#PlantsMakePeopleHappy, How-to, Plant Care, Plant Myth Mondays


November 17, 2017

MONDAY 11.13.17 MYTH: You must fertilize your houseplants all year round

All plants, like all humans, need vitamins and minerals to grow big and strong!  When plants are in the wild, they have plenty of access to the world, and a theoretically infinite supply of nutrients (the Earth is an isolated system, so not actually infinite).  However, when growing plants in a container, they are essentially stranded on a desert isle with no real means of going beyond the pot.  And that’s where you come in (hello plant parents)!  

Plants that you just purchase on a whim are usually heavily fertilized by the growers. They are good to stay in the same pot and soil for up to a year.  Yet, as the plant exhausts its supply of nutrients in the soil over time, you must replenish them for the continued health of the plant (you probably are not aware of this, but every time you water your plant, nutrients unavoidably leach out of the soil). This can be done by either using a fertilizer of your choice, or by changing the soil with fresh soil, which comes with a baseline of nutrients.

How to Fertilize your plant

Fertilize your plants only once a month when plants are flowering or actively growing. What that mean is, you only give plant food from the spring time to end of summer time. During the winter,  plants are generally not growing much, so giving your plants fertilizer can only do more harm then good. Also, be careful not to add too much fertilizer at once—too much can burn your plant’s roots! Finally, read the instructions carefully before you apply any fertilizer. We usually recommend applying half the strength that the label suggests. Also keep in mind that faster growing plants, like a pothos, will want more frequent applications than slow growers, like a snake plant.

Things to keep in mind

Fertilizers are not your cure-all! If you see a plant is wilting, yellowing, or browning, it may be a telltale sign of a problem. Take the time to analyze the symptoms before you feed the plant food. Think of your vitamins, you wouldn’t take extra so that you can cure your toothache, right?  Adding fertilizer when a plant does not need it, or when a plant is actually sick, can be worse than doing nothing at all.

Fertilizer will only work on healthy plants, or plants that need the extra oomph 😉 Do you have any tips when it comes to fertilizer? Please share it with us in the comment below.

P.S Read more debunked Plant Myth Monday HERE.

#PlantPorn, #PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Plant History

Do You know Your Corn?

November 17, 2017

Corn (Zea mays) has been a staple crop of the Americas for the past 6,500 years or so.  In fact, since its domestication from the wild teosinte, corn has been extensively bred for different purposes and three general categories of corn exist: corn for popping, corn for mash (and fodder), and sweet corn for eating.  Let’s explore a little bit about corn before getting to the glass gems bit.

Corn Field NJ Christopher Satch

A field of corn in Sussex County, NJ – Christopher Satch

Three Ways We Consume Corn

Not all corn can be popped!  Popcorn kernels have the ability to pop due to the moisture inside each kernel (and have been bred to contain more moisture than other corn).  As the kernels are heated, the water vaporizes and steam cooks the starch. The steam creates pressure in the kernel, and when the pressure becomes too great the steam bursts out of the kernel allowing the starch to expand at such a rate that the entire kernel is turned inside-out!

Corn for mash is often ground up for either animal fodder or corn flour.  This is the stuff tortillas are made of.  This corn cannot be eaten raw or cooked, as the kernels are extremely hard, and will definitely shatter your teeth!  Mash corn is also ground up and fermented, then distilled to make bourbon whiskey (other whiskeys use barley or rye).  Lower grade mash corn, or corn that is unfit for human consumption, is often used in animal fodders and feed.

Sweet corn is the good stuff—higher in sugars than starches this corn is soft when boiled, and is a staple of sizzling summers all across the Americas.  Its softness can be partially attributed to the physical properties of starches versus sugars.  When boiled, the sugars solubilize within the kernel, changing from solid to liquid, and thus softening the corn.  Starch is much less soluble, and when packed becomes much denser and harder than sugars.

transposon corn mcclintock

Variegation caused by transposon activity in corn – © 2002 Nature Publishing Group Feschotte, C. et al. Plant transposable elements: where genetics meets genomics. Nature Reviews Genetics 3, 330.

