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Taking Care Of A New Plant: 3 Essential Things To Do Once You Bring It Home

Photo: The Sill

Want to be the best parent to your new houseplant? There’s no one more knowledgeable about how to provide some TLC to your greenery than our plant expert Nick. And he’s back this week to bring you his 3 essential (and easy) tips for taking care of a new plant.

For a plant lover like me, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of bringing home new greenery for the first time. But before you can style your plant inside your home, there are 3 steps you should take before your plant gets a special spot in your living room (and your heart).



For more of Nick’s plant tips, check out 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Taking Care Of Plants and The New “It” Plants Everyone Wants (And Will Look Great In Your Home)

Photo: Shelby Pine

Inspect The Roots

One thing that is difficult to assess while in the plant shop is the roots. It is somewhat frowned upon to unpot multiple plants in the middle of the store to inspect the roots (trust me, I’ve done it), but this is definitely something you should do at home. If you find that it is rootbound, you may want to repot it sooner than later, but if you discover that it is suffering from root rot, you can prune them back with a pair of clean snips. What is happening below the soil is just as important as what’s happening above, and if the roots are ok, feel free to pop it back into its nursery pot or repot it entirely.

Photo: Shelby Pine

Clean The Leaves 

Leaf cleaning is one of the most underrated and proactive plant care actions you can take when bringing home a new plant for a few reasons. First off, it removes dust and other debris from the leaves that can inhibit photosynthesis as they accumulate and is an effective way to eradicate pests. Cleaning the bottoms is also important because it will prevent the stomata (the little holes that are responsible for plant respiration), from clogging up. A simple wipe with a cleaning cloth or a splash of dish soap mixed with water should do the trick and get them looking and feeling great.

Quarantine Your Plants

Despite your best cleaning efforts, I urge you to practice plant patience and quarantine your freshly-cleaned plant for at least a few days. I know, I know… the urge to put your plant in its new home and see it in all its green glory is extreme. But trust me, I was quarantining my plants well before the pandemic, and isolating your new plants for a few days is a great strategy for keeping the rest of your plant family safe just in case there is an issue you may have missed. The bathroom is a great place to do this since you can easily wash it down and treat it without making a huge mess. The plant may not be thrilled about the quarantine period, but it will help them thrive in the long run.

I’ll be honest, sometimes I don’t always practice all these steps when I get really excited about a plant. But I encourage you to trust your plant process, stay disciplined and do right by your plant family. The benefits will definitely grow over time! 



  1. Plant quarantine is a really good idea that I have not thought of before. Much better than dealing with gnats in every pot!