#PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Behind The Scenes, Holiday Gifting, Plant Care, Plant of The Month

How to Grow Your Love?

February 1, 2018

Ahhhhhh…. It’s that time of the year again! You start seeing hearts and roses popping up in store aisles and windows everywhere. February – the official time to celebrate love. Why not skip roses and celebrate it with our Sweetheart Hoya this year?!

Meet Hoya kerrii 

If you remembered seeing a vine-y plant creeping around your grandma’s kitchen cupboard, chances are it was a Hoya plant. This classic, beloved plant is especially good for an indoor environment. It lives forever, grows to be enormous, and creates beautiful flowers (if you are lucky – but more on that later). And our hero of the story, the Hoya kerrii, also nicknamed the Sweetheart plant, is in-fact in the big Hoya family. The Hoya kerrii is unique and famous for its fleshy heart-shaped leaves. It is a slow-growing succulent vine, native to Southeast Asia, that is ridiculously easy to care for.

 

Caring Your Hoya kerrii 

Fret not, your Sweetheart plant is hardy and even drought-tolerate. It is a low-maintenance gem we recommend to everyone, even beginners. Generally speaking, treat them like a succulent: lots of sun and the occasional watering. A general rule of thumb – it is best to underwater than to overwater. Still unsure how often? Look for the little sign – it tells you it’s thirsty when the leaf gets wrinkly.

 

Toxicity of Hoya kerrii

Love is toxic… just kidding! Your Hoya is non-toxic. In fact, it is perfect for parents and pet-owners.

 

But what about flowers?

We get it, you still want flowers. It is really rewarding to see your Sweetheart plant flower because of how slow growing it is. However, it is very difficult to to predict when they do. Generally speaking, most plants flower when they reach maturity and are very happy. If you provide them with ideal care and growing conditions, then you might be rewarded with yearly fragrant flowers. (Word on the street is, they generally reach a pot size of about 8″ in diameter before they flower.) It’s always best to focus on keeping the plants happy, rather than pushing them to flower. When it happens, it happens 😉

 

So there you go! With the right amount of love, water, and time – heart-shaped leaf after heart-shaped leaf of Hoya will grow. Its slow growth is said to represent eternal love – whether between significant others, best friends, or self-love! (And let’s be honest here, why would you want flowers – something that will die in a week – to represent your undying love?) So why not grow your love this year instead?

 

P.S. Don’t have enough sunlight for sun-loving Sweethearts? Check out more options to grow your love here!

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#PlantPorn, #PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Houseplant Tastemakers, Interview, Style Tips

Lauren Miranda, Studio Manager at Jesse Kamm

January 2, 2018

We are so happy to introduce you to Lauren Miranda from our tastemaker seriesWe first stumbled upon Lauren from an apartment tour Youtube video her friend, Christine, shot. We immediately fell in love with her plant collection (not to mention her studio is a dream, too).  Let’s meet Lauren in her own words.

Meet Lauren

Name: Lauren Miranda

Location: Highland Park, Los Angeles, CA

Occupation: Studio Manager

Favorite Plant: Monstera Deliciosa

Can you share a little bit of background about yourself? I was born and raised in Southern California, and have lived here in Highland Park, Los Angeles for about 4 years now, with a year in Washington woven in there. That year was very important as it’s where I had the opportunity to work at a plant nursery on the island I lived on. Working with plants is really wonderful, and stressful at the same time. There are precious lives at stake! It was a magical time, I miss it very much. Right now I work nearby as a Studio Manager for a design company called Jesse Kamm, helping out with some production in between. Outside of work, I tend to wander the neighborhood picking fruit while getting lost in my thoughts, thinking about some new recipe to try, attempting to control the urge to want to learn some new skill. I have too much straw in my home. I like to touch plants as I pass by them on my walks. I am most moved by sound and spaces. I laugh often and loud.

Can you share a little bit about your Instagram feed?  You’ll find a lot of the same here: Plants and my studio and now cooking. I enjoy sharing bits of all these – because why not? We create these spaces that are our havens, and it’s a way to look back and see what’s changed, a place to store memories since I don’t scrapbook. Plus I’ve met some really wonderful people through it, most recently in Mexico City.  I don’t have a business, but when I was selling homewares for a brief time it helped with that. So it’s just for personal use mainly. I try (try) not to take it too seriously–I like to think this shows anytime I reference Linkin Park lyrics or make a terrible pun.

What’s a secret skill you have? I am a very vivid dreamer and can remember them the next morning with incredible detail. And singing. I have a pretty decent voice, I like to think it keeps the plants happy, too. In Spanish is the most fun, but my true love is show tunes. In another life, I would be on Broadway.

