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If you decided to raise a houseplant during the pandemic, you're not alone

“Plants are addictive so there’s no such thing as one plant," said Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Horticulturist.

BRYAN, Texas — In the last nine months of the pandemic, you might have picked up a new hobby, adopted a pet, or even bought a houseplant. 

Depending on the houseplant you already have or will buy, how much attention and care it needs will vary. 

“Plants are addictive so there’s no such thing as one plant. If somebody is starting off and wants some easy to grow houseplants, certainly the Ivy and philodendrons can be very simple to grow. Another one that is really good to grow if you have really low light is also called a closet plant," said Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Horticulturist Skip Richter.

When raising a houseplant, you need to pay attention to two main things. 

“One is light and the other is soil moisture. We tend to over water our houseplants and if the root stays soggy, they develop roots and that plant is a goner,” said Richter. 

If the plants get too dry, they will wilt and die fast. 

One quick and easy way to figure out if your houseplant needs water or not, is to take a sharpened pencil and stick it a couple inches into the soil.

 “If there is no soil sticking to the pencil, that’s an indication that it’s dry. On the other hand, a plant like this that looks kind of dry on the top, when I push that down in and bring it out, there’s a lot of soil clinging to that pencil. And that is an indication that it’s moist down there,” said Richter. 

When you pick up your houseplant and it feels lighter than usual, this may mean that it needs to be watered. 

“I usually just take them, set them in the sink and water them and let them drain out fully and put them back in their new spot in a little container underneath it to prevent it from damaging the floor or counters,” said Richter. 

When it comes to light, Richter said most plants want as much light as possible but not direct sunlight.  

“The light in a home with fluorescent light or even incandescent light is usually not enough to keep a plant alive. The aglaonema Chinese evergreen and closet plant can take lower light conditions and do okay, but they probably still need to be buy a window,” said Richter. 

He added that you can also purchase an LED light to give supplemental light to your houseplants.