Written by Hugh Metcalf

5 easy care tips to become a better ‘plant parent’

Follow these golden rules from expert gardener Isabelle Palmer to help keep house plants both alive and thriving in your home. 

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Image: Always Kalanchoe

While house plants are a huge interiors trend, they do come with the very specific challenge of having to care for them and keep them alive in order to look good. In fact, with so many plant pots taking up residence in our homes, looking after them all has become a lifestyle choice that’s created a generation of ‘plant parents’.

If you need to up your plant parenting game to ensure your little ones grow up big and strong, then here’s some tips from small space gardening expert Isabelle Palmer from the Balcony Gardener in collaboration with Always Kalanchoe.

Pick your perfect match 

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Image: Balcony Gardener

First up, pick a plant that matches the level of time, care and attention you’re willing and able to dedicate to it. Decide if you’re up for the challenge before picking a time-intensive or sensitive plant. Do your research before you head to the garden centre – or you could end up bringing something home like an Elephant’s Ear, which needs constant watering, or a Calathea, which is prone to suffer in the cold, without any idea of how much attention you’ll eventually need to give them.

Don’t give plants too much attention 

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Image: Balcony Gardener 

You may think something like a cacti or succulent is easy to care for, but these types of plant in particular can suffer from over-attention. If you water them any more than sparsely, they can quickly turn into a mushy mess. Practice restraint and only water cacti once a month.

Find the right spot

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Image: Thejoyofplants.co.uk 

Remember every plant is different, so while an Echerveria may flourish on your sunny windowsill, others do better in low light levels. A little bit of research into your species (before you throw out the plant name label) goes a long way to ensure you’re not fighting a losing battle against the elements you’ve placed your house plant in.

Talk to your plants

kalanchoe flaming katy livinf room plant set up - inspiration - goodhomesmagazine.com

Image: Always Kalanchoe 

With flowering house plants such as a Kalanchoe, talking to your plants may not be a crazy as it seems. According to research, plants have ‘ears’ that help them detect the approach of insects, so having a quick chat with them once a day could help them to bloom!

Book a plant babysitter

humphrey munson kitchen with in frame cabinets shaker style and freestanding fridge freezer - goodhomesmagazine.com

Image: Thejoyofplants.co.uk 

If you’re going away on a long holiday, don’t let your precious house plants suffer. Have a friend or family member pop by to show your plants some love, or engage the help of a professional plant babysitter (or house sitter) to come to your home while you’re away to keep them in top shape.


Are you a serial house plant killer? Tweet us @goodhomesmag or post a comment on our Facebook page. Or, tag us in plant-filled photos on Instagram for a chance to be featured, using the hashtag #ThisGoodHome.



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