The Genetic History of Corn

So, now that you’re hungry, let’s talk genes.  Corn is currently the focus of much gene research and otherwise for its importance as a grain.  The entire genome of corn was discovered and sequenced in 2009.  You can read about that team here.  However, corn’s use in genetics goes back even further.

Dr. Barbara McClintock was one of the first few women to earn her PhD from Cornell in Botany in 1927.  Her research focused on maize cytology (cytology is the study of the cell) where she studied the chromosomes of corn cells.  By staining the cells of corn kernels, she was able to see the chromosomes clearly, and the patterns and bands on each one.  By working with an inbred line of corn (inbred lines have uniform genetic makeup), she was able to see correlations with changes in the bands of the chromosomes and phenotype (physical appearance) of the kernels.

More variegation caused by transposons in corn – Carolina Scientific

This was the physical proof for the ‘crossing over’ of genetics, even though the mechanism at that time was still unknown.  This crossing over, she theorized at the time, was due to transposable elements, or transposons – DNA that ‘copies and pastes’ into other chromosomes/locations or ‘cuts and pastes’ into other chromosomes/locations.  Transposons containing color pigment genes were proven to produce mosaic patterns on corn kernels and variegation in the leaves of the corn.  During cell division (mitosis) some cells would randomly receive pigment genes.  This explains why the mosaic patterns were never repeated in any other corn or corn progeny.

Her work would be largely ignored for another 30 years until the technology caught up with her theories in the Genetic Revolution of the 1960’s and 1970’s and other scientists were able to support her theories.  In 1983, she was the first woman to outright win the (unshared) Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her work in the 1930’s for her discovery of transposons.

Glass gems corn can be understood with transposon, and other genetic principles that McClintock and other geneticists have discovered.  Like many species of domesticated plants, a wild population where the crop was first domesticated usually exists.  For example, corn was domesticated from wild corn in Central America.  We call this the center of origin for the corn.  At the center of origin, genetic diversity is the greatest, as wild populations still exist.

As corn was bred and its cultivation spread throughout the Americas, different native tribes were cultivating different types of corn.  It wasn’t until the 1930’s and on that huge monocultures of specially-bred hybrid corn were being planted that corn diversity decreased—heirloom varieties were not being grown because they were not as productive as the hybrid corn.

Although we did lose a lot of genetic diversity, there has been a revival since the 2010s to plant heirloom varieties.  Why plant them if they’re not as productive?  It’s because they have a wealth of random genes for different traits that we could use for plant breeding.  Certain heirloom lines of corn may have resistance to disease, or produce more nutritional corn, even if the size or other attributes are less desirable.

‘Glass Gem’ corn – Greg Schoen

Carl Barnes, a half-Cherokee midwesterner, started to plant heirloom varieties of corn in order to connect with his Cherokee roots.  He had exchanged seeds from collectives from all over the country, and had begun to select for the most colorful corn that popped up.  Over time, these native varieties had crossed with one another (as they do!) to form the Glass Gems hybrid that went viral over the internet in 2012.  The Native Seeds/SEARCH website still sells the popular seeds.

-Greg Schoen

Luckily enough, this corn can be grown successfully in large containers outdoors that’ll be sure to make you the talk of the town… or at least the talk of Thanksgiving dinner!

#PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Houseplant Tastemakers, How-to, Interview, Plants on TV

Liz Kirby, Host and Author, The Indoor Garden

November 8, 2017

For our latest tastemaker series, we are so honor to introduce you to Liz Kirby. We were first introduced to her by a fellow workshop attendant, we were soon hooked on Liz’s genuine personality and informative plant care tips on her Youtube channels. Liz was in the plant world before the #urbanjubgle was even a thing. She is the plant lady you definitely don’t want to miss out! 

