Plants are a great addition to any home, but having them stay alive is another story. Unless you have a green thumb, keeping them healthy and thriving is almost impossible.
If you’ve ever faced the disappointment of watching your plants die despite putting tons of time and effort into keeping them alive, we’re here to help you out. We’ve got some amazing houseplant hacks and proven tips to make it easier to keep them alive
Eggshells for Seedlings
Most people buy tiny pots before starting their seedlings, but this is a huge waste of money. Halved eggshells can serve the same purpose and they’re better for your plants than pots due to the high level of calcium carbonate they contain.
Collect eggshells for a while before growing your seedlings and fill them with dirt. They’ll nourish the soil with calcium and nitrogen, helping your plants grow and bloom much faster.
Overnight Drinking Water
You’re probably watering your plants with fresh tap water, but this isn’t the best option. Watering your plants with overnight drinking water is a better bet because the chlorine in tap water will have enough time to evaporate.
It’s highly recommended to let tap water rest for at least 24 hours before watering your plants. If this seems like too much work, you can use cold pre-boiled tap water.
Don’t pour the water down the drain after cooking hard-boiled eggs. The eggshells have a high calcium content and a small amount of it is released into the water when you cook your eggs, making it extra nourishing.
Calcium does a great job increasing the pH of the soil, which is super beneficial for your plants. Just keep in mind you shouldn’t water your plants right after turning off your stove since it’s important to let the water return to room temperature.
There’s nothing quite like taking a nice, warm bath and you shouldn’t let all that bathwater go to waste. Instead, use it to water your plants, especially if you’ve added Epsom salt to the mix. But there are a few things you should take into consideration before doing this.
Watering your plants with soapy bathwater can help repel insects, but make sure the products you’re using don’t contain any additives that can harm your plants. Also, avoid watering your plants with bathwater if they’re edible or if your pets have a habit of chewing on them.
Epsom Salt Solution
Speaking of Epsom salt, watering your plants with bathwater isn’t the only way for your plant to get Epsom salt. You can add two tablespoons of Epsom salt into a gallon of water to make your own Epsom salt solution.
Epsom salt can help your plants thrive because it contains magnesium and sulfur, but it’s important to use it in moderation. High amounts of magnesium sulfate can damage your plants and cause salt injury. So, try not to overdo it when using an Epsom salt solution.
Epsom Salt Spray
In addition to watering your plants with an Epsom salt solution, you can also use it as a spray. Dissolve two tablespoons of Epsom salt in a gallon of water and spray your plants with it once a month.
This trick can do wonders for your vegetable plants, especially tomatoes and pepper crops. You should start spraying the solution when the blooms first appear. This can stop your plants from developing soil deficiencies which can result in yellow leaves and slowing down the ripening.
Chopsticks for Support
If you’re doing everything right with your plants, they’ll start growing like crazy and you’ll have to figure out a way to make them more stable so they don’t break. Well, you can use chopsticks to support them once they start getting taller.
Wood, bamboo, and rattan can also be used as a replacement for chopsticks. If you’re creative, you can transform them into a tiny frame, trellis, or an arch.
Ikea Bag Holder Planter
Do you have an Ikea bag holder at home, but you’re not really using it? Instead of letting it gather dust, put it to some good use and transform it into an amazing vertical garden.
This hack is especially great if you live in a small space and you can’t figure out a way to welcome plants into your home. A vertical garden doesn’t occupy too much space and it’s a great way to reuse your Ikea bag holder and turn it into an impressive planter.
Egg Carton for Seedlings
Egg cartons can also be used as a replacement for tiny plant pots when you’re trying to grow seedlings. There’s no need to throw away your cardboard egg cartons because you can easily upcycle them.
After growing your seedlings in egg cartons, you can directly plant them in your garden because cardboard is biodegradable and it will quickly disintegrate. It’s also highly recommended to cut tiny slits at the bottom of the cardboard cups, making it easier for the plants to expand their roots.
Citrus Halves for Seedlings
The list of creative ways to help your seedlings grow is pretty much endless and citrus fruits are another to add to your list. When peeling your oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, make sure to cut them in half because this is the best shape for growing your seeds.
The rind of citrus fruits offers a natural environment that can do wonders for your plants. Fill the rind with potting soil before adding seeds to the mix and make sure to water them on a regular basis to see the results.
Cinnamon to the Rescue
Don’t expect all your seedlings to thrive because there’s a chance you’ll lose some of them to fungal infections. Luckily, there are ways to deal with this problem and using cinnamon is one of the very best.
