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Tips on easy plant care at home with Mignonne

We commonly hear from our patrons here at Mignonne that they don't have a green thumb, or they wish they could have plants but don't have the time to keep them alive. The truth is it's a lot easier than you think to care for houseplants and no one is born having a green thumb. All gardeners, including experts, have killed plants. It's all by trial and error. Now, I can say that I have a green thumb and you can too! I will discuss some simple tips that can help you become a better gardener.

The main thing everyone should know is the species of plant that you have. Sometimes you get a plant and there's no description or care instruction label on it. A great tool that can take care of that problem we like to use to help identify a plant is from an app called Plant Snap.

It's free to download from your mobile device in the app store. How it works is: you snap a photo of the plant that you want to identify while using the app. Just like the photo pictured below--it will identify the name of that plant. It's awesome! Then you can search the plant by name and learn how the plant thrives best in its original habitat, which will help you understand how to take proper care of it.

Once you've determined the species of plant you have it's important to understand the light requirements. You will see some common descriptions for lighting requirements. Here is the breakdown for conditions below:

High light or Bright Light (6 or more hours a day)

Medium-light or Indirect Light (4 to 6 hours a day)

Low light (less than 3 hours a day)

Other common descriptions are that plants will either require bright or direct light (sunlight from a south-facing window) or indirect or filtered light (sunlight through a curtain or light from a bulb).

When searching for a good soil mixture, it is best to use a growing media that is soilless and has a combination of equal parts Peat Moss, Vermiculite, Perlite, and compost. This mix helps in obtaining moisture in the soil. Perlite and vermiculite are lightweight volcanic rocks naturally filled with air. We prefer Perlite over the others because it does not decompose over time nor lose its aerating ability if the potting mix is compressed. Vermiculite is a valuable additive because it prevents some nutrients from leaching away, it even provides a bit of potassium and magnesium.

When it comes time to choosing a new planter for your plant, choose one that is 1 to 2 inches larger in diameter and 1 to 2 inches deeper than the plant's current pot. If you choose a pot that has larger dimensions than that, then the roots will need to grow inside the pot before the plant itself can begin to grow larger.

Some plants require moisture because they come from rain forests like the Stromanthe Triostar (pictured above). Here, I put the plant on top of a plastic saucer that is set inside a decorative brass planter. I then lined a few rocks in the saucer and filled it with some water to just below the top of the rocks. This allows the plant to obtain humidity without having to mist the plant with a mister daily.

Feeding your plants is just as important, too! There are many great choices out there for plant food. One great one we like, and that is simple to use as well, is Dr. Earth Pure Gold Pump & Grow All Purpose Plant Food. Not only is it non- toxic and pet safe, but it's also made locally in Northern California. This product can be found at many retailers for around $8 per 16-ounce bottle. It is recommended to use this at every other watering during Spring/Summer months and once a month during Fall/Winter months.

We hope that these easy-to-follow tips discussed here will encourage you to no longer feel overwhelmed with the task of houseplant care. If you are interested in learning more regarding houseplant care we recommend this book: The New Plant Parent by Darryl Cheng, available in our shop!

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