What’s the best present you’ve given or received?  Oh gosh, that’s difficult. I can’t think of one main thing. But I value most anything made by the hands of my friends and loved ones. A warm meal, a bag, a piece of art for my studio. I am very sentimental when it comes to these things.

If your space was on fire, what’s the first thing you’d grab to save?  Yikes, probably my Passport! Being as it took aeons to finally attain one I am not losing that guy.

What’s on your to-do list today?  I’m preparing to bake some conchas for my family tomorrow, clearing the Studio of a few items I don’t use, and if there’s time after, a good jog.

What is your favorite plant and why?  This is hard, I have a few. My number one is Monstera Deliciosa. How can you not marvel at those massive leaves? I don’t have one currently, but it was my first baby. Years ago I bought a sad one on clearance with the intent to love and revive it, and it traveled with me to 3 different homes down here, and then up to Washington. By then it grew huge and so handsome. Sadly I wasn’t able to bring him back down, but he was happily adopted by a close friend. My other favorite is Rhipsalis-they’re kind of extraterrestrial looking. I’m crazy for their hair-like growth habit. I’d like to eventually fill the Studio with them. Oh and lastly Kerria Pleniflora Japonica. They grow on Vashon Island, where I lived in Washington. It’s a shrub whose cascading branches bear these beautifully rich, turmeric hued flowers that look like wild pom-poms.

Would you say you have a “green thumb”?  I like to think I do. I’m not at all an expert, only just scratched the surface of plant knowledge. I do my best to read up on plants before I take the plunge, to make sure it’ll work in my space. I’m constantly reaching for my plant books for guidance, both in care and in home decor.

Any plant care tips you can share?  Do your research on a plant before you buy. Take note of the lighting/exposure your space gets to help with this, too. If you bring home a Maidenhair Fern for your South facing window that gets direct sun 8 hours of the day, you’re asking for heartache. So don’t be afraid to ask questions. All of the questions if you have to. I also view plants to be very much like people, in that you have relationships with each of them. It’s not always about making a set schedule on watering and such. You grow with one another, observe how they are behaving, where they like to be which ones want your attention every day and which ones just want to be left alone for weeks at a time. It’s a gradual process. Another thing I’m big on is touching and loving on your plants. Literally, tell them you love them. I get really amped whenever I see a new sprout, and make it a point to show it. And don’t take on more than you can handle-nothing wrong with only owning one plant that reigns supreme in your house. Lastly, as my former plant mentor would tell me, “It’s better to underwater than overwater”. Always stuck with me.

What tops your houseplant wish list?  I am still on the lookout for a towering Ponytail Palm. I find them to be very whimsical and my idea of a real-life Truffula Tree from The Lorax.

Where do you shop for plants?  There are a couple of small nurseries in my neighborhood that I frequent, but my favorite is down in Orange, one of the best around there. It acted as a sort of catalyst for my infatuation with plants. I’ve also been known to pup a cactus from the side of the road.

Favorite hobby: Cooking and Baking, a little bit of sewing, just keeping my hands busy in some way. The latest endeavor has been making sourdough bread. I’m hooked. Doing my best to read more as well.

Favorite television show: Seinfeld. Makes me fall over. And anything food related, like Chef’s Table and The Great British Bake Off. #MaryBerryImYourBiggestFan

Favorite food: Pozole, forever. Very nostalgic for my childhood. I plan to attempt my Nana’s recipe when the weather cools–who knows when that will be down here though…

Favorite weekend activity: Spending time with my family, we’re all very close. I am one of 6 so it’s like having my own posse.

Favorite home decor store: Well, considering my house is mainly furnished via thrift, I’d say The Salvation Army. There’s always something. My other favorite is Lowell Shop in Portland. It’s an incredible store with an array of objects and adornments, and Dino and Maya are two of the nicest humans you’ll come across. Here in LA, County Ltd is where it’s at–they source some of the most beautiful pieces of furniture you can’t find anywhere else. It’s almost frustrating how amazing the selection is there. General Store in Venice is my other go to because they have so many wonderfully made products, many made by their own employees. It’s a beautiful space to be in.

Thank you so much, Lauren! 

P.S: Check out Lauren’s Instagram Story where she makes baking and cooking look so easy and chic at the same time.

P.P.S: Read more from our Tastemaker series including painter, Laura Serventi, who draws inspiration from plants and nature, and @warsawjungle, the couple duo whose home vibe and warm personalities will put a smile on your face immediately. 

