General care advice, for everything!

Generic care advice

This is personal and very general advice built up over 5 years of owning houseplants and keeping hundreds inside one space both at home and in our shop, across multiple staff members throughout the years. It is not prescriptive, but what we know to be true from experience.

It may not work for every plant in every situation, so your specific home environment needs to be considered, as well as your lifestyle and attention span. We mean no disrespect. 

If there are any questions please do not hesitate to speak to us on  

Cacti & succulents vs foliage plants 

Foliage plants

First thing to do is to talk about these two groups of plants completely separately. Foliage plants, to us, is everything that is not a cactus or a succulent. This includes tropical plants such as Monstera, Philodendron, Calathea, Alocasia, Dracaena, Ficus, Schefflera among many others. Also carnivorous plants, ferns, and all other leafy things! 

Succulent relatives 

There are some plants that cross the boundary and are succulent-like, but still require care like a foliage plant. These are mainly Peperomia and Hoya – they have thick, sometimes waxy leaves and do like to go completely dry in-between waterings, but can be sensitive to temperature, draughts and overwatering like a normal houseplant. 


Cacti & succulents require specific care that is very different to foliage plants. There are also some differences between cacti and succulents to be aware of. In general, cacti should be cared for following the below guidelines: 

  • Keep in very bright light, sunlight if possible. Generally anywhere other than in a windowsill is going to cause the cactus to stretch out and deform as it tries to reach for light 
  • Do not water from October to March – they completely hibernate during the winter and any excess water in the compost can risk rot 
  • During Spring and Summer, water thoroughly every couple of weeks, providing the compost is completely bone dry. Do not water if the compost is still wet. If in flower, water more often. 
  • When watering, fully drench the compost and try to soak for 6-8 hours. Cacti drink very slowly and need a lot of water to fully rehydrate. Overnight in a bowl or bathtub is the easiest method for us! 


Succulents require more water than cacti, but generally follow similar guidelines: 

  • Keep in very bright light but check for your specific plant. Some require full sun, some can happily tolerate being away from a window. Species such as Crassula and Aloe particularly. 
  • Reduce watering completely between October-December. If the plant is looking particularly shrivelled, one small water can be done January-February, but only if the plant desperately needs it. Succulents also hibernate but they grow faster and require more water than cacti so don’t always have the ability to shut down as well as cacti in our warm & bright homes 
  • During Spring and Summer, water thoroughly every couple of weeks, providing the compost is completely bone dry. Do not water if the compost is still wet. If in flower, water more often. 
  • When watering, fully drench the compost and try to soak for 6-8 hours. Succulents also drink very slowly and need a lot of water to fully rehydrate. Overnight in a bowl or bathtub is the easiest method. 

Your home environment 

There are some things to be aware of in your normal home environment that can affect the ability of your plant to survive... 

Light levels 

A south facing window would be classified as 'full sun'. Many plants will not survive in this environment as it is quite harsh. However, cacti, most succulents and some houseplants such as Hoya and Schefflera would love it. North facing windows are heaven for most plants, as the light is direct and constant, yet not too strong.  

For placements away from windows, just be sure that there is nothing obstructing the light rays such as a door or a piece of furniture, and if the plant doesn't desperately need strong light it should be ok. If it starts to struggle, the lighting should be your first option in terms of things to change. 

If there is no natural light in the place you wish to keep a plant – it will not survive. Grow lights would be needed, and strong ones at that.  

Temperature & draughts 

Some places in the house (or some entire houses for that matter!) are very cold! Lots of tropical plants like Monstera, Philodendron, Calathea and Alocasia hate the cold, and will grow slowly or poorly as a result. Cacti and succulents are much better options for colder spots.  

Draughts and busy places can also really affect the health of the plant. Again, tropical things like Alocasia and Calathea really hate being brushed past and airy spots like corridors where doors often open and close around them. Hardier plants like Sansevieria, Zamioculcas and Strelitzia for example can handle a lot more bashing around! 

