There are some tips and tricks that, the experts say, can save sad-looking plants from certain death. Like watering them with bottled soda water instead of the one from out of the tap.
Real Simple suggests that filling your watering can with bottled club soda can give your plants a boost. Apparently unlike tap water, club soda is stocked with minerals that promote plant growth. You just have to make sure that you let the soda water go flat first; Real Simple warns the bubbly carbon dioxide will stunt a plant’s growth. → Watch the video: Real Simple
Need more than a soda swap to keep plants looking healthy?
Here are some of the best tips for finding and keeping healthy-looking houseplants:
1. The first step to keeping healthy plants is buying healthy plants.
- Find a reputable nursery with knowledgeable people.
- When you find your plant, check for damaged leaves, insects (scales, aphids, mealy bugs) and any signs of disease (black spots, yellowing leaves). If the leaves are limp and look wilty, it’s more likely that the plant needs water than that it is sick.
- None of the houseplants you buy are going to be organic. All houseplants (being tropical) are grown in greenhouses — ideal ecosystems for pests and disease — and almost no commercial greenhouse would survive as a business without pesticides. After all, you would never buy a diseased or bug-infested plant.
- Houseplants can go through numerous middlemen before reaching a storefront.
- If you can’t find what you want in person, do your homework before buying plants online. Online plants can be quite unusual or rare, but are smaller and more expensive than what you find locally. Additionally, in the case of houseplants, ‘rare’ is pretty much a guarantee that the plant is only suitable to being grown in a greenhouse with specialist care.
2. Clean your plants! Plants have pores (stomata) just like our skin, so it’s important to keep them clean from dust and debris. Here are some cleaning tips for plants:
- It is best to clean your plants every couple of months
- A touch of liquid, non-detergent soap goes a long way in giving a plant back its shine. Try to use this instead of milk, vegetable oil, and commercial “leaf shine” products
- Misting can help prevent settling dust and keeps leaves from drying out
- For plants with hairy leaves, use a soft cosmetic or children’s brush
3. The best healthy-plant secret? Location, location, location. Landscape designer Bridget Skinner says choosing the right plant for the light exposure is the best “secret.” Read her other plant care tips here.