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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, 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, 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

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

YOU MUST FERTILIZE YOUR HOUSEPLANTS ALL YEAR ROUND – PLANY MYTH MONDAY #13

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.

#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!

 

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