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10 Hacks on How to Care for an Indoor Plant

Posted on August 22 2021

10 Hacks on How to Care for an Indoor Plant

Whether you have a black thumb or are simply “upping” your garden game, we all want the latest and greatest tips and tricks! So, we’ve collected eleven achievable, proven hacks on how to care for your indoor plants. Don’t forget to give us updates on your progress (@the_exotic_forest)!

#1 The Pebble Tray

The majority of indoor plants hail from tropical regions, making humidity a necessity! For a boost of this addictive airborne moisture, try out a pebble tray. How can you use it to care for your indoor plant?

  1. Purchase a decorative, waterproof tray and some porous river rocks.
  2. Place the rocks in the tray.
  3. Fill ½ way with water.
  4. Set your plant on top of the rocks.
  5. Refill as needed.

A few reminders: (1) You will need to clean your tray and pebbles reasonably often. Why? Algae and mold will eventually develop (think: dirty fishbowl), which can pose a danger to your plant, and… well, who wants that in their living room? (2) Don’t overfill your tray. Water that comes in contact with your pot will wick into the soil, overwatering your plant.


Are you looking to try out this method before investing in the materials? You can get a similar effect by placing a bowl of water near your plant. Not as attractive, but it will give you an idea of what benefits to expect. (Plus, it fits in the dishwasher.)


#2 Coffee Filters

Clean coffee filters can be a great tool! Why? Think of what they’re designed for: Water passes through while grounds stay in place. How can you use them to take care of your indoor plants?


Say no to the “dirt dot”: Are you tired of your pot leaving traces of soil on your flooring and furniture? When you repot your plant, place a coffee filter (or a piece of one) at the bottom of your container, covering the drainage hole. Thanks to its handy dandy design, the filter will allow your soil to drain without letting it escape.


Repurpose Orchid pots: We’ve all been there… there’s a pretty little discounted pot at the store, with a big problem: It looks like swiss cheese! Orchid pots are designed with extra ventilation (aka holes in the pot walls). To use the pot on a traditional plant, and prevent side-soil-spillage, cut the bottom out of a coffee filter. Arrange the filter around the inside of the container, covering those holes, and pot your plant as usual.


#3 Turkey Baster

Turkey Basters aren’t just for the Thanksgiving season; they have a place in your gardening routine too! If your plant is too large to move (or you’re just tired of moving them constantly), a Turkey Baster is an excellent tool for you


Water your plant as usual and suck up the excess water that collects in the saucer. How does this help you care for your indoor plant? Your plant won’t sit in excess water, which lowers your chances of overwatering!


#4 The Pot Checker

There are a few tools you can use to help you check your soil’s moisture levels. For small plants, a clean chopstick does the trick. For larger plants, use a long piece of bamboo. How’s it work? If you’ve checked the “doneness” of a cake before, you’re a shoo-in:

  • A clean stick = dry soil.
  • A slightly dirty stick = damp soil.
  • A wet/muddy stick = wet soil.

Depending on your plant’s water requirements, the bamboo or chopstick can let you know when it’s time to water. 


#5 River Rocks

We’ve all heard about putting rocks at the bottom of a pot. Necessary? Not usually. But rocks on top of your plant’s soil can help in a few ways! How?


Bye-bye Moldy Topsoil: White mold on your plant’s topsoil might randomly appear during winter. While it doesn’t pose an immediate threat to your leafy friend, it’s pretty annoying (and ugly). An easy solution? Place a layer of rocks on the soil. The porous pebbles will soak in excess moisture and release it as humidity into the air! 


Temperature Regulating: If you put your plants outdoors for a summer vacation, they might need a bit of extra root insulation from the heat. A layer of rocks on the soil will act as a type of mulch, without the moisture-retention (and poopy smell) of real… Well, mulch.


#6 Leaf Check

We are all familiar with checking the soil’s moisture before watering, but what about checking the leaves? By giving the leaves a quick bend, you can tell the “thirst level” of several plant types, including succulents and Pilea. Firm leaves = wait a day or two before rewatering.

#7 Amend Your Soil

What’s that mean? Basically: Add things to your potting mix instead of using it straight-up! You might be surprised, succulents and cacti aren’t the only plants that benefit from extra drainage. Curious about how to use this tip to care for your indoor plant family? Check out our blog!

#8 Creative Cover Pots

By keeping your plants in their well-draining nursery pots, you can get funky with your selection of cover pots! Do you have that Auntie that is always buying you souvenir mugs? Or did you find a boho-tastic basket at TJMaxx? For a cover pot, “if it fits, it sits!” 


Of course, always remember to remove the inner pot when it’s time to water, allowing it to fully drain before placing it back in its fancy cover container.


#9 Glazed Terra Cotta Saucers

Do you love the terra cotta look but hate what it’s doing to your furniture? Invest in some glazed terra cotta saucers. What’s the benefit? The glaze prevents the moisture from soaking through, keeping your furniture looking new!


#10 Humidity vs. Spider Mites

Are you struggling with a Spider Mite infestation? Put down the Neem Oil (at least for a bit) and pick up the humidifier. These particular pests thrive in dry environments, so the extra humidity will get rid of them for good.

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