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

Fall Plant Care Tips from The Sill team

September 13, 2016

It’s that time of year again… And as the temperature changes outside – your plant care routine should change inside. We know houseplants thrive during the spring and summer, but the real challenge is helping them survive during the fall and winter (when you need them most). 

That’s where we come in. Modify your current plant care routine by following our top seasonal tips below – and check out more Fall Plant Care tips from our expert friends like The Houseplant Guru’s Lisa Eldred Steinkopf and Garden Blogger Benjamin Thorton in our fall plant care series. 

Fall Plant Care Tips & Tricks – The Sill

– Move Indoors 

If you moved any of your plants outside for the summer, it’s time to bring them back indoors before it gets too chilly (before nighttime temperatures dip below 50 degrees F). Keep in mind they might have picked up a few pesky friends during their summer vacation – so check your plants carefully for pests before bringing them inside. Even if you don’t see anything, give your plants a good but gentle hose down. And if you want to be extra cautious, which definitely doesn’t hurt, spray your plant’s leaves with a generous amount of diluted neem oil, an organic vegetable oil and natural pesticide. It can be a bit smelly – so we recommend doing this outside if possible.

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Remember it’s OK to ditch some plants outside, too. Consider the health of each plant before bringing it back inside your home or office. If a plant has struggled to survive outdoors, bringing it indoors to less than ideal conditions like low humidity and dry heat will likely cause it to get worse. Add it to the compost pile.

– Potentially Repot 

For most plants, spring and summer is when you’ll see the most new growth. Some of your plants will have increased dramatically in size – maybe they’ve even outgrown their current pots and need to be repotted. Plan to have some fresh potting soil and new planters on hand just incase. First time repotting? Don’t fret! See our step-by-step Repotting 101 Guide (with photos!) on Refinery29.

– Dust Leaves

Like dust accumulates on your bookshelf, it also accumulates on the porous surfaces of your houseplant. Lightly dust off leaves and stems with a damp cloth every week or so. Accumulated dust on leaves plug their pores – making it difficult for plants to “breathe” and conduct photosynthesis. Also give your windows a good wash (if possible). The more light that can shine in and reach your plants – especially as the days get shorter – the better.

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– Increase Humidity

Indoor humidity levels drop considerably during the fall as buildings fire up their heating systems. This can be devastating for houseplants, considering most common varieties are tropical in origin. Try to mist your plants weekly, or invest in a humidifier (your skin will thank you, too!). And remember to never place potted plants next to, or on top of, a heating system – or in the line of a cold draft (i.e. a window you’ll open regularly come winter). These extreme changes in temperature will cause serious stress to your plants.

Consider grouping plants together that require similar care. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, but it’s an easy way to increase humidity levels.

– Maintain Light

The angle of the sun changes considerably with the season, so pay close attention as fall settles in. Some plants might require a new location – i.e. a spot closer to the windowsill – to receive close to the same amount of sun as they did during the summer. In addition, rotate your plants every week or two so they receive light on all sides.

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– Forgo Fertilizer

Foliage growth slows down considerably during the fall and winter months, so you can withhold from using any fertilizer until next spring, which is the start of the growth season.

– Water Less

This is one of the most important tips to follow – but cautiously. Because the growth rate of plants is considerably slower in the fall and winter, your plants might not require as much water as they did during the spring and summer. You could find yourself watering half, or even two-thirds, less frequently. For example, that snake plant might find itself thirsty once every six weeks, instead of every three weeks. It is important to keep in mind though how dramatically drier the air might be – so even if your houseplant might require more infrequent waterings, it might also require more humidity. A good rule of thumb is to check your plants regularly. If the soil is bone dry – it’s time to water. And make sure to always use tepid water – a freezing cold shower can shock your plants.

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– Get Creative 

If you don’t have set spots for each of your houseplants, enjoy moving them around your space until you reach your desired look. Just make sure each plant is receiving the recommended light it needs to thrive – and isn’t in the line of a draft or vent. If you’re unsure what type of light your plant requires, shoot us an email at help@thesill.com or tweet us at @TheSill.

Fall is also a great time to work on checking off some tasks on your design wish list. If you always dreamed of installing floating shelves, or ceiling hooks, now is the time. Just make sure they’re sturdy enough to hold your houseplant after a thorough watering, which will make them heavier overall. Your trailing houseplants, like pothos and philodendrons, will thank you.

