Indoor Plants need more than cute pots and wall hooks - from easy watering, to growing better plants, to dealing with bugs and the nightmare that is fungus gnats, here are all the best accessories that every plant mom and dad needs to keep a happy, healthy, beautiful indoor jungle.
Terra Cotta Spikes:
For frequent travelers, hard to reach plants, or chronic water forgetters, terra cotta spikes can be one of the easiest and best ways to keep houseplants happy and as "set it and forget it" as possible. You place one of these into the plant soil, fill a bottle with water (reusing old wine or nice liquor bottles works really well for this), and turn it upside down into the spike. The plant slowly absorbs water through the Terra Cotta, only as much as it needs. This has been one of the biggest ways we keep our plant jungle happy when we're traveling on longer trips. A pack of 6 or 8 on Amazon usually runs $12-20.
A Watering Can Worth Displaying:
We actually have 4 different watering cans in our apartment: a narrow spout for delicate plants and bottles, a beautiful, all-purpose 2-galloner for bigger watering days, a big 5-gallon can for our bigger outdoor plants, and one beautiful one just as decoration. A nice watering can looks great on a shelf display, plant stand, or kitchen window - form and function!
Soil Moisture Meter:
Take the guesswork out of watering or better diagnose your more difficult plants with a Soil Moisture Meter. This was something that my mom uses all throughout her garden and highly suggested to me. Some plants like a consistent moisture in their soil, and some prefer to dry completely between waterings - a meter helps immediately tell you what's going on underneath the surface. For $12 for endless reuses, if this little guy helps save just one plant, it's worth it.
A Pretty Leaf Mister:
I love to keep this little spritz bottle filled with water on my windowsill and casually mist my plants whenever the need calls to me. Most leaves like to be well-hydrated and clean (dust and dirt can limit how much light plants can absorb for photosynthesis, so cleaner leaves = faster growing plants.) I am also obsessed with this chic gold version!
Miracle Gro All-Purpose Plant Food
Plant Food can be a very underutilized step for making both indoor and outdoor plants live to their fullest. But if you think about it, your potted plants are continuing to extract the available nutrients from the soil they are in - you need to replenish those often! I usually use the classic Miracle Gro All Purpose Plant Food - which is surprising cheap for how long the box lasts. To get even more specific, the Indoor Plant Food Liquid is designed even better for potted plants. Add plant food to your watering once or twice a month and you'll immediately start seeing how much happier your plant children are.
TakeRoot Rooting Hormone
If you're into propagating plants (and why wouldn't you - it is multiplying your own plants for free!), Rooting Hormone is an essential part of the planting process. This jar of fine powder helps plants grow stronger, better roots. Whether you are potting up your plants as they outgrow their starter pots, or transferring propagated plants from water to soil for the first time, using a sprinkle of rooting hormone greatly improves your changes of a successful transfer and a healthy plant! Jars that last many, many plantings are usually $10-15.
Aerogarden Hydroponic Garden
Whether you're looking to try growing food and herbs for the first time, don't have an outdoor space to garden, trying to supplement your growth through the winter, or just want an amazing seed starter - the Aerogarden Hyrdoponic indoor garden system is AMAZING. I am honestly obsessed with mine and checking its growth daily continually gets me so excited. If you aren't familiar, Aerogardens are an all-in-one system, including grow lights and a water base. Aerogarden makes preseeded pods, or you can get the plain ones and add your own seeds (a cheaper option, and then you can grow exactly what you want). I keep mine on our kitchen counter and usually grow a mix of herbs and salad greens - I love being able to pick a few fresh leaves off of my garden and immediately put it into my salad bowl, or make homemade pesto with the fresh basil leaves. If you do have an outdoor or sunny enough window space, you can transfer the plants from the Aerogarden and continue growing them in soil - I currently have a number of different kale and lettuce plants, as well as chives and parsley that we sprouted in ours growing up on my roof now!
The beauty of an Aerogarden is that even if you have a tiny apartment, or a room with no windows or natural light, you can still grow a little herb, salad, or tomato garden of your own - a number of my New York friends are obsessed with them for just this reason - and I just honestly love mine and still get so excited when using it.
Miracle Gro's Leaf Shine is a simple $5 spray that takes dust and dirt off or plant leaves, and makes them shine to their truest potential. While there are definitely some home DIY ways to make leaves shine, this works incredibly well - just spray, give a quick wipe with a cloth, and you're done - that makes the minor price handily worth it.
Unfortunately, sooner or later everyone has to deal with bugs and the dreaded fungus gnats in your plants and the soil - and sometimes they can feel like they are taking over your home and like maybe you should give up your plants entirely.
....But we all know that that won't be happening - so here is everything we have found to combat the little bastards!
Most everyone's first stop when dealing with bugs is Neem Oil - the natural bug-repelling oil that will not damage your plants or bring chemicals into your home. Neem Oil is said to control: Aphids, Whiteflies, Spider Mites, Fruit Flies and other bugs, as well as plant diseases like Fungus Powdery Mildew, and more. (Ew). This one is essential in your Plant Defense Kit!
A Plain Spray Bottle
I have found that one of the best, safest, and easiest ways to eliminate leaf pests (the bugs and disease that live on and under leaves, versus the soil pests) is to give the plant a spray down with simple soapy water - and we always keep a couple of empty spray bottles on hand for this. From fuzzy mealybugs to sticky egg-layers, a spray of dish soap and water seems to dramatically reduce the infestation almost immediately.
Electric Bug Zapper
If you find yourself with a fungus gnat infestation, this Electric Bug Zapper is a savior for your sanity! The satisfying little jolt when you swat the bugs helps feel like you're regaining a sense of control in your life - and can be the best way to get the fast fliers when swatting just isn't enough.
We also bring this Bug Zapper on road trips and camping outings when bugs are a menace, or to get spiders, mosquitos, or any other pests that might enter your home. At only $16.00, This may be one of my favorite purchases of last year!
Since most pests come from the soil, these yellow sticky traps can be a great way to stick the bugs before they get out and spread to other plants, and are one accessory that almost everyone I know uses. These are non-toxic and bugs are naturally attracted to the bright color, and then get stuck in the glue on both sides and can't escape. When you fill one up, just throw it away and start fresh. We noticed that using just a few of these traps drastically improved our worst gnat infestation in only a couple of days. A pack of 12 is only $8.00 and makes for a great value.
Sand Soil Cover
If the above methods aren't solving your problems, Plant Sand Soil Cover will eliminate fungus gnats for good. Gnats breed deep in the soil and then emerge through the top of the potted soil. Covering this area with sand makes it impossible for them to escape the soil, and within 1-3 weeks, the colony can no longer survive and eliminates itself. These bags were a LIFE SAFER for us this summer when we found ourselves with an unmanageable amount of fungus gnats - and is one item we have purchased over and over again. A 5 pound bag will cover a couple of large plants, or a number of small ones!
Until we all live in the jungle!
Did I miss anything that you use? Leave me a comment below!