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Repotting: The Signs To Watch For And How To Do It

Repotting houseplants seems like a pretty straightforward task, and we’re often tempted to repot our new plants as soon as we get them home. However, repotting can be a somewhat traumatic experience for plants, and some are more sensitive to this disruption than others. The journey from the garden center to your home is quite an adjustment for your plants, and they should be given a little time to rest before repotting.

When Should I Repot My Houseplants?

Repotting houseplants is best done when the plants are actively growing, which happens from April through August here in Iowa. After this time, plants go dormant, and repotting should be avoided unless the plant is showing signs of being severely rootbound. If you’ve brought a new houseplant home, give it about 3-5 days to rest and adjust to its new environment before you repot it.

A Bigger Plant Pot is Not Always Better

Overplanting is a common problem with houseplants. Overplanting happens when plants are repotted into containers that are too large, leaving a small root system sitting in a large volume of potting soil. This contributes to over watering problems and can cause poor root development and root rot. Most plants like to be potted in smaller containers, and it’s okay for them to be a little rootbound. We recommend sizing up no more than one size from the current pot. This is usually done in 2” increments for pot sizes.

If you are planting a plant that prefers specific conditions, like an orchid, it may need a specialized container. Orchid containers have large holes in the side of the pot for extra air circulation around the roots. 
   


What Type of Soil Should I Use?

Most houseplants will benefit from a good quality potting mix; there are even a few available designed specifically for certain houseplants. 

Some plants, like orchids and cacti, definitely need specialty mixes. Orchid potting mix and cactus mix are both free draining, but they feature very different types of materials. Planting orchids or succulents in other media can cause disease and root rot problems from overwatering.

How Do I Deal with Rootbound Plants?

When you remove your plant out of the old container, you will often see tangled roots. When you see more roots than soil, it means the plant is rootbound or potbound. In some cases, this can require an intervention. When repotting, it’s crucial to separate these roots before planting in the new pot. Very gently, pull some of the roots apart and untangle them from each other. Take out as much of the old soil as you can at the same time. You will break some roots while you’re doing this, but that’s okay. Some broken roots will encourage the plant to grow new roots (however, orchids are an exception to this rule). Carefully place the plant roots into the new pot prepared with a layer of fresh orchid mix at the bottom, and backfill around and over the roots. Leave about half an inch of space between the lip of the pot and the top of the soil line to allow room for watering.  

 

Orchids Are The Exception

Some specialized plants have their own rules that need to be followed using the example above. Orchid roots don’t grow the way other plants do, so do your best not to damage or break any of the roots while repotting—be very delicate. Orchids also like to have some air roots, so leave some of them exposed. 

Repotting After Care Tips

Tropicals and foliage plants should be soaked deeply right after repotting. 

Cacti should not have their watering schedule adjusted when repotted—place them in the new pot and don’t water them until they’re due for a drink. 

Should I Fertilize After Repotting?

It may be tempting to break out the fertilizer after repotting. However, it’s best to wait at least a month before fertilizing. Fresh potting soil is loaded with the nutrients your plant needs to get a good head start on growing new roots, so fertilizer shouldn’t be required for up to 3 months depending on your mix.

Whatever you need for repotting your houseplants this spring, we’ve got you covered. Stop by our garden center today, and we’ll send you home with everything you need to make repotting as trauma-free as possible for your houseplants. 

Love what you’re reading? Sign up to our email newsletter, and get exclusive tips for keeping houseplants healthy!

If you’re looking to add some exotic, strange, or straight-up strange-looking plants to your home, stop by our garden center. We’ve got plenty of weird and wonderful houseplants for you to discover! 

 

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5 Houseplants with the Most Amazing Leaves

It’s always exciting to bring a new houseplant home. But if you’re tired of the same old plain green leaves, why not look for something more exotic the next time you shop for indoor plants? There are plenty of intriguing species we can grow indoors with unique leaves packed with personality! Here are a few of our favorite striking indoor plants for Iowa

Fittonia, often called Nerve Plants, are dramatic in more ways than one. They have striking dark green leaves with bright red or white veins. They’re beautiful to look at, and they can tolerate fairly low-light situations. However, they’re very dramatic about being watered. If you let their soil dry, they’ll wilt and collapse as if the world has ended. Luckily, it hasn’t (unless you leave them like that for days on end!). Give them a thorough soaking, and they’ll perk back up within a few hours like nothing ever happened.

Lithops, often called Living Stones, are an unusual family of succulents that actually look like rocks! They’re native to very dry areas of southern Africa, and some even survive in areas that get less than 2″ of rain each year. They stay small and low-profile, and they can go months without water. However, they do need full direct sunlight for a minimum of 5 hours per day. A bit of extra shade in the heat of the afternoon is helpful. 

The warning to NOT overwater these guys is super important. Lithops are dormant for spring and summer, so don’t water them then unless the leaves start to shrivel. At that time, only offer a small amount, just enough to moisten the top of the soil. They start growing again in August or September, and plants that are at least three years old may bloom in the fall, producing cute little spiky flowers. 

