MANILA

Ng: How to be a beginner plant parent

Wander Woman

IN THESE times of Covid madness, people turned to a lot of hobbies to keep sane. Others went into cooking, baking and even started selling their goods online. Some people embraced their inner nature goddess and became plant moms or plant dads.

My first ever plant was a jasmine plant from a stem I got from our neighbor. I planted that in 1986 in our new house that time and now it is an overgrown trellis on the side of our house's wall. I did not plant after that. I was content with fake plants inside the house as it was zero effort.

Flashback to 2016 when I started dating my now husband. My hubby bought me my first Phalaenopsis orchid that bloomed for three months! It was quite impressive. This started my love affair with plants and orchids.

Which goes to my first tip. If you want to be a plantita or plantito, you have to gauge your house lighting. The orchid needed bright indirect light. I had to search a window that gave that. Fortunately, we have this window on the home that was part opaque. I put the orchid there and became successful with the first orchid and I was able to purchase succeeding orchids I named Faith, Hope and Love that thrived in that window ledge. When they are abloom, they are with me in the living room and when the blooms fall, I put them back in the indirect lighting ledge window where they have survived for the past years, growing new leaf and giving us flower spikes at least once a year.

So it is important to assess the lighting in your home, kitchen, living room or even bedroom -- what kind of light, how strong the sunlight shines in that particular room. Move your plants according to amount of sunlight it needs.

My next tip is to read up on the plants. There are a lot of materials on the internet and when you buy plant, there is a small description marker on the plant you are buying. Read that and follow instructions on how to water the plant or to fertilize if necessary.

Another plant tip I learned is not to go to stores and just buy any plant you find nice. Different plants have different lighting and watering needs. Assess your life whether you have the time to fuss over your plants. If you want to be as hands on or as hands off type of plant parent, there will be different types of plants for that.

Thirdly, I also learned that orchids are susceptible to root rot so do not water them often. Insert your finger on the bark soil to see if it's wet or dry. When dry, which takes about two weeks, that is the only time I water them with half a shot glass per pot. So far, it has worked for me. Hope gave us beautiful magenta flowers this year. And Faith gave us two flower spikes this year and is still abloom as I write this.

There are different plants with different water requirements. Dessert plants, or succulents, or tropical plants that came from the Mexico like the Yucca for example, thrive in drought and not much watering. It is the same with Lavender plants that come from the Mediterranean.

Fourthly, when buying plants from the stores or from sellers, quarantine your plants outside for pests and whatever disease. For me, I quarantine the plants for a week before I bring them inside the house.

And lastly, this might be weird, but I talk to my plant babies. They are living thing and they also thrive with sunlight, water, good soil and good energy. I say positive things to them and reinforce that I welcome them in our home and I thank them for their beauty, and oxygen they bring to our home.

Follow me on Twitter @missheiding, Instagram @missheiding, and website at http://www.sunstar.com.ph.


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