Magic Fact- How to be a Green Witch
A magical guide to care for in-house plants
Written by Gabri, owner of @chlorofilles on Instagram
I have to start by saying I'm not a witch. I know, I know, you are disappointed! However, plenty of witches contact me asking for advice. Are you shocked? A mere muggle helping magical creatures?
The answer is yes! Witches may be able to make love potions, spells and other hocus pocus but, in order to do that, they need plenty of magical plants! That's where I step in: I help them make their plants thrive! Here are some common mistakes that they (and probably you as well) usually make when dealing with plants. Let's learn how to avoid them!
This is the number one cause of death! If you want to decimate your plants, this is the way to do it! Overwatering has a number of negative effects. The most serious one is root rot! If this happens then death is a short step away! So, do not overwater!
Having a water schedule
You know when you pick a plant from a lovely nursery and ask the seller when to water it? The answer is usually a short straightforward answer: every 15 days, every week, every month, etc. But is this really true? No way! It is the environmental conditions that affect your water schedule. Think, for example, how fast the soil dries out in the summer and how long it takes in winter.
Before watering, just stick your finger or, even better, a toothpick deep into the soil. If it's still wet wait a bit longer!
Not investing in good potting soil
My dear friends witches tend to prefer spending money on their plants and overlook the quality of their potting soil. This is such a huge mistake! First of all, avoid buying potting soil from supermarkets: it usually has a large amount of organic matter in it. If you combine this with another mistake, that of over-watering for instance, your pots become the ideal home for fungi and fungus gnats and other annoying little creatures.
Also, you need to add inorganic types of substrate (perlite, vermiculite, pumice, LECA etc.): it will lighten up your soil, make it more airy (what a treat for the roots!) and increase drainage so that root rot is more difficult!
Choosing an unsuitable pot
Pots come in different sizes and are made from different materials. But let's face it: often, the aesthetic factor is what that matters mostly. I'm not saying you have to pick an ugly pot, but remember these basic rules:
1. Pick the right size (size matters!). If the pot is too large, the soil will not dry out easily (danger of root rot, again!) while too small a pot
risks squeezing the roots, making them tangle. The result? The plant slows down its growth and needs to be watered very often.
2. Choose the right material! Keep in mind that, unlike plastic pots, terracotta pots are more porous and allow water to evaporate through the walls. The potting soil simply dries out more quickly. So, plants which need wet soil (like prayer plants) do better in plastic pots, whereas cacti like terracotta pots better. Of course, it also depends on you: do you tend to water too much? Better to opt for terracotta. Are you too sparing with water? Then plastic is the answer!
Picking whichever plant
Do you take for granted that plants from nurseries are in perfect shape? Then, don't! Take a good look at the plant before you buy it! If you can, take it out of its pot to see the roots and take a good look at the leaves as well ... heaven forbid you bring home parasites!
Choosing a plant without knowing it
Witches spent an incredible amount of time studying: spells, folklore and latin, but sometimes they don't do the same with new plants. Possibly, they have had enough with their herbaria. Ok, I admit it: I don't always practice what I teach. I still fall in love at first sight, without knowing anything about the plant and their need. The consequence? My house reveals itself as an unsuitable environment. Then I struggle hard and I have to compensate: I buy grow lights, humidifiers...
How easier would it be to pick only the right plants for my house? One day I will grow up and do it, but this is not the day!
There would be much more to say... Maybe I dumbed it down too much! But this is a good start. So, now you can start growing your herbs, flowers and especially house-plants: maybe you'll all become witches... otherwise, your thirst for magic could be satisfied by observing the spell of nature!