Meet Liz

 Name:  Liz Kirby

Location:  Arlington, VA

Occupation:  Realtor, Host of “The Indoor Garden” TV series and Author of the corresponding blog

Favorite Plant:  I have such a great appreciation, in general, for all plants that I just can’t say that I have a favorite. I have favored Aralias and orchids for my home.                                         

Can you share a little bit of background about yourself?   Like many eighteen-year-olds,   I did not know what I would want to study in college. Fortunately, after I graduated from high school, a friend of mine who sold wholesale plants from Florida had the thought that I might enjoy a job in a plant store and he found one for me.  So I did that instead of getting a college degree. I truly enjoyed working there with great people who taught me a lot about indoor plants. I ended up working in the horticulture and floriculture field for twenty-five years.

For those who haven’t watched The Indoor Garden on YouTube, can you share a little bit about the series?  The idea was conceived around 1988. For a long time, I felt that the general public did not get very good specific instructions on growing houseplants. There were some books but  sometimes they just got vague or even wrong instructions. Lots of good experience and a few good  books were my best teacher.  I met many customers who truly believed they could not grow plants and I was sure they could. I thought doing a television series on the care and appreciation of indoor plants would be a great way to share what I had learned. It aired for three years on a local PBS station. When YouTube came along I saw the opportunity to share plant care all over again. The show was videotaped but translates pretty well to a digital format.

What’s a secret skill you have?   I don’t think I have any that I would keep a secret. One skill I have and wish I used more, is that I can very easily come up with a harmony to many songs. It’s one skill I couldn’t teach, it just comes naturally.

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

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

What’s on your to-do list today?   Some housekeeping, getting the hummingbird feeder out, finding a rental apartment for a lovely woman from New Jersey and to catch up on correspondence

What is your favorite plant and why?  It’s difficult to pinpoint one but since I began learning about them, I’ve thought that ferns were amazing. They make you think. As best we know, they have lived on the earth longer than just about any other group of plants. You can find them all over the world. They appear somewhat delicate and fragile, but are they?

Do you have a “green thumb”?  I do now. I had to cultivate it, so that enabled me to encourage others that they could too. I heard many times from others that they did not have a ‘green thumb” and I just don’t accept that. I truly believe anyone who wants to, can develop that skill.

Any plant care tips you can share?  Watering plants once a week is not a good rule of thumb. It’s usually best to start out with hardier varieties if you are just beginning to learn how to grow plants. Get good instructions and look for an expert if your plant is not doing well. Most plants will recover and thrive with the right instructions.  

What tops your houseplant wish list?  If I had the space, I would love a cymbidium orchid.

How did The Indoor Garden television series start?   I befriended a television producer who had a local TV series airing in the area. I had the thought that a television series could be a great way to teach what I had learned about indoor plants, so I started looking into how to make that possible.

Do you have a favorite episode or show memory?  I especially enjoyed having guests on the show. It was quite easy to work with them.

Do you think there’s been a resurgence interest of houseplants recently?  It seems to be going that way. There are many different types of retail outlets and online places that have been selling plants for a long time. I do believe they’d stop if interest was low.

Any words of advice for plant novices?   Don’t give up if you aren’t very successful at first. There are many easy-to-grow plants and you may want to buy your first plants at a plant store, garden center or nursery where someone should be informed enough to help you choose a plant that suits you. For example, a busy person may want a large plant that doesn’t need water often. Make sure your plants are placed in the best light situation for your particular plant. Find out how to water them properly.  Those two aspects of care, light and correct watering, are most important to success.

Thank you so much, Liz!

