How To Build A Plant Care Routine (And why you need to do it NOW)

You’ve heard this one before: “Water your plants on a schedule.” And because you’ve heard it so many times before, it’s gotta be true…right?

Congratulations! You’ve just signed yourself up for “the leading cause of houseplant death,” according to The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual by Barbara Pleasant. (You tell ‘em, Barb.)

But, wait. How? Why? What? As we covered in What Do Houseplants Need To Survive?, every plant changes in its own ways throughout the year. So while your every-three-days schedule may be okay in the summer, it’ll drown your once-happy houseplant in the winter.

The same goes for you. You’re busy, and houseplants are famously quiet. It can be easy to forget about them, and turning their care into another timely chore makes it easy to handle. But what you gain in predictability, you lose in actively understanding what your Plant Pal needs and wants.

Plants don’t speak our language, but they’ll tell us what they need if we make the time to watch and listen. And that’s what a Plant Care Routine is all about.


How much time is this going to take?

Once we know what we’re doing? I promise this will take 2 minutes or less per WEEK.

houseplant care routine


Why should I commit to a Plant Care Routine?

It’s not just about avoiding the perils of under/over-watering your houseplant. Regular check-ins allow you to catch all the big problems as early as possible. You’ll be able to see the signs of pests, root rot, and other kinds of disease. And once you see them, you can act.

Two minutes a week is worth the peace of mind, don’t you think?


How do I plan my Routine check-ups?

Great question! Here’s how I plan my own routine. Hopefully you’ll see that it’s pretty dang simple.

  1. Set a reminder once a week to begin your routine. Give yourself a 10-minute block once a week to start.
  2. Do whatever tasks your plants need that week (see below), and record what you did (and didn’t do) each time. Not a fan of note-taking? We’ve got you covered: Download the Plant Pals Rootine Recorder and you’ll have a checklist you can use all year long!
  3. BE CONSISTENT. By the end of your first month of weekly check-ins, you’ll have a much better idea of what your plants look like in a variety of ways. You can then use that knowledge to fine-tune what your check-ins look like going forward!

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What we’re doing here is making a commitment to check-in with our plants at least once a week, like a good friendship. And just like a friendship, you’ll eventually be able to tell if something is off. That’s when it’s time to make a change.


What to do during your Weekly Plant Care Routine

  1. Check to see if it needs water by testing the top layer of its soil with your finger, and following up with the Chopstick Test if you want to be extra sure. Water your Plant Pal if it’s thirsty. I like to keep a full watering can near my plants so I always have room temperature water on hand. (I wrote a lot more about the do’s and don’ts of watering your plants here!).
  2. Spend 30 seconds to one minute giving your Pal a visual checkup! Try to note any changes over the last week, like new leaves. While you’re at it, check them for any small pests. 
  3. Once a month, dust their leaves using a microfiber cloth (or a clean old sock, if you’d prefer). This is also a great time to double-check if they’re due for more fertilizer in the coming weeks!
  4. Use a notebook or a notes app to keep all your notes in one place, and congratulate yourself on caring for your Plant Pals!


How can I get started? That was a lot!

It was, and I’m really proud of you. I won’t ask you to do anything I wouldn’t do myself. In fact, I made my own checklist that I use every week when I give my Plant Pals some quality time.

Go ahead and download it here for FREE so we can be on the same page. Now let’s get growing!

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You Can Grow Happy Houseplants!

Say goodbye to Plant Shame and unlock the confidence to grow happy and healthy houseplants with our cute and clever guide.

This free guide is perfect for you if:

  • You've ever uttered the words, "I'm terrible at plants. I've even killed a succulent/cactus."
  • You gave up hope on ever having a Green Thumb.
  • You love the idea of plants, but hate the reality of killing them..
  • Your plants fail to thrive under your care, and you don’t know why..
  • You’re tired of Googling for plant care tips only to end up even more confused than before.

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