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7 Plant Hacks That Actually Work

Happy woman carrying a houseplant

Houseplants are not only beautiful to look at, but they also have a great impact on our mental and physical well-being. They can help to purify the air, reduce stress, and even improve concentration. But keeping houseplants healthy and thriving can be a challenge, even for the most plant-savvy. Fortunately, there are some unexpected hacks that can help you take care of your plants with little effort.

Sprinkle Epsom Salt to Boost Plant Growth

Epsom salt in a hand with gloves
Martina Unbehauen/Shutterstock.com

Epsom salt is actually a chemical compound called magnesium sulfate. Adding a small amount of Epsom salt to the soil of your houseplants can increase the production of chlorophyll, which is the molecule that plants use to convert sunlight into energy.

If your plants have turned yellow, they are most likely not getting enough magnesium sulfate. To use Epsom salt, mix two tablespoons into a gallon of water and use it to feed your houseplants once a month.

Epsoak Epsom Salt 19 lb. Bulk Bag Magnesium Sulfate USP

Feed your plants with this household item.

Bury Banana Peels to Fertilize Your Plants

A banana peel sits in front of plants.

Stop before you throw away your next banana peel. Banana peels contain several important nutrients, including potassium, magnesium, and calcium, which are essential for healthy plant growth. They also contain small amounts of nitrogen, magnesium, and sulfur, which also helps plants grow.

To use banana peels as a fertilizer, you can chop them up and bury them in the soil around the base of your plants. You can also make a fertilizer “tea” by steeping chopped banana peels in water for a few days, then using the resulting liquid to water your plants. It’s important to note that using banana peels in large quantities may change the pH of your soil, so use them in small amounts at a time.

Feed Your Plants with Coffee

Someone puts coffee grounds in a potted plant
Nor Gal/Shutterstock.com

There’s one more reason to start your day with a cup of coffee, and it involves your plants. Coffee is rich in nitrogen, which is an essential nutrient for plant growth and helps to promote healthy foliage. It also contains small amounts of other nutrients, including phosphorus and potassium, which are important for overall plant health.

If you have some leftover black coffee, dilute it with water and pour it over your soil about once a week. You can also mix a small handful of coffee grounds in the soil around your plants for a similar effect.

Dunkin' Original Blend Medium Roast Ground Coffee

Good coffee that makes even better coffee grounds.

Place a Sponge Underneath to Keep Plants Moist

Woman holding sponges on beige background, top view.
New Africa/Shutterstock.com

Putting a sponge at the bottom of a plant pot can help with drainage and prevent the roots of the plant from sitting in standing water, which can lead to root rot. The sponge can act as a barrier to keep soil from washing out of the drainage holes and can also help to retain moisture in the soil that plants can enjoy if they’re feeling thirsty.

Remember that not all plants require the same amount of water, and some plants like to have their roots constantly moist, so you’ll need to consider the specific needs of your plant before using a sponge at the bottom of the pot.

Top Choice

Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Scrub Sponges

This pack of recyclable sponges is dishwasher safe and reusable, so they will work hard and last long.

Use Ice Cubes to Water Orchids

Watering orchid plant with ice cubes
Nancy Salmon/Shutterstock.com

Orchids are delicate plants, and they require special care. ​​Native to tropical climates, orchids prefer a moist environment. However, they don’t like to be over-watered or sit in standing water, as this can lead to root rot.

Using ice cubes to water orchids can help to provide a consistent and controlled amount of water to the plants. Simply place a few ice cubes on the soil of your orchids once a week. The ice will slowly melt and provide the perfect amount of water for the plant.

DOQAUS Ice Cube Trays

Make ice cubes in these handy trays.

Support Plants With Chopsticks

Chopsticks as plant supporting stake

If you have a plant that needs some support as it grows or has been leaning a little, you can offer some support with a pair of chopsticks.

Gently press the chopsticks into the soil on either side of the leaning plant. Make sure they are placed deep enough that they will provide support but not damage the roots. You can also use twine to hold the stems to the chopsticks for extra support.

KingSeal 8 Inch Natural Poplar Wood Chopsticks

Great to have on-hand in the kitchen.

Add Kitty Litter to Retain Water

A box of kitty litter

Whether you have a cat or not, you may want to have some cat litter on hand if you’re a plant owner. Litter helps retain water, keeping your plants from drying out, and also aids in drainage and aeration. It is especially helpful for plants that will die when left in too much water, like succulents.

To use kitty litter, simply mix some kitty litter with your plant’s soil. The amount you should use will vary depending on the type of plant and the size of your pot, but your mixture should never be more than one-third cat litter. It’s also important to use a non-clumping, unscented and untreated type of kitty litter.

Naturally Fresh Cat Litter

This natural cat litter is great for kitties and plants.

Plants can be tricky to take care of, and every one has different needs. By using these hacks, you’ll be able to keep your plants healthy and thriving year after year with items and ingredients you probably already have at home.

Anne Taylor Anne Taylor
Anne Taylor is a writer with a BA in Journalism and a passion for storytelling. Her work has been published on a variety of websites including Mental Floss and Well + Good, and she recently published her first novel, What it Takes to Lose. When she's not writing, Anne loves to travel (19 countries and counting), spend time outside, and play with her dog, Pepper. Read Full Bio »
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