In the fall, you can give them one deep watering, but make sure they have good drainage. Cactus soil is ideal, as it prevents them from staying wet for very long. Stop watering altogether by the end of September. They grow through the winter, but they need the soil to be very dry to complete their growing cycle. Do not be tempted to water if the old leaves start to shrivel; this is a normal part of their growth and reproduction process.

Staghorn Ferns have recently become more popular for their large leaves that look like moose antlers. Staghorns are epiphytic, which means that in the wild, they attach themselves to other plants and don’t grow in soil. They do best when mounted on a hanging platform of some sort, or in a hanging wire or mesh basket with little to no soil. An orchid bark mix would be well suited for staghorn. 

So, how do you water a staghorn? There are two primary ways to make sure your fern is getting enough moisture. They like humidity, so if your home is dry, you may need to mist even once per day during the driest parts of the year. The higher the humidity in the area, the less frequently you’ll need to mist or water. 

The second watering method is to soak the roots. You can dunk the entire root ball into a bowl or sink of room temperature water for a minute or two. You’ll have to pay attention to your fern to figure out how it likes to be watered. Fronds beginning to go black or brown at the base means it’s getting overwatered. Wilty fronds with brown tips are telling you the plant needs a bit more frequent watering.

Sensitive Plant has leaves that may not be that exciting to look at from a distance, but they are truly fascinating when you get closer. Kids and adults alike love to interact with this plant, because as soon as you touch its tiny leaves, they fold up and move away from your finger, only to reopen a few minutes later. This amazing reaction is a defense mechanism to keep the plant from being eaten by herbivores. Don’t touch it too often, though, as the constant folding/unfolding is stressful and weakens the plant.

The sensitive plant likes bright light, with some direct sun in the morning and high humidity. It is poisonous, so keep the plant out of reach of kids and pets and watch closely when allowing kids to interact with the leaves. Let the top of the soil dry before watering again, but don’t ever let the whole pot dry out completely. Sensitive plants can benefit from a few applications of all-purpose houseplant fertilizer during its growing season. 

Mother of 1000s is a variety of kalanchoe. Its thick triangular leaves propagate little baby plantlets all along the edges. This is another succulent species, so it needs excellent drainage; cactus soil is best. In the tropics, Mother of 1000’s can become invasive because the babies simply drop off when they’re ready and can quickly fill in an area. 

Mother of 1000’s likes plenty of indirect light, so they should be close to a window with a sheer curtain to protect the plant from direct sunlight. Thanks to its succulent leaves, it doesn’t need to be watered too frequently. Allow the top 2 inches of soil to dry out before watering. 

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If you’re looking to add some exotic, strange, or straight-up strange-looking plants to your home, stop by our garden center. We’ve got plenty of weird and wonderful houseplants for you to discover! 

 

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Decoding Houseplant Fertilizer: What, When, & How Much

It may seem like fertilizing your houseplants is too complicated, so it’s just easier to skip it. However, fertilizer is the only way for houseplants to get the nutrients they need in their small, controlled environments. Since houseplants are kept in pots, soil nutrients don’t get replenished in the soil the way it does outdoors. By leaving fertilizing out of your houseplant maintenance routine, you may be missing out on the true potential of your favorite plants!

As we head into spring in Iowa, it’s the perfect time to start thinking about giving your houseplants a boost as they begin to come out of their winter rest period.

What is in Fertilizer?

Fertilizer is most commonly a mix of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). The amounts of each of these nutrients are called the NPK ratio. They’re commonly seen on fertilizer packaging as numeric ratios, like 10-10-10, or 6-12-4. Most fertilizers also include trace amounts of other minerals and nutrients that your plants need. Most houseplants do best with a balanced (i.e., 10-10-10 or 20-20-20) fertilizer specifically designed for houseplants, or a formula with a higher nitrogen number. But, houseplants that flower need a fertilizer with a higher phosphorus number to support blooming. Some of the more finicky bloomers, like African Violets, have specific fertilizers formulated just for them. Higher nitrogen promotes more greenery and lush leaves, high phosphorus promotes more blooms.

 


What Type of Fertilizer is Best?

There are so many fertilizer options available, it can be hard to decide on the right one. We recommend two guidelines when choosing fertilizer:

  1. Make sure it says on the packaging that it’s specifically for houseplants.
  2. Consider an organic brand if possible.

The reason for these guidelines is that fertilizer for outdoor plants or lawns has different ratios of nutrients and minerals because indoor and outdoor plants have different nutrient needs. 

We recommend organic fertilizers because they’re healthier for your plant’s soil, and our planet, in the long term. Organic fertilizers are created from organic compounds in things like seaweed, compost, or worm castings. Synthetic fertilizers are often created from inorganic compounds that are a byproduct of the petroleum industry. These products deliver nutrients, but that’s where the benefits end. Organic products give your plants and soil a boost by adding organic matter that helps to repair nutrient-depleted soil, along with beneficial microbes that contribute to healthier soil over time. 