 

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

Fall Plant Care Tips from Ben Thorton

September 13, 2016

In the second installment of our Fall Plant Care series – we’re featuring the fall plant care tips and tricks of owner and editor of T5fixtures, Ben Thorton. Ben is a Philadelphia resident, garden blogger, and avid gardener & grow light enthusiast. 

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My Fall Plant Care – Ben Thorton

I have been passionate about gardening as long as I can remember. However, I recall dreading the fall season because it meant I would have to stop gardening outdoors for quite some time. Luckily, I found indoor gardening – which allowed me to have plants no matter the weather. I started with a few plants on my windowsill, but now I have a full garden in my home so I can satisfy my craving. Growing plants is my ‘drug’ of choice, and I don’t intend to drop the habit any time soon. Hi, my name is Ben – and I am a gardenaholic…

It’s September so fall is basically here. Fall brings with it changes in weather and changes in plant care. The weather outside cools down, the heat indoors is cranked up, and the sunlight hours become noticeably shorter. So I’m sharing my top tips below for caring for your houseplants once the fall season comes.

Watering

When it comes to watering your plants it really depends on two things: 1) the type of plant it is, and 2) the environmental conditions in the space the plant is located.

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Usually in the winter the air indoors is dry and warm, thanks to heaters that are running on full blast to heat our homes, so plants that love humid conditions and a lot of water will have to watered quite a bit more. On the opposite side of the spectrum are plants that like dry and hot conditions, for example now trending succulents, so if you are growing these plants, then make sure you don’t overwater them and you let then enjoy the climate you have in your house.

Overall, the best plan of action for watering your plants in any season really is to check the soil and go from there. If the soil is still moist, the plan doesn’t need water yet, but if the soil is dry, then it might be time to quench the plant’s thirst.

Light

Probably the biggest thing in fall and winter plant care is light, since in this time period the days are shorter and the weather is often overcast, which doesn’t allow for much natural sunlight. For the colder seasons I would suggest placing your plants as close to the window as possible – so they can soak up the little light there is during the day. However, if that is not possible in your situation, then you might want to think about adding artificial grow lights, like T5 lighting, for those plants that especially love the sun.

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Humidity

As I mentioned before, dry air comes with the territory of indoor gardening during fall, winter, and spring. But since not all plants thrive in dry conditions – it might be worth it to employ a humidifier around your plants, or to place a bowl of water in all of the rooms where you have houseplants to help increase the humidity. And a bonus – air that is humid also is better for your health! Did you know bacteria and viruses have a harder time to travel through air when it is humid?

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Nutrients

And lastly, I wanted to talk a little about the nutrients and fertilization that plants can benefit from during the darker months of the year. Essentially nutrients are plant food and since in the fall, winter, and spring plants get a little less light and maybe not as favorable of growing conditions, it might be a good idea to give your plants extra nutrients to facilitate their growth. If you decide to go this route, I would suggest buying a fertilizer that is specially meant for indoor houseplants because these fertilizers have the right nutrients in them that plants growing indoors could lack. When it comes to deciding on naturally or chemically made fertilizer, it really depends on your preference. I usually choose the more natural fertilizers because they are less likely to shock your plants and stunt their growth. As for how often you should fertilize your plants, I would say around once time a month.

P.S. Find more Fall Plant Care tips here.

 

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

Meet the Kokedama

September 7, 2016

A traditional Japanese art form, kokedama 苔玉 translates to ‘moss ball’ in English.  Sometimes referred to as ‘the poor man’s bonsai’ – wet Akadama (or bonsai) soil and peat moss are mixed together and molded around the exposed roots of the plant.  The ball is then covered in sheet moss and wrapped with string.  You can hang a kokedama by string or twine – or go a more traditional route and set it in a bowl or on a plate.

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The Kokedama art form dates back to the Edo Period in Japan, around 1600 A.D., under the Tokugawa shogunate (the last feudal Japanese military government).  During this Confucian-inspired regime, the country was run by military shoguns who cut off contact with the outside world (except for a few trading ports), and traditionalism was venerated.  In this society, artists were officially denigrated as lower class, and the arts were not a priority to the shoguns, although the prosperity during the era helped to keep the arts flourishing.  It is not clear why or how the kokedama originated during this time period, but it became a part of the bonsai tradition. 

