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Let’s face it. Who hasn’t felt a twinge of envy over someone’s lush houseplants? After all, we want our plants to look full and vibrant too.
But, sometimes, it’s hard to know where to start, or what you’ll need. Thankfully, to keep your plant happy you won’t need to look too far or break the bank.
In this post, I’ve laid out 11 basic tools for houseplant owners, as well as a few money saving tips. And if you’ld like to know more about general houseplant care, I’ve written a guide on the subject. You can find it here.
11 Tools & Supplies for Easy Houseplant Care
1. Plant Pots
At some point in time, all houseplants will need re-potting.
When choosing a pot, pick one with drainage holes if possible. This helps reduce overwatering issues – a common concern for a houseplant beginner.
Tip – some pots come with their own saucers to catch the excess water, but others don’t. So, keep a few extra saucers handy for that cute saucer-less pot you bought because you just couldn’t resist.
I’ve written an article about pots and the best one for your plant. It’ll help you when choosing a pot.
Money Saving Tip: Re-purpose an old plate for your saucer.
2. Potting Soil
If you have a pot, you’ll need some potting soil. There are many types of bagged soils, depending on your planting needs. In general, most plants will do fine with an all-purpose potting mix.
However, if you’re looking to plant a succulent, or something a little more delicate, like an orchid, then you’ll want to look for a soil suited for that type of plant.
Soils also come in various sized bags. When choosing your soil, make sure to pick a bag size that will meet your planting needs.
Too, soils can degrade over time, and although you can still use it, it might not provide the same nutrients as when fresh. Check to see if the bag has a best before date.
Although all bagged soils start out with nutrients, those nutrients deplete over time. And just like humans, plants need nutrients to stay healthy.
A quick stroll through a garden center will show you how many fertilizer choices there are. It can be overwhelming, especially for the plant novice.
So, a good place to start is with a general, all-purpose fertilizer, that has fairly equal numbers.
Fertilizers can also be geared to specific types of plants, such as succulents or orchids. This is especially helpful if you have a finicky plant.
Money Saving Tip: Look no further than your kitchen for some budget friendly solutions. Crushed clean eggshells or chopped banana peels can be worked into the soil for an easy, natural fertilizer.
But, before diving in, do a little research on the pros and cons of using food sources. Take a look this article by Quick And Dirty Tips for more DIY fertilizers.
4. Hand Fork
You’ll want to have a hand fork or cultivator to work that fertilizer into your soil.
A hand fork features three or more prongs. You’ll use it to aerate the soil and distribute nutrients properly. In addition, a fork can help with planting and transplanting.
Look for one with a comfortable grip and sturdy tines. Too, with houseplants, we’re often talking smaller spaces. Consider using a miniature tool set. They usually include a hand fork.
Money Saving Tip: An old kitchen fork can serve as your hand fork. This is a good option for the new plant owner starting out. But, as your collection expands, you’ll want to upgrade to a hand fork.
A well-made set of pruners is an essential tool. You’ll use pruners to snip stems, leaves, and unwanted growth.
It’s important your pruners are kept clean and sharp. By using poor quality or dull pruners, you risk crushing or tearing stems when snipping off the foliage. This leaves the plant open to bug infestations or plant disease.
To learn more about the types of pruners, head over to the article I wrote on this tool.
Money Saving Tip: Start with a pair of good, sharp scissors. This is one area, though, I would recommend you look to purchasing pruners sooner rather than later.
6. Indoor Watering Can
Watering cans come in various sizes and designs. Personal preference will come into play here, but there are a few things to keep in mind.
A watering can that works great outdoors may be too big and cumbersome for your indoor needs.
For indoors, pick one that’s lightweight and has a long spout that can easily reach within the plant to the soil. Also, the can should be easy to fill and clean.
Money Saving Tip: Re-purpose an old teapot to be your new watering can.
Indoor air can become dry – especially in winter – and many indoor plants do best in humid conditions. Look for a mister that offers a fine, gentle spray.
Money Saving Tip: Re-purpose an old spray bottle. Just make sure you have cleaned the bottle out thoroughly and the nozzle offers the type of spray needed for misting.
A trowel is like a mini shovel. It’s very handy when you need to re-pot your plant or transfer soil from your bag to your pot.
Trowels can come in different shapes and sizes. I written a post on trowel types. You’ll find it helpful when it comes to choosing a trowel.
What you pick will depend on your planting needs. For your houseplants, choose one that fits comfortably in your hand and is made for pots.
Money Saving Tip: If you’re on a tight budget, you can re-purpose an old serving spoon. However, you won’t have the same ease and comfort as you will with a good trowel.
9. Moisture Meter
One of the biggest reasons plants fail to flourish is due to watering issues, particularly overwatering. Often times, the top of the soil is dry, which leads you to think the plant needs water. But, a few inches down and the soil is still moist.
Dry topsoil can be very misleading. A moisture meter can help monitor your soil and let you know whether or not it’s time to give your plant a drink.
To learn more about watering indoor plants, take a look at my watering guide.
Money Saving Tip: Re-purpose an old butter knife to test your soil. Stick the knife down towards the bottom of the pot, halfway between the plant and the edge of the pot. If the knife comes out clean, then the soil is dry. If it comes out with bits of soil stuck to it, then it’s moist.
10. Plant Stand
Tall ones, short ones, round ones, square ones. You name the shape, and you’ll likely find a plant stand to accommodate it.
Although a stand is not a “necessity”, plant stands can come in handy, allowing you to aesthetically present your plant.
Have multiple plants? Tiered plant stands are a great way to display several plants while making more efficient use of your space.
If you have a heavy pot, think about using a plant caddy. The wheels make moving heavy pots a snap. And if you have visions of your plant unintentionally sailing across the floor, choose one with locking wheels.
Money Saving Tip: Re-purpose an old table, or a shelf, bookshelf, mantle, bench. Really, the possibilities here are endless.
11. Plant Stakes & Ties
If your plant is a climbing vine or will grow to any height, then at some point you’ll likely need to provide your plant with support.
When it comes to stakes, there are a number of different styles – bamboo, plastic, wood. It’s the same with plant ties. In the end, a lot of the decision will come down to personal preference.
I’ve written a helpful article on the different types of plant supports. You can find it here.
Tip – with a plant stake, make sure the stake is strong enough to offer the plant the support it needs. Additionally, you’ll want the stake tall enough to accommodate the plant as it grows.
As for ties, please do not use wire or anything abrasive, which can be damaging to the plant stem. Personally, I usually use vinyl ties. I find them easy to work with, reusable, and soft on the plants.
Money Saving Tip: If you have a climbing plant, such as an ivy, place it near a window, tap small nails into the side of the window frame. This lets the vine climb up and around the window, using the nails as support.
I hope you enjoyed this article on handy houseplant tools. If you did, feel free to share it!