10 Great Host/Hostess Gifts!

August 15, 2016

Parties and get-togethers are a great and fun way to spend time with friends and family. What every party needs is a great host and what better way to thank the host than with the perfect gift! We at The Sill have come up with gifts that would be great for any type of host!

1. Measuring Spoons – “For the host who cooked every night”


ModCloth: $29.99

2. Air plant – “For the host who doesn’t like to get their hands dirty”


The Sill: $20.00

3. Cute Mug – “For the host who is a coffee/tea enthusiast”


Urban Outfitters: $16.00

4. Planner – “For the host who always has a full schedule”


Anthropologie: $34.00

4. The Succulent Collection – “For the host with an empty planter laying around”


The Sill: $40.00

5. Vase – “For the host who has a quirky style”


ModCloth: $17.99

6. Chocolate Truffles – “For the host with a sweet tooth”


Fine & Raw Chocolate: $28.00

7. The Calvert with Low Light Plants – “For the host with a home office”


The Sill: $38.00

8. Mermaid Tail Blanket – “For the host who needs a little extra magic”


DressLily: $24.43

9. Bath bomb – “For the host who is the bomb.com”


Lush: $7.50

10. The Tillandz with Xerographica – “For the host with an Instagram-worthy coffee table”


The Sill: $35.00

Shop more of The Sill products on our website or visit our shop on 84 Hester Street in NYC!



#PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Plant Care, Plant of The Month

All About Aloe

August 4, 2016

Our August plant of the month is the Aloe. Aloe are a species of evergreen succulents that are native to Africa. They belong to the Aloe family, Asphodelaceae, and have been used since ancient times by Egyptians and surrounding peoples for treatment of skin ailments and as a laxative.


Aloes are characterized by their leaves. Aloes have a gooey gel sap, whereas, Agaves (unrelated to Aloe but similar in apperance) are fibrous.  Our in-house plant expert, Christopher Satch, has given us all you need to know about Aloe!  


Aloe has been being used for centuries. The Ancient Egyptians used Aloe in the preservation and mummification process. It is also said that Cleopatra used Aloe in her daily beauty regimen. Aloe is one of the most researched plants and the value of Aloe worldwide is 13 billion US dollars.


Aloe Care – 101


Bright light. A few hours of direct sun, or a whole day of filtered-sunlight. Eastern, Southeastern, Southern, Southwestern, or Western exposure.


Make sure the soil has completely dried out before you water your Aloe. In the summer months, water frequently (in a shady location, every few days) as it dries out. This will help encourage growth. In the winter, water less frequently, once every week or two weeks.


Aloes will tolerate many soils, but a well-drained loamy soil (potting soil) amended with sand is best.

Temperature and Humidity

Aloes like dry environments. Regular room humidity is best. With that being said, normal room temperature will do. 65-85ºF (18-30ºC) is ideal. 


Feed Aloes only during the spring and summer months once every 3 weeks or month. Be sure to follow the standard application rates on the label of whatever fertilizer you choose.  Do not feed in the winter.


Aloes will flower once a year, but are more likely to flower if put outside.


Aloes don’t need to be trimmed, but one can pluck the larger leaves to use the gooey insides for burns or skin ailments.


Common Problems

Yellowing Leaves

If the leaves of your Aloe are starting to yellow it is usually due to overwatering but occasionally it is due to nutrient deficiency or pot-boundedness. If this occurs, let the soil dry out or re-pot your Aloe.

Shriveled Leaves

This means your Aloe is under-watered or it has potassium deficiency. If this occurs, give your Aloe more water.

Leaf Spots

Bacterial leaf spot. Try to avoid splashing water on the leaves.

Aloes are a great plant to have around the home or office. They will brighten up any space and are relatively easy to take care of. Just be aware that Aloes are considered by the ASPCA to be irritating to dogs and cats upon ingestion due to the saponins in plant tissues.  The best practice is to always keep houseplants out of reach of small children and pets.

P.S. – Keep an eye out for our Aloe workshop coming soon to The Sill Shop NYC and download the Aloe coloring book page illustrated by Laura Palmer!



#PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Houseplant Tastemakers, Interview, Plant Care

Meet Joey and Mark from Ball and Claw Vintage

August 1, 2016
Ball and Claw Vintage is an online website run by Joey Meyers and Mark Baehser. Joey is a vintage buyer and Mark is a pediatrician. They live in Jersey City in a turn of the century Victorian home with their cat, Bridget. We discovered Ball and Claw Vintage on Instagram and we knew we had to reach out to them! Their page is filled with plant-inspired pictures, unique pieces of furniture, and vintage room accents; basically defining the term ‘house goals’!
We asked Joey and Mark if they could talk to us about their home, their love for houseplants, and if they had any plant care tips!
Joey’s first impression of the houseplant can be described in one word: silk. Growing up, Joey’s mother had tons of fake houseplants decorating their home. He remembers his mother dragging out the houseplants onto the driveway to hose the dust off them every once in a while. He told us that since then, his mother has given up fake plants and is giving Joey and Mark a run for their money in the real plant category!
 Thankfully, Joey did not inherit his mother’s love for fake fauna! When he and Mark bought their New Jersey home two years ago, one of their favorite features was the tremendous amount of natural light that poured into the place. Their house has over forty windows spread across three floors! Since the previous owner of the house was a florist; the front and back gardens are lush, wild, and inspiring.
Mark and Joey both share a love for interior design and incorporating plants is a go-to when they are struggling when an area. If they can’t find a piece for a corner, they simply throw a plant there! In a statement about his use of houseplants, Joey said,
“They go with any style, are cheaper than furniture, and add color and texture. We love the feeling they lend to a space, and the constant care for them can be therapeutic. We now have over 150 plants throughout the home, and the number is growing rapidly!”
We asked Joey and Mark if they could share any plant care tips with us and they gave us some great advice. They said that googling plant care is like googling a medical symptom: the answers are usually vague or terminal. For Joey and Mark learning how to best care for their plants has been a lot of trial and error. They suggest spending time with your plants each week because it will help you understand them better and develop more of a green thumb! Learn what works for them and if they are getting too much sun or water. Also, try switching up their placement or watering schedule until you get it right.
To learn more about Ball and Claw Vintage visit their website and follow them on Instagram!

Plant Pokemon!

July 30, 2016

It’s safe to say that the early 2000’s are making a comeback. From the Gilmore Girls reboot series coming to Netflix to the reintroduction of crop tops and choker necklaces into the fashion world. One of the latest fads that is giving everyone nostalgia is the new Pokemon Go app! Pokemon Go is a location based reality game that lets you catch, battle, and train virtual Pokemon wherever you go. Our plant (and Pokemon Go) experts have picked out our favorite Pokemon that have an uncanny resemblance to some of our favorite plant picks!

1. Tangela


Looks like:  Monstera

Personality:  Crazy and fun!

2. Oddish


Looks Like:  Snake Plant / Air plant

Personality: Cute and shy

3. Bellsprout 250px-069Bellsprout

Looks Like: Pothos/Philo

Personality: Steadfast

4. Exeggutor


Looks Like: Ponytail Palm

Personality: Moody but fun

5. Ivysaur



Looks Like: Fern

Personality: Any

Browse our selection of Pokemon inspired houseplants on our website!

#PlantPorn, #PlantsMakePeopleHappy, How-to, Plant Care

The Sill’s Top Ten Plant Care Tips

July 25, 2016

The Sill’s Top 10 Plant Care Tips 

For the plant-weary and the houseplant hoarders, alike. No green thumb required. 

1. Always pick your plant based on your light 

Our #1 rule of (green) thumb is to determine the amount of sunlight your space receives, and to choose your plant accordingly! If you’re not sure just by looking – start by figuring out which direction your windows face. If there’s something outside your window (a large tree or building, for example) that could obstruct sunlight, make sure to take that into consideration, too.

  • South-facing windows provide bright light for the majority of the day. Choose almost any plant, and situate them a few feet or more from the windows, depending on whether they prefer direct or indirect light.
  • East- and west-facing windows both provide medium light for the majority of the day. Keep your plants well within a few feet of the window, or choose a plant that tolerates moderate to low light.
  • North-facing windows provide the lowest level of light. Choose plants that can tolerate low-light conditions and keep them as close to their light source as possible.