PS: Check out more of our tastemakers series here 




#PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Plant Care, Plant Myth Mondays

All Houseplants Have the Same Watering Requirements – PLANT MYTH MONDAYS #12

November 7, 2017

MONDAY 11.6.17 MYTH: All houseplants have the same watering requirements

image via here

With over-watering being the most common cause of death for indoor plants (RIP), it is important to first understand how over-watering can kill your plants. Imagine yourself standing still in a pool of water – your feet would get prunes after 30 minutes, right? Now imagine what your skin would feel like after 3 to 6 months standing in water… Definitely not great. When the roots of a plant are surrounded by water constantly, they can’t absorb oxygen. Plants need water and oxygen to survive and thrive. But over-watering kills the plant by rotting the roots – and preventing the plant from absorbing that much-needed oxygen.

There’s no universal answer to “how much water should I give my plant?” The amount can depend on the type of plant you have, where it is located in your space, the type and size of the pot it is potted in, your environment, and so much more… But it is important to understand generally how much and how frequently your plant likes to be watered. Different plants require different care and attention, but you can usually label them within one of two categories:

Dry-tolerant Plants

Succulent plants, like the cactus, snake plant, and aloe may only want to be watered once every few weeks. During the summer growing season, the most frequently you might find yourself watering them is once every few days. But during the dormant winter, it could be once every few months! We always recommend erring on the under-watering side, than the over-watering for these guys. Once their roots are rotted, there are no going back, sadly. So it’s best to keep them super dry – and only water when they start to wrinkle. 

Moisture-loving Plants

Ferns, air plants, and most tropical plants that are natives to environments with high humidity, may need to be watered thoroughly once a week depending on how much sun they are receiving. During the peak of summer, you may even find yourself watering even more frequently, like twice of three times a week! 

The best way to know when it is time to water your indoor plants is to touch the soil, or potting mix. Poke your forefinger down about 1 to 2 inches deep. If the plant’s soil is dry to the touch, than it is generally time to re-water! But if the soil feels moist still, almost like a sponge, you can wait a little longer to water it until the soil has mostly dried out.

Make sure to water the plant until the water comes out of the bottom of the planter (if you have a drainage hole). This will guarantee that the bottom roots in the planter have gotten water as well. However, make sure to dump out any excess water that’s sitting in the saucer! Lastly, keep in mind that if a plant wilts, it doesn’t always mean it is thirsty! Yes – you should still double check the soil before giving it water.

Read more of our Monday Plant Myths HERE, including everything you need to know about your potting soil, and why you should never mist succulents!




How-to, Plant Care, Plant History

Daylight Savings Time 101

November 2, 2017

It’s getting to be that time of the year again – that unofficial holiday called Daylight Savings Time (DST). Often, it catches us off-guard, when our digital clocks reset themselves, but our bodies are still programmed to get up at what was the same time.

Ever wonder why we change the clocks in the first place?  

DST was proposed by multiple thinkers in the late 19th and early 20th century, each with their own spin on the concept, but the goal remained the same – to “save” daylight by resetting the clocks so that we can utilize the most sunlight in our day. Although towns in Canada had been implementing DST independently since 1908, the Austria-Hungarian Empire was the first to nationally implement DST in 1916, two years into WWI. Other powers soon followed suit. It is thought that energy is saved by maximizing the use of daylight, by making people get up later in winter (setting the clocks backwards) when the sun rises later, and getting up earlier in spring (setting them forwards) when the sun rises earlier. 

However, there is much controversy over DTS. Opponents claim that since the average person is up for 16 hours a day on average anyway, the time they will be up in the daytime includes when the sun will be up, and that one hour does not make any difference in average energy usage. They also argue that if we simply leave the clocks forward to maximize summer light, that it will work for winter as well without a need to turn the clocks back since the days are so short. Since there has never been any real statistics measuring the efficacy of energy savings, we may never know whether or not DST really does save energy… 

So, the burning question – how does this relate to plants? It is a reminder for those of us who live in temperate zones that the seasons are changing, and that the amount of sunlight is changing too. The sun swings lower in the sky during winter, but the sun is actually becoming more intense! That’s because during winter in the northern hemisphere, the earth is actually closer to the sun than in the summertime. So if we’re closer to a huge burning fireball, why is winter so cold? Well, that’s because angles matter! The earth’s tilting the northern hemisphere away from the sun deflects enough of the sun’s rays to keep the northern hemisphere cold. In the southern hemisphere, the summers are much more intense, being both closer and angled towards the sun. That’s why there are a lot of regions in the southern hemisphere that are not temperate – the summers are much hotter, and the winters, much drier. 