This spice does a great job fighting off diseases caused by fungus, mites, and whiteflies. You can sprinkle some cinnamon powder onto the soil to prevent damping off and it will also fertilize your plants.
Sprinkling Soil With Eggshells
In addition to using eggshells to grow your seedlings inside them, you can use them to help your plants thrive once they’re already in the garden. Sprinkling crushed eggshells onto the soil is a great way to nourish them with calcium.
The calcium from the eggshells will help balance the soil’s acidity, but this isn’t the only way to put old eggshells to some good use. You can turn them into fine powder by grinding them and mixing them up with other organic ingredients with nourishing properties.
Baby Plants as Gifts
If you enjoy giving presents with a personal touch, propagated baby plants perfectly fit the bill. They’re a great housewarming present and your friends and family members who enjoy filling their home with plants will be happy to receive them.
Instead of buying them new plants, do some research and figure out a way to reproduce plants that you already have at home. There are many propagation techniques you can use with different kinds of plants so put some effort into finding one that works.
Upside-Down Water Bottle
Taking care of your plants while you’re at home is all fun and games, but the real trouble starts when you have to go on a vacation for a week or two. If you don’t have anyone to come over and water your plants, an upside-down water bottle will do the trick.
Fill a water bottle with water halfway and then stick it into the soil a few inches. The soil will absorb the water over time, keeping it wet until you get home.
Using an upside-down water bottle isn’t the only way to keep your plants well-watered while you’re traveling. You can also use the water-wicking method, courtesy of none other than Martha Stewart!
Cut a piece of cloth long enough to connect a container of water to your plant. The gravity will do the rest of the work for you—cloth will slowly wick water from the container into the pot, keeping the soil wet while you’re not around. If your pots are on the larger side, use several “wicks” to get the job done.
Ice Cube Watering
If you’re having trouble watering your hanging plants, ice cubes will help you get the job done. Simply put a few ice cubes on top of the soil and let them melt, allowing them to slowly water your plants.
This technique can prevent overwatering and stop your fragile plants from breaking. It’s especially effective when it comes to orchids, but avoid using it with your tropical plants because cold water can shock their roots.
Used Coffee Grounds
Many items we usually throw away can help your plants thrive and used coffee grounds are a great example. Instead of throwing them away, rinse them and use them to fertilize the soil by sprinkling them on top. Using them without rinsing is also an option and it will give the soil an acidic boost.
Coffee grounds will help fight all sorts of pests and they attract earthworms. Earthworms won’t damage your plants and they aid fertilization by feeding on decaying plant material.
Grouping Plants Together
Plants need company, just like people, and they’ll thrive much faster when they’re not alone. This is especially true when it comes to humidity-loving plants because they can benefit from the moisture emitted by the other plants they’re surrounded with.
The more of these plants you pair together, the more humid the area around them will be. This technique is especially effective during warmer seasons when the air is much hotter and dryer and plants require more humidity.
Diapers for Moisture
Cheap disposable diapers can do wonders for your plants, especially during warm summer months. They can stop potting soil from drying out quickly because they contain hydrogel, which makes them highly absorbent and helps them hold a lot of liquid.
Before potting your plants, pour water into a diaper and allow it to soak, allowing it to transform into a gel-like substance. Mix the gel with potting soil and you’ll get absorbent and fluffy soil, which can increase your plant’s ability to retain moisture.
Using Club Soda
Tap water isn’t the only thing you should be using to water your plants. By this point, you’ve already learned you can water them with ice cubes and water from boiled eggs, but have you ever considered giving club soda a shot?
Carbonated drinks, such as club coda, contain high levels of minerals that plants need, including phosphorus, potassium, and sulfur. Test this theory by watering your plants with club soda for ten days. We bet they’ll be greener and stronger.
Some types of plants don’t thrive in humid and wet conditions, and you should apply different techniques when taking care of them. Cacti and succulents are the perfect examples—they prefer well-drained soil and they can even die if their soil is wet for too long.
To avoid this issue, combine their soil with unscented, clay-based cat litter. Kitty litter will assist with drainage and make your plants healthier by promoting better root development.
If you’re trying to propagate your plants by cutting them, it’s important to take good care of their roots to stop fungi and bacteria from developing. Honey is known for its antifungal properties, so it’s one of the best household items to use to keep plants healthy.
Honey can give your plants a much-needed boost after they are cut. In addition to preventing fungal or bacterial problems, it can aid root growth. So, you should definitely dip your stems in honey before planting them.
We already mentioned you can use egg water to give your plants an extra boost of nourishment, but this isn’t the only watering trick. Cooking water from vegetables and pasta can also do wonders for your plants.