Remember that while nearly all plants prefer bright light – be careful to protect them from intense direct sun. If the summer sun is intense enough to burn your skin, it’s certainly too much for your plant’s leaves! To protect your plants from burning, draw a sheer curtain during the day or move them a foot or two away from the window. thesill_offices_offices_july_2014_44

2. Be mindful of your social life 

Be sure to consider your daily schedule, travel frequency, and general forgetfulness (nothing to be ashamed about!) while you decide on a plant. If your absentmindedness (or more realistically – your crazy work schedule) is what stands in the way of plant ownership, pick a plant that thrives from neglect. If you have bright light, try a succulent or cactus, and if you have low light, try a snake plant or ZZ plant. Truly, the only way to kill those four is over-care!

subway _pothos_PMP

3. It is better to underwater, than to overwater… 

Beware of overwatering; it’s the easiest way to kill a plant. You may be tempted to water your plant on a strict schedule, but the best thing to do is to water it only when needed. Always check the soil first before giving it a drink. Environmental and seasonal changes can throw your plant’s watering schedule off. For example – plants need less water in the winter, when they’re growing slower. But if you’re blasting your heater, their soil might dry out quicker, and they might need more.

A telltale sign your plant is past due for a watering: wilting leaves or soil pulling away from the sides of the planter. If the soil is darker in color and sticks to your finger, your plant should be fine for the time being.

Always use tepid water to water your plant. Let the potting soil soak up the water for about 15-30 minutes, then empty any remaining water from the saucer. Idle water can lead to root rot!

Watering image

4. Increase humidity when necessary 

For plants that prefer more humid conditions such as ferns, ivies or tropical plants, don’t be afraid to mist them using a small spray bottle in between waterings. During the dry months of winter, grouping your plants together also helps to create a humid microclimate. A humidifier can help, too, and is an added bonus for your skin.


5. Keep your plant’s environment as stable as possible 

Plants, just like us, are most comfortable between 65 and 75 degrees. Extreme fluctuation in a plant’s environment can seriously stress them out. Do your best to avoid placing your plant near temperature hazards like vents, radiators and exterior doors, which might create hot or cold spots and drafts.

Sidney_cactus_white modernica_mantel_kokedama

6. It’s OK to forgo fertilizer 

If you’re a novice, it’s totally OK to stay away from fertilizer. It’s another easy way to kill your plant. Plants get minerals from the air, water, and their potting mix – and are nourished and energized by sunlight. It is entirely possible to have a healthy plant without additives! If you do choose to fertilizer your plant, it’s best to only do so during the growing season (spring/summer) and follow the general rule of thumb ‘less is more’. Most store-bought fertilizers should be diluted with water before use.


7. Purchase a healthy plant from a reputable source 

Do your best to buy a quality plant from someone with at least some expertise. In most cases, you’ll want to stay away from department stores and supermarkets, where plants can be stores in basements and dark warehouses, etc., and instead stick to your local nurseries, garden centers, and specialty stores or florists. Definitely give your plant a once-over before purchasing—watch out for yellowed leaves, powdery mildew, leaf spots, brown leaf tips, weak or wobbly stems and other obvious signs of poor plant health.

An added bonus of purchasing from a source with plant expertise – they can answer your questions. Don’t be afraid to ask, either. Most people who sell or work with plants, love talking about them. Trust us!

The Sill_Moving Plants

8. Show a little extra TLC in the beginning 

Show your plant a little extra attention in the beginning of your relationship. When you bring a new plant home for the first time, establish a routine of checking in with it every 3 to 4 days. A little extra attention can go a long way! Slight environmental can cause fluctuations in the frequency of your care, so best not to just assume “every Monday is watering day.” Besides, it’s nice to check in and say “Hi” to your plant every few days. Watching it adapt and grow can be extremely fulfilling.


9. Do not be afraid to repot! 

A common misconception, repotting does not necessarily mean putting your plant in a new planter, but rather, changing your plant’s soil or potting mix. This is because plants receive some of their nutrients from their soil. Great news if you love your planter. But if you’re looking to splurge on a new one, try to choose one no more than 2-4 inches larger than the current planter, depending on plant-size – i.e. you do not want your plant swimming in soil, which can lend itself to overwatering and eventually root rot.


