Many plant parents also have babies – actual infants and toddlers – that are very curious about the new world around them. Toddlers seem to explore and get into everything – including any houseplants within reach of their tiny arms. It’s possible – and easy – to have your plant and human babies co-existing with a few minor changes to your plant setup. These tips are from parents we know who are sharing the best ways to baby proof your plants from the methods they’ve put in place.
Cling wrap over soil
One of the biggest things that attracts toddlers to houseplants within reach isn’t the plant itself, but the pot full of soil. The moist, warm dirt is a toddler magnet, and can quickly find itself all over your floor if you leave your child and plant unattended for even a minute. Parents have overcome this by placing a soil cover over the pot that allows the plant to grow, or put in place a low-cost homegrown solution using cling wrap to have the exact same effect.
Wrapping your plants will ensure a custom fit, allowing your stems and leaves to grow, while wrapping several inches down the pot will also make sure little fingers can’t get into dirty soil. When it’s time to water, you can place your watering can near the center stem to reach below the wrapping layer. Additionally, you can also bottom water your plants if it has a larger saucer that can seep water into the soil from the bottom layer of dirt. Just make sure that your toddler can’t access the water if you choose this method!
Using a protective layer over your soil will make it tricky for toddlers to access your houseplant and hopefully help them lose interest in touching the dirt over time. This method is a great balance to keep your plants in their original spots in your house while ensuring curious hands stay out of the soil.
Placing plants out of reach
If the cling wrap method isn’t working, or you just want to move your plants into another room, the easiest way to balance plant and toddler needs is to place plants out of reach of your children. This could be done in the same room by moving plants to a higher shelf, countertop, or by installing a hanging planter.
If this isn’t possible, you can also move your plants into another room your kids don’t have easy access to, such as a bathroom or laundry room, provided there’s enough light and heat to keep your plants healthy during the day. LED grow lights can make this even easier, by providing plenty of light at the specific spectrum your plants need in locations that are otherwise too dark to nurture plants. Many of these also have built-in timers, automating your light cycles, and possibly providing more light time than your windows, since some of these lights can be set to shine for up to 12 hours a day.
Using hanging plant pots
While we touched briefly on this in the last section, hanging planters can be a great solution to baby proof your plants while also encouraging growth for species that like to vine, such as Philodendron Brasil, Reverse Spider plants and Prayer plants.
Hooks are easy to install in a ceiling or wall, and you can find a variety of hanging planters to match your design style, whether you dig bohemian vibes or want a more contemporary feel with a minimal pot and hanging kit.
With a little sun and the right watering schedule, hanging vines will flourish. If your plants are starting to get too stringy, feel free to cut them back. And a majority of these plants can be easily propagated, allowing you to gift new plants to friends or stick the new segments into the original pot to make things look lush and full.
Hanging your plants may be a win-win to keep your kids from out of your plants and make sure certain houseplants can reach their full potential.
Safety gates and baby fences
If the above solutions won’t work, it might be time to consider physically separating your plants from your children with a safety barrier like a gate or a fence. These can be used to create a barrier around your plants, or a corner of your plant room with houseplants your toddler is taking a particular interest in.
While one of the best ways to baby proof your plants, gates can be awkward to step over, especially in higher-traffic areas. Finding a lower-traffic area that still gets enough light will strike the right balance for plant care and safety.
Rehoming plants with friends and family
If all else fails, one of the last-ditch efforts could be to temporarily or permanently rehouse your plant to a friend or family member. This will completely remove any tempting plants from the equation, and still keep your plant with someone you trust to care for it. In the future when your child is older, you can take your plant home, or ask for a cutting to start a new plant baby journey.
Baby Proof Your Plants – Last Thoughts
Becoming a parent is a radical life change and will impact virtually every aspect of your routine and home, including your plants and their care. It’s natural for toddlers to develop a curiosity and wonder about the world around them, and encouraging your children to embrace plants from an early age helps instill a fascination with the natural world. Boundaries should still be set to ensure the safety of your plants and kids alike.
And by simply moving a few plants out of reach, you can cultivate this curiosity with minimal disruption. Hopefully this will encourage their interest in plants so that they can help you care for houseplants when they get a little older.
Look at the effort to baby proof your plants as something temporary. As toddlers get older, it could be a fun activity to have them help mist and water your home’s plants with your supervision, making plant care a fun family bonding activity that also develops their motor skills and cognitive abilities.