Your plants deserve the best conditions, attention and tools to keep them happy. You might not have a huge apartment or house, or lots great natural light but you can provide the optimal growing conditions year round with some cool products. I have listed out some of my fave products below in hopes that you can keep your green friends happy and healthy.
Light. Essential to sustaining plant life. Do you have lots of natural light? Indirect? Skylights? Some plants do not require lots of light and some require loads of light. The key is to buy plants that fit your space. Desert plants that require full sun for 6+ hours a day will not survive in a dark basement. Sorry. But… If you get yourself a nifty lighting setup, you can not only keep them happy in your basement but also even have them flourish. I’m not going to go into the technical side of light but rather show you what worked for me.
My personal favourite lights are Aquarium lights. They keep my plants happy year round and you can move the plants closer or further away from the bulb to achieve the right amount of light for different species of houseplants. They almost always have full spectrum for non-aquarium plants and most have more than one setting to adjust light intensity or colour balance.
I just got two amazing new ones from ONF that are really out performing all other grow lights on the market. They are 15 watt LED, with 1300 lumen, 7000K. The design is probably the sleekest I’ve ever seen too so your plant shelfie will look amazing. The best thing is you have full control of the dimmable light from you phone or with the touch sensitive strip right on the light. Loving that you can set the light to come on at any given point and go off when you want it to. And.. you can set multiple times with specific intensities of brightness. It clips onto an aquarium if you want or a base is available for purchase separately. I am excited about these as my wife hates the bulky other lights. Check them out Here>
Soil. I use a basic potting soil for most of my plants. Some of my Bonsai get specialty soil but for the almost all other tropical plants potting soil is best. The perfect potting mix does not contain soil or garden dirt. It has composition of peat moss, vermiculite, perlite, sand, and shredded bark or compost. I would recommend staying very far away from top soil, garden soil and anything manure based as it has not been treated for pests and you will be bringing those pests inside. In addition, soils found at the dollar store or soil that is just ridiculously cheap is probably too good to be true. Stick with the major soil providers to give you plants the right nutrients. It will ensure your plant is happy and healthy. Here are a few of my go to potting mixes.
Miracle-Grow. Buy Here>
Happy Frog. Buy Here>
And here are a few specialty ones that have been mixed to accommodate the requirements of some other plants like cactus, Succulents and orchids.
Cactus and succulent mix from Hoffman . Buy Here>
Orchid mix from Better-Gro . Buy Here>
Water. So watering is a bit of a hot topic with plants. Some people like to use tap water, some like to use tap water that has been sitting out for 24 hours in hopes that any added chemicals like chlorine or fluoride evaporate out it, some like to use rain water that they collect, some people like to use distilled water or even reverse osmosis water. Some crazy people even use carbonated water, which is just silly (and expensive). Personally, I use tap water for all my plants except moss. For moss, I use either reverse osmosis water or distilled water. Moss is very sensitive to chemicals so it is best to just err on the side of caution and use a water that is guaranteed to not have any chemicals that might effect it or even kill it.
Here is a basic distilled water that I would use. Buy Here>
Planters or Pots. Planters are such a personal thing. They represent how you like to show your plants, how you like them to look with other plants and how you like them to function. I like to get a lot of my pots from ceramic artists to help support local businesses. I also like pots from some of the larger companies like Umbra, Case Study ceramics and a few others. I would suggest fining what works best for you and your plants. One thing to look for is a pot with proper drainage holes. Plants don’t like to sit in water. Think about you and the way you could not survive under water for long but you need water to survive. Overwatering is the biggest killer of plants so make sure your pot has holes! Below are a few options to get started, but keep your eye out for creations by local artists.
Pictured – Umbra hanging pots (keep in mind these ones have no drainage holes so remove the plastic pot liner to water and then return to the pot) . Buy Here>
Modern ceramic planter with a nice looking wood stand. Buy Here>
Fertilizers. I use a few different ones but basic plant food once a month during the growing months will work best for 90% of houseplants. Some specialty plant types will require a very specific fertilizer but most are fine with one like Schultz liquid plant food.
Pruners/Scissors. I love this subject! So many cool companies making beautiful tools out there. Personally, I use Fiskars products, as they are the sharpest, last the longest and look amazing together. That iconic orange handle that has been around since I was a kid. I even have a few axes from them. Check out some of these basic tool that every plant person needs
Micro-Tip Pruning Snips, Non-Stick Blades 2 Pack. Buy Here>
PowerGear2 Pruner. Buy Here>
Hatchet with Sheath, 14″, Black. Buy Here>
Moisture Meters. People swear by these nifty little devices. There are simple ones you stick in the soil and a thermometer style indicator tells you how dry the soil is (or wet). Or a top of the line digital one that reads the exact moisture content of your soil. I have little experience with these as I have gotten to a point where I know my plant’s drying patterns and when the need water. I’d love to try one of the following though as you can really never tell what is happening way down there in the bottom of your pots.
Pictured – 3-in-1 Soil Tester Kit with Moisture, Light and PH readings. Buy Here>
Luster Leaf Digital Moisture Meter. Buy Here>
Shelving. Plant shelves come in all shapes and sizes. There really is nothing that is necessary for shelving your plants. Unless you need to have a hanging light or need to setup some sort of drip tray. There are some great ones out there if you are looking to house your plants in a stylish way. I have very utilitarian ones that are commonly used for storage in a garage and they work well. I must admit that if I had the space I would get some beautiful ones like this one.
45″ Foldable Ladder Plant Stand. Buy Here>
Pictured – VIVOSUN Wood Plant Stand (6 Wood Shelves for 10 Pots) . Buy Here>
Books on Plants. There is an abundant amount of knowledge out there for plants and THE BEST is of course my friend Darryl from Houseplant Journal’s book The New Plant Parent. I have a few plants from my collection featured in it so I’m always happy to showcase it. That aside it is by far the most detailed book in the market for how to truly understand plant care.
New Plant Parent: Develop Your Green Thumb and Care for Your House-Plant Family Buy Here>
A few other great reads.
Summer Rayne Oakes’ – How to Make a Plant Love You. Buy Here>
Hilton Carter’s – Wild at Home: How to style and care for beautiful plants. Buy Here>
Urban Jungle Bloggers’ – Urban Jungle. Buy Here>