The Truth About House Plants: Debunking Common Myths

Houseplants have gained immense popularity over the years, adding a touch of greenery and tranquillity to our homes. However, numerous myths and misconceptions about their care and maintenance have emerged with their increasing popularity. This blog post by Happy Houseplants, aims to debunk some common houseplant myths, allowing you to provide the best care for your leafy companions.

Myth One: Plants in Big Pots Grow Faster

One of the most prevalent misconceptions is that larger pots result in faster plant growth. While it's true that plants require adequate space for their roots to spread, excessively large pots can hinder growth. Larger pots retain more moisture, leading to overwatering and potentially causing root rot. It's essential to choose a pot that provides enough room for root development and is manageable. Happy Houseplants advise growing plants in plastic nursery pots, which have adequate drainage and make it difficult to overwater. 

Check out our huge range of plant pots here

Myth Two: Yellow Leaves Mean Your Plant is Dying

Yellow leaves on a houseplant are often interpreted as a sign of impending doom. However, yellowing foliage does not always signify the end for your plant. Yellow leaves can be a normal part of a plant's life cycle. Ageing leaves naturally turn yellow before they drop off. On the other hand, overwatering, nutrient deficiencies, pests, or inadequate light can also cause yellowing leaves. Assessing other factors before jumping to conclusions about your plant's health is crucial.

Myth Three: Distilled Water is Better for Watering

Many plant enthusiasts believe distilled water is the best option for watering houseplants. While it's true that distilled water lacks minerals and impurities, using it exclusively can deprive your plants of essential nutrients. Tap water, on the other hand, typically contains trace minerals that can benefit plant growth. If your tap water is high in Chlorine or other chemicals, allowing it to sit overnight in an open container before watering can help dissipate these substances.

Learn all about watering houseplants here 

Myth Four: Watering Weekly is Best

The frequency of watering your houseplants depends on several factors, including the plant species, pot size, light conditions, and the environment. While a general guideline suggests watering once a week, it's not a one-size-fits-all rule. Overwatering is the most common cause of plant demise, so it's important to check the moisture level of the soil before watering. Stick your finger about an inch deep into the soil, and if it feels dry, it's time to water. Adjust your watering schedule based on your plant's specific needs.

Myth Five: Tap Water Contains Harmful Chlorine

It is often believed that tap water contains harmful Chlorine that can be detrimental to plants. While Chlorine is added to tap water to disinfect it, the levels are typically not harmful to most houseplants. In fact, allowing tap water to sit out for 24 hours before watering can help dissipate the Chlorine. If you're concerned about chlorine levels, you can use a water conditioner widely avalible from aquarium shops (to make water safe for pet fish) or filter the water to remove any potential impurities. Our advice is dont worry about Chlorine. It's a complete myth, and treating water every time your plants need a drink makes keeping houseplants expensive and complicated. 

Myth Six: Succulents Only Need a Tiny Sip of Water 

Succulents are known for tolerating drought and storing water in their leaves. However, the notion that they only require a tiny amount of water is misleading. While succulents are adapted to arid conditions, they still need regular and thorough watering. When watering succulents, ensure the soil is completely soaked and allow it to dry out between waterings. The key is to provide water in moderation, avoiding both overwatering and underwatering.

Myth Seven: Repotting Leads to Plant Shock 

It's a common misconception that repotting can lead to plant shock. While repotting can be stressful for plants, especially if done carelessly, it is not necessarily a bad idea. In fact, many plants benefit from being repotted to provide them with fresh soil, adequate drainage, and room for root growth. The key is to handle the process with care, avoiding excessive root disturbance and ensuring the plant is in its ideal growing conditions. We dont though, advise repotting new plants, it's unnecessary and almost always leads to plant shock. Plants dont move around in the wild and have evolved to grow in stable conditions - so give new plants time to settle in their new home before uprooting delicate root structures. 

Myth Eight: Banana Water is Good for Plants 

The notion that water used to rinse or soak banana peels is beneficial for plants has gained popularity. However, there is little scientific evidence to support this claim. While banana peels contain trace amounts of nutrients, the concentration is relatively low and insignificant enough to provide substantial benefits to plants. Instead, it's more effective to compost banana peels and use the resulting nutrient-rich compost as a natural fertilizer for your plants!

Myth Nine: All Plant Bugs Are Bad 

Encountering bugs on your houseplants can be unsettling, leading to the assumption that all insects are harmful and detrimental to plant health. However, not all plant bugs are bad. Some insects, such as ladybugs and lacewings, are natural predators of common pests like aphids and mealybugs. These beneficial insects can help keep pest populations in check and contribute to a healthy ecosystem within your indoor garden. As long as the insect population is balanced and not causing significant damage to your plants, there's no need to panic. Dont kill every bug, its unkind and unnecessary.

Myth Ten: Plant Bugs Will Cause Permanent Damage 

Another misconception is that the presence of any plant bug will result in irreparable damage to your plants. While some pests can cause harm if left unchecked, not all bugs lead to permanent damage. Many plant bugs are temporary visitors or accidental hitchhikers that will eventually fly away once they have finished resting or exploring. It's important to monitor the situation closely, identify any potential pests, and take appropriate action if their population starts to pose a threat to your plants. Dont hurt bugs; let's share our world. 

Read more about how to get rid of flies (fungus gnats) in my houseplant here

Houseplant care is a vast and diverse subject, often accompanied by numerous myths and misconceptions. By debunking these common misconceptions, we can provide our plants with the care they truly need. Remember to research and understand the specific requirements of each plant, seek reliable sources of information, and adapt your care routine accordingly. With accurate knowledge, you'll be able to cultivate thriving and healthy indoor gardens that bring joy and beauty to your living space.

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