Everyone’s always talking about watering your houseplants like it’s the only thing you need to do to keep them looking lush and beautiful. Not. True. The proof is in the many leafy green things we’ve diligently hydrated and still killed this past year. Just owning a cute watering can doesn’t cut it, folks. According to Christopher Satch, a plant scientist at the beloved potted-plants shop The Sill, there are four other, little-talked-about products you should have on hand when your aloe vera arrives from Amazon—check them out below. Is is it just us or are our thumbs looking a little greener?
1. A squirt bottle
“If you have any one item for your plants it has to be this one. Squirt bottles are necessary for many types of plants—epiphytes like air plants and orchids depend on frequent misting to survive. Humidity-sensitive plants like Calatheas can be kept from crisping their leaves with a few squirts a day, especially in the winter. Spritzing the air can also help raise the humidity, which is both good for you and your plants.”
2. A cloth rag
“There is a lot of dust indoors, and some of it will settle on your plants. This is because your plants are helping to clean the air—both chemically and physically. Physically, dust clings to plants’ leaves, as they are statically charged and so is dust. However, dust blocks the leaves’ pores, so it is necessary to wipe your plants down occasionally to unclog the pores, since it doesn’t rain indoors (hopefully).”
“Fertilizer is essential for the long-term health of your plant. In nature, plants extend their root to mycorrhizal networks to acquire new nutrients. In planters, the nutrients are exhausted after a few months, and in order for the plant to be healthy, you need to add them back in. Think of fertilizer as a plant multivitamin. Extra soil is also good to keep around in case you need to re-pot. Whether you’re re-potting because your plant got too big for its pot, or it got knocked over and needs more soil, extra is always good to have around.”
4. A soaking tray
“It’s not entirely necessary, but a soaking tray makes watering many small plants at the same time very easy. Assuming that your plants are planted in pots with drainage holes at the bottom, you can place them all in a tray, pour warm water in their soil, and let them soak water for a few hours in the tray. Highly recommended for very small plants and orchids.”