10 Plant Care Essentials

10 Plant Care Essentials

What exactly is required when it comes to having your own garden? Do you need a watering can that takes six batteries and automatically oxygenizes the water? What about a moonlight measuring device for your nocturnal plants? Truth be told, there are a lot of gimmicks out there when it comes to gardening. But in reality, a lot of the best plant care essential items are the most simplistic: they’re usually ones you can find around your home or something recycled. Knowing exactly what are the few key things to keep in mind when you’re gardening is the most important part! It’s also vital to remember that you may only need one item for a dozen seedlings. With this list, you can see all the plant care essentials for giving you a great garden.

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Sticks

Plant sticks are essential for any gardener, regardless of how long you’ve been growing plants. Plant sticks come in many different varieties and have so many uses. Leftover popsicle sticks that be cleaned and used to help label flowers in your garden. Bamboo skewers or chopsticks can be super useful once your plants start wobbling. Remember gravity? As plants grow taller, the natural weight of stems and flowers can easily find themselves pulled lower towards the ground. By keeping some chopsticks or bamboo skewers around, you can help prop your plants upright to avoid damage. This is especially helpful for people growing veggies and fruits: tomatoes, peppers, and green beans are just a few plants that can get tall and heavy once the growing season starts. Without a doubt, having some sort of plant stick is a plant care essential

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String/twine/ribbon

Having some sort of string for your plants goes hand-in-hand with having a stick to keep it upright. And just like a plant stick, this strong doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Personally, I’m a strong believer in making sure my belongings are multi-purpose friendly. Let’s say you’ve just propper your tomato plants up with all your leftover chopsticks, but the wind keeps blowing them around. If you take a piece of twine and gently tie your plant to the stick, you’ve given that plant an extra layer of protection against the elements. If you don’t have any twine if your house, a piece of unflavoured floss or ribbon will also do the trick. When we think about what exactly makes something a plant care essential item, it’s often the little things that go unnoticed but will make all the difference. By gently tying your plant to the stick, you can help guide growth upwards. It almost makes tracking your plants maturity and height much easier. 

sustainable bamboo plant stand that fits any decor

Plant stand

I have yet to find someone who doesn’t make great use out of a plant stand. It can take an indoor garden from good to great. Plant stands come in many different shapes, sizes, and materials. They allow you the ability to maximize your space more efficiently. If you have a growing collection but only one big window, a plant stand is perfect for safely shelving and organizing your flowers. Simply put, it’s a plant care essential when you have a busy household, and let’s face it, we all do. If you’re in a crowded apartment and worry about having your pots knocked over, a plant stand can be a great solution. Even if you have a great outdoor space for gardening, having a plant stand around is incredibly helpful. It’s always a good idea to help keep your flowers organized, especially if some plants need more light or have cascading tendrils. UppWell has also released a great plant stand, versatile for both indoor and outdoor uses.

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Natural fertilizer

There’s really nothing more necessary in plant care essentials than soil to keep your garden alive. When it comes to keeping your plants fed and happy, a natural fertilizer will soon become your plant’s best friend. So what exactly makes up a natural fertilizer? Any sort of organic (as in non-chemical) matter that decomposes into the soil providing nutrients to plants. You can buy natural fertilizer at any home and garden store, but it can also be fun to make yourself. Kitchen scraps like coffee grounds, eggshells, veggie peelings, and tea leaves are a great place to start. You can mix these with mulched leaves, grass clippings and some soil to make a great natural fertilizer. Plants also love manure! The easiest type to find is composted manure, also very common in most home and garden stores. Composted manure is different than regular manure because it has been fortified to be lower in acidity than raw manure, meaning your plants can better absorb nutrients. Plus, the smell from composted manure is a lot lighter and disappears faster.

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Small shovel

Having a small shovel around, regardless of what type, is all-around utilitarian necessity for a gardener. There are a few different types of small shovels, each serving a different purpose. The most common and universally-used shovel in gardening is a trowel. You may recognize it by its short handle and sharp point. This is perfect for getting up close and personal with the dirt. You’ll probably use a trowel for transplanting, digging in containers, separating small plants from each other, and removing weeds. A spade is larger and requires some footwork for digging. This is great for backyard gardening, digging larger holes, cutting through grass, and making trenches. A garden scoop is like a trowel’s less-sharp cousin. While they’re approximately the same in size and similar in shape, garden scoops are good for moving loose soil or mulch. You can use a scoop to add more topsoil but not to do the digging that a trowel would. Whichever shovel you decide to get will ultimately depend on what kind of gardening you’re interested in doing. Having one small shovel around is allows you to give great care at the ground level, making it a plant care essential.