If you do prefer synthetic fertilizers, we recommend Scott’s Osmocote for houseplants. It comes in a pellet form that dissolves slowly, and you only need to use more every four months. It makes fertilizing houseplants super quick and simple. 

The organic fertilizer line we recommend is Espoma. Espoma’s products are of excellent quality, and they have a variety of different organic fertilizer options, including easy-to-use liquid formulas. 

 


How to Fertilizer Your Houseplants

Here are a few essential tips to remember when you fertilize your houseplants.

  • Only fertilize during the growing season (once you start seeing signs of new growth, or in mid-March), avoid fertilizing your houseplants in winter.
  • Be conservative in the spring and fall and dilute the fertilizer to half the recommended strength.
  • Taper off fertilizer applications. Starting in mid-August, diluting to half-strength again, and fertilizing less frequently.
  • Liquid fertilizers should usually be applied every 2 weeks. Always water plants with plain water before applying liquid fertilizer.
  • Granular fertilizers are usually applied once a month.
  • Slow-release fertilizers are usually applied once every 4 months.
  • Some fertilizers can be applied as a spray to the leaves, check the bottle for instructions.

We don’t recommend fertilizing succulents and cacti. It can be tricky to make sure they get the right amount, and too much fertilizer might kill them!

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Fertilizing your houseplants is pretty simple, and it’s not something to avoid. Your houseplants will thank you for feeding them with healthy, vigorous growth during their growing season! If you’ve got any questions at all, stop by our garden center and ask our expert staff. We can help you figure out which product is best for you and explain how to use it. 

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Beautiful Blooms for the Holidays

We’ve already talked about the classic Christmas plants like poinsettia and Christmas cactus, but they’re only a few of the many winter-blooming plants that can complement your festive decor. If you’re looking for something just a little bit different to add some bright color to your home, try one of these beautiful blooms for the holidays in Iowa.

Phalaenopsis Orchid

Orchids are an elegant and exotic bloomer. Phalaenopsis orchids, in particular, are quite easy to grow and are available in a variety of colors. The best part about orchids is that their blooms last for ages. You may still have the same blooms on your orchid well into January! Orchids can be prone to root rot, so err on the side of underwatering. Orchids like bright but indirect light, so they don’t need to be too near a window. If you’d like to try getting your orchid to rebloom later, it’s a good idea to re-pot it from time to time. They perform best in a chunky, fast-draining orchid-specific potting mix.

Bromeliads

Bromeliads are sensational houseplants. Their dramatic shapes and bright colors bring a tropical flair to any room. Their blooms also last an extremely long time, for several months usually. They also like indirect light and do prefer to be a bit drier, especially in winter. Water bromeliads when the soil is dry to about 2″ deep. When you do water your bromeliad, be sure to water into the center, where the leaves and flower stalk meet. Bromeliads also absorb water through their tank in the center. Unfortunately, bromeliads only bloom once in their life, so once the colorful central stalk starts to fade, you can cut it back. Hopefully, your bromeliad will then begin to develop “pup” plants, which you can transplant into new pots and enjoy all over again.

Azalea

Small azalea plants are another option that is commonly available around Christmas. They have large, cheerful, blousy-looking blooms. They like bright indirect light and prefer moist, but not wet soil. Azalea is best watered with a tray when the water starts to run through, stop watering. After an hour, dump any excess water sitting in the saucer. Some varieties of Azalea are hardy enough for our chilly zone 5 winters in Iowa, and you can plant them outdoors to grow into a lovely shrub. Just check the tag to make sure the variety you’ve picked out is appropriate for our climate.

Kalanchoe

Kalanchoe is another popular holiday houseplant. Similar to poinsettias, they’re often kept for the season and then composted once the blooms finish in January. As a succulent, kalanchoe need excellent drainage, they’ll do best in a succulent or cactus soil. The best way to water kalanchoe is to set it in the sink in an inch or two of water and let it soak until it stops, but don’t water until the soil is dry. They’ll suffer more from overwatering than underwatering. They love lots of sunshine, so a spot near a south window is perfect for them. They can be kept and successfully rebloomed again next year. Starting in September next year, they need 12-14 hours of complete darkness to initiate the blooming process in time for Christmas.

Winter Begonias

Winter begonias are profuse bloomers through the holiday season, with pretty blossoms and showy leaves with pink, red, silver, or white centers outlined with brilliant green. Begonias prefer filtered light, evenly moist soil, and humidity. Begonias propagate very easily, so you can quickly grow yourself many more begonias just from leaf cuttings. You can pinch back some leaves and blooms (when they finish blooming) to encourage a bushier growth habit.Love what you’re reading? Sign up to our email newsletter, and get inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.

If you are looking for a more unexpected holiday houseplant than the traditional choices, stop by our garden center. We can help you find a beautiful new houseplant that reflects your personal style and adds a cheerful hit of color to your home through the holiday season.

