Plant parenthood

Cassandra C. Poculan

IT’S been nearly three months into quarantine and people have shifted interests from baking and cooking to buying indoor plants. But who can blame them? Plants improve air quality, boost creativity and add vibrancy to one’s home. Here are some helpful tips for first-time plant parents:

Consider what plants suit your space and lifestyle. If you have pets, for example, know which plants are not toxic to them.

If you want a low-maintenance plant, choose one with deep green leaves. These plants grow best in low light and require less water.

Wait for your plant to get acclimated to its new environment before repotting it.

When choosing a planter, buy one that has drainage holes to avoid root rot and to keep your plant from drowning in excess water.

Do not overwater. Experts say it’s better to underwater than overwater. The plant will tell you when it needs water. Yellow leaves mean it’s overwatered; brown leaves mean it’s underwatered.

Remove dead leaves to make space for new life. This will also ensure your plant is in tip-top shape.

If you’re going for potter herbs, the general rule is to place them in a moderately sunny spot and water only when the soil feels dry. Mint is the easiest to grow.

Make sure your plant gets the right amount of light it needs. Succulents and cacti need continuous, daily sunlight, while plants with foliage need about eight hours of light per day. Plants that require little light include the philodendron, pothos and peace lily.

Check for disease. Telltale signs of plants with pests or disease include white dots, sticky residue on the leaves and a bad odor.

If you spot pests, use an insecticidal soap and spray the entire plant. Do this once every two weeks for up to three times or until you’re able to eradicate the pests.