(All photos by Sergio Neocoechea)

 

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#PlantPorn, #PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Behind The Scenes, Holiday Gifting, How-to, Plant Care, Plant History, Plant of The Month

Marimo 101

January 2, 2018

The name Marimo (毬藻, Aegagropila linnaei) originated from Japanese botanist Tatsuhiko Kawakami: 毬 ‘mari’ = ball and 藻 ‘mo’ = generic term for aquatic plants!

The Marimo ‘Moss’ Ball, as it’s commonly called, is not moss at all – but a freshwater, filamentous green algal colony! Native to previously glaciated areas of the world including Japan, Russia, Iceland, and parts of North America – the Marimo’s round shape is the result of freshwater lake motion. And although Marimo live in water, they’re not as slimy as you’d think they are. They’re actually quite fluffy, almost velvety, in nature.

Pet Marimo - The Sill

MARIMO FAQs

1. How do I care my Marimo at home?
Clean, cool water – and minimal light!

The lakes that Marimo have evolved in are alkaline, calciferous lakes – so for the optimal health of your Marimo at home, always use filtered water. Because Marimo balls live at the bottom of lakes, and roll along the bottom with the current, they receive very little light. In caring for your Marimo – keep it out of direct sun. An hour or so of direct sun is tolerable, as long as the temperature of the water stays cool. Freshwater lakes, especially at the bottom where Marimo live, are cold – and temperatures can range from 5C to 35C.

2. What type of light source do I use?
Moderate to low, natural or artificial light will help keep your Marimo happy and healthy. An hour or so of direct sunlight is fine, as long as it is far away from a window, and the Marimo’s water doesn’t heat up.

Trio of Marimo balls - The Sill

3. Do I need to change the water? What water do I use?
Although tap water is OK, we prefer to use either brita-filtered water, or bottled water. If possible, change your Marimo’s water once every two weeks.

4. What should I do when changing water?
Gently squeeze your Marimo to remove any dirt trapped in it’s fluff, then roll your Marimo back and forth on a soft surface, like your palm, to help it retain its circular shape.

Gently roll your Marimo in your palm to help it retain its circular shape - The Sill

5. How long will my Marimo live?
Marimos are slow growers – growing one or two tenths of an inch a year. However, the world’s largest Marimo is almost 40 inches in diameter, making it an estimated 200+ years old. Your Marimo can last for decades with the proper care and environment.

6. Help! My Marimo is changing in color. 
A yellow or brown Marimo is a sick Marimo. Your Marimo could be receiving too much sunlight, have an infection, or its water quality could have decreased. We recommend washing your Marimo under running water, replacing its water, and adding some salt. Make sure to use aquarium salt – not table salt! You can find it on Amazon, or at your local pet store. Add this directly to your Marimo’s container – about 5% of your water volume.

7. How long can a Marimo last without water? 
If conditions are ideal – Marimos can live for one month without water.

Marimo balls - The Sill

8. Will my Marimo float or sink?
Your Marimo will spend its majority of time at the bottom of its container, like it would in its native lake environment. However, a Marimo does perform photosynthesis, and makes oxygen. These oxygen bubbles may make your Marimo float up to the surface of the water for a period of time. The more sun your Marimo receives, the more oxygen it will produce. You can also make your Marimo float by squeezing the water out of it, but we don’t recommend toying with them too often – they’re happiest when left to float or sink on their own.

9. Will my Marimo reproduce? 
Your Marimo might reproduce when large enough and kept in a large container. You will see a bump growing on your Marimo – that’s a baby Marimo in the making. We do not recommend forcing your Marimo to reproduce by splitting it in two – more often than not, it will not be able to bounce back.

10. Is there anyway to get my Marimo to grow faster?
Marimo are slow growers! Be patient. Lower water temperatures, better water quality, and an extremely diluted amount of fertilizer can help. More light equals more growth, so a few hours of sunlight can also give your Marimo a boost, but be very careful not to cook your Marimo in direct light.

11. Can my Marimo survive in a fully sealed container?
A Marimo can survive in fully sealed container, but we recommend picking one with a loose lid, which will allow your marimo to breathe with its environment.

Happy Marimo - The Sill

12. Fun Fact
According to a Japanese legend, there were two lovers who longed to be together. One, the daughter of a tribe chief; the other a poor commoner. When the chief forbade them from being together – the couple ran away, fell into the water, and became Marimo balls – able to live together forever. Because of this, Marimo balls, sometimes referred to as ‘love plants’, are thought to bring luck, love, and happiness, and have the ability to heal a broken heart.

P.S. ADOPT YOUR VERY OWN MARIMO: Shop now.