It is traditionally thought that the moss around the root ball is a metaphor for the permanence of the emperors’ rule, as mentioned in Japan’s national anthem: “May your reign continue for a thousand, eight thousand generations, until the pebbles grow into boulders lush with moss.”  Besides the moss-wrapping, to help the rootball hold moisture and keep its round shape, the kokedama is quite flexible in that almost any plant may be used.  However, plants that enjoy going from soaked to dry are preferred.  Everything from ferns to begonias to actual bonsai trees have been used to create kokedamas. How cool is that? 

Shop The Sill: The Kokedama

With your choice of Bird’s Nest Fern or Staghorn Fern plant. Ships nationwide.

Visit The Sill Shop: Kokedama Workshop

Make your own kokedama September 15th or 22nd at The Sill Shop NYC. Ticket required.

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Kokedama Plant Care

SUNLIGHT

Bright indirect light.  No direct sun.  (Direct sun is only recommended if you plan on using an orchid, and can soak it every other day – species dependent). 

WATER

Water bi-weekly for most plants. For ferns, do not let the kokedama dry out completely.  This may mean watering every day or every other day, depending on your house conditions.  Water by soaking the kokedama’s moss-covered rootball for 15 minutes or until completely saturated, then give a gentle squeeze, and let drip dry.  It should be moist.  If the kokedama is left too dry, your plant will wilt, and the moss will turn brown.  Help moss stay green with a daily misting. 

HUMIDITY

Any humidity level will do, although more humid is preferred.  Normal room humidity is fine, although leaves may wilt and burn if the air is too dry.

TEMPERATURE

65°F-85°F (18°C-30°C). It’s best not to let its environment go below 60°F (15°C).

SIZE

Varies. Depends on the plant used.  

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COMMON PROBLEMS 

May get fungus gnats from the perpetual moistness.  Treat with neem oil as necessary.

SYMPTOMS AND CAUSES 

Symptom: Leaves turning brown and crispy at leaf edges; dead moss
Cause: Under watered, high salts in water, low humidity, or potassium deficiency

Symptom: Leaves with brown large spots
Cause: Fungal infection of leaves.  Do not mist or let water touch the leaves

Symptom: Yellowing, possible black stems or buds
Cause: Rot or root disease; overwatering

Symptom: Dropping leaves
Cause: Many possible causes.  Drafts, temperature shifts, light changes, not enough light, or other problems listed above.

PRECAUTIONS

Best practice is always to keep houseplants out of reach of small children and pets. 

QUESTIONS? COMMENT BELOW. 

 

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

Fall Plant Care Tips from the Houseplant Guru

September 7, 2016

We all know that houseplants thrive in the spring and summer – when the days are long and the sun is plentiful – but what about the fall and winter? Here at The Sill, we tend to argue that winter is houseplant season, and fall is us gearing up for it. This might seem a bit crazy, considering the environmental conditions winter brings – think short, cold, overcast days here in New York City – but we ask you, in what season are houseplants more beneficial to our overall health and wellbeing?! 

As author and renowned plant authority Tovah Martin remarks, “I’ve never had the opportunity to explore whether I am prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder. With all this greenery around, I never feel the full brunt of winter. Sure, my back aches from shoveling snow and my fingers are swollen from chilblains. But my spirit is warmed by all the growing things performing around me.”

And with that sentiment, we decided to bring you as much fall plant care tips and tricks as possible this September. In the hopes that you, too, can dread the changes that are coming our way just a tiny bit less than usual. To kick it off, we’ve reached out to The Houseplant Guru herself, Lisa Eldred Steinkopf (even her license plate says houseplant), to share her top tips for keeping your houseplants healthy and happy as fall sets in. 

My Fall Plant Care – Lisa Eldred Steinkopf

Fall Houseplant Care

As the kids get ready for school and the garden outside is winding down, it is time to give some love and attention to our indoor plants. They are beginning to slow down their processes with the decreasing day length and many people are beginning to bring their summer vacationing houseplants back inside before the cold weather begins.

