Getting and caring for a houseplant is a great New Year’s resolution in general. It’s realistic, sustainable, and provides long-lasting rewards. Even still, it will only work out if the resolution speaks to you on a personal level. Whether you’re already a houseplant enthusiast or just starting out, here are our top 5 houseplant ideas for the New Year.
- Overcome your reputation for having a black thumb.
If you tend to forget to water your houseplant, get one that thrives on neglect. Some houseplants are also better than others at telling you they need water. These are the big reasons why succulents are such a popular category of houseplant. Maybe what you need to do different is match the houseplant with the lighting conditions. You can’t put a low-light plant in an unfiltered window with southern exposure. You can’t put a sun-loving plant in the middle of a room with windows that have northern exposure. Be sure to use a potting mix that is formulated for your houseplant and a pot with good drainage, especially holes in the bottom and a saucer or catchment pot.
- Learn How to Compost Your Own Potting Soil.
It’s good for the environment and good for houseplants. Composting soil is similar to using a slow cooker in the kitchen. You can do things to activate and accelerate the composting process, but it still takes several months to go from food and lawn scraps to ready-to-use compost. You’ll also need to add some soil amendments and aerators to turn the compost into a potting mix for houseplants. This is one time we recommend testing the compost and final potting mix for relative acidity and alkalinity levels. You can use peat moss as aerator to increase the acidity level of the soil. Perlite or vermiculite are better choices to make the compost more alkaline.
- Propagate a New Houseplant from an Existing Plant.
Stop paying for every one of your houseplants. Get the extra sense of belonging and bonding that comes from propagating your own new houseplant. Expand your basic skill set with caring for houseplants. Start creating gift plants from the new cuttings, or trade with your friends and family who share your love of houseplants but have different types in their home. One of the easiest methods of propagation, you can also learn how to grow houseplants in water.
- Use a Houseplant for a Practical Household Chore.
Depending on the type, houseplants can be used for fragrance, medicine, or in the kitchen. There’s a good chance you already have at least one houseplant that fits into one of these categories. Aloe vera is a common ingredient in skin lotions. Jasmine, gardenias, and heliotropes are all popular choices for fragrance. Basil, rosemary, sage, and even dwarf citrus trees can all be cultivated as potted plants. Just be sure you know what you’re doing. Creating aloe vera gel on your own isn’t that difficult, but the outside part of the plant is actually a skin irritant that can make the problem worse.
- Get a Houseplant to Flower for the First Time.
There are lots of houseplants that are resilient enough to survive in challenging conditions but need extra help to blossom and show their flowers. Many low-light houseplants will have fine-looking foliage but won’t flower until they’re given a brighter spot. Other plants, like the Christmas cactus, require long periods without light to reset their growth cycle and produce flowers. The first idea some people have is to use fertilizer. This can help when done right, but if you use the wrong kind, the wrong amount, or at the wrong time, you could end up doing more harm than good. It may also simply be time to repot or add some fresh potting mix. Good houseplant care is essential, and this includes the watering schedule, but more often the culprit is sunlight—either too much or too little. As with so many things, you need to know what that particular type of houseplant wants.