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

Marimo 101

January 2, 2018

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

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

Pet Marimo - The Sill

MARIMO FAQs

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

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

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

Trio of Marimo balls - The Sill

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marimo balls - The Sill

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

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

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

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

Happy Marimo - The Sill

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

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

 

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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, Holiday Gifting, Plant Care, Plant History, Plant of The Month

Meet the Norfolk Island Pine

December 5, 2017

The Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophillahails from Norfolk Island – a small island in the Pacific Ocean between New Zealand and New Caledonia. Norfolk Island is extremely important for botanists because it is one of the only islands left in the world with a number of surviving fossil species. Fossil species are species that have existed for so long on earth that there are fossils of them and they are still alive today. Over 50 of the Island’s native plants are endemic (exist nowhere else in the world), and almost half of those are threatened with extinction

Caption Cook Lookout on Norfolk Island by Steve Daggar

This ancient lineage of trees has been on earth for over 200 million years, evolving in the Early Jurassic period.  During the Jurassic, conifers and cone-bearing plants (gymnosperms) were the dominant plant life, and are thought to be a food source for dinosaurs.  During this time, major diversification of the gymnosperms occurred, which was due, in-part to the warming of the earth and rising of the seas.

They would have been lost to history during the Cretaceous Extinction Event (~65MYA, the same one that killed the dinosaurs and 75% of life on Earth), if it were not for a few members of the species surviving on Norfolk Island!  Previous to the mass extinction, Araucarias were spread all over the world, and as far north as Sweden!  Their propensity for growing in perfectly geometric shapes and patterns have given them (and other plants in the family) the nickname “monkey puzzle trees”, but it is no puzzle why these cone-bearing trees are great houseplants–their resilience, vigor, and ability to survive mass extinctions. Just give them plenty of natural light!

Norfolk Island Pines in their natural habitat – Credit

Strangely enough, the Norfolk Island Pine is not even a pine at all – but rather part of a more ancient lineage of cone-bearing trees in the family, Araucariaceae.  Norfolk Island Pines, being related to early pines, split off pine (Pinaceae) ancestors during the Jurassic, have been on the earth for millions of years before today’s pines even evolved. Norfolk Island Pines lack characteristic pine traits.  And although most cone-bearing trees like pines are better adapted for cold conditions, Araucaria heterophylla is actually a tropical plant!  Its quirky yet symmetrical shape has made it a fun, alternative option to the usual holiday tree. 

Norfolk Island Pine in locally-made August planter – The Sill

Norfolk Island Pines make excellent houseplants, as they are low-light tolerant, and help clean the indoor air from toxic pollutants. 

SUNLIGHT

Medium light to bright light.  Some dappled sun is fine- so is a full day of sun.  Adjust water and humidity accordingly. 

WATER

Water weekly. Allow potting mix to dry out before watering (can tolerate drying out, but not for long).  Soil about 1-2” down should be dry to touch. Water more frequently during warmer months, and fertilize during the growing season.  

Do not overwater or keep the soil wet for too long, as this will encourage root rot.  A coarser potting mix that drains well may be necessary, as they do not like to sit in water, but do like to be kept moist – i.e. aim for frequent, well-drained waterings! 

HUMIDITY

Likes higher humidity.  Normal room humidity is fine, but prefers more, if possible.

TEMPERATURE

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

PRECAUTIONS 

This plant is considered toxic by the ASPCA to cats and dogs (and humans) if consumed, but not fatal.  Best practice is always to keep houseplants out of reach of small children and pets. 

Shop Norfolk Island Pines on TheSill.com.

Questions about the Norfolk Island Pine? Email us: help@thesill.com 

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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.

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#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!

AUGUST

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.

 

OLMSTED

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.

 

CALVERT

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.

 

JULES

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.

 

EZRA

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.

 

TILLANDZ

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

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#PlantPorn, #PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Holiday Gifting, How-to, Plant Care, Style Tips

Terrariums 101

April 19, 2017

Doctor Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward developed the first terrarium in 1842. Ward noticed that a fern and grass had sprouted from the damp soil inside an airtight glass container that he had placed a chrysalis of a moth inside. The glass containers, which came to be known as Wardian cases, could maintain a constant humidity. During the day the evaporated moisture condensed on the container walls, while at night it would drip down, back into the soil. The cases became especially popular as a way to transport plants across long distances, when they would otherwise perish.

wardian-case-wikipedia

Now widely called terrariums, they are a generally low-maintenance way to add a little life to your space. Terrariums make it possible to grow things in places that aren’t exactly conducive to growth, and can pretty much be self-sufficient aside from the occasional watering. Making a terrarium can be a great way to experiment with new plant varieties, or to unleash some creativity.