If your plants have been outside for the summer, they are used to a high light situation. Even if they have resided under a tree or in the shade outside, odds are the level of light inside your home is still much lower than the level of light outside. Acclimatization is key when bringing your plants back into the dim interior of your home, and now is the time to start that process if you haven’t already. What is acclimatization? It is the process of giving time to a living organism (plants) to adjust to a new situation. So how do you do that? Take your plant from the light situation it is in, and move it gradually to lower light situations for a couple of weeks so that it can gradually get used to the lower light it will be encountering in your home. For example, move a full sun plant into ½ day shade and then to full shade, such as the north side of the house or under a densely branched tree or shrub, over a two week time period. (P.S. This rule of acclimatization should also be followed when bring your houseplants from inside to outside in the springtime.)

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Okay, so you’ve acclimatized your plants. What next? Before you bring your plants in the door, examine them for any signs of pests, especially if you have other plants inside that did not spend the summer outdoors. Nothing is worse than bringing scale, mealybugs, or spider mites inside and infecting your other houseplants. Check the undersides of the leaves, the crevices between leaves and stems, and also the soil. The first line of defense is to spray the plant with a hard, but not damaging, stream of water and flood the pot with water, hoping anything that may be living there comes to the top or runs out the bottom drainage holes. Completely changing out the plant’s soil is also a practice some people have adopted. Additionally, there are products that can be used to help make sure any unwanted visitors are executed before bringing the plant inside. A systemic insecticide used in the soil will spread up into the plant, making it toxic to insects. You can also use a Neem oil spray which is a fungicide, miticide, and insecticide in one, so it may help with more than one problem. Insecticidal soap may be used as well. Find what works for you and your plants, and make sure you read all the directions on the label and follow them. Remember – more is never better for your plants!

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What next? Maybe something you haven’t thought of – wash your windows! Windows collect a lot of dirt from rain, dust, and smog, all summer long. What a difference it makes to have clean windows and it will benefit your plants immensely. Also, wash the plants themselves. Take them to the shower and really give them a good cleaning on a regular basis all year. The dust on your windows and plants interferes with their life sustaining photosynthetic processes. Light can’t reach the leaf cells when dirt and grime get in the way.

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Because here in the Northern hemisphere, our plants slow down their processes as the day length shortens, we do not need to fertilize our plants from late September through February. At this time, fertilizing your plants for the last time is recommended. Whether you choose to use a synthetic or organic fertilizer, my rule of thumb is to use full strength every 4th watering or ¼ strength every watering. And like before, more is never better.

Another thing to consider as we bring our plants indoors for the fall/winter seasons are the heat vents spewing their hot air onto our plants. Whereas it makes us comfortable, our plants aren’t as happy with the situation. Although most plants do prefer warmer temperatures, the hot air of a heat vent is drying to the plants. Even though there is less light and their processes have slowed down, the hot air of a heater will suck the moisture right out of the plants. Therefore, when we first bring in our plants from their summer outdoors, they may need more water than usual. Misting is often recommended, but that is a very temporary fix, and one I don’t necessarily recommend. Instead, I set my plants on a pebble tray filled with water which will raise the humidity around the plant on a more permanent basis and offset the drying atmosphere of the heat vent. Just make sure the bottom of the planter is not submerged in the water.

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With these few tips, I hope you can get your plants through the winter without any casualties. You can keep your houseplants happy and healthy by doing a few extra things in the fall, as you and your plants get ready for a long winter.

 

#PlantPorn, #PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Behind The Scenes, How-to, Plant Care

Vacation Plant Care

August 30, 2016

Summer Vacation Plant Care: Tips and Tricks

Whether you’ll be spending a long weekend at the beach or a full month abroad – we’re sharing our top tips and tricks below for keeping your houseplants happy and healthy while you’re gone. It only takes a little time to prep your plants so you can focus on more important things – like strong sunscreen and a good book.

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1. Maintain Moisture

– If you’ll be away for a week or less, a good soil-soaking before departure should be sufficient. While you shouldn’t regularly overwater your plants, this is a rare exception to the rule. Make sure to let any excess water drain from your potted plant before you’re on your way – so the soil is moist but your plants aren’t sitting in a saucer of water, which could attract pests or lead to root rot.

– If you’ll be away for more than a week, there are a couple ways to prepare your plant. Try one of the tips below or a combination, depending on the length of your trip and the variety of plant (how much water does it usually need?)

