for this, but I would totally open a window just to let him breathe in that misty air.

You can also fill up some buckets and bring the water in side.


I also like to mist my guys when it is particularly dry - I bought a cute little mister from crate and barrel and it makes me feel extra fancy when I walk around giving love to my little plant babes.




Prune carefully.


Another important keystone of great plant motherhood is pruning! Plants should be checked periodically for dead stems and leaves. When you find these, prune them carefully away from the healthy parts of your plant child. Dead pieces should only be removed up to just below where the healthy pieces begin. This will keep you from harming your plant more than helping it. Shears are better for this than using your fingers, since they will give a clean cut, rather than a tear.


Do not give up!


I feel like at this point, I'm pretty much a green thumb goddess of indoor jungles and plant life, but I'm not gonna lie, I have had some losses. I can count three in the last year. One hated his spot and I was pregnant and then new baby-ing and just couldnt give him the attention he needed. But, sometimes, it will appear that your plant has died. It is very important to not lose hope! Many plants can still be revived even when it seems that all is lost. Do some research and some emergency plant care. You will be surprised at how hardy and resilient your plant baby really is! Patience is one of the biggest keystones of great plant motherhood, so be sure to never give up on your plant children. They can almost always make it through with your love and help.



Words of affirmation.


This may seem silly, but it is a proven fact that plants who are positively reinforced with words grow better! This is the final keystone of great plant motherhood. Take some time with all your plant children each day to compliment and encourage them. Plants can feel love when it is given to them, and they can feel it when they are unloved. So make sure you are pouring life giving words over all your plant babies, and they will thrive that much more!

I hope these ten keystones of great plant motherhood have inspired you to be the best plant mom you can be! Raising plants is an extremely rewarding experience, and I encourage you to cherish every moment of it!

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