There are two general types of terrariums we pot here at The Sill (although arguably the first type doesn’t fall into the same category as Dr. Ward’s namesake case) –

1. OPEN TERRARIUM

An open terrarium provides ample air circulation and low levels of humidity. It is not airtight, and there is no tight bottleneck or removable top. Instead, it creates more of a contained space for plants that require similar care to grow together. It is perfect for assorted varieties of succulents and cacti. Think of it as a miniature desert:

2. ENCLOSED TERRARIUM

An enclosed terrarium, with a removable cover or lid, provides ample humidity and can create its own tiny ecosystem. The plants inside an enclosed terrarium release moisture, which condenses inside the vessel and trickles back into the soil. For an enclosed terrarium, it’s best to choose varieties of plants that are compact, to keep pruning to a minimum, and thrive in high humidity, like ferns.

OUR TERRARIUM POTTING TIPS

  • Pick generally slow-growing plants – which will require less pruning, and are less likely to outgrow the container
  • If you’re mixing plant varieties, choose plants that thrive in very similar environments – i.e. plants that prefer a similar amount of sunlight, humidity, and water
  • Choose a clean, clear container to allow for natural light to flow in
    • We recommend choosing a glass container
  • Before adding potting soil to your terrarium, layer half an inch or so of gravel at the bottom to create drainage for excess water
    • Here at The Sill we use lava rocks because they’re porous, but any material that creates crevices for excess water to trickle down into should do the trick
  • When you add the potting soil, lightly press down on it to remove any air pockets
  • Arrange your plants inside, making sure to leave some room for new growth

  • Once the plants are securely potted – use a paintbrush (or toothbrush) to remove any excess soil from the sides of the container or the leaves of your plants
  • Place your terrarium in a spot that receives natural sunlight
    • Enclosed terrariums, usually home to plants that prefer high humidity and moderate light, should be kept out of direct sun (a couple hours of full sun can easily fry the contents inside)
    • Open terrariums, usually home to plants that prefer dry conditions and bright light, can be kept in bright, direct to indirect light – like your windowsill!
  • Water directly at the base of the plants/into the potting soil so the water is able to reach the root systems

cdn.shopify.comsfiles101506262filesThe_Sill_84_Hester_Succulent_Terrarium_Event-cc161afc4344c8a099d1f3ab43f9c0b61f1ba47d

  • Do your best to not overwater your terrarium
    • An enclosed terrarium can be watered about 1x about every 2-3 weeks, and you can help keep humidity high by misting in-between waterings
    • An open terrarium can be watered 1x about every 3-4 weeks, and requires no misting
    • Because there’s no drainage hole for excess water to be released from the terrarium – make sure not to completely soak the soil – is should be moist but not sopping wet
    • Remember that it is much easier to add water to soil than to subtract it!
  • Let an enclosed terrarium breathe every 1-2 weeks by removing it’s lid or keeping the lid ajar for a few days
  • If you see any dead or dying foliage inside your terrarium, remove it immediately
  • To keep plants grow upward and fill-in extra space, rotate your terrarium every 1-2 weeks

Questions? Reach us directly at help@thesill.com, or leave a comment below! 

#PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Holiday Gifting, Style Tips

5 Great Father’s Day Gifts

June 13, 2016

Father’s day falls on June 19th this year. Are you struggling to come up with a creative gift ideas? Tired of getting your dad the same gift every single year? Well don’t fret! We here at The Sill came up with 5 neat plant-inspired Father’s Day gift ideas that your dad will love! Be sure to stop by our shop or visit our website to check out all the different plants we have to offer.

1. The Parlour Palm

calvert_yellow_chamaedorea

The parlour palm, scientifically known as the Chamaedorea Elegans, is a great hard-to-kill plant. Only needing to be watered once a week, this plant is perfect for a dad with a busy schedule. This Parlour Palm is great for brightening up shady spots and would look great on your father’s desk at work! This plant is available for nationwide shipping!

2. The Snake Plant

Modernica_nyc_snake_plant_black The snake plant is great for surviving all indoor spaces! Not only does it help filter out air pollutants but it also adds a little bit of green to a dull space. Easy to take care of, this plant, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, is sure to put a smile on your father’s face!

3. Air Plants

The_Sill_All_Airplants_mix_three_345f8ed9-771f-4cdd-aad9-a489b12f2e4b

Air plants are a great choice for busy dads. These little guys are very easy to take care of. They are able to gain their nutrients from the air and the water, so there is no need for messy soil. Available for nationwide shipping, air plants look great on tables, desks, and can even be used as wall decorations!

4. The Fiddle Leaf Fig

2_3_foot_fiddle

The Fiddle Leaf Fig starts out small but can gradually grow to be 7 feet tall.  With it’s fiddle shaped leaves, this plant is a unique contribution to any space. Place it in a spot that gets bright, indirect light and your fiddle leaf fig will be just as happy as your dad will be when he receives it!