 

#PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Plant Care

Our Favorite Air-Purifying Houseplants

December 28, 2017

Indoor plants don’t just look good – they make us feel good mentally and physically, too. Studies have shown indoor plants…

– Boost morale, productivity, concentration, and creativity
– Reduce stress, fatigue, sore throats, and colds
– Improve indoor air quality by absorbing toxins, increasing humidity, and producing oxygen
– Improve offices by softening sterile interiors, dividing areas, and reducing noise levels
– Are pleasing to look at and therapeutic to care for

This is because the presence of plants improves indoor air quality, and improved indoor air can positively impact our overall health and wellbeing.

Have you heard of Sick Building Syndrome? The term is used to describe symptoms experienced by individuals working or living in large commercial buildings – when no other cause can be detected for their illness. Dr. Bill Wolverton, a leading scientist in NASA’s Clean Air Study (1989), explains, “When the building occupants are away for a given time, the symptoms usually diminish, only to recur upon re-entry into the building.” These symptoms can include sudden allergies; irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat; headache, dizziness, and fatigue; respiratory and sinus congestion; and nervous system disorders.

What’s the cause of the majority of these symptoms? Indoor air pollution. Not great news when the Environmental Protection Agency estimates Americans spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors. Indoor air pollution is generally a consequence of toxic emissions from synthetic building materials, airborne mold, viruses, and pollutants – along with energy efficient construction, like making spaces as airtight as possible, which reduces the circulation of air. These contributors release toxin emissions such as benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene and toluene.

It is important to try to improve your indoor air quality in the home and office even if symptoms are not noticeable. And one of the best ways to do that is with indoor plants. Plants absorb these harmful toxins, break them down into gentle organic byproducts, and store them in their soil to use later for food!

Not only can the presence of indoor plants lead to a decrease in Sick Building Syndrome symptoms, but studies have shown that, where indoor plants have been installed, office work performance increased, staff wellbeing improved, and sick-leave absences were reduced (see lean vs green study).

In addition to the benefits associated with improved indoor quality, contact with nature in general has been shown to reduce mental fatigue and stress, and increase relaxation and self-esteem. Even brief exposure to nature has been shown to make us more altruistic and cooperative. In a 2013 study, touching real foliage – rather than fake foliage made from resin – was shown to elicit an unconscious calming effect on participates.

We are only beginning to understand the impact indoor air quality has on our mental health and work performance – but we do know it is a positive one.

FAVORITE AIR-PURIFYING PLANTS:

1. Snake Plant

This no-fuss tropical plant has thin, upright leaves with irregular banding that resemble the skin of a reptile. Its adaptations for surviving drought make it a suitable plant choice for anyone, anywhere.

Snake Plants have been shown to filter benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene and toluene.

2. Pothos

Nicknamed the cubicle plant at our office, the Pothos is our go-to for brown-thumbed clients with less than ideal conditions. Like the similar-looking Philodendron, the Pothos’s trailing vines can grow to over 10 feet long.

The Pothos has been shown to filter benzene, formaldehyde, xylene and toluene.

3. Rubber Plant

A popular houseplant, this variety of ficus has thick upright stems with glossy, oversized leaves that can store water in case of drought. They prefer bright to moderate indirect light.

Rubber Plants have been shown to filter formaldehyde.

4. ZZ plant

A ZZ Plant is a spectacular choice for any low-light environment. They are extremely dry-tolerant and low maintenance. In addition, the plant meaning of ZZ is prosperity and friendship, making it a gift choice for a beginner!

5. Bird’s Nest Fern

The Bird’s Nest Fern is characterized by ripple-edged fronds that grow out of a nest-like crown. It makes for a lovely hanging plant indoor. They thrive in indirect light and a humid environment.

Ferns have been shown to filter formaldehyde, xylene and toluene.

6. Philodendron

In the right indoor conditions, the Philodendron’s heart-shaped leaves and trailing vines can trail to over 10 feet long, making it the perfect plant for a high shelf. Did we mention it has a reputation of being one of the easiest houseplants to grow?

Philodendrons have been shown to filter formaldehyde.

*NASA recommends 1 potted plant per every 100 square feet of space. For more information, check out NASA’s Clean Air Study and Dr. B.C. “Bill” Wolverton’s “How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 Houseplants That Purify Your Home or Office”.

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#PlantPorn, #PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Behind The Scenes, Houseplant Tastemakers, Interview

Laura Serventi, Painter and illustrator, @art_n_people

December 20, 2017

For our latest installment of our tastemaker series, we want to introduce you to Laura Serventi. We first encountered Laura’s work on Instagram and we were blown away. Laura’s amazing use of vibrant colors and plant-inspired intricate artwork captured our hearts immediately – and we wanted to know more. Let’s meet Laura! 

