10 things I wish I had known
1. You can't keep all the plants
When I started collecting houseplants I wanted them all... surely you can recognize that. So soon the house was crowded with houseplants 'for beginners', plants that were easy to take care of so I could learn. After a while I managed to get the hang of it and wanted more and more special and rare plants. It became a real urban jungle. Super fun, but also very stressful, some days it was really overwelming. Each plant had its own care, there was always something to pot. In other words, it was a mess. This also made it more difficult to identify and treat bad bugs in time, an infestation could spread very quickly. I experienced more stress than pleasure some days. Choose your plants selectively.
2. follow up to #1
The more knowledge I gained about caring for plants, the faster they grew. Baby plants became large, even though there wasn't much room left. So I started taking cuttings from the oversized plants, because there's always room for propagation vases. Though it's pretty obvious that these grew too, and needed space which created a vicious circle. It's okay to sell plants if you have too many or don't like them anymore.
3. Sometimes plants die (fortunately)
This can have many causes, and is often not even your fault. Think of a sick plant, bugs or just bad luck. Of course it can also happen that a plant is 'intentionally' killed because you no longer find it interesting. However, do you want the plant to live again? Usually there are many options as long as (part of) the roots are still healthy.
4.The difference between soil mixes and other growing mediums
I started with normal potting soil from the garden center, but this often became chunky and kept the soil wet for a long time. After trying out many mediums (click here for an overview) I discovered a mix that suited me best. Do note that this is different for everyone.I would definitely recommend testing with different mixes and mediums until you find your match. I now use coco coir, perlite, bark, charcoal and worm casting. The ratio varies per plant species. You can find this on my instagram profile, at the highlight 'soil'
5. Drainage holes
Musthave, I don't use any pot without a drainage hole. if the pot doesn't have one, I use an inner pot with holes. This prevents the chance of overwatering your plant by allowing excess water to flow away. I used to use terracota pots, nowadays I only use (recycled) plastic. I don't like terracota because it tends to dry out the soil faster, you have to wash them often to remove the calcium stains and of course they are not white ;)
6. Plant nutrition
In the beginning i used a standard nutrition from the garden center. Of course I had no idea what my plants needed. After long research and experience I have discovered the value of a quality plant nutrition. The nutrition you give depends on the growing medium in which your plant is growing, something that is not often mentioned. Learn more about this, and feel free to ask questions if you have any
Burn your water schemes, throw the water meters in the trashbin. Plants are living creations, each with different needs, these also depend on the seasons, the warmth in your home or simply the mood of your plant. Look and learn what each plant needs. Of course you can ask google / insta / friends for more info. But plants are best taken care of by instinct, and it takes time to gain this feeling. Nowadays I only have to look at my plant and know what is needed because I have control over the conditions (humidity, soil, light etc) and experience.
8. Moss poles
I hate them! So that's out, what a relief. I find them ugly, dirty and annoying to keep moist. Of course you have the self-watering ones, but either they leak or your house becomes a bloody mess after making them.
Before, most of my plants were climbers. I got rid of three quarters of them because there's only so much room in the house... The ones that stayed got an alternative, a decorative stake, which you can find in my instagram feed.
With plants may come some bugs, in the past this used to cause a lot of stress. Nowadays I know it's part of the game, nevertheless I have made the wise choice to preventively treat my plants every 1 or 2 weeks against pests.I always put new plants in quarantine for at least 1 week, just to be safe. Check under the leaves of your plants regularly, and learn the differences between good and bad bugs.
10.Winter is not a drama
My first winter with plants was incredibly tense. I was afraid of everything and checked the plants twice a day. The humidifier was working 24/7 and it was tropical warm, the conditions were perfect, also for the mold that was growing on the wall... After that time, I had learned my lesson... indoors winter is not so bad.
For now, I make sure the humidity is sufficiently high, around 60 to 70%, and I am also a sucker for the cold, so it is always 20 degrees Celsius at my place. I have also invested in grow lights, in my opinion a must if you live in a dark gray country like the Netherlands. Yet your plants will be fine without. They will grow slower though!
All in all, relax and breathe. It's a hobby and everyone makes mistakes :)