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10 Winter Survival Tips for Your Houseplants

We aren’t the only ones struggling with the shorter days, colder temperatures, and drier air here in Iowa. Our houseplants are also affected by the lower light levels, frigid drafts, and arid air from our furnaces. 

However, these harsh conditions don’t have to mean certain death for your household greenery. Here’s how to protect your indoor plants through the winter.

Keep a consistent temperature. Move your plants away from heat registers, radiators, and drafty entryways. Most houseplants prefer between 65-75 ̊F and are fine with a little dip in temperature at night. However, drastic temperature changes, like those they might experience near a radiator, heat register, or even too close to the front door, can be shocking for plants. 

fiddle-leaf figs placed indoors

Turn plants toward the light. As your plants seek out more light, they may unbalance themselves. If you notice them leaning towards a window, turn their pot to get them to straighten up again. You may need to turn them regularly throughout winter.

Find a sunnier spot. As the sun gets lower, some areas in our homes may get more or less direct light. If the light has changed drastically in one spot, consider moving your plants a bit to suit their ideal light preferences. If you don’t get very much light into your home in the winter, you may want to consider getting a grow light or two to help your plants through the shortest days of the year.

Don’t let leaves touch glass window panes. Glass can get really cold when it’s chilly outside, and when plant tissue sits against it, it can give your plant a nasty case of frostbite. 

Boost the humidity. Most plants thrive in 40-50% humidity, and some, like tropicals, even appreciate a little more. Furnaces dry out the air like crazy. You can recreate that humidity by grouping your plants closer together, misting your plants regularly, adding some pebble trays underneath your plant pots, or running a humidifier in rooms where you keep plants. 

Adjust your watering schedule. If you watered your houseplants weekly in the summer, you’ll need to change up your schedule for the winter. Some plants may only need water every ten days, while some may need to be watered every five days. Check the soil with the tip of your finger; if it’s dry down to half an inch or an inch, it’s ok to water. If possible, use room temperature water. Let the water sit for a day inside your watering can to allow it to come to room temperature and let any chlorine evaporate. 

Cut back your fertilizing. Houseplants in Iowa do not need fertilizer in winter. Give your plants a break on the feeding for the winter, and start back up in spring. 

fiddle-leaf fig plant

Give your plants a shower or bath. When our furnaces kick in, it seems to stir up a lot of dust that we didn’t even know was there. Dusty leaves can hamper your plant’s ability to breathe and photosynthesize. Your plants will benefit from a wipe down of the leaves or an actual gentle spray from the showerhead in your bathroom. 

Do some light pruning. Clip back tall and leggy stems and yellowing leaves to encourage new growth for spring. 

Keep your eyes peeled for pests. Our houseplants are particularly vulnerable to pest infestations as they adjust from summer to winter conditions. Keep a close watch on the stems and the undersides of leaves for signs of pests.

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Your houseplants may require a little extra care through the winter, but it’s an excellent way to keep your green thumbs active. A bit of indoor gardening is good for our health, too!

If you have any questions about how to care for your houseplants through the winter, stop by our garden center in Cumming. We can help you keep your houseplants alive through the winter so they can thrive again next spring.

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Succulent Crafts

Succulent Crafts Wreath, driftwood, picture frames, troughs

Succulent Crafts: Wreaths, Driftwood, and Frames with Succulents

The Ted Lare Look

Succulents are the gardening world’s current favorite, skyrocketing in popularity due to their unique jewel tones and stunningly symmetrical appearance, but solidifying their place as reigning popularity royalty thanks to their versatility. Succulents are absolutely everywhere, and for those of us that crave a little bit of a DIY touch to our home decor, they are the perfect opportunity to get our hands busy.

Here are some of our favorite ways to get crafty with succulents and create lasting living arrangements that are sure to be the centerpiece and talking point of any room.

Succulent Crafts Wreath, driftwood, picture frames, troughs

How To Make Succulent Wreaths:
Wreaths aren’t just for the holidays, and you can use this popular style and shape to make a creative decoration to enjoy all year. Most plants would never be able to tolerate an environment growing vertically on display, but succulents have strong roots and are adaptable enough to flourish – even sideways.

Gather all of your succulents and materials before you get started. Make sure that the wire wreath frame you choose is strong and specifically made for planting live plants. From there, there are a few different methods to choose from, depending on what you’re interested in and what works for your home decor:

Burlap and soil: You’ll need burlap, a wire wreath form, cactus or succulent soil, some fibrous material (like coco fiber), a hot glue gun, and your favorite selected small succulents.

Place the burlap liner inside your wreath form, molding it to the shape. Next, you’ll cut a hole in the center of the wreath and trim off the excess burlap, allowing the fabric to extend a few inches past the edges of the wreath. Fill the wreath with cactus soil, packing it in firmly. Cover the soil with a piece of coco fiber or other fibrous material and use hot glue to fasten everything together to enclose the soil underneath. Fasten the back of your burlap ring to the wreath, and you’re ready to plant.