Name(s): LAURA

Location: Brooklyn

Occupation:  painter/illustrator

Favorite Plant: Cathalea Dottie

Can you share a little bit of background about yourselves?

I was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. My grandfather, who was a painter himself, was an important influence on me. He transmitted me his love for art and it grew deeply inside of me.

I attended the School of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires, where I studied Painting, and then moved to Italy to study Photography. While I was there, my art projects were mainly photographic,  and I stopped painting all together. I thought it was not for me anymore, and  decided to concentrate on photography.  But after a while, paint started leaking back into my projects : from a few painted details in a photographic collage project , to a series of  b&w photographs colored by hand,  to painting mural size landscapes just to use as photographic backdrops.

I had moved to N.Y. by then. Looking back ,I think those big landscapes defined my return to painting and triggered my plant obsession. I started painting again after that.

Can you share a little bit about your Instagram feed- @art_n_people?

I use @  art_n_people to share pictures of my new work, the painting process, my house/studio and my plants. It’s a little window to my world.

You draw many inspiration from nature a lot, why is that?

Nature is present throughout all of my work, and its presence and meaning has changed through time. For me it’s a place of discovery, adventure and wonder. Both my Tropical and Garden series are linked to childhood experiences, and so they could be related to the concept of Lost Paradise. A safe place to retrieve when the chaos of this world swallows you.

Can you explain a little bit more of your painting/art process?

I paint with gouache and acrylics on paper. I use a lot of archive photographs from my trips to botanical gardens and keep a big number of plant books and encyclopedias to feed my imagination.

What advice would you give people who wants to be a professional illustrator/painter?

Create a routine, be consistent, don’t paint or draw only when you feel “inspired”. Create short term goals and try to stick to them. Look at other artist’s work. Choose a theme you ‘re interested in and develop a series. Be persistent.

What is your favorite plant and why?

It’s really hard to choose one… and it changes all the time, but right now I’m in love with the calathea plant in all its variations, which are many, I love the colors, the green and the purples and the deep pink stripes, just ovely… and  they’re great to paint!

Do you have a “green thumb”?

I’m afraid I don’t! I have many, many plants at home and I absolutely adore them, but they are alive  and growing beautifully thanks to my husband. He takes great care of them and leaves very precise watering instructions whenever he’s away…

Any plant care tips you can share?

don’t overwater…that’s all I know…!

What tops your houseplant wish list?

Calathea, Maranta ( the prayer plant), Jade plant, and Capitata Peach

Favorite hobby:  dance

Favorite television show:  stranger things

Favorite food:  any kind of pasta

Favorite weekend activity:  long lazy breakfast, spending time with my little son, going on day  trips, spending  time  outdoor,  painting.

Favorite home decor store:   I don’t have a store I usually go, I prefer thrift shops and flea markets.

What’s a secret skill you have?  

I can dance flamenco 😉

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

My husband is the best at surprising me every birthday with beautiful and alternative Art books. I  definitely need more shelves…

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

I guess you’re talking about material stuff…so, my paintings and my hardrives, oh and my greencard!

What’s on your to-do list today?

I’ll be participating of the Renegade Craft Fair in a few days so most of my list today is related to that: I print all my illustrations myself,  so…. PRINT, PRINT, PRINT. Other than that, I will finish hand painted totes, ship orders, check paper and ink supply, follow up on Emails and buy groceries and bread.

What’s next for @art_n_people? 

More paintings and  some  collaborations  with  fashion  brands.

Thank you so much, Laura!

Follow Laura’s Instagram page here – and shop her amazing works here

P.S Find more of our tastemaker series! Including a plant artist, @teenytinyterra, who can build a terrarium in 24 seconds, and a time-lapse master, @houseplantjournal, who captures plants’ nastic movements in 24 hours. 

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#PlantPorn, #PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Behind The Scenes, Holiday Gifting, Plant Care, Plant History, Plant of The Month

Meet Poinsettias (and know them once and for all)

December 19, 2017

You have seen it every year. It represents the happiest and jolliest time of the year. It is particularly well known for its red foliage. It is widely used in Christmas displays (huge giveaway), but no, it is not a flower. Ok..fine, meet Poinsettias. 🙂

image via here

Where did Poinsettias come from?

Poinsettias, native to Mexico, received their name in honor of Joel Roberts Poinsett, who introduced the plant to the United States in 1825. Poinsett, an amateur botanist, came across the poinsettia south of Mexico City, where it is called “Flor de Noche Buena”, or Christmas Eve Flower. He brought the vibrant red and green plant back to his South Carolina plantation where he continued to cultivate them and gave cuttings as gifts to friends. The plant later became a holiday staple.

Are Poinsettias a plant?

