How to Keep Houseplants Alive? - Juniper Home

How to Keep Houseplants Alive?


I love having at least one plant in every room. And I usually think a room feels sort of stale if there’s nothing alive in the space. But, you guys, I am killing houseplants left and right and I’m spending way too much money replacing the goners!

I know a lot of you have the greenest of green thumbs – so I’d love to ask you – What do you do to keep your houseplants alive? Water from the bottom? How? And how much? Do those glass bulb water things work? I read online once that leaves with brown edges means you’re over-watering. Plant-tending is finicky business!

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67 thoughts on “How to Keep Houseplants Alive?

  1. I also love to have plants in my home – they make it so much more "homey". I try to buy easy care plants and I always find that the more I fuss over them, the worse they do. I honestly leave them in the nursery pots and put them inside another, more decorative pots. I water them randomly – when I remember and they are all thriving. I have a Schefflera, several jade plants, two pots of random succulents from Home Depot, a rubber tree, and a snake plant. I need to be careful what I buy because my cat eats plants.

  2. I choose super easy care plants and mostly leave them alone. It seems like the more I fuss over them, the worse they do. I don't even re-pot them from the nursery pot-I just plunk them inside a nicer one. Some easy ones are the snake plant, jade plant, succulents, rubber tree, scheffelera, and peace lily. I can't have peace lilies because my cat eats plants. I do find that almost all of them like to have a saucer underneath them though.

  3. We used to kill every plant that entered our home…until we discovered KOUBACHI.

    Its an app you can get for your smartphone that has a pretty big library of plants. You find yours, enter whether its indoors or outside and then it helps you "calibrate" it – asking you to water it, then check the soil moisture everyday. When the soil is dry, you water it and tell the app, and with that, it tells you how best to maintain the plant in your home given the humidity, etc by sending you reminders to mist and water the plant.

    I tell you, its AMAZING. We have a number of absolutely gorgeous plants now, that get compliments from everyone who comes by.

  4. I have a brown thumb, but I have kept a peace lily alive for 7 years! They are so easy. To avoid over watering, I just wait til the leaves get droopy. Then I dump about a cup of water. Its amazing – the plant tells me when it needs watering!

  5. I second everyone who says orchids are easy! I get mine from the grocery store. Once a week, I take each orchid out of the outer pot, put it in the sink in the morning, soak it in water from the faucet, and leave it in the sink until the following morning to dry out. I do this on the same day every week, and my orchids easily last 6 months. I have also learned from a friend that sometimes my plants look dead (like African violets), but if I pull off all the dead leaves, re-pot, and add water, they will put out new leaves and can be saved.
    My kids love making terrariums and dish gardens – there are lots of great tutorials out there and they last for a while, too. The nice thing is that you can use really small, inexpensive plants but massed together in a great container they look amazing. I have a succulent dish garden that has been going for more than 2 years and still looks great.

  6. I have had a peace lily for two years. Everyone here is right, wait till the leaves droop then water it. The key is to not set it in direct sunlight that's when she gets angry! My husband feels bad for mine, I let it get too the brink of death and it can see the light at the end of the tunnel and then I water it and it springs back to life! I've done this more times than I can count!

  7. They need less water than you think. Stick your finger in the dirt and root around. If it's damp a couple of inches in, then leave it. That bromeliad bloom will shrivel and die after a while, but the plant shoots "pups" from around the base.

  8. I think it's less about water, more about light. Mostly it comes down to the light in your house. I don't have much light and only a few plants can handle it for very long. Moving some to the window has made all the difference, but still! My mom's house though is full of light and she could keep things alive forever, we had an orchid for 3 years, other plants much much longer growing up. I know you come to UT, the best place to start learning about this sort of thing is Cactus and Tropicals. It is my happy place. You will love it. You tell them how much light from what time of day to when, and they can help you find a plant that will do well. Even if you bought it at IKEA, they an tell you what it needs to stay healthy, and like me, you might not be able to offer it in every room. :( Someday. I'm sure there is a similar place near you, but it is still one of my favorite stores to check out in SLC.
    Peace lilies are some of my least favorite plants, so good luck finding something more interesting and more hardy at the same time!

  9. is my best friend for both houseplants and my vegetable garden. Put any plant name in the search, and you'll find a log of helpful info that's easy enough for the non-green thumb'ed to follow.

  10. I take tai chi in a studio that has the glass water insert containers with a stem that just sits continually in the pot. I'm guessing it works well because it's not anybody's job to water the plants (so it doesn't get done) and they are pretty holistic about everything. I always keep the care instructions in the container ('cause I can't remember all the details), but I think I should get plants that are all on the same schedule of watering so it makes it easier.

  11. Im totally sneaking in info via your commenters. I JUST began incorporating house plants into your home because I have always had the blackest of black thumbs. I just spent moolah at ikea today on a few new "live" additions to the family. Hopefully I can keep them that way.

  12. I'm with you completely. I wish I had a natural green thumb, but I don't. I'm a plant serial killer. I struggle with when to water, how much, what kind of light. No matter what I try, even if I follow the instruction exactly, plants die. Love all the suggestions in the comments. I'm going to try a lot of them. I'm tired of going to plant funerals and so is my wallet.
    my morning coffee

  13. I love succulents for this reason. I can honestly forget I have them for a month (or longer) and still have them love me. They actually love me more the more I ignore them. Just play them good music sometimes and if you do accidentally ignore them for too long, they can often be revived with a little attention.

  14. It's amazing how much better my houseplants did when I actually read and followed the care instructions. haha. They are all healthy & happy at the moment….but things could change at any second.

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