The boiled water will contain tons of micronutrients including phosphorus, nitrogen, and calcium. Give it time to cool down and then use it to water your plants, helping them grow and flourish much faster than they would if you were to use tap water.
Aerating Plants With Chopsticks
You can use chopsticks to keep your climbing plants more stable, but this isn’t the only time they can come in handy. You can also use chopsticks to aerate the soil of your houseplants, which is much more difficult to do indoors due to the lack of earthworms.
Use a chopstick or a pencil to poke a few holes in your soil, allowing water and oxygen to freely pass through it. Do it gently, but don’t be too worried about breaking the roots because they can handle it and they’ll grow back if they snap.
Crushed Soda Cans
You’ll need a lot of soil to fill large planters, but you can save money by replacing some of the soil with empty soda cans. Make sure they’re clean before crushing them and place them at the bottom of the pot before pouring the soil inside.
In addition to being a great way to upcycle your soda cans, this hack can benefit your plants. Cans can promote better air circulation and help with draining, especially if you have a habit of overwatering your plants.
Coffee filters can make plant maintenance much easier because they allow water to drain without having to deal with all the dirt. Place them between the soil and the drainage hole to stop the dirt from spilling out every time you water your plants.
They can prevent dirt from getting stuck in the drainage hole, which can lead to limited water flow and root rotting. In addition to using brand-new coffee filters, you can upcycle used ones because coffee grounds are a great fertilizer.
Drilling Drainage Holes
Your plants will never thrive without appropriate drainage. Regardless of how good your planters look, they’re practically useless without a drainage hole and if they don’t have one, you should make one yourself.
You can make them by using a drill, but keep in mind you should take things slow and use the right bit so your pot wouldn’t break. A standard drill bit is best left for plastic pots while a masonry drill bit is a better fit for stone or terracotta pots. Diamond tipped bits should only be used for glazed ceramics pots.
Mayo Clean Up
You can use all sorts of household products to help your plants bloom and mayonnaise falls under this category. Cleaning your plants with mayo may sound like a crazy idea, but it’s actually a genius way to make them shine.
Put a little bit of mayo on a rag and use it to gently wipe away the dirt and dust from your plants. Dusty plants will lose their shine and using nothing but water to clean them up won’t do the trick, so try using this mayo hack once a month.
Cleaning up an aquarium is a huge drag, but what if we told you you don’t have to throw all of that water away? You can kill two birds with one stone by using aquarium water to nourish your plants because it’s a great fertilizer.
Aquarium water can aid the growth of your plants because it contains a long list of beneficial minerals such as phosphorus, nitrogen, ammonia, and potassium. The water from a saltwater tank is the exception to this rule because too much salt can damage your plants.
From eggshells and coffee grounds to citrus fruits and banana peels, the list of kitchen items you can reuse in gardening is pretty much endless—and it goes on.
Many kitchen items that we see as trash can encourage the healthy growth of plants and that’s especially the case with fruits and vegetables. Putting them in a compost pile is always an option, but some of them—such as peppers and tomatoes—can also be blended with water and used to enrich the soil.
Soda Bottle Mini Garden
If you’re not sure how to upcycle used soda bottles, creating a mini garden for your plants is always a good idea. You can easily transform a soda bottle into a terrarium or a planter and you don’t even have to be a DIY expert to get it done.
When cutting the bottle, make sure it’s big enough to fit the soil and plants inside. Don’t forget to poke a few holes in the bottom for drainage and fill it with some pebbles. This trick doesn’t work every time, but it’s perfect for seeds and smaller plants.
Toilet Paper Roll Planters
In addition to using eggshells and egg cartons to grow your seedlings, you can achieve the same results with leftover toilet paper rolls. Just like egg cartons, they’re made of cardboard and it’s pretty easy to grow seeds inside them.
Fill your toilet paper rolls with potting soil before placing seeds inside and let the seedlings grow a few inches before moving them to your garden. You don’t even have to remove the cardboard before planting them because it will decompose on its own.
Disposable Plastic Forks
Plastic forks are quite wasteful and it’s important to come up with ways to use them more than once. If you don’t feel like throwing them away, you can stick them into the ground to protect your seedlings from animals or other plants that might get in the way.
Plants are in their most fragile state when they’re still seedlings so it’s important to protect them at all costs. If you’re looking for an eco-friendlier alternative, disposable wooden forks are also an option.
If you noticed butterfly-shaped plant decorations during your last trip to the gardening store but you weren’t sure what they were all about, it turns out they’re not just there to look pretty.