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Pots/hanging planters

What good is having flowers around the house if you don’t have a pot to put it in? There are so many different kinds of pots that come in a huge range of sizes. Thankfully, you don’t need to pick just one! It’s great to have a selection of different pots so that as your plant grows, it can still be comfortable. We could probably do a whole separate blog post on all the different plant potters out there. There’s plastic, terracotta, concrete, raised, wicker, metal, stone, ceramic, and biodegradable just to name a few. Simply put, which type of pot you want will really depend on the size of your plant, but a lot of it just comes down to personal preference. Hanging planters are really great too, especially for anyone with limited space. If you want an outdoor garden but worry about your pet digging through the flowers, try a hanging planter! Having an outdoor hanging planter is as simple as putting a small hook on the underside of a roof corner. But regardless of which pot or hanging planter you get: remember to check for holes on the bottom. Different types of plants will require well-draining soil. Make sure your pot doesn’t collect excess water to avoid the dreaded root-rot.

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Auto-watering system

In an ironic twist of fate, the same way to give a plant life is the most common way to kill it. The unfortunate truth is that most of us plant lovers are chronic overwaterers. Watering too often can easily drown your plant, cause the soil to grow mould and bacteria, or cause the roots to rot and die. Having some type of automatic watering system in place can ease so many worries. This is also especially helpful for people on the other side of the spectrum who tend to forget about watering. There are lots of systems in place to make sure your plants keep the right amount of hydration. There are definitely machine-made pots that can do this, but it’s a lot easier to take a D.I.Y. approach! One of the easiest auto-watering tools is simply a cup, string, and some water. There are also tons of inexpensive glass watering globes available: all you do is simply fill it up and let gravity slowly do the trick. Having an auto-watering system is a plant care essential that you may not think of at first, but it really comes in handy. If you work long hours, travel often for business, have to plant-sit for a friend, auto-watering is very handy. And of course, it can really help people who aren’t sure when to stop watering.

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Soil meter

A soil meter is very helpful for outdoor gardeners. Also known as a hygrometer, a soil meter is a handy little electronic device that measures the humidity level, pH level, and temperature of the soil that your plant is growing in. Keeping all of these in order is essential to have plants that last through the harsh winter months. Soil pH has a silent yet potentially deadly effect on plants. If the pH is low, then your soil is acidic. Some plants like blueberries, hydrangeas, and pine trees love acidity. For other plants like lavender, foxglove, and daylilies, is can be deadly. Maintaining the soil’s pH level isn’t just a one-time thing: it must be done regularly, especially if you’re an outdoor gardener with lots of natural rainfall. Locations with lots of natural rainfall tend to have soil that is more acidic, due to the rain washing away things like calcium and potassium. The soil in naturally drier climates tends to be more alkaline: meaning the earth has lower levels of hydrogen and aluminum. Having a soil meter around is very helpful to make sure your plants are in the best type of soil to thrive. 

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UV lamp 

A UV plant lamp is for anyone who has a plant that might not be getting enough natural light. Especially for students, the ability to have huge glass windows with natural sunlight all day long is just not realistic. This is exactly why a UV lamp is a plant care essential. If you’ve always wanted to grow your own cute little succulents but you don’t have enough direct light, a UV lamp will soon be your favourite tool. The majority of these lamps actually come with a timer with 3, 6, or 12-hour intervals. This is really handy if you spend most of your day away and want to make sure your plants are getting the light they need. UV lamps come in many different shapes and sizes. Some people like to have huge lights that hang from the ceiling, which can definitely look intimidating if you have roommates. UV lamps are also available in small sizes: it’s very common to see a compact light that clips onto the edge of a desk, emitting a smaller range of UV rays. Most home and garden stores will carry different types of UV lamps. If one near you doesn’t, online retailers carry them year-round.

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The love of plants

Lastly, the most important thing when it comes to plant care essentials isn’t something you can buy. It’s simply just having a love for the plant world! Whether it’s gardening, growing your own food, or just loving to have fresh flowers around, it’s essential to enjoy caring for your foliage friends. There is something so incredibly satisfying about being able to put care into watching something bloom and grow. Growing fresh herbs to use in cooking will always leave your kitchen smelling great. Having bright flowers on a corner windowsill adds an adorable pop of colour to the room. And you can really taste a difference between fruit you grow in your own backyard compared to what you buy at the store. At the end of the day, if you don’t love it, why do it?

Having the determination and patience to grow plants is one of life’s great skills. This list should give you some great inspiration and preparedness to take your garden to the next level—regardless of how green your thumb is. Ready to take the plunge in starting your own garden? Check out these best indoor summer plants. If you’re always looking for ways to improve your indoor garden, take a look at these common mistakes (and how to avoid them).

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