Sustainable House Plant Care

February 16, 2021

Sustainable House Plant Care

There's been a lot of talk about sustainability within the gardening and house plant community recently, and I really welcome it.  I'm always looking for ways to reduce the impact of my interests and activities, like growing house plants. Ensuring the activities and hobbies we participate in are as eco-friendly as possible is as important as ensuring the clothes we wear and the food we eat are both sustainable and ethical.  Here is a little bit about the environmental impact of your house plant hobby and how you can make it more sustainable.



Buy From Eco-Conscious Plant Shops

Growing house plants sustainably begins with where we choose to shop.  Whenever possible it's important to seek out local independent shops run by environmentally-conscious owners. They're more likely to stock responsibly-grown plants, use plastic-free packaging, and offer local delivery. Most plants in the UK are imported so in order to reduce your 'plant miles', buy from shops that stock locally grown plants grown in peat-free soil without the use of pesticides. These are usually grown in plastic-free pots such as eco-friendly coconut coir or plant plastics that biodegrade. When ordering online, choose somewhere that will deliver your plant in recycled and recyclable packaging to cut down on waste. I save any packaging for wrapping gifts and for trading plant cuttings.



Choose Earth-Friendly Pots and Soil

When potting on your plants, try to reuse any plastic pots you already have or ask plant shops if they have any spare.  Independent garden centres, plant shops, and online retailers may have a surplus of pots you can have for free - don't forget to ask friends too! I always have an abundance of pots to share. By reusing instead of buying, you're helping to reduce waste.  If you really must buy new pots, choose eco-friendly alternatives made from Earth-friendly fibres.  These pots are made from sustainable materials that will biodegrade over time, unlike plastic pots that cannot be recycled.  A compost that is completely peat-free is the most sustainable option for our house plants.  There's lots of options to choose from from general all-purpose compost to mixing different growing mediums.  You can even make your own from composting your food scraps. I buy compost and coir in bulk to reduce on plastic waste, and create my own potting mix.



Collect Rainwater For Watering

Rainwater is purer than tap water as it contains fewer salts, minerals, or treatment chemicals or pharmaceuticals and a higher level of acidity.  When you water your plants using tap water, salts, chemicals, and minerals may build up in the soil.  So the best option for your plants, and the environment, is to collect rainwater.  Collected rainwater is slightly acidic, which helps flush away away the build up of accumulated substances from tap water and the nitrogen in the soil if often beneficial to certain plants.  If you have a garden, consider installing a water butt to collect rain water.  If you live in an apartment, it's easy enough to collect rainwater without a butt.  Place a bucket or vessel in whatever available outdoor space you have access to and store it in reused containers once full.



Use Eco-Friendly Pest Control

Almost all pest solutions you can buy aren't very kind to you, your plants, or the planet.  They not only contain deleterious chemicals but can be hazardous to your health too.  It's easy enough to make your own eco-friendly spray that will tackle most pest problems.   This is my easy DIY recipe for house plant pest spray. In a spray bottle, mix 1 tbsp of natural eco-friendly liquid soap with 1 litre of water.  Use as pest prevention and treatment by spraying down your plants, leaving for a few minutes, and then washing off.  You may find a couple of treatments are needed to rid your plants completely of pests like thrips, mealy bugs, and spider mites, but it won't harm you, your plants, or the planet unlike store-bought insecticides and pesticides.



@imsophiedavies

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♬ Low-Fi - Young Sol

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