Plants

8 TikTok plant care hacks to help you keep your leafy friends alive in 2021

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Lauren Geall
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Do you struggle to keep your plants alive? These simple TikTok hacks are sure to make plant parenthood a whole lot easier.

Looking after your houseplants can sometimes feel like a game of trial and error.

While most people will know enough to keep their plants alive (at least some of the time), getting your indoor jungle to thrive like those you see on your Instagram feed is an entirely different manner.

However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible – and that’s where the plant experts of TikTok come in.

Alongside all the beauty, cooking and fashion hacks, there are plenty of users sharing simple, accessible tips and tricks to help you transform your plants from droopy piles of leaves to jungle-like beauties in just a few easy steps. 

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From the secret to growing new plants from cuttings to how to treat root rot and save your dying plants, there’s plenty to learn.

So without further ado, here are eight of our favourite TikTok plant hacks to get you started. 

  • How to make your trailing plant nice and bushy

    Sick and tired of your trailing plants looking sparse and spindly? This hack is the one for you.

    As TikTok user Reagan (@reagankastner) explains in this video, an easy way to give your trailing plants a more bushy appearance is take cuttings of the vines and replant them in the pot.

    To do this, you’ll want to propagate those cuttings first – simply cut the end of the plant above the second leaf, pick off the leaf to reveal the node (aka, the bumpy bit where the leaf grows from) and stick it in water. Once some roots have grown (at least an inch), simply plant it back into the original pot and watch it grow!

    Repeat the process until you’re happy with the way your plant looks.

  • Killing pests and fungi with cheap household items

    No matter how many plants you own, chances are you’ll have one (or more) develop pests or fungi at some point. So, what can you do about it?

    According to this video by TikTok user Celena (@celenabrownie), you can use some pretty common household items to get an outbreak under control.

    To prevent pests from damaging your plant’s leaves, she recommends spraying garlic water (water with a few garlic cloves suspended in it) all over the leaves and repeating once a week.

    And to prevent/treat fungi, she suggests adding some cinnamon into your plants’ soil and mixing it in with your fingers. Easy peasy!

  • Using pebbles and water to boost humidity

    If you’ve read up on how to look after your plants, chances are you’ve heard about the importance of humidity – especially when it comes to tropical plants like the beloved monstera deliciosa. But what if you don’t want to splash the cash on an expensive humidifier?

    This hack from TikTok user Savannah (@plantsavvyco) is a straightforward and easy way to boost humidity without breaking the bank.

    In the video she takes some pebbles (small rocks will do too), spreads them on the plate, adds some water and places a plant pot on top. As the water evaporates, the humidity around your plant should increase.

  • Why your succulents are getting leggy (and how to fix it)

    If you’ve ever bought a rosette-shaped succulent that grew long and leggy for (apparently) no reason, then this is the hack for you.

    As TikTok user Joy of Plants (@joy.of.plants) explains in this video, the reason why succulents often grow ‘leggy’ (when there are big gaps between their leaves) is because they’re not getting enough light, so they try to grow towards a stronger light source. This process is called etiolation.

    To fix it (as they explain in a later video), simply pick off the leaves and lay them in soil to grow a new plant. 

  • Using leftover coffee for fertiliser

    As spring approaches and your plants start growing again, you might start thinking about using some fertiliser to support their new growth.

    But why splash out on some expensive stuff when you have your own waiting for you at home?

    As this video from TikTok user Christine (@_forthehome) shows, you can use leftover coffee to fertilize your plants and give them a little boost. All you need to do is dilute it with water and pour it straight over your plants as you would regular water. 

  • How to tell when your plants need watering using a pencil

    One of the trickiest parts of taking care of houseplants is knowing when they need a drink. While some plants prefer to dry all the way out before being watered, others will prefer to dry out only an inch or two. So how can you tell?

    As TikTok user Gea (@geainthejungle) shows in this video, you can use a standard pencil to tell whether your plants have dried out enough to give them a drink. Simply mark the depth of dryness that the plant prefers and stick your pencil into the soil to that length.

    If the nib comes out damp, you’ll know not to water it just yet.

  • Using ‘bottom watering’ to avoid overwatering your plants

    Overwatering your plants can lead to a whole host of problems including the dreaded root rot, so this simple hack could be a real lifesaver if you keep killing your plants.

    This hack from TikTok user Chilly (@chillypho) is also pretty straightforward – simply fill a tray with water and place your plants in the tray for 10 minutes before removing them. Because their roots stretch to the bottom of the pot they’ll be able to absorb the water they need!

    However, this will only work if your plants are in pots with drainage holes.

  • Treating root rot using hydrogen peroxide

    Talking about the dreaded root rot, if your plant is showing signs of wilting and decay, it’s time to check whether your roots are looking worse for wear.

    As TikTok user Celena (@celenabrownie) demonstrates in this video, if your roots have been sitting in water or incredibly damp soil, they can begin to develop a bacterial infection. This can be fatal if not treated, so you’ll want to do something about it!

    As this video recommends, treat the infection by submerging the roots in a mixture made up of one cup of water and one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide for about two hours. 

    Once you’ve done that, make sure to throw out all the old soil (it’ll have bacteria growing in it too) and repot your plant with a potting mixture which allows sufficient drainage.

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Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s junior digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time.