1. Add mulch, rocks, or wood chips directly to your plant’s soil to help hold moisture before giving the soil a good soaking. We’ve heard damp newspaper can also do the trick. Remove can excess water from the saucer. Again, you want to make sure your soil is damp/moist – not soaking – before you’re on your way to avoid pest problems.

2. Water your plant thoroughly and then cover with a clear plastic bag to just below the lip of the planter, creating a makeshift greenhouse. Make sure to cut a couple slits in the plastic to allow for ample air circulation – plants need to breathe, too! Use birch sticks (of leftover chopsticks) to hold the bag up and away from the foliage.

3. Line a shallow tray with small rocks and fill the tray up with water to slightly beneath the top of the rocks. Set your planter on top of the rocks – the base of the planter should not be touching or sitting directly in the idle water but right above it. This will help to increase humidity and moisture levels, but should not lead to overwatering or root rot.

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4. Transport your humidity-loving plants, like ferns and air plants, to your bathroom (provided you have a window that receives some natural light) or another small room and group them together. The smaller the room – the easier it is for your plants to maintain humidity and moisture.

5. Call on a friend. If you’re going to be away for an extended period of time and have a friend that’s willing to water your houseplants for you – take them up on the offer. Houseplants can be unpredictable and a slight change in their environment can cause them to need more water or less. Leave your friend with clear plant care instructions, or walk them through your watering schedule a week or two beforehand. We won’t judge if you ask them for photo updates while you’re gone. Just make sure to bring them back a souvenir. 

2. Tweak Temperature 

– The more sunlight your plant receives, the more thirsty it will be. This is for a few reasons, the biggest being that plants utilize the most water during a process called transpiration, and the rate of transpiration is dependent on, and increases with, the amount of sunlight the plant receives (learn more about transpiration here). So the more natural light your plant is getting, the more water it’ll need. To help your plants from wilting while you’re away from lack of water, you can move them a little bit further away from their source of natural light – the window. Once you return, you can move your plants back to their usual spot.

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– Remember that houseplants prefer a stable environment with a temperature between 65-85 degrees fahrenheit. Whether you’re home or away, never leave an air conditioning blasting on or near a houseplant. Although a luxury for us humans, an AC tends to rob an indoor environment of the heat and humidity most houseplants crave. 

3. Forgo Fertilizer 

– If you occasionally use fertilizer on your houseplants, make sure to hold off on it until you return. Do not fertilize your plants in the weeks prior to your departure. You’ll want your plants to grow as slowly as possible while you’re gone, which will help them to conserve energy and water.

3. Please Prune  

– In addition to pruning off any dead, dying, or unhealthy-looking foliage – you can prune off any buds and flowers, which usually require more frequent waterings to stay healthy.

 

Remember that the tips above apply to mostly tropical foliage plants! Drought-tolerant plants like succulents, cacti, ZZ plants, and snake plants can go over a month without a watering. If you’re an avid traveler – these are the plants for you. (Unsure where your plant lies on the watering spectrum? Simply tweet us at @TheSill or email us at help@thesill.com!) 

And whatever preparation you to take, give yourself a big pat on the back when you return to a healthy and happy houseplant. It missed you, too.

Have a tip you’d like to share? Comment below!

 

#PlantsMakePeopleHappy

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”

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ModCloth: $29.99

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

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The Sill: $20.00

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

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Urban Outfitters: $16.00

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

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Anthropologie: $34.00

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

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The Sill: $40.00

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

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ModCloth: $17.99

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

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Fine & Raw Chocolate: $28.00

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

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The Sill: $38.00

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

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DressLily: $24.43

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

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Lush: $7.50

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

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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.

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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!  

History

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.

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Aloe Care – 101

Sunlight

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

Water

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.

Soil

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. 

Fertilization

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.

Flowering

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

Trimming

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

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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
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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’!
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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!
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 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.
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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!”
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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!
#PlantsMakePeopleHappy

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

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Looks like:  Monstera

Personality:  Crazy and fun!

2. Oddish

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Looks Like:  Snake Plant / Air plant

Personality: Cute and shy

3. Bellsprout 250px-069Bellsprout

Looks Like: Pothos/Philo

Personality: Steadfast

4. Exeggutor

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Looks Like: Ponytail Palm

Personality: Moody but fun

5. Ivysaur

 

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.