Butterfly-shaped sticky traps look nice, but they’re extremely popular for a reason. They help with pest control, stopping gnats, flies, mosquitoes, and other annoying bugs from hurting your plants. They’re usually yellow because small flying insects are attracted to this color and they’ll quickly fall into the trap.
It’s no secret that you should put pebbles at the bottom of your pot to ensure proper drainage, but did you know that clay pebbles are much better than regular rocks?
Clay pebbles are a perfect air moisturizer because they do a great job absorbing excess water in your pot, but they also release it when the pot is drying out. In addition to improving water retention, they can also help with aeration, prevent excess acidity, and stop the roots from rotting.
LED Growing Lights
It’s pretty difficult to grow plants when your living space lacks natural light. This is one of the most common problems that plant lovers face and it has led to the popularity of LED grow lights.
Led lights come in many shapes and forms, and they can come in handy when you’re growing seedlings, plants that require intense light, or plants placed in a dark corner or on a south-facing window. Three-headed LED lights are the best choice in these situations because they will help your plant get all the sun rays it needs.
The term “leggy plants” is often used to describe plants that have long, stretched-out stems, but only have a couple of leaves on top. This usually happens because your plant isn’t getting enough natural light and it’s reaching in the direction of the available rays to survive.
The easiest way to solve this problem is to find a new spot for your leggy plants, preferably one that offers enough light. You can prune the top of your plant so it looks bushier and fuller.
Your plants need the right environment in order to thrive. You’ll need to put them in the right place to keep them happy, but this is one of the biggest dilemmas all plant owners face.
Plants tend to reach toward the light source, which is known as phototropism. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should move all your plants near the window to get more light. Plants can be classified into several different light groups and you should do your research so you know where they belong.
Watering plants is a delicate business and it’s not one of those things you can simply do according to a schedule. Watering all your plants once a week or twice a month simply won’t do the trick because each one is unique.
You’ll have to water your plants when the time is right, not when you feel like it. Regularly check the moisture of the soil and only water your plants after giving the soil enough time to dry to prevent overwatering them.
Moving leggy plants and pruning their tops aren’t the only tricks you can use to fix them. Air layering is another popular technique that plant lovers often used to rejuvenate the greenery in their homes.
Air layering is a propagation technique, usually used with older plants that can’t be saved any other way. It involves cutting the stems halfway through, sprinkling them with rooting hormone or damp moss, and wrapping them loosely with plastic. The main goal of this technique is to encourage roots to form.
Loosening the Root Ball.
There comes a moment when your plant overgrows its original pot and it must be transferred to a new one. It’s dirty work and most people want to get it done quickly, but there’s one step you should never skip—loosening the root ball.
If you leave the roots as they are, all tangled up into a ball, chances are they’ll never thrive in a new planter. Take some time to loosen them by gently running your fingers through them or they’ll never grow into the new soil.
Moving Plants Outdoors
Most people want to spend their hot summer days outdoors and it turns out that plants feel the same way. Most indoor plants can thrive outside during warmer seasons, so consider moving them outdoors to improve their health and appearance.
Before taking this step, keep in mind it will take some time for your plants to get accustomed to shade and warm temperatures. For the first two weeks, move them gradually, by taking them out during the day and bringing them in at night.
When buying new plants, we want them to be in mint condition, instead of having to deal with the damage that we didn’t even cause. That’s why it’s crucial to carefully inspect your plants before purchasing them.
While inspecting a plant, carefully look for any signs of damage and pests, such as tiny bugs, fungus gnats, and tiny spider webs. If you notice any of these issues, look for another plant.
It’s easy for plants to thrive in nature because they’re constantly being nourished by other decaying plants and animal matter, but your indoor plants don’t have that luxury. They’re left with the soil in their pot and the fertilizer will run out a few months after you plant them.
Repotting your plants and mixing fertilizer with soil is a difficult process and you can avoid doing it frequently by taking proper care of your plants during their growing season. Look for granular and liquid fertilizer you can sprinkle on top of the soil to help your plants reach their full potential.
If you end up overwatering your plants, some of the excess water will drain into the saucer underneath the pot. However, having your plant just sit in that water isn’t a great idea because its root will rot faster.
Picking up your plant and pouring the water from the saucer down the drain is an option, but it can be messy and quite difficult if you’re dealing with large plants. That’s why you should use a turkey baster to remove excess water from the saucer.
Ice Cream Stick Markers
It’s time-consuming to figure out how each of your plants works and what they need to thrive. While it’s not always possible to put lots of effort into each one, it’s important to be mindful of red flags and to act as soon as you see them.
Some things to look out for are leaves that are red, falling out, or darkening on the edges. It’s possible that the plants need more water or fertilizer or that they need to be replanted or moved.