Yes, in fact, Poinsettias are a type of “succulent” – they are in the Euphorbia family. Botanically, it is known as Euphorbia pulcherrima. In addition, many mistake its colorful foliage as flowers, but they are in fact leaves called bracts. They are traditionally red, but you can find white, pink, orange, pale green, or multi color. You can find over 100 cultivated varieties of poinsettias available in the market now.

What about the toxicity?

Poinsettia plant has received a bad rep. Most believe that it is poisonous, which is quite a misunderstanding. Remember we said it belongs to the Euphorbia family? The genus Euphorbia itself is a highly-toxic family, but the popular poinsettia itself is not toxic in the same way. It oozes out white sap that is dangerous to people and animals who are allergic to latex. As always, seek medical attention immediately when digestion occurs. FYI, this applies to any type of plants.

So there you go – now you truly know and understand Poinsettias. Enjoy it!

P.S Did you know December 12th is Poinsettia Day?

 

 

#PlantsMakePeopleHappy, How-to, Plant Care

Winter Plant Care

December 13, 2017

Plants are super keen on seasonal changes, and have different needs in the winter as compared with the summer.  In the winter, the sun is setting (much) earlier, swinging lower in the sky, and is often covered with clouds. Although your plants are inside, these changes will impact them. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Mind the drafts – A temperature flux or draft can seriously stress your plants out.  Some plants are extra sensitive to drafts, and will immediately decline if it gets in the low 60’s (I’m looking at you, Tillandsia!)  Keep your plants away from heating units, radiators, fires, and from open windows or front doors that might create drafts.  Remember, if its chilly for you, it’s chilly for your plants! 

Dormancy – In the winter, the days are short- so short that most tropical plants will enter a phase of dormancy from October to February.  Because of this,  it is important to tweak your watering schedule. Allow soil to dry out completely between waterings.  This may mean waiting longer between waterings, or reducing the amount given (but try not to do both at once unless absolutely necessary).  If you know your plant prefers humid conditions, like the Bird’s Nest Fern, mist it weekly so it stays moist but not soaked. Soaked soil can lead to root rot. 

Put away the fertilizer – Give your plant a much deserved break. 

Sunlight – If your plants are leaning towards their light source, gradually rotate them to help them straighten up.  PROTIP: If your plants are spindly and reaching for the light, that means that they are not getting enough light. 

Dust – Dust off leaves bi-weekly.  Closed windows during the winter increases dust and indoor pollution.  Dust and dirt build-up can reduce the amount of light getting to your plant – which can be detrimental when days are short!  To combat extreme build-up, use water with a drop or two of lemon juice or household soap and a soft cloth.

Artificial lighting – Consider supplemental lighting.  The secret sauce?  It’s all in the bulb!  You can use any fixture so long as it’s 1-3 feet from the plant that needs it.  Although there are many lightbulbs on the market, how do you know which is good for you?  Go for a bulb that has >850 lumens of output, ideally in white. Either CFL or LED will do, but plants tend to respond to CFL better (until LED tech gets better).

Winter travel  If you’re travelling, and you’re worried about the plants getting too dry, you can simply move them away from sources of heat including the window.  Temporary light deficit while you’re gone will cause the plant to use less water.  Find more vacation plant care tips here

Some dieback is OK – With less light, plants will drop their leaves to compensate.  If light is food for plants, less light means less food, which means that the plant can’t feed all of its leaves.  Therefore it makes an executive decision to drop them.  However, your plant may have grown to a summer size during the summer, and is now dying back, but not completely dying off.  That is just the plant adjusting to the level of food that it is receiving.  PROTIP: If you know (or sense) that your plant is overgrown, you can pull off a few leaves anywhere to force the plant to not drop any extra leaves.  This is useful for keeping the plant fuller and bushier, as opposed to leggy. 

If you keep your plants happy during the winter, they have a bonus effect  studies have shown indoor plants combat SAD (Seasonal-Affective Disorder).  If you feel seasonal depression or seasonal moodiness, plants are proven to help reduce that stress and anxiety, and even bring happiness to offices, workspaces, and even homes! 

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#PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Behind The Scenes, Houseplant Tastemakers, How-to, Plant Care

Jesse Goldfarb, Plant Artist, @teenytinyterra

December 12, 2017

Our newest installment in our Tastemaker series features Canada-based plant artists – Jesse Goldfarb, aka @teenytinyterra! We came across his whimsical terrariums that he builds and wanted to know more about where his inspiration comes from. Check out our Q&A with Jesse below! photo via David Pike

Name: Jesse Goldfarb
Location: Toronto, Canada
Occupation: Plant Artist/Digital Marketer [at Hudson’s Bay]
Favorite plant:
Oh, great question. I go through little crushes with plants, but always find my way back to our
family’s Dwarf Barbados Cherry Bonsai. Making it happy enough to bloom is a fine art that is
rewarded with the sweet smell of hundreds of tiny cherry blossoms. When I first met my wife,
she had two bonsai and that’s what got me seriously into plants.

