Having plants and flowers in our living space is a great way to refresh our homes every season, brighten the rooms throughout our house, and lift our spirits. The benefits of being surrounded by beautiful flowers and healthy green plants have been proven numerous times. Having houseplants and fresh flowers in our home has become a regular part of modern living. And since so many of us now have plants and flowers in our homes, we want to keep them as fresh and healthy as long as possible. However, there’s a lot of “fake” news online regarding proper plant and flower care, which is why we are cutting through all the gibberish online and debunking plant care myths that may do more harm than good. Here at Mary Murray’s Flowers, our flower experts reveal the most common plant care myths we’ve come across, so you’ll know what to do and not do to keep your plant babies happy.
Popular Flower & Plant Myths to Ignore
1. Putting a Penny in the Bottom of the Vase Keeps Them From Wilting
This myth has been around a while and is still touted by relatives and online plant enthusiasts. Adding a penny to your vase of flowers is an old myth that came about because copper is a natural fungicide, which could help blooms stay fresher, longer. However, copper stopped being used to make pennies in 1982. Today, they are mostly zinc which will not affect your flowers. Besides, even if you do find a pre-1982 penny, you risk adding germs and bacteria into the water, negating any good the copper might do. It’s best to keep the coins for the piggy bank.
2. Sugar or Lemonade Can Be Used as Flower Flood for Your Cut Stems
Do not put sugar or lemonade in your flowers’ water. This will only make the water get gunky and green faster than usual. Sugar and lemonade stimulate bacteria growth, which will kill your flowers quicker. The same with aspirin – an old wive’s tale that does not affect your flowers whatsoever. Don’t add vodka or bleach either. Your safest bet when it comes to keeping your fresh blooms healthy for as long as possible is to change the water daily and use only the flower food packet from the florist.
3. Lilies Will Die if You Remove the Anthers
Not true! The anthers should be removed from lilies as their pollen is highly toxic to dogs and cats. Not to mention this sticky pollen can stain carpets, walls, clothes, and nearly anything else it lands on. To remove the anthers, or the whole stamen if you like, gently pull them out and then quickly place them in a nearby container. Wash your hands afterward to eliminate any residual pollen.
4. Removing a Rose’s Guard Petals Will Make it Die Quicker
The outer petals of a rose, known as the “guard petals,” often become brown and ripped around the edges. Gently removing them to reveal the fresh petals underneath is perfectly fine and won’t cause any harm to the flower. Afterward, the rose will look prettier when on display.
5. Fresh Cut Flowers Prefer a Sunny Location
Placing your vase of beautiful blooms in a sunny window will shorten their lifespan. The sun makes flowers open up quicker, leading to an overall shortened lifecycle. To enjoy your cut flowers for as long as possible, keep them in a cool place away from direct sunlight.
6. Plants Grow Faster in Bigger Pots
Plants are genetically predisposed to grow at a certain rate – the size of the pot does not affect how quickly it grows. That’s up to the amount of sun, water, and nutrients it receives. There are plant experts, though, who believe containers that are too big will have an overabundance of soil, which can be harmful. But, plants are used to growing in an abundance of soil in nature! The only downside we can see is that too much soil might retain too much water, potentially leading to root rot.
7. Houseplants Should Be Watered Consistently on a Routine Basis
Many factors determine how much water a plant needs, and it varies from plant to plant. Some varieties require more water than others. Plants in bright, well-lit areas require more water than plants in low-lit areas. Sticking to a routine watering schedule can lead to overwatering. To determine if a plant needs water, stick your finger into the soil about an inch down. If your finger comes out clean, the soil is dry and needs water. If there’s soil residue on your finger, then it’s still moist and doesn’t need water. You can also determine how dry a plant is by picking it up. If it’s very light, chances are it needs a good soaking.
8. Stones, Pebbles, Bricks, etc., Should Be Placed in the Bottom of the Plant Container to Improve Drainage
Studies show water does not drain well when moving between layers of different particle sizes. Only when the soil becomes oversaturated will the pressure force water into the lower level of debris. At this point, though, the soil will be overly wet, potentially leading to root rot. Resist the urge to place anything other than soil in the container, and make sure the container has adequate drainage holes.
9. Humidity Around a Plant Can Be Increased by Placing it On or Near a Tray of Pebbles and Water
This myth has been around a while, and you may have heard it from a grandparent. However, placing water and pebbles under your plant will have no impact on the humidity levels around your plant. As water molecules evaporate, they spread in all directions – not just towards your plant. An effective way to increase humidity levels around your plant is to group them close to each in a reduced space, such as a shower stall or bathtub with the curtain drawn. This is a good way to raise the humidity levels and keep your plants moist if you leave on vacation for a week or two.
10. Potting Soil Should Not Be Reused
When transplanting a houseplant into a larger container, don’t toss out the used potting soil. It’s still as good as when you first used it straight out of the bag. Most potting soil is composed of a peat moss mix which decomposes at a very slow rate, so go ahead and reuse it instead of buying a new bag.
For even more great tips on the essentials of Plant Care and Flower Care, including how to care for popular plants and flower varieties, visit our plant and flower care pages. Then, when you’re ready to add to your collection, check out our gorgeous flower arrangements to bring even more brightness and beauty into your life.