Creating a Plant Diary: How to Keep Track of all Your Houseplants’ Needs

It’s no secret that I love plants and love having them around me. With stores like Walmart, Home Depot, and Lowes opening up their spring and summer garden centers, I have found myself amassing more and more plants in the past month. One thing that has always been challenging for me, is remembering all the little care needs for each individual plant. I have several varieties of the same plant or same genus, but each one seems to have a different care schedule. Some plants like to grow in moist soil. Some plants need to dry out completely before watering again. Some can only be watered from the bottom. Some like to be root bound in pots and others will die if they get like that. It can be a lot to remember.

I took it upon myself to create my own encyclopedia of the plants that I own. This way, I can easily look up the care needs for all my plants in one place, and if I were to ever go on a trip, I could leave this encyclopedia with whoever I have take care of my plants so that I don’t come home to dead ones. Ever since I made this about a month ago, it has been so easy to maintain my collection and keep them all happy and healthy. I’ve even noticed that my plants have more new growth than usual (although that may be because we are entering the growing season).

So what did I do to make my plant diary?

Step One: Research

The first thing you are going to have to do is a deep dive research on everything a person should know about the plants that you own. Sometimes this starts with figuring out just what your plants are actually called. I always like to save the little cardboard info tag that comes stuck in most plants that you buy, since they can usually offer some idea of what your plants need as well as the common and scientific name. However, this isn’t always the case and some plant companies do not sell their plants with these info tags.

For example, I have on occasion grabbed a plant from Earl May’s miniature plant section. These plants are meant to be put in fairy gardens or terrariums, so usually what the plants actually is doesn’t matter, but since I just get them as a cute tiny plant to grow into a larger plant over time, I like to know what my plants are.

To identify any unknown plants, I use the Google Lens app on my phone. I simply point my camera at the plant and google comes up with what it believes the plants to be through an image search. I would say that the search are accurate around 85% of the time, and if it doesn’t get you the exact plant, it can usually get you the genus and you can narrow down from there.

Once you know the names of your plants, look for care guides online that give you a good idea of the watering, light needs, propagation, and any other important notes. I like to know whether or not the plants I own are toxic to cats and dogs or if there are any other weird or unusual things about the care for the plant.

Step Two: Find a Cute Notebook

For my plant diary, I used a notebook by Northbooks. They are a great company based in the USA and make their notebooks from recycled materials. I buy their B5 College Ruled Journal for my college courses and happened to have an extra laying around for this project.

Step Three: Format and Layout

How you do this step is completely up to you and your style. I didn’t need my plant diary to look like a boujee bullet journal, so I just headed each new page with the plant name, and then listed its needs below. I saved the bottom half of the page for me to do a little illustration of my plant or any interesting characteristic of it, like a leaf variegation or frond shape. If you aren’t an artist, then you could print off a picture of what your plant looks like and paste it on the page.

This is the most time consuming step, since it deals with a bunch of writing and drawing.

Step Four: Decoration and Ornamentation

I used a blank label to create a cute sticker for the cover of my plant diary, and I also made a little pocket out of packing tape inside the front cover for me to store the info tags that I had laying around. The customization is all up to you, and I have no doubt that I will be adding more stuff to my plant diary as I go.

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