house plants sitting by a window

Buying plants is exciting, especially if this is your first time. However, as a first-time plant parent, you’ll need to do some homework before you go pick a plant at the nursery or order one online. Understand your climate, your home, yourself, your limitations, and the kind of plant that will suit you right. Getting home a new plant is one thing; taking care of it and keeping it alive is another. Make sure you get a plant you can nurture well and give it the love and care it deserves.

Here are 10 things to consider when choosing your first plant:

Know Your Zone

Before you select a plant, find out your planting zone. Find your location on the USDA planting zone map and find plants that are suited to that zone.

Understand Lighting

Take a look around and see how much light you get. If you have an outdoor garden, you'll probably have enough sunlight to keep a plant happy. If you're going to keep the plant indoors, see if you have a sunny window or balcony where you can place it. If you don't have a bright corner, you'll either need to choose shade-tolerant plants, like philodendron, or install artificial lighting.

Understand Soil

What kind of soil do you have in your garden? Is it too clayey or sandy? Choose plants that will grow well in your soil type. Alternatively, you can also amend the soil to suit the specific variety you plan on growing. 

Pets and Children

Do you have pets or children in your home? If so, you'll have to select with care. Certain plants are toxic and can cause serious symptoms if ingested. Use the ASPCA database to check the toxicity of the plant before bringing it home.

Size of Your Space

Think about how much space your plant can utilize. Find out about the plant’s mature size and consider if you have that much space to spare. It may look small now but will grow bigger with time and may block your window, passages, or sitting area if you don’t choose wisely.

Humidity Levels

Consider your home’s humidity when choosing an indoor plant. Tropical plants thrive in a humid environment. If you have low humidity inside your home, succulents make a good choice.

The Amount of Time You Give

Consider how committed you can be towards the plant. Do you travel a lot? If you’re going to be away often or don’t have a lot of free time on your hands, you may want to choose plants that don’t require much maintenance. Spider plant, for example, can survive days without water.

Choose Healthy Plants

When buying from a nursery, carefully inspect the plant you plan on bringing back home. Check for any signs of diseases or insect damage and avoid such plants. Also, inspect the underside of the leaves since these are ideal spots for insects to hide. Choose a healthy-looking plant to buy.

Don't Get Too Many Plants

It’s easy to get carried away and purchase several plants even when you planned to get just one. However, stick to a minimum number if this is your first time. Remember that you’ll also have to care for them.

Your Preferences

Among other things, don’t forget your reasons for getting your first plant. Do you want to see bright flowers, or do you want to add natural fragrance to the space? Do you want to attract butterflies to your garden? Consider the features of the plant and see if they live up to your expectations.

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