Use scissors to cut holes in the burlap liner to expose the soil underneath, and then plant the loosened roots of your succulents right into the holes.

Sphagnum Moss: If the burlap method sounds too complicated and messy, a sphagnum moss frame is a great way to tidy the process up a little. It’s also the perfect choice for succulent cuttings that don’t have a great root system yet. You can purchase them ready to plant or you can make your own by filling up a tube of nylon mesh with loose moss. Soak your sphagnum wreath in water before you place it in your wireframe to get started.

Poke a hole in your frame through the mesh liner, and make space for your succulent or succulent cutting. Try mixing and matching bigger and smaller plants to create an exciting display full of color and texture. Once you have your wreath planted, you can tidy up the look by inserting some soft moss in the gaps to cover up the form underneath.

Lay your succulent wreath flat for a week or two after you build it so that the roots have time to establish themselves before their gravity-defying trick of growing horizontally. We also suggest laying your wreath flat when you water it, too, for better coverage and drainage.

Succulent Crafts Wreath, driftwood, picture frames, troughs

Easy Succulent Driftwood Planter:
Why buy a boring planter when there are perfectly good spots for your succulents in a cool piece of wood? Filling in all of the nooks and crannies of driftwood with succulents and moss is a great, earthy, and natural display piece that will catch the eye with unique forms and shapes to match its succulents.

You can shortcut and simply hot glue the succulents straight onto the driftwood, but giving them something for a base will help them to grow roots and last much longer. Glue some moss to your driftwood first to create a long-lasting display sure to please.

Finish off your artwork by fastening your succulents to the mossy areas – use hot glue, floral glue, fishing line, or craft wire for a secure but polished look. If your driftwood has any deep holes, you can always fill them with moss and cactus soil and plant your succulent straight into your display. Mist your plants to keep them happy and beautiful for longer.

Succulent Crafts Wreath, driftwood, picture frames, troughs

How to Make a Succulent Picture Frame:
What’s inside the picture frame is normally the most important part – displaying photos of loved ones and favorite memories to be treasured forever. We love the idea of making your home personal with photos, but your picture frame decor should match what you love! Picture frames and shadow boxes are actually idea homes for your favorite succulents!

For this DIY, you’ll need a shadow box or a glass panel picture frame with the back removed and some wood to make your own shadow box. We like using frames and boxes made of redwood and cedar, as they’re naturally water-resistant and will hold up more to time spent as an impromptu container. You’ll need hardware cloth, cactus soil, succulents, and cuttings – as well as some household tools, like a staple gun, a hammer, and some nails. Cuttings from plants should be given a few days to dry before you replant them, while whole plants can be planted directly.

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If you don’t have a shadow box, you’ll be creating one with your picture frame to give your succulents’ roots space to grow. Staple hardware cloth and insert it halfway into the box. You’ll be using this to push the roots of your plants through to keep them anchored, so midway or even at the top under the frame of your box is ideal. A half-inch grid should be enough to accommodate your stems but keep the soil locked in.

Fill your shadow box with cactus soil by pouring it on top of the hardware cloth and sifting it through the openings. Use a pencil to poke holes in the soil through the square holes in the grid and fill your frame up with plants! We recommend starting with your larger plants and moving toward smaller ones to fit them in more nicely next to each other – even if you have a favorite that you want to make sure is on display the most.

Like the succulent wreath, leave your box laying flat for a few weeks to let the roots start to settle and establish – as well as using greenings clips to keep everything in place. When your plants have rooted, you can hang your frame or prop it up on a shelf for a living display to go along with all of your favorite memories and photos.

Succulent Crafts Wreath, driftwood, picture frames, troughs

Succulents in Troughs:
For a display that’s a little more common sense and straight-forward, plant your succulents in a trough. They’re still more creative than a normal succulent container display with old planters, but they are more manageable for people that aren’t sure of their DIY capabilities. Choose from wood, terra cotta, metal, plastic, and even cement troughs for your plants, creating an aesthetic that both matches your decor and draws the eye. You can accentuate your darling succulents while still creating a lasting impact in your home’s style.

Once you’ve selected a trough planter, make sure that it is designed for drainage. If it has a solid bottom, you might want to drill some holes before filling with soil and planting or just layer the bottom with pebbles to improve drainage. Then, all you have to do is fill the trough with cactus soil and you’re ready to plant! These are the perfect planters for a tidy and neat succulent planting design to meet rustic style with your fun and unique container.

Once you start to think about the different and unique ways that you can plant beyond regular containers, the possibilities with succulents are endless. These are just a few of our favorite, creative DIY displays we’ve seen people come up with. Creating your own display is a fun craft, and it’s a perfect way to mesh together your personal style and personality with your home decor for something uniquely you.