Moisture levels 

Air conditioning, central heating, open fires or log burners can all cause problems for a lot of houseplants. If you see brown tips on your leaves, there is not enough moisture getting to the plant. Most plants can survive quite well without air humidity providing the compost is getting enough water into the plant through the roots. Be sure to give your plant a thorough soaking each time you do water it. 

Be aware of single glazed windows too – these can introduce a lot of cold air and moisture into a place that a plant may not be happy in.  

The specific needs of each plant 

As well as your home environment, it is also important to know what the individual plant needs at least on a basic level. 

Tropical plants love warmth and bright, strong light but no sun, and most love to go completely dry between waterings. Ferns love cold temperatures and tons of water, but lots of light. Cacti and succulents need very strong light but can handle temperature changes and a lack of moisture, for example.  

We always provide specific care advice on the product page of each specific plant, so be sure to use this and do your own research too on what conditions your specific plant needs to help it thrive. 

Other things to be aware of 


Rainwater is the best option for all plants. However, this can be difficult to obtain, difficult to store and can risk bringing in pests if left outside for too long. Filtered water is a great option or tap water that has been left to sit for around 24hrs. If none of these are possible (and they aren’t for many people) - we have found the only plants to really be affected negatively by tap water are carnivorous plants and some of the rare Calatheas and Alocasias. So we don’t specifically see a problem with tap water on a regular basis. 

Be sure to give the compost in your plants a full soak every time you water. If this means it dries out more slowly, this is totally fine. Giving plants small amounts of water can be detrimental to their health. 


Generally, we only feed a plant if the soil is very old or it is poorly (either dropping leaves or withering), which could be a sign of nutrient deficiency. Most generic plant food can be used if diluted well. Be extra careful not to overfeed, you can always feed more but once gone in, it is very hard to reverse and can totally kill a plant if done too strongly or too often. 

Feeding can be a personal choice, as it causes the plant to grow faster and bigger, which sometimes we do not want! If pruning and repotting (see below) are kept on top of, and the watering is sufficient, you will find your plant usually grows very well. 

Moving plants around 

Some plants (not all) can really hate being moved around. Plants are living, breathing things so tend to get used to the area in which they live. They get used to all the things mentioned above – your home temperature, light levels and any activity happening around them. Then, if you move the plant away from this, it can shock it and sometimes cause leaf droppage or worse.  

Some plants need to be moved. If they are in the wrong place and need more (or less) light than they are currently getting, for example. We advise that you only move plants if they are specifically unhappy.  

Repotting & pruning 

Keep on top of this! It can be really fun to check all of your plants once every week or two and remove yellow leaves, dead stems or check for repotting. When cutting leaves/stems, use a sharp pair of scissors and chop as close to the base or main stem as possible.  

Only repot during Spring and Summer, when the plant is strong and growing. During Autumn and Winter, only repot if absolutely necessary. It can shock the plant and stunt the growth if done at the wrong time or before it is necessary. 

Don’t go too big either! This can also shock the plant if it has been in a pot its entire life. We usually advise to go around 5cm bigger in diameter but no more.  

Be sure to give the plant a good thorough watering once repotted, to set the roots in. If this means you need to wait a couple of weeks for the plant to thoroughly dry first – then do it. It is always better to repot a plant when dry. 


Pests can also cause problems that are difficult to diagnose. So be sure to inspect the undersides of the leaves and where the stems branch out (all the nooks and crannies!) on a regular basis. You may not initially see any critters, but their telltale signs of webbing, cotton-wool like substances, sticky spots or yellowing leaves can all be spotted easily. 

Neem oil can be a good regular deterrent for pests, especially when mixed with a few drops of washing up liquid and some warm water in a spray bottle. However the best defence is to manually remove all traces whenever you see them. 

A lot of bugs like mealy, fruit flies and thrips can lay eggs in the soil, so a soil change may be needed if you do find yourself overrun with pests. There are many ways of dealing with all the different houseplant pests out there, so if you have a specific problem, do give us a shout and we will be able to offer some detailed advise. 

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