In any case, no matter where you are, be mindful of the changing position of the sun, and adjust plant positions accordingly! Winterize for drafts, and mind your watering as well. If your plants start to drop a leaf or two, take it as an opportunity to give your plant a little more attention then usual, and figure out if it’s just seasonal shedding, lack of light, or a watering issue. 

Plant questions? Shoot our houseplant hotline an email at help@thesill.com! Make sure to include photos if your question is plant-specific.

#PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Plant Care

The Benefits of Houseplants In Your Home Infographic

November 2, 2017

Fellow plant enthusiast and Sill fan Kacey made this wonderful infographic on the benefits of houseplants and we knew we had to share! 

Kacey Bradley is the lifestyle and travel blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Along with writing for her blog, she frequently writes for sites like US Travel News, Thought Catalog, Style Me Pretty, Tripping.com and more! 

Follow Kacey on Twitter and subscribe to her blog to keep up with her travels and inspiring posts. 


#PlantsMakePeopleHappy, How-to, Plant Care

Why Your Plant Is Dropping Leaves

November 1, 2017

Does your world stop when your plant drops a leaf or two? 

It is important to keep in mind that for some plants, like the infamous Fiddle Leaf Fig, that leaf drop is a cause for concern, but for other plants, like a Euphorbia, it is nothing to be concerned about. Knowing whether or not leaf shedding is a healthy part of your plant’s lifecyle is important. Some plants seasonally shed leaves, some shed leaves all the time, and some never shed! Many of the tropical houseplants will shed a leaf or two every once in awhile. And some houseplants, like Euphorbs, will shed leaves seasonally, as will temperate plants.

There are also certain situations where plants will shed leaves under stress due to environmental conditions. When a plant is stressed, the leaves will senesce (from the Latin, senex, to age), or fall off to help the plant achieve homeostatic balance.

Let’s explore leaf drop due to insufficient light first:

We may think of leaves as units of production, like plant sugar factories, but just like any other factory, the workers need to be fed! Leaf cells consume about half to two-thirds of the sugars that they make. Photosynthesis alone costs 18 ATP (ATP is the energy currency of the cell) plus two NADPH to generate 36 ATP’s-worth of energy.

ATP = Adenosine triphosphate

NADPH = Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate

Although this is a gain, consider that the cell uses most of the gained ATP very quickly, just to sustain itself! The problem with leaves is that although they capture energy to make sugars for the rest of the plant, they are also expensive to maintain.

So, the plant runs into problems if the light dissipates, or if the plant receives less light than it is used to. It has all these hungry leaf cells, but there is not enough light to support them. The plant makes an executive decision to drop the leaf.

Although this might happen quickly in your eyes – “I woke up and my fiddle had dropped 2 leaves!” – it’s a slow process. The plant first needs to suck out all the minerals and nutrients from that leaf and redistribute them throughout the rest of the plant. The leaf will turn yellow, as chlorophyll degrades and photosynthesis shuts down, and may crisp from the edges inwards, those cells being the first to go.

It should be noted that different plants will drop leaves in different ways in response to light. Generally, they will drop random leaves to thin themselves out if not receiving enough light to achieve homeostasis- the idea being that by thinning out the bushiness, more light will hit all the leaves that are left.  The plant will stop dropping leaves when the plant is able to sustain the amount of leaves that are left. A good way to keep a plant bushy and full if it’s dropping leaves is to pull off healthy leaves from the bottom of the plant in order to take away the leaves that the plant cannot support so that it does not randomly drop leaves. This is applicable to all plants that you want to keep bushy if you cannot increase the light!

