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You don’t need much stuff to take care of houseplants, but the right equipment can make things easier and more fun.
All you really need to take good care of houseplants is:
- Something to water with
- Something to clean your plant
- Pest eradication tools
However, as you get more and more plants, there’s houseplant stuff you can buy that will can make plant care easier and supercharge your plant growth.
Different products are availble in differnt places, so this article focuses on generic products, not brands.
What indoor plant equipment do you need?
Something to water with
Watering cans are the obvious choice, but I’m actually not a fan. I find that they leak and dribble which is fine indoors, but make a mess indoors.
I use a ceramic teapot to water with, and though I try out watering cans from time to time, my teapot is much more reliable. When I find a decent watering can, I’ll update this, but I’ve been hunting for a good six years and I’ve not found anything better than my teapot yet.
I stick to the nursery pots my plants come with (I also save the pots that outdoor plants come in, because they’re useful for bigger houseplants. I don’t wash them but I should).
I get all my outer pots from discount hardware shops (if you’re in Yorkshire, you can get Elho pots super cheap from Yorkshire Trading). I love the aesthetic and price of terracotta pots, but my plants dry out too quickly.
If you’re just getting into houseplants, or only have a handful, I’d advise you buy a bag of houseplant potting soil and some leca. It’s a really budget friendly way of getting decent soil with spending a fortune.
My preferred soil mix atm is a 50/50 blend of terrarium soil and LECA.
Don’t overthink fertiliser. I have some recommendations on my resources page, but I spend hours scouring YouTube videos and Facebook groups looking for populr fertilisers and everyone says something different.
I love the General Hydroponic Flora Series, but I’d get Dynagrow if it was available here (because it’s easier to mix).
Don’t do DIY fertilisers with things like banana peels. Your houseplants will love it but you’ll be inundated with gnats.
Something to clean your houseplant
I don’t recommend leaf shine products, because they can do more harm than good, but definitely get a cloth to wipe the leaves, and perhaps some neem oil to reduce the chance of getting pests.
Those microfibre dusting gloves are a great idea, as are those microfibre make-up removing cloths.
Pest eradication tools
I’ve given up on all chemical pesticides – I’ve tried neem oil, castile soap, products with deltamethrin…all the stuff available in the UK. Over time thrips have become immune to it (and i get sick of treating plants).
When pest infestation start getting out of control now I buy predatory mites.
A lot of people swear by systemic pesticides but they’re not easily available in the UK, plus they’ll ruin your soil’s ecosystem.
What indoor plant equipment is nice to have?
I swear by my moisture meter, but the houseplant community is definitely divided. They’re great for beginners who’ve been told to water when the top inch of soil is dry (terrible advice, btw) because they can really show that a houseplant with bone dry soil at the top can still be soaking wet further down.
Use them as an aid – don’t live and die by them. If the moisture meter reads dry but the soil’s wet, don’t water.
Hygrometers are useful little tools that will tell you the temperature and humidity of a room. They’re only a few quid, and can help you identify humid rooms/areas and save you the cost of a humidifier.
This is in the ‘nice to have’ section but a pump action pressure sprayer is HANDS DOWN the best gift you can give a planty person.
You can use them for watering, fertilising, and spraying for pests and they are, by far, the best wayto gamify plant care.
I used to like to get my plant care done as quickly as possible, but I will spend twice as long watering my plants with the pressure sprayer because it’s SO MUCH MORE FUN.
From a practical standpoint, it’s easier to water soil more evenly AND you’re less likely to get water everywhere.
I love it so much.
Fancy soil ingredients
You go through weird phases when it comes to collecting houseplants. When I first began, I bought houseplant soil from the garden centre. Then I got more into proper care, so I bought all the ingredients for aroid mix and measured everything out to make ‘proper’ houseplant soil.
Over time, I picked up extras, like sphagnum and LECA, and now my soil mix can be best described as ‘a Frankenstein’s monster of stuff I had at the time’.
My plants do NOT care, and are thriving.
Here are some of the thing I (try to) keep on hand:
- Coco coir
- Orchid bark
- Sphagnum moss
- Horticultural charcoal
- Worm castings
- Terrarium soil
I still use tap water for all my plants (even Calathea) and only my spider plant has brown tips. However, if you have crap tap water, you may want to invest in a water filter, or buy filtered or distilled water.
As you get better at caring for houseplants, some of them may start to climb. Staking them up early prevents the stems snapping under their own weight and keeps them looking tidier.
I started out just buying cheap coir poles. They’re a perfectly good option, and if you like the way they look, your plants will happily grow up them, though you’ll have to tie them on yourself.
I like Kratiste poles because I’m lazy, but proper moss poles can be a gamechanger.
What indoor plant equipment will really up your houseplant game?
I don’t have a humidifier, because I don’t need one (my house is natural humid), but if your house’s natural humidity is below 45%, then both you and your houseplants can benefit from a humidifier.
Humidifiers will benefit most tropical plants (though plants from arid areas, like cacti, won’t appreciate them), and they’re great for keeping leaves in good condition.
Read my article on grow lights before purchasing. There are TONNES of options and it can be quite overwhelming. I love the Mars Hydro range, but I appreciate the aesthetic leaves a lot to be desired.
Unfortunately, the prettier the grow light, the worse it performs in my experience.
Proper moss poles allow the aerial roots to root in the moss and provide a secondary root system for your plant. This is NOT necessary and it’s certainly not what would happen in the wild BUT it can really help you size up your leaves and mature the growth.
There are plastic ones avaible that you can fill with moss, but DIY ones tend to be easier to maintain in the long run.
Soil supplements is something I’m relatively new to, but there are more and more coming on the market. Silica is a common one, as Superthrive, and there are sprays you can get to aid photsynthesis and all kinds of good things.
I’m not going to recommned anything ,because I’ve not used anything so far that I’d rave about, but they can be fun to experiment with.