A Beginner’s Guide into Houseplant Care
Getting started… with one plant at a time!
Welcome to a short and easy beginner’s guide into houseplant care and greenery loving homes. If you have just started your journey as a plant parent, or are about to adopt your first indoor plant, make sure to stay tuned for some key practices you should keep in mind as a beginner for a long and happy plant life!!
This page contains affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy to learn more.
Having the right tools is also super important for both you and your plants to feel at their best! So let me invite you to go ahead now and check our 7 Essential Houseplant Care Tools and Supplies post. Every plant parent should know about these.
1. Begin small and slow
I don’t mean getting a small or a large size plant, that wouldn’t really matter in my opinion. But I would advise you to slowly build up your collection, rather than rushing to the store and getting 30+ plants.
Although I totally get it could be tempting!! It could also be extremely overwhelming for someone who’s in such an early stage of their plant parenting journey.
If you are not familiarized with houseplant care, make it a part of your new routine slowly and familiarize yourself with all that there is to know.
2. Start with an easy plant
Within this blog, as well as in so many other online platforms, you will find other posts with further details on this topic. Starting with a beginner’s plant is the way to go!
You certainly do not want to see your first house plant dead two weeks after moving into your home, and especially not have any idea why.
Use that first plant as an experiment to get yourself familiarized with some of the key areas of plant care:
3. Selecting the right location and pot
As you bring this one plant into your home, research about it. See my “plant-by-plant” category of this journal and do your homework to find out what kind of lighting this specific plant would like to have. Then, match what you’ve learned with your conditions, finding the most appropriate spot around your home.
Remember that you should not buy a plant to fill a blank space in your decor but rather do it the other way round:
find the spot in your home where the plant you got will live its happiest life.
Or you can always do your research before going out plant-shopping and know in advance the type of plants that will enjoy the space you have to give them.
With regards to pots there are, of course, several options:
- or any suitable item you may have laying around for reusing
Plants will normally be sold in plastic nursery pots. And these are great! But each plant is unique and will have its preferences (don’t worry, you will also learn about that during this journey).
Important tip: Do your best to have all your live plants in pots with drainage holes.
If the container you want to use doesn’t have them, you can always drill your own.
If you don’t like the pots with drainage wholes but also don’t want to drill holes in your pots, just keep the plants in their nursery pots and use those beautiful ones as cover pots only…
This being said, I am not suggesting that you repot your plant right away though! I wouldn’t recommend that at all. As any live being, it does require it’s time to get used to its new home.
4. Watering your plants
Under-watering as well as over-watering often are the top plant killers for any plant parent. But, as you may be getting used to by now, each plant will have its own watering requirements.
When you first start caring for house plants, you will probably feel the need for a schedule or to put on an alarm to water your plants a certain day of the week.
When I first started, I had an alarm set for every Saturday morning to go around the house watering all my plants. On top of that, I decided to print an Excel planner with a list of my plants’ names on the side, days of the month on the top and I would manually tick each plant according to when I last watered it.
That idea didn’t last, but hey each person is different and that can actually be a really handy tool, depending on the size of your plant collection! I used it for months and I only stopped because I would often take longer updating this tracker than checking each individual plant.
If you think it might get you started or if you are the type of person who will forget that plants are alive, maybe it is a good thing to keep around!
While, as newbies, we may often be told to “put the plant near the window and give it some water once a week”, this is most likely incorrect and may lead to problems.
As much as I do my best to check my plants briefly as I walk past them on a day-to-day basis, I have to say that I still have my weekly alarm on Saturday morning, just in case I have had a busy week at work and might have forgotten to check on my plants during the week.
But nowadays, when this alarm rings, it is simply reminding me to dedicate a bit more time to check on each plant. And I am not necessarily watering them again unless they do need it.
Here’s what I tend to routinely do for my plants:
- see if there are any problems (pest, dry leaves, etc…),
- check the soil (I do use a moisture meter at the moment),
- rotate them,
- water them,
- clean their leaves,
- prune them occasionally,
- anything else as needed…
Soil Moisture Sensor Meter (no batteries needed).
Germany & Benelux see it here!
United Kingdom see it here!
Spain & Portugal see it here!
United States see it here!
Anyway, when it comes to watering (if you do not have a moisture meter yet), all you need is a finger!
Yes, just stick your finger into the soil and check whether it is wet, moist, dry, or super dry. And as you learn about your plant, you will know whether you have to water them again or not.
As a general rule, I would wait until the soil has dried out and then water the plant thoroughly until I see the water dripping out of the drainage holes.
As briefly mentioned in #3. I would not recommend repotting a plant right away. Be patient!
Give it the time it needs to acclimate to your space, to learn how to survive (and, hopefully, thrive!) in its new environment.
All the plant has left from its previous home, is the nursery pot you brought it in So let it have it!
I would give it at least a good two weeks (if you cannot wait any longer), but you could also wait until the next growing season!
This is normally true for any plant you buy in a plant store or nursery, and it will benefit the new member of your household!
Of course, there are always exceptions:
- the plant might have been over-watered and you might want to save it by giving it dry soil,
- or it might be extremely root-bound in urgent need for some more space and new nutrients, for instance.
But otherwise, you can always hide that ugly plain nursery pot (which is great because it has those drainage holes in the bottom already!) inside a nice cover pot of your choosing.
Please be aware this is a very general overview of basic plant care and you should always check more information on specific topics (such as lighting, repotting, watering, fertilizing, etc) as well as learn about each one of your plants individually (stay tuned for my “plant by plant” posts!).
Most of all, enjoy your plants! And welcome to your indoor jungle!
Here’s a list of some of our favorite gadgets, products, and books that all houseplant parents should know about! Also, visit the Etsy store for some more inspiration…