Babies and toddlers love to prod, poke and pick at anything which sparks their curiosity. Unfortunately, it often involves objects which aren’t safe or items that are very fragile. And this includes house plants.
Whether it’s picking off flower petals, ripping off leaves or taking soil from plant pots, toddlers can find lots of ways to annoy parents and cause havoc with the house plants. Some can be damaged easily and others can be dangerous to touch, such as cacti. So how you can you child proof them? Is there anything you can do? Let’s take a look at this in more detail.
How do you child proof house plants?
Firstly, in an ideal world, you don’t want to completely block off house plants to your toddlers as it’s important they see you how you care for them. It’s good to get young children involved in watering plants, flowers and changing the soil, as it’s interesting for them and it’s a great way for them to start understanding nature. That being said, here are some ways you can baby proof your house plants to keep both them and your child safe. After all you don’t want your toddler to ingest any leaves or damage the plant itself.
Put them out of reach
When you don’t need to water or take care of your plants, the easiest way is to put them somewhere where your child can’t reach or touch them. However, while this is one of the safest options, it’s a bit hard to do if your plant is large and in a heavy plant pot. Also, it means you can’t appreciate your plants as much if they are always out of sight. Furthermore, you need to pick a spot that’s near a window (or if this is tricky, opt for plants which are fine in the shade, or don’t need much light).
You have to weigh this up. After all, baby proofing your plants is only a temporary phase. Once your children are a little bigger, it’s not really an issue anymore.
Use a safety gate
Safety gates are usually reserved for the top and bottom of the stairs, or surrounding a fireplace. However, you could place one around some houseplants. This is a good idea if you can’t really move the plants anywhere else, particularly if they’re big and in heavy plant pots. Although it’s probably a bit excessive to purchase a safety gate just for this, it’s not a bad idea if you have one spare and you have the space to place one around some house plants. It can work really well if you have a bay window to house a few plants as an adjustable safety gate can fold around all of them quite easily. Just be prepared that you will probably have to mount the safety gate to the walls, which will involve some drilling.
Choose plants which are tougher
If you really want to keep your house plants safe and you don’t have any way of child proofing them, you can always purchase some more durable and tougher plant types. For example, spider plants are perfectly safe with tough leaves which your child won’t be able to destroy. The advantage of purchasing some hardier plants is that you don’t need to worry about them as much, and it’s a great way for child to get involved in taking care of them.
Sell your plant
If there are no options to put your plants somewhere safe, you can always sell them. This may seem drastic, but remember you don’t need to worry about baby proofing forever. After a couple of years, you can purchase some more and start over. To soften the blow of losing your favourite house plant, you may have a friend or family member who could look after the plant for a while. You don’t know if you don’t ask! However, if selling is the best option, you can use Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.
How do you baby proof plant pots?
In addition to baby proofing the leaves of your houseplants, you need to think about the soil as well. After all you don’t want your toddler shoving some in their mouth, or throwing loads of it on the floor. Here are a couple of strategies to help:
Add some cling film
This is a cheap solution to the problem. Simply attach cling film around the plant pot and around the stem of the plant. You probably want to use a couple of layers to make it sturdier. This should deter most toddlers from trying to stick their hands in the soil. However, for older children it’s not as effective as they can easily rip the cling film. Also, it’s not ideal for the plant either as it’s harder to water and check the soil moisture.
Use a plant pot guard
Although this is a more expensive option than cling film, it does have some advantages. For starters, it’s easier to water and for keeping an eye on your soil moisture. You simply cut the plant pot cover to size around the plant and place it on top of the plant pot (you should be able to do this with scissors fairly easily). You can keep it all in place using some small stakes which pop into the soil.
Another advantage of plant pot covers is their aesthetic appearance. They’re designed to match the colour of the soil so you shouldn’t really see them, unless you’re up close.
Surround with a taller pot
Another strategy to child proof your plant pots is to place the whole thing (plant and pot) in a bigger plant pot with taller sides. This can work particularly well with taller plants which have their foliage higher up the stem. This method is more expensive than using cling film, but it will probably be cheaper than buying a plant pot cover depending on the type of plant pot you buy. Just make sure you measure everything correctly so you know your plant and existing plant pot will fit properly in a larger one.