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Must-Have Houseplants

Must Have Houseplants

Houseplants have evolved. From something you shove in a corner and dutifully care for out of guilt, into living and breathing trendy decor statements. Now very much in vogue, there are so many new opportunities to choose a houseplant that is not only stylish, but also matches your aesthetic and lifestyle. Each one of these plants have unique features that have earned them tons of attention on Pinterest, Instagram, and in the top decor magazines. Here’s our “must-have” list of popular houseplants:

fiddle-leaf figs placed indoors

Fiddle-Leaf Fig:
Even the New York Times loves and adores this trendy plant, calling it the “It Fig” when the fiddle-leaf graced its pages. The king of trendy houseplant decor, this plant features lush and tropical glossy leaves and a modern style that adds major style points to bright, airy rooms. First popular with the daring interior designers that brought it indoors, it has become increasingly popular and is now embraced by everyone that is on-trend, from Millennials to stylish homeowners. Bold, a deep green, and proud, the Fiddle Leaf Fig is the instant focal point of a room. They aren’t subtle, but just one is all you need to create a signature look.

Beauty isn’t always effortless. Fiddles have also earned a reputation for themselves as picky and finicky, needing just the right light, attentive watering and maintenance, and an aversion to being moved around. They’re famous for their big broad leaves, but these can need a bit of TLC to really make the plant the statement piece that you want. This bold beauty is definitely worth the effort you put in, but fiddles are best suited for plant owners that are confident in their abilities.

fiddle-leaf fig plant

Snake Plant:
Known commonly as Snake Plant, the Sansevieria is getting more and more popular by the week. One of its main draws is its striking vertical appearance and squiggly growth pattern, which makes it an ideal choice for adding personality to tight spaces that other plants might not fit. Not just convenient for corners though, the sleek lines on this plant bring an architectural flair to your home, along with air-cleaning properties. You’ll love having the presence of a plant to help make the winters easier to manage, but you’ll also love this plant’s ability to clear up airborne toxins like benzene, carbon dioxide, and xylene.

This plant doesn’t need a green thumb, meaning that it’s a great fit for anyone that falls in love with its beautiful lines. They’re drought-tolerant, thrive in nearly any light level except too much direct sun, and don’t need to be transplanted often. Keep their leaves wiped down from dust to have them looking their best.

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Air Plants:
For those who love decorating with plants but don’t have a lot of space to spare, air plants (also known as Tillandsia) are anything but your grandmother’s houseplant. They come in hundreds of shapes, textures, and sizes, all with a totally unique style. Because they grow without soil, creative and DIY plant lovers have taken to these plants enthusiastically, choosing to display them in stunning arrangements and designs. From tiny glass terrariums and cases to living driftwood sculptures, this is the most on-trend plant for people who embrace their plants by styling them in creative ways.

Air plants are practically designed to be experimented with, and with a little bit of nontoxic glue, you can make a living sculpture out of nearly any Tillandsia species. Take one home and you’ll have a conversation starter that will thrive with minimal care. While they don’t need soil, they still aren’t able to absorb everything they need through their pores and will need regular water baths. Mist them daily, but you might want to consider soaking them in water and allowing to drip dry every few weeks to keep them looking their best. Drip dry your air plant upside-down to prevent water from forming mold at the base of their leaves.
With minimal care requirements and a unique living habit that opens a world of possibility, it’s easy to see why these plants are taking over the interior design world.

fiddle-leaf fig plant

Zebra Plant:
We’ve seen succulents rise in popularity over the years, but the trend isn’t stopping, and people are starting to focus in on particular varieties of succulents and their unconventional looks. Zebra plants, also called Haworthia, are miniature and slow-growing plants that are some of the coolest-looking and trendiest succulent species around. They’re easier to care for than their other succulent relatives, and they look sharp in any display with their namesake crisp white lines running across the plant.

Needing bright and direct sunlight and very little upkeep, these petite plants are perfect for sneaking into your decor in unexpected places, from cute terrariums to mounted on fridge magnets. These plants stay quite small even after years of taking care of them, so find a spot for them that you can be sure that you get lots of opportunities to view them up close to appreciate everything about them that makes them so noteworthy and trendy.

fiddle-leaf fig plant

Boston Fern:
Some people still picture the fern as a Grandmother’s plant, meant for stuffy houses full of antiques, but we’re excited to prove you wrong and show just how on-trend and fashionable these plants actually are. While the plant variety is prehistoric, these tough plants help you out by pulling startling numbers of toxins from the air, and their leafy and bed-headed appearance gives them a unique charm that we’ve embraced once again. Perfect for the vintage-inspired designer and the modern decorator alike, adopting this plant is the perfect way to stay up-to-date with today’s design must-haves.

If you don’t want to clean up any dropped leaves, some other ferns might be better options for you, but we still love the old-fashioned charm of the Boston Fern. Thriving in well-lit rooms, these plants need regular watering and a little humidity to look their best. This plant will love you back with its powerhouse air-cleaning ability and retro charm.

Houseplants are an essential part of so many interior designs and it’s easy to imagine how you can build them into your home design. The world of plants is so diverse, there’s a trendy plant for any home, any lifestyle, and anyone. Fill your home with these lush green beauties to instantly freshen the look of any space.