10. Make sure your planter has drainage – or create it 

If your plant’s planter does not have a drainage hole (or multiple) at the bottom of it to allow excess water to escape from the potting soil – it is extremely important to create makeshift drainage. You can do this by lining the bottom of your planter with rocks to create crevices for the water to drain into. Here at The Sill, we use lava rocks because of their porous nature. This added precaution will help you from overwatering your plants in the long run.




#PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Houseplant Tastemakers, Interview

Meet Tastemaker Kay Lee from OTTE

July 21, 2016


Name:  Kay Lee

Location: New York, NY

Occupation:  Founder and Head Buyer, OTTE NY

Favorite Plant: Snake Plant

Can you share a little background about yourself, and about OTTE?

I established the first OTTE store in Williamsburg in 1999, which has now grown into five locations across Manhattan. My travels and previous experience in the fashion industry inspired my love of designing and buying. I now create the concept for each buying season and curate the merchandise for each of our stores. OTTE New York is a luxury, contemporary, womenswear boutique that features covetable ready-to-wear, shoes, jewelry, and accessories.


What’s the best present you’ve given or received?

After a New Year’s resolution to pursue happiness and make more time for leisurely activities, I gifted myself with a trip to Africa.

If your space was on fire, what’s the first thing you’d grab to save?

My 16 year old Shih Tzu, Olive. My day just wouldn’t be the same without her.

What’s on your to-do list today?

Today is a busy, but exciting day in Paris for Pre-Spring Market Week. I am headed to brand appointments to find merchandise and inspiration for our stores.


What is your favorite plant and why?

I love to fill my space with snake plants. They purify the air in my home, are easy to handle, and are perfect for someone like me who is always on the go.

Do you have a green thumb?

Not particularly, although I wish that I did.

Any plant tips you can share?

When in doubt, start small. If you don’t have much of a green thumb, start with plants that are easier to take care of and build your way up.

What tops your houseplant wish list?

Air plants definitely hold the top spot on my list. With their charming size and low maintenance care, what more could I ask for?

What inspired OTTE?

OTTE is continuously inspired by colors, vintage samples, and global travels.


What is on your summer wish list currently?

There are a bold pair of Brother Vellies sandals that I have had my eye on.

Three things you can’t leave the house without:

Sleek Karen Walker shades, Aēsop hand balm, and a Sophie Hulme mini tote.



Meet The Illustrator Behind The Monstera Coloring Book Page

July 18, 2016

TheSill_MonsteraIt may sound scary, but you are sure to fall in love with this plant! Our July plant of the month, the Monstera, is native to Central America. It’s easily identified by the natural holes in its leaves. These neat holes have given this plant the nickname, swiss cheese plant. Monstera plants thrive most in humid climates, but a normal room humidity will do. This plant requires medium to low sunlight and should be watered weekly. The Monstera is an easy to take care of plant and would make the perfect addition to any room or office! To learn more about our plant of the month, read our other blog: Meet the Monstera.

To celebrate our POTM, Laura Palmer drew us a magnificent Monstera coloring page that we absolutely love!

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 3.28.12 PM Laura Palmer is an Iowan, Illustrator and genuine mail nerd. XO-LP, a collection of illustrations made with highlighters, markers and wit, is her full-time business. A lover of egg rolls, confetti cannons and the Papermate flair pen, Laura and her tall, well-dressed husband live and work in their favorite city: Des Moines, IA.

LP Headshot Smaller File

Currently Laura has 4 living plants in her home. She feels as though this is one of her greatest accomplishments.

See more of Laura’s work on her website and follow her on Instagram to see drawings of her daily life.

Also, be sure to print out her cacti coloring page as well!

If you love the Monstera as much as we do, join us Thursday, July 21st at 6:30PM for our Monstera workshop. You will walk away with cool facts, potting tips, and your very own Monstera plant! Order your tickets here — we hope to see you there!


#PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Houseplant Tastemakers, Interview, Plant Care

Meet Tastemaker Hannah Whelan

July 12, 2016

plant portrait

Name: Hannah Whelan

Location: Brooklyn, New York

Occupation: Textile Artist/Designer

Favorite Plant: Calathea Makoyana (Peacock Plant)


Can you share a little background about yourself – and a little bit about your work?