Another reason for leaf drop can be overwatering:

Overwatering is a common reason for a plant to drop a leaf but not by choice. When soil is too wet for too long, water rushes into the cells, which causes them to swell and sometimes burst. This damage continues up the vascular system, bursting cells, as the excess water has nowhere to go, and finds its way up to the leaves!

This explains why the bottom leaves are generally the first to yellow when a plant is overwatered – the lower leaves are the first to be hit by the deluge of water. The cells flood, changing the pH, and diluting the cells, causing them to yellow and turn slightly transparent, while being bloated and mushy. The cells die from the petiole (leaf stalk) outwards, and in the early stages, the outer parts of the leaves might still be green. If left to continue, the stem will likely become mushy and lose its structural integrity, causing the plant to mush over and collapse. Sometimes, the stem will blacken at the base, and mold fungi (different from mushroom fungi) may be seen at the base as well.

Some plants like cacti or succulents have adapted to dry environments, and are adapted to actually sponge as much water as possible – making overwatering them quite easy and dangerous to them. Others have adaptations for wet environments, like ferns which have primitive vascular systems, or mosses, which have no vascular system at all, making overwatering quite difficult, as all of these plants have adapted to allowing as much water as possible to flow through them.

Which brings us to another reason for leaf drop – dryness:

For the opposite extreme – dryness – plants will behave differently based on how many succulent adaptations they have, as well as their general structure.

For all non-woody/non-fibrous plants, turgor pressure (water pressure) is what holds a plant up! Plants do not have skeletons, and instead use well-managed turgor pressure to keep upright. They’re basically a water balloon. Too much water and they burst. Too little, and they shrivel.

When there is not enough water, the cells shrivel, and the plasma membrane pulls back from the cell walls, causing weakness, which on a macro-level causes drooping.

Water escapes the plant through the stomata, or plant pores, through a process called transpiration. Transpiration is the process where sunlight and heat evaporate water from the plant through the stomata, and pull water through the plant, like a big straw. When a plant has been getting a lot of sunlight, transpiration will pull water from the soil until is depleted, and when there is no more water, the plant will dry out and wilt. ALL leaves will droop or curl upwards and inwards, and that droopiness/curling will progress into the leaves crisping at the edges, with the crispiness working its way inwards.

Note that salt stress mimics this, as an imbalance of salts will cause the same symptoms, but generally with more burning.  In any case, with dryness, depending on the plant, the leaves may turn yellow too, but a paler yellow than they would turn for overwatering. This is caused by the slow denaturing and degradation of the pigments, with the cell structures and fibers intact.

In more succulent plants, wilting will actually manifest itself as wrinkling – the thickened leaves are so waxy and fortified that they cannot wilt, but they can crenate or wrinkle. Some semi-succulent plants like Dracaenas, will both crisp at the leaf’s edges and shrivel at the leaf’s base. Others like cacti will just shrivel at the base. For succulent plants like the cacti, it is wise if one is inexperienced with watering to wait until they shrivel, and then soak them for only one day then leave them out in the sun to dry, to avoid overwatering.

So next time your houseplant drops a leaf or two outside of its usual shedding, take it as an opportunity to check in with your plant: is it receiving less light than usual? Have you been too heavy on the watering? Is it super dry in your apartment? 

Plant questions? Shoot our houseplant hotline an email at help@thesill.com! Make sure to include photos if your question is plant-specific.