Can you share a little bit of background about yourself?
Sure. I grew up in Toronto. At school I was always bored; I wanted to do things rather than sit
around learning about the people who did them. My professional life has included a lot of
different jobs –– I’ve worked as a large-format screen printer, an apprentice to a corporate
events florist, a cold caller selling ads (which was actually fun), a DJ at raves and clubs (in my
heyday when I was way too young to be out all night), and spent too long in the salon industry
listening to stylists who believed they were saving the world. I ran social channels for mid-size
apparel companies before I started my current role in digital marketing. Now I do that during
the day, and play with plants evenings and weekends. I have a wonderfully patient wife and
daughter and another daughter on the way.

Can you share a little bit about your Instagram feed, @teenytinyterra?
@teenytinyterra is an outlet for me to share my creativity with terrariums, plants, moss and
everything tiny. I like to have fun with it and keep things fresh. 90% of my posts are shot from a
lighting shelf I installed aquarium lights on. As my plants are all very small, using this platform
makes it easy to move things around and create a different feel for each photo. My south-
facing kitchen windowsill is also a favorite spot for shooting, as the light is perfect for two hours
every day. (Timing a quick shoot using natural light is always a juggling act with a young family.)

What’s a secret skill you have?
I can whistle five different ways? Is that a skill? (Editor’s note: YES!)

What’s the best present you’ve given or received?
When I turned 18, my dad took me out for a birthday dinner with my grandparents. After the
main course he gave me a tiny model of a vintage Vespa. I thought it was great and all, but then
he threw me a set of keys to a full-size 1967 Vespa. It was a dream to drive when it worked
(which was 60% of the time). My love for both miniatures and Vespas began that day. Now I
own a 2005 150 cc Vespa. Every model manufactured after that year doesn’t seem to have the
brand’s classic look and feel.

If your space was on fire, what’s the first thing you’d grab to save?
If I was alone I’d grab a picture of my mother. She died when I was four years old and all I have
to remember her are some photos. If I was home with the fam, I’d throw them over my shoulder and jet out the door. I assume you want me to say plants, but they came from the earth and would be happy to feed other plants as ash.

What’s on your to-do list today?
Booking our family holiday to our favorite place in Mexico, Azul Fives, cleaning up after a
terrarium workshop I held over the weekend, watering plants, going ice skating with my
daughter, making bread pudding for a work event called Bakemas, and watching Christmas
movies on the couch with a few strong rum and eggnogs.

Do you have a “green thumb”?
Yes, but I believe everyone does. It’s about how much you want to invest in making your thumb
green, not if you naturally have one. When people say “I kill everything” it’s actually due to a
lack of interest.

Any plant care tips you can share?

  • Easy on the water, bro! Think of it this way: a person can live close to a week without water, but they’d die if submerged for more than three minutes. Your plants need air too, so don’t
    drown them.
  • Know your space and the light within it… Buy plants to suit that light.
  • Don’t buy a plant without knowing how much light it needs. It’s easier to adjust other conditions, but not as easy to adjust light.
  •  If you name your plants or dress up a dog, it’s time to start thinking about having a kid.

What tops your houseplant wish list?
More space and better light.
By the way, where do you shop for plants?
Sheridan Nurseries, Vallyview Gardens, Kim’s Nature and Plant World.

Favorite hobby: Cooking; Plants
Favorite television show: Currently? Stranger Things
Favorite movie: Cronos
Favorite food: Burrito (Duh, it has all four food groups)
Favorite weekend activity: Chilling with the family
Favorite home decor store: Thrift stores

Thank you so much, Jesse! Follow his Instagram page here if you would like. 

P.S Check out how Jesse builds a terrarium here under 24 seconds (not really though ;)).

P.P.S You can find more of our tastemaker series here, including plant time-lapse master @houseplantjournaland the lovely plant couple @warsawjungle

#PlantPorn, #PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Behind The Scenes, Interview, Plant History, Style Tips

Holiday Train Show at The New York Botanical Garden

December 8, 2017

Last Tuesday we had the honor to attend The New York Botanical Garden’s press preview for their annual Holiday Train Show. It was the perfect activity to do when the freezing temperatures are about to set in, and we’re all struggling to accept the long winter ahead of us.

