Not everyone was born with chlorophyll in their veins. Caring for houseplants seems easy enough. They just require water, sunlight and the occasional scoop of plant food, right? Yet many of us are blessed with what the experts call a “black thumb.” Though we don’t set out to wield the power of life or death over potted products (usually the latter), there are always mitigating circumstances. If you’re in the black thumb group, it doesn’t mean you need to throw in the towel and fill your house with plastic plants. Here are unique ways to monitor your plants’ growth and keep them healthy and thriving.
Make it a Team Effort
Many workplaces house indoor plants in central areas that a plant care service tends to or individual employees maintain them at their own desks. But an IT group at Conductor decided to get everyone involved to ensure that a relocated engineer’s lily received adequate and regular care. Taking a high-tech approach, they installed sensors and an LED display to notify the team of moisture levels and send out online alerts so people would know when it was their turn for watering. They even wrote a program for remote access when team members were on vacation and their turn came up. You can take a cue from Conductor’s efforts by sharing workplace plant care with your office mates. After all, everyone benefits from healthy, green office plants.
Speaking of high-tech, the Koubachi Wi-Fi plant sensor makes plant care as easy as pushing a couple of buttons. Dubbed the “smart plant care assistant,” the Koubachi system features a sensor that is inserted into the plant’s soil. The sensor relays data to your mobile device about the current conditions of your plant, reporting on everything from moisture levels to pH to temperature. In addition to the real-time info, plant owners receive access to a wealth of botany resources, including the Plant Cyclopedia and specific care instructions for that particular species. Your office and houseplants have a chance at survival as long as Wi-Fi is available.
It’s possible that your plants haven’t been thriving because of inadequate lighting. Some sunlight is healthy, but depending on the plant, too much light can be damaging and lead to scorched leaves. Likewise, not enough sunlight inhibits growth. Consider the type of houseplants you have (or want) and create ideal plant growing conditions through lighting. Shop for window treatments at stores like The Shade Store, and look for blinds or shades that enable you to adjust the amount of natural light.
Consider the artificial lighting in the room too. The University of Tennessee’s Institute of Agriculture has been experimenting with LED lights, which use less power and produce less heat while aiding in plant nutrition.
Worms to the Rescue
Ewww, worms in your house? Not quite. Worm castings may be the secret ingredient to help turn your black thumb to green. A California company called Sanctuary Soil offers “premium artisan soils” that blend minerals with worm castings, microorganism blends and other organic matter for a rich base for your plants’ root systems.
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