#PlantsMakePeopleHappy, How-to, Plant Care, Plant Myth Mondays

Houseplants Don’t Need Sunlight – PLANT MYTH MONDAYS #11

October 30, 2017

MONDAY 10.23.17 MYTH: Houseplants don’t need sunlight

Absolutely not true – saying houseplants don’t need sunlight is like saying humans do not need food to grow. Sunlight is food to plants. And food is energy that plants need to grow bigger and stronger. However, how much sunlight does your plant need? How much sunlight is enough

I am sure you have heard people saying “bright light”, “medium light”, and “low light” before, along with “direct light” and “indirect right”, when talking about houseplants. But what are these terms referring to? See their simplified definitions below:

Bright/Direct Light

Bright light, or full sun, means there are no curtains or blinds between the plant and the sunny window. There’s no tree, building, or anything outside the window to obstruct the light either. For example, the windowsill that’s right next to your widow is generally where your plant will receive the most light inside.

Medium/Filtered light

Medium or filtered sunlight is diffused by your curtains in the window. There also might be a building in front of your widows blocking some of your light during the day. Coffee tables or dressers that are few feet away is another example of medium light and a filtered light environment.

Low light

This means no direct sun will touch your plants. It is generally few feet a way from your widow (light source), or sometimes in a room without window with only artificial light.


When in doubt, you can always do a shadow test to determine how much light your environment actually provides. Take a sheet of paper and put it where you would like to have your plant around mid-day on a sunny day. Now hold your hand a foot or so over the paper. If you see a clear, sharp shadow, that means you have a bright light environment. Like how you go to the beach and your shadow is vivid and clear on the sandy ground. On the other hand, you probably have a low light environment if the shadow is fuzzy and indistinguishable. Image on raining days when you can barely see your shadow walking down the street.


Aloes, succulents, and palm trees – are sun loving plants. Ideally, they should be getting direct sun for at least 6 hours a day. Generally speaking, you would want to put them the brightest spot you have at home. For example, your windowsills or coffee table that’s right next to your window.And some plants – like ferns and aroid plants (monsteras, aglaonemas, etc.) – have evolved to live on the forest floor, so they are used to being shaded from the sun. They have not evolved to handle the harsh rays of the sun directly and cannot protect themselves against them (like desert-dwelling cacti can). These types of plants, that prefer indirect light similar to their native environment, are perfect for inside spots away from windows. Hence, the medium or low light environment is great.

Remember sunlight is food for plants. When bringing a new plant home, make sure you understand how much natural sunlight your space can provide, and visa versa, how much natural sunlight your plant needs. In ideal situations, as in nature, a little bit of natural sunlight, even just a splash of light, is always better than none!  No natural light = no happy plants.

PS: Read more debunked Plant Myth Monday here, including where you put your plants and how much water to give your plants.

Holiday Gifting

Thoughtful Hostess Gift Ideas

October 27, 2017

There’s something about the fall that makes us nostalgic. It’s a great season to spend quality time with friends and family, in between shopping for new cozy sweaters and prepping your plants for the shorter days ahead, of course. So you don’t show up empty handed, we’ve rounded up seven of our favorite host and hostess gifts that we’d be thrilled to receive this fall. Not included – but equally as special – anything homemade and delicious!

1. Reusable Beverage Bottle ($35) via S’well – shop now
This reusable bottle keeps beverages hot for 12 hours- perfect for the cold weather ahead!

2. Keytag in Dustry Rose ($15) via The Wing – shop now
The perfect mantra and reminder for your mom, sister, babe, best friend… anyone.

3. 90s Pop Music Quiz Game ($12) via Lou & Grey – shop now
This pop trivia game is sure to be a hit. Added bonus, it comes in a coffee-table worthy box!

4. Potted Philodendron Plant (48) via The Sill – shop now
It’s time to bring the outdoors in, and this tropical plant makes it easy by coming pre-potted in our locally-made August ceramic planter.

5. Body Hero Wash and Cream ($35) via Glossier – shop now
Treat your hostess to this cult favorite. She’ll be thanking you for her dewy skin all winter long.

6. Glass Candle in Forest ($22) via Madewell – shop now
They’ll be sure to appreciate this warm, wintery scent long after you’re gone.

