Tips for Techs: 9 Ways to Make Plant Maintenance More Enjoyable

So you want to have fun at your job? I know, it’s a crazy concept. But look, if you’re a plant tech and you’re not enjoying it, you’re probably not going to be one very long.

It’s a tough job and there are lots of other things you could be doing to make money. However, if you like the interiorscape business, here are some things that I think helped me find personal satisfaction and reward in performing plant maintenance.

1. Take pleasure in the way your plants, and accounts, look. The whole point is beautiful plants! If they look beautiful, you can take credit for it and that makes you feel good. If they don’t look beautiful, fix them – then you’ll feel good. There’s a lot of joy to be found in something you do well.

2. Avoid as much stress as possible. I know, sometimes stress happens, but if you’re walking around feeling stressed out all the time, something needs to be addressed. Maybe you need to learn more about plant care, perhaps you need to discuss routing with your super, or maybe you just need to breathe. The point is, you don’t have to be stressed all the time, so figure out the cause and do what you need to fix the problem.

3. Have all the tools and supplies you need, but don’t take in more than you need. For instance, don’t lug in a water machine for an account with five plants. It’s more hassle than help. And don’t forget to use your notebook. Keeping good notes and checking them before you start the day will help you know exactly what you will need for each account.

4. Develop good routines and use them. My favorite routine consists of the following:

  • look
  • feel
  • trim/turn/trim
  • water
  • treat
  • special work
  • clean
  • look back

Also, along with all the efficiency and effectiveness tips, it’s all about reducing stress and increasing satisfaction.

5. Don’t work without a break. Even if you don’t like to eat lunch (seems strange to me, but I’ve heard it happens,) stop working and relax for a while every day. It’s healthy to take a mental break once in a while.

6. Learn about horticulture. The more you learn about plants, the happier you’ll be, the more useful you’ll be to your employers, and the more helpful you’ll be to your interiorscape clients.

7. Allow time for interaction with the people around you. You probably won’t have time for long conversations, but a smile and a “hi” go a long way. Listen politely to questions and try to answer in as clear and concise a way as you can or promise to find the answer if you don’t know it.

8. Be careful. Whether you are driving or walking, try to always be aware of things around you. Pay attention to your center of gravity, avoid sudden twists and precarious balance, and use caution when sticking fingers into soil. You never know what sharp and pokey things may be in there. And let me tell you, getting cut and poked with random and sometimes scary objects is definitely not enjoyable.

9. Watch out for gremlins. We all know there are gremlins in the plants. Come on. How else can you explain the plant you spend 3 or 4 minutes cleaning, pruning, etc. sprouting a big yellow leaf right in plain sight when you look back at it 2 minutes later. So, don’t let those gremlins get ‘ya.

Well, I’m finally at the end of my little list of tips for techs. Anyone who reads this is more than welcome to comment, or add some tips of their own. C’mon guys – let’s hear what you have to say.

Download the full Tips for Plant Techs Guide here.

Marlie Graves, known as The Ficus Wrangler, has been keeping plants beautiful, training techs and relating to clients at half a dozen companies for 30 years. She studied creative writing and psychology in college and went on to start an independent film company with her first husband. She decided to focus on plants full time after completing the NYBG Horticulture School interior landscaping course. Marlie is retired, operates "The Ficus Wrangler" YouTube channel, contributes regularly to several houseplant forums, and is working on a plantcare book based on professional methods.

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