The Holiday Train Show is an annual winter tradition at the NYBG. As soon as we walked in to the exhibit, we were dazzled by the liveness and intricateness of each famous New York landmark. We later learned that they are all made of natural materials such as bark, twigs, stems, fruit, seeds, and pine cones!

And this year, the 26th year of this beloved tradition, new replicas – Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, General Electric Building, and St. Bartholomew’s Church – joined the original 150 in NYBG’s collection. Being a New Yorker, there was nothing more excited than seeing all the famous landmarks and buildings in miniature sizes.

Insider Tip: You will hear different sound effects when you get closer to the miniatured landmarks. Try it!

Other visitor favorites include the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, Grand Central Terminal, and the original Yankee Stadium, all surrounded by large-scale model trains. More than 25 model trains and trolleys hummed along nearly a half mile of tracks! In addition, the new internal lighting schemes added more allure and wonder to the show.

After checking out the Holiday Train Show in its entirety, we wondered off to the Rainforest and Succulent showrooms. The incredible diversity of plants gives you a better understanding of how Mother Nature works.

Insider Tip: You will spot many common houseplants in their native habitats! Here at The Sill, we always say- you will make your plant happiest if you can mimic its native environment.

Here’s a short video for you to preview the show!

 

The Holiday Train Show is now open to the public and runs through Monday, January 15, 2018. For visitor information, visit their website here.

Insider Tip: Don’t miss it!

 

P.S Check out our Orchid show recap from last year here

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#PlantsMakePeopleHappy

Earth Friendly Changes to Make in Your Home in the New Year – by Molly Kay

December 6, 2017

We cannot believe it’s almost time to say goodby to 2017. With the new year fast-creeping on us, we asked our friend, Molly Kay, to share how to make some friendly, earth-y changes at home. And more importantly, what changes can you make to have a big impact on the environment. Maybe make this your #newyearresolution 😉 ?

The new year is quickly approaching, and is a good time to reflect on the mark we are leaving on the world we inhabit. With so many large environmental issues that face us today, it’s normal to feel powerless and anxious about what the future may hold for our planet and its beautiful natural resources. We need champions of environmental causes, but even more so we need everyday people who are passionate about a sustainable future to know that they can have an influence as well. Here are a few small things to consider changing in your home in the new year….

 

Start a Collection of House Plants

There is something about being surrounded by greenery that makes you feel fresh and energized. Keeping plants on your desk at work or different rooms in your home can be aesthetically pleasing, and can help you feel more productive and less stressed. As you may have guessed, there is also a significant environmental benefit to bring plants into our living and working spaces. Plants help keep air temperatures down and naturally purify the air we breathe. Specifically, houseplants lower levels of carbon dioxide, benzene and nitrogen dioxide, which are all harmful to humans and mother nature. Check out this infographic for a variety of different house plants and the different benefits they can have in your home.

 

Buy from you Local Fruit Stand or Farmer’s Market

Growing up in the Northeast, I was never too far away from a local fruit and vegetable stand. My mom and I would often walk to a stand down the street from us during the spring and summer to pick up a basket of apples or half a dozen cobs of corn. As I grew older, I came to understand the impact that shopping locally can have on your community and the environment. Not only does buying from your local farmer’s market support hardworking members of your community, but it also cuts down on the amount of plastic packaging that you are bringing into your home. There are so many benefits to checking out the local market, but my favorites are cutting down on harmful waste and putting more money back into your community…a win-win for you and the earth!

 

Incorporate Eco-Friendly Furniture

If you are looking to furnish your home, or just add a few new pieces, take into consideration the environmental impact that your furniture may have. There are many furniture companies today that care about protecting the Earth and that are striving to make their products from recycled materials. Arhaus is one company that draws inspiration from the natural world and is involved in an environmental initiative with the American Forests where they plant a tree for every purchase made during their storewide sale. This could make a big difference when considering one mature tree can absorb carbon dioxide at a rate of 48 pounds per year. Arhaus follows through on their mission, making their sectional couches from organic fabric and renewable material, and never from trees in our endangered forests.

 

Start your own Compost Pile

To maximize your environmental impact in 2018 and minimize your carbon footprint, consider starting–literally–in your own backyard. Starting a compost pile inside or outside of your home can have a number of benefits. When trash decays in landfills, it can contribute to Composting can make soil healthier and decreases the amount of trash contributing to landfills. When trash decays in landfills, it can release methane and other greenhouse gases. I always thought composting sounded like a daunting task, until I actually looked into it. With a few simple instructions and ingredients, you can have your own compost pile flourishing in no time.  

 

Thank you so much, Molly! Molly is a self-described tree hugger, and enjoys hiking and running on the weekends. During the week she works as the community manager at Arhaus

P.S Check out their Facebook here and Instagram here