February 23, 2020

This was a question I got on plant forum not to long ago.

She was wondering how to best take care of plants that have radically different needs. She had a range of succulents, ferns, and orchards and said that her son was very bad at watering them.

As she states her orchids ' are as dry as the Atacama' desert. Those must be some really dry orchids.

Anyhow back to the main problem here, and that is how to best maintain such a range of different plants.

There is no easy way

There is no easy way to maintain a whole lot of different plants. The more plants you have, the more work it generally is. Plants are living organisms, and so require certain conditions to live a happy and healthy life. If they are not given the things that they are used to, then quite simply they will suffer along. Most often that not, the plants in your home are originally from places vastly different to your living room.

So what then?

The trick is to try and learn as much as you can about the plant and its history. By history I mean, where it originally comes from and what the environment would be like. Things to pay attention to are soil, light requirements, heat requirements, does it like moist soil all year round. Does it like to have the soil completely dry out before drenching (ie cactus/succulents). Does it need moving air? Does it need to be misted frequently (tropical plants such a Bali palm)

This may sound like a lot, but over time and after losing a few plants, you will naturally begin to learn about these things. It actually becomes fun too. You will begin to see that certain plants that perhaps look the same and, although different in species will have similar requirements. I guess it's like learning a language, at first everything sounds like one big long word, however over time you being to hear the differences and then suddenly one day, you just sort of understand it!

Anyhow, so I have deviated slightly, but the main point here is that there actually is no easy way to manage the different needs of your plants. You can of course group similar needs together, say for quicker watering purposes, but unless you dealing with hundreds of plants, this won't really save you much time.

Bottom Line?

Learn as much as you can about these amazing organisms, and don't get down if you lose a couple. Many people say I have a green thumb, and I was quite shocked when I first heard it because I  have literally lost hundreds of plants. I definitely did not have a green thumb all those years back, but after trial, error, experimenting, and learning, I began to keep some alive :)





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