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DIY Terrariums

terrariums in glass

Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul.”
-Alice Walker

Terrariums are not just a hot designer trend, they’re also incredibly versatile and easy to add to any home decor! While it can be convenient to find something that’s a perfect fit right on the store shelf, we love that terrariums are just as simple to make yourself, where they are entirely customizable to your aesthetic.

DIY Terrariums:

The beautiful thing about terrariums is that they are so simple in concept: a partially or even fully enclosed display for your favorite trending houseplants. The style and contents are entirely up to you, so you are free to create the perfect look for your home and lifestyle.

Terrariums give us all the gorgeous centerpiece aesthetic without the high-maintenance care needs. The only important thing to remember is a terrarium is just like a fancy container – all you need to worry about is watering your greenery enough that it is hydrated but not drowning. It’s all the ease of houseplants, but with a designer upgrade.

DIY terrariums

Succulent Terrariums:

Succulents continue to grow in popularity and it’s easy to see why. As cousins of cacti, these plants offer a beautiful aesthetic that is simply irresistible. They combine the simplest of care with gorgeous textures and colors, making them perfect for displaying in a creative terrarium. Plus, they’re slow-growers, meaning your beautiful terrarium will look its best for years!

The trendiest looks: Succulents look amazing combined with rustic or antique terrarium pieces. There’s something about their unique look that makes them the perfect match with a statement piece. We simply adore the look of our favorite aloe, echeveria, rosette, or string of pearls succulents in unique terrarium pieces, like old lamps, bottles, or even more creative displays, like coffee pots and gumball machines.

Create this look at home: Succulents are native to arid habitats so, while they don’t want to dry out completely, it’s very important for them to avoid damp roots. Drainage is the key here, so take advantage of space in your terrarium to layer in drainage pebbles underneath your soil. You can even consider taking advantage of these layers with decorative, colorful sand around your plants!

Succulents don’t like humidity, so they’ll thrive in a partially open terrarium that allows for some fresh air. However, you will want to keep your dainty plants out of too much direct light to keep them looking their best in all seasons for years to come. Since these plants are such slow growers, you can pack them in as tight as you want, without worry, and even finish off your look with bits of decorative moss to fill in the gaps!

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air plants hanging in glass bowl

Air Plant Terrariums:

Air plants are curious houseplants with a unique look that has made them very popular over the past few years. These marvels of the plant world don’t grow in soil and are found in the wild high above the ground on trees. Instead of using their roots to pull nutrients from the soil, they use specialized pores that take care of feeding and watering. They also have an interesting sci-fi look that make them perfect fits for terrariums.

The best air plant looks: These plants are adapted to living high in the air, so we love to pair them with classic glass terrariums. With such an stunningly alien aesthetic, they are also a perfect pairing with the clean-cut, modern terrariums that feature glass panes and stylish metal shapes. Although the crystal clear style of glass terrariums takes advantage of this plant’s strange ability to thrive entirely without soil, they also pair beautifully with other terrarium or container plants, too.

How to DIY your air plant terrarium: While air plants may seem to thrive off of nothing but the air itself, they’ll still need a little bit of help to thrive in a terrarium. Our homes don’t have the ambient humidity that these plants are used to in the steamy jungles that they call home. To keep them hydrated, they will not only need a regular humidity boost with misting, but they will also need an occasional drink from being submerged in distilled water and biannual fertilization with a mild orchid fertilizer solution.

fairy garden terrariums

Fairy Garden Terrariums:

While some terrariums are noteworthy for their unique plants, others make a statement with their cute, DIY design. Fairy Gardens have gained popularity recently and are known for their adorable fairy-themed terrarium displays that are great for kids and dreamers alike. Anything at all can go into a fairy garden, embracing a whole range of plants and decor.

Our favorite fairy garden aesthetics: The miniature scale of a fairy garden transforms regular houseplants into a lush jungle. The idea is to create a container or terrarium that looks like a little fairy home, complete with tiny decorations for an endearing and quirky aesthetic that is so fun to explore when you create and display it. We love the look of some of our favorite tropical houseplants, like ferns, mosses, ivy, or baby’s tears, in fairy gardens, but have also seen some impressive creations that take advantage of flowering plants, succulents, bonsai, air plants, and more.

DIY fairy garden terrariums: The fun of this style is how much you can personalize it. Find a container and little fairy decorations that you love, and fill in all the gaps with your favorite plants. We recommend sticking to plants that enjoy the same conditions since they all have to share the same soil in your terrarium. When you’re creating a fairy garden, choose a terrarium that offers great visibility so your decorations can be enjoyed more. Plant with good drainage and lots of soil, and water according to your plant’s needs. For faster-growing tropical plants, don’t be afraid to keep the scissors handy to keep them down to the size you want in your design.