I am a 23 year old, Dublin born Textile Designer based in New York City.

epidermis series 1 hand and machine work

I see myself as a maker. I honor the material I work with, allowing it to guide my practice. My work is a hybrid between design and art. I am strongly influenced by urban environments and the overlooked battle between humans and vegetation within cities. Function is an important factor to my work; however, I never let it overrule the outcome. My ongoing project “Living Room Roots” sets out to explore and experiment with distinct ways to honor and invite nature into our homes by creating a diverse array of interactive and sometimes functional hand crafted objects in the hopes of making nature an integral part of any indoor space.

What’s a secret skill you have?

This is a tough one because I’m not a very secretive person. I do have an unusually vivid imagination and I can repair almost anything.

What’s the best present you’ve given or received?

The greatest thing I have ever received was my first camera from my Grandma. She was always documenting the people in her life, but come to think of it, it was also one of the most peculiar things. I would go through her old photos and there would be pictures of her kitchen sink full of dirty dish cloths. I like to think that her interest and obsession definitely rubbed off on me!

If your space was on fire, what’s the first thing you’d grab to save?

I hate to admit it but it has got to be my laptop and camera, purely because I document everything and I would hate the hard work to go up in flames!

work space

What’s on your to-do list today?

Ohh gosh a lot. I can’t function without lists! Top of the list today (Saturday) is to source rubber inner tubing from a local bike store, go to the pet store (I really want a pet frog!), get my hair cut, go to dinner, and to source grass seed. I’m breaking the rules here as it’s not on the list but it’s on my brain…I just really want a big ice cream cone at some point today!

What’s your favorite plant and why?

It’s hard to pick a favorite but at the moment it has got to be the Calathea Makoyana plant. The Calathea Makoyana (Peacock Plant) has the most incredible pattern on its leaves, almost as if someone hand painted the pattern on them.

Do you have a green thumb?

I like to think I do but lately the New York environment has been cruel to my plants. Everything is dying! I was contemplating playing them some jazz music…that might cheer them up a bit!

radical rececptacles series 2

Any plant tips you can share?

Think outside the pot! You should always consider what container you position your plant in and really honor the plant! Try using something up cycled or unusual, it will give your plants and the environment you place them in, a whole new lease on life!

terraotta upcycled burlap stitched motif

What tops your houseplant wish list?

Ohhh definitely a Staghorn Fern! Any time I go to The Botanic Gardens, I’m tempted to climb the rafters and run away with one. They remind me of aliens!

To check out more of Hannah’s work, visit her social media accounts:

Instagram: @__hannahwhelan__

Tumblr: http://hannahwhelantextiles.tumblr.com/ 

Email: hannahcatherinewhelan@gmail.com


#PlantPorn, #PlantsMakePeopleHappy, How-to, Plant Care, Plant of The Month

Meet The Monstera

July 3, 2016


Meet The Monstera

Don’t let their name fool you, these plants are not scary at all! Our in-house plant expert, Christopher Satch, gave us all you need to know about our July plant of the month, The Monstera!

The Monstera, nicknamed ‘swiss cheese plant’, is native to Central America. Monsteras are characterized by the natural holes in their leaves and their irregular, bushy growth.

It belongs in the Aroid family and is one of the few Aroids that produces edible fruit, which both humans and animals can enjoy. Monsteras rarely flower, but if placed outside they will have a better chance to. The individual flowers are borne on a fleshy spike and are covered by a bract, known as the spathe.


Monsteras were formally introduced into the botanical world in the early 20th century; however, many of the indigenous peoples of Central America were already familiar with them. In 1949, Eizi Metuda, a Japanese-born botanist, was the first person to properly describe Monstera. Recently, Monstera have been popular in fashion and design with clothes, bags, and even tattoos featuring the swiss cheese-holed leaf!


Monsteras come in many shapes and variegations, which help the plant to blend in to its surroundings. The two different species of Monstera are Monstera deliciosa, and Monstera adansonii; both are types of houseplants.  Monstera deliciosa have more long and tapering leaves with completely enclosed leaf holes. Eventually the leaf holes will grow towards the edge and open up as the plant matures.


Monstera Care – 101


Medium to low sunlight. Keep your Monstera in a shady spot and avoid direct sunlight. Filtered sunlight is tolerable for the plant.


Monsteras can tolerate many different types of soil, but a well-drained loamy soil (potting soil) is best.