5. The Kokedama

Kokedama_Staghorn_Fern_FL

The Sill’s handmade Kokedama moss ball can either hold the Platycerium lemoinei fern or the Asplenium nidus fern. The Kokedama is the Father’s Day equivalent of flowers and is available for nationwide shipping!

Be sure to order before Tuesday, June 14th for nationwide shipping and Wednesday, June 15th for New York City delivery!

#PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Behind The Scenes, Holiday Gifting, How-to, Plant Care

Potting 101

January 27, 2016

We do a lot of potting here at The Sill – whether it is potting a plant from it’s plastic nursery pot into a more substantial ceramic or terra cotta planter, or repotting a plant in a new planter to provide it with more space to grow or new, fresh soil.

The Sill - Potting 101

The Sill – Potting 101

 

Plants typically need to be repotted every 12 to 18 months, but some slow growers like the Hoya kerrii can call the same pot home for many years.  A common misconception – repotting does not necessarily mean replacing a plant’s pot, but rather, changing its soil or potting mix. Great news if you love your current planter. If you’re looking to splurge on a new one, or you’re changing up your seasonal decor, try to keep the planter size no more than 1″-2″ smaller or larger. A plant should never been swimming in soil in an over-sized pot – that can lead to overwatering and eventually root rot.

Signs You Need To Repot:

  • The plant is in its original plastic grow pot from the nursery
  • The roots are growing through the drainage hole at the bottom of the planter
  • The roots are pushing the plant up, out of the planter
  • The plant is growing slower than normal
  • The plant is extremely top heavy, and falls over easily
  • The plant dries out more quickly than usual, requiring more frequent waterings
  • There is noticeable salt & mineral build up on the plant or planter

Your Potting Toolbox:

  • Newspaper to lay down for easy clean-up
  • Well-draining potting soil for indoor container gardening
  • A watering can or water bottle
  • Small scissors for potential pruning
  • Your houseplant
  • A planter made of a substantial material like stoneware or terra cotta
Potting 101 - The Sill

Potting 101 – The Sill

 Potting 101:

  1. Water your plant thoroughly the day or two before to prep it for potting
  2. Cover your makeshift potting table with newspaper
  3. Turn your potted plant upside down, hold it gently by the stems, and tap the bottom of the container until the plant slides out. Feel free to get those hands dirty and help by loosening soil and gently tugging.
  4. Loosen the roots and prune any dead or extra long roots. If your plant is root bound (meaning the roots are growing in tight circles around the plant), gently unbind the roots and trim them back.
  5. Remove at least 1/3 of the old potting mix.
  6. Pour a layer of new, pre-moistened potting mix into the planter. Fresh soil = new nutrients!
  7. Set your plant atop the new soil in the planter, making sure it’s centered and sits slightly below the lip of the planter.
  8. Add new soil around your plant until it is secure – be sure not to press down too hard, you want the roots to be able to breath.
  9. Even out the potting mix on top, water well, and let drain. Done!

Tips:

  • Look for well-draining soil meant for indoor container gardening. This will help you from overwatering your plant in the future, and can usually be found in apartment-friendly sized bags.
  • Pick a planter with a drainage hole and saucer, or make your own drainage by lining the bottom of your planter with rocks and sand. This creates crevices for excess water to trickle down into.
  • Keep a newly potted plant out of bright, direct sun for a few days, as it acclimates to its new environment.

 

#PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Holiday Gifting, How-to, Plant Care

Poinsettias 101

December 17, 2015

Poinsettias have become one of the most recognized plants of the holiday season. Native to Mexico, poinsettias are named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first US Minister to Mexico, who introduced the plant to the 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 give them as gifts to friends. The plant soon became a holiday fixture.

Many mistake the poinsettia’s colored bracts for flower petals because of their bright hues and groupings – but they are in fact leaves! The bracts are traditionally red, but can be orange, pale green, cream, pink, white, or marbled. There are over 100 cultivated varieties of poinsettia!

Poinsettias

Poinsettias – The Sill

Unfortunately this lovely houseplant has received a bad rep. Some are weary of the plant – claiming its poisonous. But that’s about as “true” as Santa Claus…

The genus Euphorbia to which the poinsettia plant belongs does contain some highly-toxic plants, but the popular poinsettia itself is not toxic. Like most houseplants, it isn’t completely harmless – upon digestion, your furry friend could become nauseated or potentially throw up – but it surely isn’t life-threatening. For example: a 50 pound child would have to eat over 500 poinsettia leaves to reach a potentially toxic dose! In addition, the leaves have a very unpleasant taste… making this highly unlikely.

So go ahead and safely embrace the poinsettia this holiday season!