Search our site for stories on plants and you’ll find more than 1,400 results. So it’s safe to say that Team Domino is obsessed with our leafy friends. That said, each of us knows the heavy responsibility that new plant parenthood can bring. The initial dopamine rush of purchasing a jungle’s worth of gorgeous greenery soon wears off once the duty of daily care sets in.
While keeping each of your plants happy will require a bit of research (aka Googling) and experimentation, when it comes to gear, we’ve got you covered. We reached out to our friends Ryan Lee and Kay Kim, cofounders of NYC’s coolest greenery shop, Rooted, to find out which tools they recommend to get started. Each item ticks their boxes—function, durability, and design—and, best of all, can be picked up on Amazon. Shop their starter kit just in time for spring.
The Short List
- Best watering can: Cesun Metal Watering Can
- Best mister: Continuous Mist Empty Spray Bottle
- Best hand trowel: Prudance Creative Calibration Stainless Steel Trowel
- Best repotting tarp: Wingoffly Portable Indoor Plant Repotting Square Mat
- Best shears: Stanwood Bonsai Tool Japanese Butterfly Shears
Best Watering Can: Cesun Metal Watering Can
The first step to a stress-free watering routine is choosing a can attractive enough to keep out as a visual reminder. Rooted recommends this one for its pleasing shape, easy-pour spout, and rust-free stainless steel material. It holds 30 fluid ounces of water, so is best for indoor plants like bonsai and hanging ferns in 2- to 4-inch planters.
Pro tip: Yes, there is a right way to use a watering can. Lee and Kim recommend pouring room-temperature water around the base of the plant and using slow, circular motions. Don’t forget to dump any excess water that pools in the saucer: “Ain’t no plant out there that’ll survive with soggy roots,” they warn.
Best Mister: Continuous Mist Empty Spray Bottle
While this product was originally designed for hair salons, Rooted’s cofounders suggest its continuous-spray functionality for keeping leaves happy. If your plant is naturally suited to a humid climate like a jungle or forest (ferns, yes; cacti, no), then a little misting every few days (in the morning or at night) will be welcome.
Pro tip: You might need to mist more frequently during winter, when the air inside your home is drier from heating systems. Double up with a humidifier—your buds and your skin will thank you.
Best Hand Trowel: Prudance Creative Calibration Stainless Steel Trowel
An essential tool in the repotting process, you will need this handy trowel for scooping soil, unsticking root-bound plants, and generally getting your hands dirty. This all–stainless steel number is sturdy, easy to wash, and will match your slick watering can. Reviewers love the simple design but warn that it bends when overloaded, so stick with a shovel for any serious outdoor gardening needs.
Pro tip: Always leave at least 1 inch between the soil and the top of the pot to avoid spillage.
Best Repotting Tarp: Wingoffly Portable Indoor Plant Repotting Square Mat
Speaking of repotting, those of us who have attempted the process in a small apartment can tell you that it gets messy. Instead of scrambling for newspapers or food wrap, use a tarp to keep the chaos contained. After you’re finished, the waterproof design is easy to wash and folds up for compact storage.
Pro tip: Hold up! Before you transfer your new blooms from the plastic shell to a proper planter, make sure the roots are exposed. Lee and Kim say to gently massage the root ball to loosen up the tendrils and get rid of old soil.
Best Shears: Stanwood Bonsai Tool Japanese Butterfly Shears
In order to channel your greenery’s new growth or trim away unhealthy bits, you’ll need dedicated pruning shears (your kitchen scissors could carry foreign bacteria—yikes!). These Japanese-style ones are small but mighty. We gave them bonus points because they come with a three-year unconditional warranty.
Pro tip: Keep an eye out for pests while you’re trimming excess fronds and dead leaves. Rooted’s Pest Control Guide explains what to look for and how to treat the usual suspects, like spider mites and fungus gnats.
How We Vetted These Products
When you own one of Brooklyn’s coolest plant stores, it’s only a matter of time until you start to field questions from friends and customers who don’t know how to treat their wilting ficus or fungus-infested fiddle-leaf fig. Rooted cofounders Ryan Lee and Kay Kim have heard it all—and dish out expert advice via a text message hotline and an app called Plantopedia. Given their hands-on experience sourcing and selling plants, as well as sharing pro tips and tricks, we turned to them to curate this starter kit.
Every product in a Domino guide meets these criteria:
- They blend form and function. We believe the best-designed products reflect your personal style and are a joy to use.
- They’re expert approved. In addition to our team of editors, we tap a range of designers, makers, renovators, and all-around knowledgeable people to share their intel.
- They’re endorsed by people who actually own them. We pay close attention to real reviews from both our creative community and third-party websites to know that they pass the test IRL.
Where can I find cool, unique planters? For my own home, I like simple terracotta, ceramic, and porcelain containers from Marcie McGoldrick and baskets from Goodee. CB2 also has a great collection of large planters in unique shapes and materials, like patinaed brass, cement, terrazzo, and galvanized steel.
I have fiddle-leaf fig fatigue! What is the next trending indoor plant? I’ve always loved ornamental black olive trees and have been seeing them a lot more in recent years. Their fine, graceful branches have a poetic, sculptural silhouette.
What’s your favorite flowering plant for cuttings and centerpieces? Honeysuckle has the most heavenly scent. I like to cut a stem or two when it’s blooming to bring the fragrance indoors during summer.
Every product is independently selected by (obsessive) editors. Items you buy through our links may earn us a commission. This story was originally published in July 2019 and has since been updated.