Water your Monstera weekly and make sure that the soil has completely dried out before you water. Soil should be dry 1-2 inches down when you touch it. During the warmer months, water more frequently as it will dry out faster. Generally, the plant will droop when it needs more water. Try not to overwater the plant or keep the soil wet for too long because it will encourage root rot. In the winter, water less-frequently, about once every 1-2 weeks.

Humidity and Temperature

Monsteras prefer a more humid climate, but normal room humidity will do. Try to keep the room temperature between 65°F – 85°F. It is best not to let it get below 60°F. 


The Monstera will ideally reach a height of around 3-5 feet and will have a spread of about 7-12 feet.


Fertilize Monsteras only during the spring and summer months once every 3-4 weeks. For instructions on how to fertilize, just follow the directions on whatever fertilizer you choose. Do not feed your Monstera in the winter!

Common Problems

Usually, Monsteras are easy to take care of. It is generally a pest-free plant; however, if pests appear, treat them as soon as possible with weekly sprays of horticulture (Neem) oil and regular wipe-downs of the plant.


Leaves turning brown and crispy at leaf edges.


Under watered, high salts, or potassium deficiency.




Under watered or too constrained by the pot.  Trim leaves or re-pot if watering doesn’t fix the wilting. 


Yellowing, with bright yellow leaves.  Usually the leaves at the base of the plant will yellow first. 


Rot or root disease; overwatering.


Leaves curling, but still green.


Root bound or under watered.  If it has yellow leaves then it is most likely overwatered.  Possible cold shock.

Shop Monstera Plants

Shop Monstera Plants for NYC delivery

Visit The Sill Shop at 84 Hester Street NYC



#PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Houseplant Tastemakers, Interview

Plants Transcend Generations: A Story of Claire Olimpia and Her Grandmother’s Plants

June 20, 2016

Copia di Photo 057

Ever since Claire Olimpia can remember, her grandmother’s house in the South of France has been full of plants. Her grandmother, Juliette’s, parents had the house built in the 60’s. For each member of the family, they planted a tree in the garden. This is where Claire has spent every summer and every Christmas.

Juliette keeps most of her plants, including her ficus elastica, in the spacious entrance leading to the first floor. Her caoutchouc, or rubber plant, has grown into a canopy, reminiscent of an indoor jungle, and it is impossible to miss. This jungle, that use to be a standard one stem ficus living in a plastic container, has grown so big that for the past thirty years they have to make sure to bend their heads when walking up the stairs so as not to hit it. Claire says that it photobombs a lot of their family pictures!


Claire’s grandmother received this plant in 1980 as a present from her aunt. Since Claire was also born in 1980, her family likes to joke that it is sort of her twin brother!

What Claire finds amazing is that her grandmother loves to watch her plants, but she does not consistently take care of them. The way she has them placed, does most of the work for her. Claire says the container (that hasn’t been replaced for 25 years!) has always been placed on the first floor overlooking the stairs and the hallway; where it receives a lot of light. The temperature is never too hot, so the plant thrives. For 36 years, she has only been using water and sunlight to give her rubber plant its nutrients. Maybe once every five years, she would put a fertilizing stick in the potting soil. When a leaf would fall, a new stem would grow from the empty spot. She would then try to guide the stems toward the wall with the help of strings and pins.


Her grandmother has been climbing the stairs to water her caoutchouc for years, but recently it has become increasingly difficult for her. She barely walks now, and lives at the ground floor of the house where she can still see the beautiful jungle of stems whenever she passes by. Claire’s aunt is now in charge of watering the caoutchouc.

In a beautiful statement about Juliette, Claire states,

“I don’t know if my grandma is part of the house, or if the ficus is part of my grandma, but I find it impossible to imagine my grandma without seeing her in her house, surrounded by her plants and in particular this ficus. This is her universe.”


Being surrounded by greenery her whole life, Claire and her family have grown to love plants. They buy plants, trade plants, rescue plants, propagate, make cuttings, and take pictures of plants. They even bring cuttings back from their travels, not just for the plants but for the memories of the places they have been and the people they used to be. Claire says that to her plants are one of the cheaper forms of therapy; a living project life.

If you want to see more of the plants that Claire loves follow her on instagram: @koiforest 🙂