Confession time: Being a plant parent is hard work. Not only do you have to choose the best plants for your lifestyle and space, but you also have to work around the clock to ensure your leafy greens have a long, blooming life. But have you ever thought about how your plant parenthood could impact your security deposit?
If your home is bursting with plants, you may need to consider a few ways they can damage your home when not taken care of properly. But just because your landlord has some ground rules doesn’t mean you have to kiss your dreams of plant parenthood goodbye: “It’s understandable that landlords are concerned for the hardwood or carpeted floors when renters move in, just like they would be in regards to renters damaging the walls, paint, or light fixtures,” explains Joyce Mast, Bloomscape’s resident Plant Mom. (Yes, that’s an actual job.)
Meet the Expert
Joyce Mast is Bloomscape's official expert Plant Mom. She grew up working in her family's wholesale floral business near Chicago before working in greenhouses for 26 years.
Below, read on for Mast's clever tips to embrace your green thumb without losing your security deposit.
Embrace the Saucer
Let’s face it: Placing a planter directly on the floor can be an invitation for dirt and water to weasel their way into your pristine hardwood floors or wall-to-wall carpet. However, slipping a saucer underneath your greens creates a protective barrier between your plants and potential damage.
“Pots and saucers that are made from materials like clay can ‘sweat,’ so to avoid any moisture on a hardwood floor or furniture, we recommend either using a plant stand or placing felt pads underneath the saucer,” Mast says.
Yes, you can easily stock up on saucers at your local hardware store or on the web, but many companies like Bloomscape sell their potted plants with saucers included. Phew.
Watch Out for Over-Watering
Yes, there is such a thing as overwatering your plants. Not only can too much water accidentally kill them, but you can also wind up with some serious damage on your nice hardwood floors. But just because your plant comes with watering directions doesn’t mean you should always follow them.
“Let the plant ‘tell’ you when it needs water,” Mast recommends. “There is so much variance within an indoor environment that it is difficult to schedule watering.”
Understand Other Growing Factors
Mast tells MyDomaine that several factors such as temperature, humidity, and general placement in the room can have an effect on how often you should water your plant. And since most of these variables can change overnight, you can’t possibly mark re-nourishing your greens on your calendar. To understand your plant's needs, you'll first need to do some research: What is its preferred temperature range, and how humid does its species need to be? Once you can give your plant the basics, you'll be able to identify its needs (which prevents overwatering) and stay consistent.
Water Without the Schedule
So if you don’t stick to a watering schedule, when are you supposed to get the deed done? For Mast, it’s all about doing what she calls the touch test. “Push your finger into the soil until it reaches your middle knuckle,” she says. “If the soil feels moist to the touch, do not water your plants, and check again in a few days. If the soil feels dry, give your plants a good soak until water flows out of the bottom drainage holes.” How often you water your houseplants also influences the amount of water that could potentially overflow, so by being aware of its needs, you'll also avoid extra drainage.
Dive into Desert Plants
Another way to curb your over-watering habits? Opt for dessert species that don’t require much moisture. While there are plenty of low-maintenance plants that don’t require much upkeep, succulents are a clear fan favorite.
“Plant parents worried about damaging their flooring by overwatering might want to consider choosing succulents,” she says. “Succulents tend to be easier to take care of than other types of plants, as they generally require less water.” (Or, if you don’t have ideal planting conditions, you can always pick up a few faux plants that look super real.)
Utilize Under-the-Radar Spaces
ICYMI, your floor isn’t the only spot to place your gorgeous greens. If your landlord has some strict rules about plants, it’s time to get a little creative. “Take a look around your apartment and take advantage of overlooked spaces that could serve as great spots for plants,” she explains. “Window sills, a decorative shelf, tops of cabinets, bookshelves, and desktops can also serve as decorative spots for houseplants.”
Look to the Bathroom
Another unexpected place for your plants? Your bathroom. “Consider using underutilized spaces in the bathroom to bring the outdoors in, like the top of the toilet, corner of the tub, or above a medicine cabinet,” Mast adds. “The bathroom is a great environment for plants that like a higher humidity level, and generally, you will not need to water as often due to the extra moisture in the air.” After all, who wouldn’t want to feel like they’re showering in a tropical forest?
An added bonus of displaying your plants in the bathroom: The floor is already waterproofed, so excess drainage from hanging pots won't damage the home.