I was raised in a small town which was mostly surrounded by farmland. My childhood home had a garden and my mum had one giant flower pot filled with strawberry plants. I didn’t much like caring for them, but I really did love picking the strawberries once they were ripe. On the other side of town there is a piece of land which first housed a couple of our sheep and a handful of chickens, but now holds our two horses and a cat. There we also have a vegetable garden, a few fruit trees and several pots filled with flowers.

I love living Leicester, but after growing up in a green environment like that I really do miss having it around now I am living my student life. Sure, I can go to the park, but it just isn’t the same. Especially in the spring I really do miss seeing everything coming to life. I can see the trees next to the river Soar go green again – and some of them have flowers – but it just isn’t the same as seeing something you yourself cared for flourish.

Unlike my parents, I don’t really have green fingers. I either end up drowning my plants or they dry out, I can’t quite seem to find the perfect middle ground watering-wise. Still, we as students can have some green in our lives, even in Halls or other student housing, it honestly isn’t that hard to care for a plant as long as you pick the right one. So, to save you from torturing a few plants, I have some (not-so-pro) tips for you!

  • Get a deep pot, some plants need more space for their roots than others. If you lose your first plant, you can easily replace it without having to worry about whether their roots will have enough space to expand. It will thus ensure you can grow a bigger variety of plants!
  • Give plants plenty of space to grow in, don’t crowd them all together to try and hide the soil underneath, plants will be weak and small if they don’t get the space they need.
  • Use compost designed for containers, it will hold onto water better and have the nutrients to get your new plant off to a good start.
  • Add a layer of stones to the bottom of the pot, or place a small pot in a bigger one. Just so excess water has a place to go! This will prevent you from drowning your plan.
  • Get a plant which is labelled as ‘easy’ or ‘beginner’, they usually don’t require much special care.
  • Put your plants on the windowsill, this way they get the light they need and they won’t be in your way.
  • Watering can be difficult. Especially in my case, I either am too caring and they end up drowning, or I will try so hard not to mother them that I end up neglecting them and have them dry out. One thing I learned is that plants recover more easily from drought than they do from excess water. Limp or dry plants might magically come back to life with a good watering, but a plant which soaked up too much water might just turn into mush before you know it and disintegrate when you try and touch it. (Can you tell I’m speaking from experience? Haha)

Just be sure to try and care for them to the best of your ability. You might lose one or two of them, but eventually, you will find the perfect match for your plant-caring ability! You’ll feel like a proud mum or dad when your plant opens their flowers, outgrows their pot, or has small baby versions grow alongside them which you eventually have to relocate. You could even try growing something like herbs or vegetables, so you could eat the result!

Posted by Janice Kusters

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