These 4 Tips Will Make Your Plant Care Routine More Effective & Enjoyable
When I tell folks that I have over 200 green gurls in my lil Brooklyn apartment, my words are often met with a reaction of utter surprise that I have managed to build such a lil indoor oasis. Inevitably, this shock is followed by the question "What does a care routine for 200-plus plants look like?"
I always have fun answering, as it is an opportunity to verbally reflect on a process that has changed, grown, and evolved over the past five years of this lush journey; my plant care routine is something that I have and will continue to build and work at over time as I grow as a plant parent.
Dahling, my plant care routine is a daily activity that I find great joy and happiness in.
It is a space that allows me to interact with the intricate beauty of nature in the cozy comfort of my own home. It's an opportunity to whisk myself away from the hecticness of everyday adulting. It's an activity of solitude that has given me moments to be introspective and reflective about how I am caring for myself. My plant care routine is something I can simply not imagine being without because it is a form of self-care for my mind, bawdy, and spirit. It replenishes me.
Now, this was not always the case! There were moments when this kween was a plant parent newbie and my planty routine was more of a chore. It was something that I tried to bunch up into one day, rush through, and get done. I had yet to find joy in the process of caring for my green little kweens. Gurl, this led to many plant parent fails and my green gurls serving less than lush lewks!
I buckled down and really began to change how I incorporated my plant care routine into my every day instead of treating it like one big tedious chore. And, gurl, now she has a growing list of planty routines. Here are some of my faves that will keep your green gurls lewking lush:
Wipe down those leaves, gurl.
Plants are not furniture, so they should not be collecting dust, dahling! Throughout the week I check in on my green gurls to make sure dust has not piled up on their leaves. These leaves are a plant's meal ticket, so removing any dust makes sure your green gurl catches as much sunlight as possible so she can do her thang—that good ole photosynthesis. A little damp cotton cloth with some cool water does the trick!
I have a rotating schedule, where I have specific green gurls that I check on each day during the morning or during an afternoon lunch break at home, or in the evening after the werk day is over. Dusting the leaves of 200-plus plants in one go can seem a bit intimidating, but spreading the task through the week gives me small moments to escape and care for my green gurls.
Give your green gurls a spritz, hunty.
Every morning, as I warm up my jasmine tea, I spritz some of my green gurls with water from a little misting bottle. It's relaxing, it's soothing, and my green gurls love it! The plants I spritz are epiphytes, those plants that grow on top of other plants or trees, coexisting in the most harmonious, harmless way. Some examples include the staghorn fern, green gurls from the Monstera family, mosses, orchids, and Tillandsias. In their natural habitat, these kweens derive their nutrients and other vitals from the air, water, dust, and debris around them.
Spritzing the aerial roots of these kweens, and in the case of my staghorn fern, spritzing the shield frond and her leaves, mimics the rainfall these kweens are used to and keeps them looking lush.
Just a note: Not all plants need to be spritzed, as foliage that remains wet for an extended period is prone to the plant diseases, fungus, and mold that require a moist environment to grow.
Give that green gurl the occasional trim, kween.
While the best time to prune your green girls is toward the beginning of the growing season, which is typically early spring for most of our green little kweens, there can be exceptions to this seasonal situation when it comes to removing dead leaves or stems.
Year-round pruning can be quite helpful for our green gurls, as damaged or dead leaves, stems, and branches can be an energy drain for our kweens. By giving them a lil cut, we are taking some werk off their plate and letting them focus their energy on those lush healthy leaves and serving new growth realness!
Giving your kween the occasional trim can also be helpful in preventing those tragic plant pests from settling on her leaves, as pests tend to be attracted to decaying or dead leaves more than healthy ones.
I used to dread seeing a yellow or browning leaf on my green gurls, but now I see it as an opportunity for new growth. We all need room to keep growing, and letting go of a decaying leaf or two is just what our green gurls need sometimes to be able to put energy into new thangs.
Check in with your green gurls; they'll thank you.
I check in on my green gurls every day. It's a soothing and relaxing routine that I have come to love. In particular, when there are moments where I'm feeling stressed, I'll take a pause and I'll just tend to my plants. And it gives me an opportunity to step away from technology, gives me an opportunity to rest my voice, gives me an opportunity to rest my mind and really just get back to the basics, having interactions with nature.
Dahling, I tend to sprinkle my plant routines throughout the week, giving me little nature breaks throughout the day. When I water my green gurls, I make it a party! I blast music, I put on a fun outfit, I pour myself a lil cocktail, and I tend to my plants. It's a whole entire mood, and it's so much fun! So ask yourself: How can you add a little pizzazz to your planty routines? How can you make them fun for you?
Adapted from an excerpt of YOU GROW, GURL! Plant Kween's Lush Guide to Growing Your Garden by Christopher Griffin Copyright © 2022 by Christopher Griffin. Reprinted courtesy of Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
Christopher Griffin (he/she/they) aka @PlantKween is the go-to source on plant-care as self-care. With tips, tricks, and stunning content filling their Instagram feed, their new book You Grow Gurl! (Harper Design / March 22, 2022) is a gorgeous, accessible guide to all things plants.
Six years ago, Griffin was just beginning the plant parenthood journey with one small Marble Queen Pothos. Today, this Black Queer non-binary femme plant influencer tends to a family of more than 200 healthy green gurls in the Brooklyn apartment they call home.