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Houseplants: to buy, to borrow or to steal

Being a plant lover kind of blurs my moral and ethics slightly on this subject. I have to admit that on occasion I nipped off plant stem from the street or other people’s outdoor garden. I have a neighbour who occasionally helps herself to my plants without asking me. As plant lovers we tend to not take these as serious offence. A phone conversation with this neighbour is what prompted this blog today. This neighbour on various occasion would call me up and demand plants, not request but demand. So I asked her the reason the other day. Her response was “I don’t buy plants, I only take gifts from others (with gifts she means helping herself or just demanding). The plants that I buy always dies but the ones that I take from others they do well.”

She is right. It is true, the survival rate of plants from the nursery is less than the ones acquired from homes. The reason is very simple - they are home-trained. Nursery plants are used to a high level of humidity, shade and company of other plants. They are also transit plants in most cases. As in brought from a different climatic condition. They are not settled. When you bring them home, it is a new environment. If you are not trained to understand their need and acclimatise them, their survival rate reduces. Well I am not endorsing stealing from neighbours, but suggesting that you acquire information about the plant and its needs when you get one home. Or just get one from a place that already has acclimatised houseplants or can guide you as per your home environment need.

So to sum it up, if you are getting a new plant from a nursery do the following;

  1. Read about the plant that you want and its needs before you pick it up.

  2. If you like something that you haven’t planned then read about it at the nursery.

  3. Check with the nursery, if it’s a locally grown plant, or if it’s imported (even from a different city matters).

  4. When you get the plant home try to replicate the environment at home as well. Keep it clubbed together with other plants in your house.

  5. If you are getting a plant that requires repotting, give the plant a week at least before you do that.

  6. Wait for the right climatic condition for repotting.

If you don't have patience to do any of that, then pick up plant that are already potted and acclimatised to indoor conditions. But still keep it with other plants in your home before you put it in isolation.

If you are new with plants, don’t worry, plants die. Get a new one. If you are worried about losing them too much then get acclimatised plants and then slowly graduate yourself to untrained plants. You will get there. 🙂

But, whatever you do, please do not keep sick or unhealthy plants at home. They attract pests and would affect your other plants as well apart from making you sad. It's a vicious cycle. This would be a topic for another day. Till then, if you have any questions or even if you disagree with me, do write to me. I would love to hear from you.

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