Best & Worst Plant Care Advice

Have you ever had someone tell you to water your plants with soda water, or insist that classical music helps plants grow? We asked the members of the HPH Facebook group to tell us some of the best and worst advice they’ve ever heard – here are some of our favorite answers.

The Good

Talk Or Sing To Your Plants

We’re not sure plants always appreciate our singing, but it can’t hurt to chat with them as your water and prune, or just put on some music — you’ll enjoy it, and your plants won’t judge your taste!


Potting Mix Matters

A bag of basic potting soil will only get you so far. Think about the natural habitat of your plant when you mix up soil for it. You can learn more about soil amendments here!

Don’t Kill Them With Kindness

Many of our favorite indoor plants don’t want or need too much fuss on a daily basis. It’s easy to over-water them or touch and move them too much. It’s best to know how often each plant needs water based on their needs, and not just give them water because you want to baby them, and whether or not they need to be moved to a new spot or rotated before shifting them.

Mimic Natural Growing Conditions

As with your potting mix, think about where your plant would live if it weren’t in your house. Is it arid or humid, bright or shady? Set your plant up for success by imitating the natural habitat as best you can.

Aerate the soil

Roots need air as well as water. Your potting mix plays a big part in this, so amending your soil is the best place to start. Soil does become compacted over time, though, so if you need a quick fix grab a bamboo skewer, chopstick, or similar and go to work gently poking into the soil.


Use An Appropriately Sized Pot

No plant really wants to be root-bound and squeezed into a tiny pot like the Ugly Stepsisters trying to fit in Cinderella’s slipper, but don’t go too far in the opposite direction either! A pot that’s too big will retain water longer, increasing your chances of root rot.

Quarantine New Plants

Better safe than sorry! You never know where a mealy bug might be hiding. Keep your new plant babies away from the rest of your collection while you make sure there are no pests or other problems. You can learn more about how to identify common pests here!

The Bad


Water On A Schedule

It’s not bad to keep to a schedule if it helps you remember to water, but don’t water just because it’s watering day. Your plants may have varying water needs based on a lot of factors like temperature, light, humidity, and container size and material.

Use Epsom Salts To Revive A Sick Plant

Epsom salts do have some magnesium in them, but a well-balanced fertilizer from concentrate will make your plant much happier. While magnesium is a micronutrient that plants need in order to survive, they need such a small amount that only soil that has been leeched of all nutrients would benefit from a boost. If your soil is so worn out that it lacks any nutrients, you’re going to want to fertilize. This will replenish the amount of magnesium in the soil anyway, no Epsom salts required!


Water Orchids With Ice Cubes

If you’re trying to mimic your plant’s natural habitat, ask yourself where an orchid would encounter an ice cube. Also, think about how it would feel if you took a block of ice, put it on your hand, and let it melt. That would not feel very good, and would more than likely do some damage.

Use Rocks Or Pot Shards To Create Drainage

This age-old technique actually raises the “water table” inside the pot, trapping moisture closer to the roots and increasing your chance of root rot.


Grow Succulents And Cacti In Terrariums

This goes back to imitating your plant’s natural habitat. Succulents and cacti want a lot of light but very little moisture, which means they won’t do well in a humid terrarium in the long run.

For more tips and advice or to ask your own indoor gardening questions, check out HPH on Facebook!