Thinking of bringing home a plant for the first time? Here are some things you should know.

Plants are not like knickknacks that just sit there.

For one thing, they’re messy. I’ll illustrate my point by using my own houseplants. Here’s what happens after my Aeschynanthus (named Lady Evermore)  blooms:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Plants 101 - Maintenance

The spent blooms oozed a gunky sticky sap:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Plants 101 - Maintenance

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Plants 101 - Maintenance

If you can’t tolerate leaves on your floor, or wads of goo stuck to furniture, then don’t get plants.

I mean, look what they did to my foyer!

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Plants 101 - Maintenance

Haha, juuuuust kidding – it was mostly my fault. Overwatering, underwatering, that’s on me. Spent blossoms on the floor, totally on them.

Anyway, for me, the whole point of having houseplants is to connect with Nature, it’s about having a relationship with Nature inside your home.

From that perspective, you should want to do nice things for them.

With my own plants, I take them on a field trip to the front yard twice a year:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Plants 101 - Maintenance

There are no concession stands or rides, but they love it.

It’s like a morning at a spa for them – they get showered, they get their soil flushed.

They get all happy looking, like this:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Plants 101 - Maintenance

Aw. So cute!

>>>>Quick Houseplant Tip>>>>

Don’t leave houseplants out in the sun for long – their leaves can burn very easily. Even the sun on a fall morning can be too hot. Remember, they’ve never been out in the sun in their lives (other than the brief moments between greenhouse and truck, and store and car). Error on the side of caution and bring them back in the house as fast as you can.

>>>>End of Houseplant Tip>>>>

Anyway. Before inviting a plant into your home, make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. They may not be able to bark like dogs or cry like babies, but they are living breathing creatures.

>>>>Quick Holiday Tip>>>>

One plant that didn’t go outside one the field trip was one of the Schlumbergeras, or Christmas Cactus. That’s because when Schlums are budding up, like she was:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Plants 101 - Maintenance

…they are very fragile.

So many people buy Christmas Cactuses that are blooming or full of buds, only to take them home and all the blooms fall off. They are sensitive, you have to be very careful. I took mine to the kitchen sink for a gentle shower.

>>>> End of holiday tip >>>>

It’s important to get to know your plants once you’ve brought them into your home. A lot of that mess plants make is them trying to communicate with you. Some leaves naturally get old and fall off, but usually leaves that turn brown are getting too little water, or too much. The plant is trying to tell you which…it’s up to you to figure it out. Looking for the perfect balance, the exact right amount of care will continue as long as you own the plants – that’s the aforementioned relationship.

It’s important to learn how to prune your plants. It’s important to learn how to fertilize your plants. It’s important to look for pests. It’s important to flush their soil once in awhile. I’ve talked about all these topics on this blog before – there is a ton of guidance out there to support you.

Bottom line, don’t be a jerk to your plants.

They’re 100% dependent on your care once they are inside your home.

Their life literally depends on you.

Do a good job, and they reward you. Like mine do:

Before you invite plants into your home, you should be prepared. They are living, breathing creatures and are 100% dependent on your care once they are inside your home. My regular readers have heard me say that a million times, but in case there are plant newbies, or potential plant newbies, out there reading this, be informed! Their life literally depends on you.

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Plants 101 - Maintenance

Abundant rewards make the work worthwhile.

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I’ll be back tomorrow with an all-new Ask the Experts panel, and a new puzzler. Hope to see you back here.

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