….at last!

It’s been a long time since we had houseplants and they are starting to trickle in. We can special order plants for you and get them in pretty quickly, just let us know what you are looking for. Houseplants do more for your home than just looking pretty. They help clean the air and create a more relaxing environment. With a little thought about what you need, you can find a plant that fits your home and life style.

History lesson

We love being outdoors and we try to bring that feeling into our homes by adding floral patterns and plants to our interior decorating. During ancient times, the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans used potted plants to bring the outside in. Artwork of the period depicts potted plants and homes were built around court yards, where potted plants were kept. The Victorians embarked on extended voyages to discover new plants and bring them back for study. House plants quickly became popular with the developement of Victorian sun rooms. They were a sign of wealth and status. Somewhere along the way, I heard that Aspidistra was the original house plant. I can see how that could be true, since they are so easy to grow. But, I doubt many of you are interested in the history of house plants…so let’s get to the stuff you ask us about all the time.

Pick the right plant

  1. Make a commitment to these living things and realize they need SOME attention. They’re not a piece of furniture.
  2. Take time to check out how much light they will get on a regular basis. If you live with your blinds and curtains closed all the time, invest in some really good artificial plants (most people won’t realize you’re cheating).
  3. Visualize a plant in that spot and take a picture of the site, print several copies and draw in different kinds of plants. This will give you a basic idea about the size plant you need. Maybe something on a pedestal would look good.
  4. Bring the picture with you, when you come to buy your plants. You might see something you hadn’t considered before. The picture will help you visualize it, in your home and help the salesperson see what your site looks like.
  5. Carefully take your plant home or ask for delivery. Use care when  transporting houseplants during freezing weather and never in an open truck bed without a tarp. Never leave plants in your car while you’re shopping. They can get too hot and burn or too cold and freeze.

H2O 101

“How much should I water my house plant?” and “What’s wrong with my house plant?” are probably the 2 most common questions we get. The answers are “Enough” and “Too much water.” or “Too little water.”  Houseplants are pretty easy to care for if you follow some basic rules.

  1. Get information about how much water your plant needs. Some need lots (Closet plant) others don’t (Corn plant).
  2. It is better to err on the side to too dry than too wet. On plants you can pick up, after you thoroughly water it, feel how heavy it is. Every day, it will get lighter. Try to remember to check how heavy they are before you water them. This can be a quick thing when you walk past them. If they are super light, water at once.
  3. NEVER EVER allow plants to sit in water. This is the single worst thing you can do. If you wore the same wet shoes all day, every day, think about what would happen to your feet. The same thing happens to plants. Fungus and bacteria  start to breed and that is a very bad thing and can cause molds that can affect your health.
  4. If the plant is small enough to pick up and move, take it to the sink or tub for watering (or outside in full shade). Water the entire root ball thoroughly, water should run out the bottom of the pot. Allow the plant to drain in the sink or tub OVERNIGHT. Then put it back in its place.
  5. If your plant is too large to move, every time it needs watering, carefully check the amount of water your plant gets. After watering remove any excess water from the saucer under your plant…this can be a challenge. Using a sponge to soak up the excess water is time-consuming and messy, but is necessary to prevent root rot caused by stagnant water.
  6. Stagnant water in the saucers of your plants (inside and outside) is a prime breeding place for mosquitoes. Stagnant water can have a wildly offensive odor. People can check out Mosquito Authority if they need the best information on mosquito control services.
  7. At least once a month, give your houseplants a shower ( in the tub or outside in the shade). This rinses off all the dust and helps to prevent spider mites. Make sure that the bottoms of the leaves get rinsed off too.
  8. If your plant starts to have off colored spots, it’s probably too much water. Brown crunchy tips are a common sign of too much water. Droopy green leaves are usually not enough. When in doubt, come in with a leaf or send us a picture.
  9. If you are the kind of person who does better with a schedule, mark your calendar every time you water for the 1st 6 weeks. You will start to see a pattern.
  10. Begin checking all over again, if you start changing whether the house is heated or cooled. Your plants will be happiest when there are no big fluctuations in temperature.
  11. Fertilizing any potted plant is very important. Chemical fertilizers can cause salt build up in potted plants. You will see a white crusty residue on the bottom of the pot or around the rim. Chemical salts will cause your plants to dry out quicker and can be toxic to them. By thoroughly drenching the entire rootball and letting it completely drain (see #4), you will leach these salts out and your plants will be healthier. Because most organic fertilizers are blessed with an “odor” and some of you might be “sensitive” to that kind of thing, we recommend you use Medina Hasta Gro. It is low odor and low salt.

Here are a few interesting sites about potted plants, just for fun.