At Pure for Men, we thrive on being a plant powered brand that believes in an all-natural and holistic approach to life. Now we thought we would take our passion for plants from our products to your living room and unless you live under a rock, you know houseplants have been having a huge moment over the past few years that seems to just continue gaining momentum. Curious about how to get started? Read on for a nearly foolproof guide to populate your place with plants and watch them thrive.
Evaluate your environment
Light levels are the most important factor to take into account when selecting plants: north-facing windows offer the least amount of light, east-facing windows are great for most plants, and south and west-facing windows provide the most light. When assessing the light in your home, remember that what is outside the window may greatly diminish how much light actually makes its way inside. Most plants process artificial light readily, and standard LED bulbs in a very nearby lamp are totally adequate to supplement your available natural light. A “low light” labeled plant means that it is low light tolerant- nearly all plants that can survive in low light would prefer brighter light. If you have pets or small children, make sure you can put plants out of their reach because unfortunately, most fierce houseplants are also poisonous. The ASPCA has a thorough database of plant toxicity and symptoms to help you figure out if you need to take Fluffy to the vet.
Repot for success
Repotting is a highly controversial topic among houseplant experts. The past few years of trial and error with our indoor garden has landed us squarely in the camp of repotting immediately in a chunky, well-draining potting mix. Our home doesn’t have bright light all day, and therefore plants left in greenhouse soil- where plants live in the most ideal conditions, end up rotting and dying before we ever get a chance to water them. Even if you do have great lighting, a fast-draining mix gives your plants a greater chance of surviving. Here is the basic recipe, the ingredients are available anywhere plants are sold: 2 parts standard potting mix, 1 part perlite, and a generous sprinkling of horticultural charcoal. If you already know you have a tendency to love your plants to death, go even heavier on the perlite and charcoal. When it’s time to repot, gently remove as much old potting mix from the roots and trim off any brown/black/squishy roots. If the plant was already root bound, meaning the roots were tightly wound in the bottom of the pot or escaping through the holes at the bottom, choose a pot no more than 2” larger than the previous pot. Fill the bottom third with your amazing homemade mix, gently set the plant in making sure the soil line is about an inch from the top of the pot, and fill in around the sides, every so often tapping the pot on a hard surface to make sure there are no air gaps in the pot.
Consider your commitment
Know that many tropical plants are high maintenance and may require supplementing humidity in the room. Alternatively, you could purchase lots of cacti to achieve the #urbanjungle look without having to water more than once a month and in some cases, ever. To get you started, here are a few hardy, low-light tolerant beauties to satisfy any aesthetic.
ZZ plant: This guy will love you so much if you put him in a dark closet for a year without water.
Pothos: Lime green to dark green, and at least a dozen different options, these fast-growing vines are also super easy and fun to propagate and give as gifts or just add to your collection.
Aloe: Like all the plants on this list, aloe prefers bright light but is tolerant of basically any neglect you can concoct as long as you don’t overwater her.
Sansevieria: Mother-in-law’s tongue is the most widely seen variety, but there are some super sexy, relatively rare varieties out there that make a bold (rarely watered) statement.
The best way to keep your garden healthy is to bring home healthy, uninfested plants. When you bring your new baby home, isolate it from the rest of your collection for a week so you can be sure it is pest-free. Happy planting!