7. 30-Minute Facial Gift Card ($60) via HEYDAY – shop now
As they point out on their website: “A facial? I really don’t want this gift,” said no one ever.
*Outside of NYC? Opt for a gift card to their online store instead.



#PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Behind The Scenes, Holiday Gifting, Plant History, Style Tips

Behind The Names of Our Planters and Plant Pots

October 27, 2017

Meet the movers and shakers in the botanical and landscape world that our locally-made, designed-in-house, indoor planters and plant pots are named after!


The August planter is named after Augusto Weberbauer (1871-1948), a German botanist and professor that began his career studying Peruvian seagrass. On Weberbauer’s first trip to Peru, he collection over 5,200 seagrass species. He also spent time teaching at Peru’s National University of San Marcos.

The ceramic August planter is locally made in New Jersey through the method of slipcast. The tapered bottom of the pot gives it a classic feel, yet its simplicity makes it quite modern. It comes paired with a matching saucer to catch extra water that escapes its drainage hole.



The Olmsted pot is named after Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903), an American landscape architect who is considered to be the father of American landscape architecture. Olmsted is most famous for co-designing Central Park in New York City, along with Calvert Vaux, and Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Although deceased, his work continues to influence landscape architecture in the U.S. today! 

The rectangular, ceramic planter was designed in-house and is manufactured locally in New Jersey through the method of slipcast. Because there is no drainage hole at the bottom of the pot, we ship the Olmsted with lava rocks to line the bottom with before potting.



The Calvert pot is named after Calvert Vaux (1824-1895), a British-American architect and landscape designer who is best known for co-designing Central Park in New York City along with Frederick Law Olmsted. Together, Vaux and Olmsted also co-designed Prospect Park, Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn, and Morningside Park in Manhattan. Unfortunately Vaux met his untimely fate when he drowned in Brooklyn’s Gravesend Bay. 

Similar to the Olmsted in shape, but smaller in scale, this ceramic pot is manufactured locally in New Jersey through the method of slipcast. Because there is no drainage hole at the bottom of the pot, we ship the Calvert with lava rocks to line the bottom with before potting.



The Jules planter is named after Jules Cardot (1860-1934), a French botanist and bryologist who was considered to be one of the world’s leading experts on Antarctica’s mosses during his lifetime. Cardot named about 40 genera and 1,200 species. Unfortunately, his collection of plant specimens was looted and damaged during the first World War. 

The ceramic Jules planter is a petite triangular shape with a matching seamless saucer. It is locally made in New Jersey through the method of slipcast. Its triangular shape lends itself to being grouped together to create a circle or semicircle – but it also looks great solo.



The Ezra planter is named after Ezra Cornell (1807-1874), the founder of Western Union and Cornell University. A lifelong enthusiast of agriculture, he also served as President of the New York Agriculture Society. Fun fact – it is claimed that Ezra Cornell wrote over 30,000 letters in his lifetime.

The ceramic Ezra pot and saucer are portioned to fit almost any sized sill. The petite pot is perfect for a starter plant, or for propagating a leaf cut from a larger plant. The locally made slipcast pot comes with a matching saucer to catch extra water that escapes its drainage hole.



The Tillandz stand is named after Elias Tillandz (1640-1693), a Swedish-born doctor and botanist who wrote Finland’s first botanical book: Catalogus Plantarum. As a doctor, Tillandz relied heavily on his extensive knowledge of plants to prepare medicines for his patients. The air plant genus Tillandsia was named after him. 

Locally made in New Jersey, the Tillandz stand is cut by a CNC plasma cutter and then powder coated. It can sit upright on a flat surface, or be attached to a wall for a solo or multi-piece display. It is lightweight enough to adhere with a single Command Strip, or there’s a small hole on the back of each stand that can accommodate a screw. 


Shop our locally-made indoor planters and plant pots empty HERE – or potted HERE