Get your green fingers ready – Dazed 100 star DJ Freedem (AKA Trap Gardener) shares his expert tips on keeping your botanic baes alive and kicking
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With the coronavirus pandemic keeping us at home 24/7, there’s never been a better time to step up your gardening game and tend to your plant babies – because let’s face it, Colombia Flower Market’s not opening up any time soon, so you gotta keep them botanic baes alive and kicking.
We’ve asked the queen of cramped New York apartment horticulture himself, DJ Freedem (AKA the Trap Gardener), to share some of his “real ass” expert tips on how to keep your indoor garden thriving, so you can be the proud plant parent you’ve always wanted to be. With advice ranging from getting rid of mealybugs and root rot, to repotting and tending to yellow leaves, get your green fingers ready and check out the Dazed 100 star’s ten commandments below. And remember: we believe in you.
CHECK FOR PESTS
As with humans, plants have their own problems too, but fortunately they’re easier to solve. The most common pest-problem that people run into when owning plants is mealybugs, AKA the “tiny white little mouldy-looking” things that live under the leaves and suck the nutrients out of plants. “They cause yellowing in the leaves,” says Freedem. “That’s why you want to take a spray bottle mixed with peppermint oil or neem oil and water and spray your plant down.” The same trick also works on spider mites or “any other motherfucker that tries to wreck havoc on your shit”.
FINGER YOUR SOIL, BITCH
Overwatering a plant is the botanical equivalent of smothering someone with love – don’t do it or the roots will begin to rot. To avoid root rot, make sure your plant pot has drainage holes and make sure you’re only giving your green the water it needs. Freedem says: “Just watch out what you put in there, because where’s it going? Nowhere.”
If you’re stuck, follow this rule: “You gotta fucking stick your finger in the fucking dirt, bitch, and see how the dirt feels. If it feels wet, then you might want to fucking leave it.” See? Simple.
DROOPY LEAVES NEED LOVE
Imagine you’re thirsty, like really thirsty. Now imagine drinking a fresh glass of water. Feel better? Plants work in much the same way. “Droopy leaves indicate that plants need to be watered, as soon as you water them they usually go back up within a couple hours, if not, the next day when the sun is out, or whatever,” Freedem explains. Also, make sure to use room temperature water because like us, they’re going to drink more of it that way and hydrate better.
USE YOUR INTUITION
Plants are like friends, no two relationships are alike. The same goes for their environment. Sometimes you have to check up on how it’s feeling: “You want to factor how much sunlight is getting and how much rain the plant gets in its natural habitat,” Freedem adds.
CUT OFF DEAD LEAVES
Dead leaves use up a lot of energy and take away nutrients from the parts of the plant that are still alive. The best way to handle this is to cut the leaf off as close as you can to the dirt.
Weirdly, flies, ghats, and “shit like that” hate the smell of cinnamon, so if you want, you can mix it in with the dirt to avoid any bzzzz’s. But if this is a recurring thing, it’s worth looking at the root of the problem. “Wet soil is literally a breeding ground,” explains Freedem. “If you have flies around your plant, that means that you are watering them way too much.”
OPEN YOUR MF WINDOW
This one’s easy. If you want to avoid root rot, open your window. Besides, it’s good to let the air in sometimes.
AVOID BROWN TIPS
“Brown tips mean not enough water is traveling from the roots up to the tips,” says Freedem. But “if they’re soft and brown, it means root rot”.
Finally, relationships take time and effort. As with people, you can’t expect to ghost your plant for months only for it to bounce back and be totally fine with you. It takes two (well, you) to tango. “How would you feel if she fucking suddenly just changed for you out of nowhere,” Freedem says. “Plants need time to acclimate just like humans do.”
TAKE A MOMENT AND BREATHE
Remember to enjoy yourself. “For me, plants help me focus, they help me forget that I'm in a rat-infested, cockroach-infested ass city,” Freedem explains. “I breathe a lot better and I also sleep a lot better because they release oxygen and purify my air. I've literally have never been around such cleaner, crisp, fresh motherfucking air!”