We can’t blame everyone for suddenly wanting to take these gorgeous plants home – they are simply irresistible and add that accent of natural color and style to your indoor decor. We certainly understand why they’re so popular right now, and are happy to help you bring your own fiddle-leaf fig home without the hassle! Visit us in-store today to pick one up or to learn more.

Terrariums are so popular that everyone wants one in their home and with so many terrarium options for every aesthetic and style, it’s easy find create your perfect fit. Come in today to have a look at all the great terrarium products we have to get your creativity flowing for the perfect terrarium for your home and family.

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Succulent Birdcage

Succulent birdcage antique design decor home style living lifestyle creative diy project

The latest in gardening trends can sometimes come from the most unexpected places, and succulents have certainly held the spotlight for gardening trends for a while. Repurposing antique bird cages for a unique display, however, is a fresh idea that makes a new and striking twist on a current favorite. The latest in gardening trends can sometimes come from the most unexpected places, and succulents have certainly held the spotlight for gardening trends for a while. Repurposing antique bird cages for a unique display, however, is a fresh idea that makes a new and striking twist on a current favorite.

Succulents and vintage bird cages are a perfect fit for each other. While the antique bird cage captures a certain nostalgia, the dynamic and whimsical form of succulents adds character. This new take on planters is the start of a hot new trend, and is sure to turn heads.

“You know you’re a gardener when everything you see becomes a planter.” – Unknown

If you want to capture this trend before it grows, you might need to do some DIY. Many garden centers are only just starting to introduce pre-planted options to their shelves. Making your own succulent birdcage gives you the option for a totally personalized and custom look that will add a unique edge to your home or backyard.

Materials

  • Birdcage with a minimum 1” lip at the bottom (these can usually be found easily at an antique mall).
  • Succulents
  • Optional moss and lichens for decoration
  • Sheet moss or coco liner
  • Cactus soil
  • Small pebbles
  • Activated carbon

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Succulent Options:

You’ll want about 1 succulent plant for every 2” of birdcage diameter. For example, a 6” wide cage can fit 3 plants. For larger cages that are a foot across or more, you can start playing with container design. The “thriller, filler, spiller” rule of thumb is still a great tool here, helping to plan for a centrepiece, some low profile fillers, and something to trail out of the cage.

Some of the better options include:

  • Thriller: Varieties like Aloe Vera, Jade, or tall Aeonium have the striking architecture you might want for the center of your birdcage.
  • Filler: Rosette Succulents (echeverias) are the staple of a birdcage garden. Their natural range in colors make for a beautiful design as they spread in gorgeous clusters. Other little succulents work well too. Consider using Sedums or Crassulas as well.
  • Spiller: Succulents are a little limited in trailing options. Of course, String of Pearls or String of Bananas is a good choice for a small footprint in the cage with far-trailing habits. Burrow’s Tail could also be considered, but is a less popular choice because it grows so slowly. Eventually, your fillers will send runners that trail, adding a natural trailing element.

Putting it Together:

You’re essentially building an open terrarium, so many of the principles for the more mainstream succulent containers apply. Your birdcage will determine some of your construction approach: A mesh or open bottom is preferred, where coco liner or sheet moss can be laid down for drainage. A solid bottom cage will either require drilling drainage holes, or very careful vigilance with watering habits.

Here’s how to put together your succulent birdcage:

  1. Lay sheet moss or coco liner at the bottom of the cage and up a few inches on the sides.
  2. Place a layer of pebbles at the bottom for drainage.
  3. Layer activated charcoal on top of the rocks. This is an important step as it helps keep your plants safe from accumulating toxins.
  4. Add cactus soil to your desired soil height.
  5. Plant your succulents, arranging from the center outward.
  6. Add moss, lichens, and other touches to fill in any gaps and to give a polished final look.

It is also important to note that older cages may have paint that contains lead. Working with this kind of cage is not just a safety concern for you, but also for the health of your plants. When in doubt, use plastic sheeting to protect your plants against the paint chemicals from your antique birdcage.

Take on a gardening DIY project this season! Browse our upcoming classes & workshops

Beyond Succulents:

Planting in a birdcage is a new and creative way to garden – any old cage can be a striking alternative to any hanging basket. Succulents may be on their way to popularizing this trend, but a little creativity can bring forward unique and totally original displays in your home that are guaranteed to start conversations! Simply switch out cactus soil for peat-based potting soil and you can plant any annuals you want.

Imagine your backyard, complete with lavish and lush bunches of Supertunias or Bacopa, streaming from a birdcage, or alternatively, a rustic cage filled with edible and fragrant herbs.

This trend is all about looking at garden containers in a new way and finding an attractive way to put twists on container classics. Experimenting and getting creative is the perfect way to have a backyard statement piece that is unique and head-turning.

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Houseplants in the Winter

winter houseplant care home interior design

Are you feeling a little of those winter blues? When the winter temperatures drop and the outside world gets frosty, our houseplants are the green aesthetic boost that we need. However, the darker and drier winter conditions can be hard on your beautiful houseplants. Understanding the needs of your plants can help you keep them gorgeous and lush all winter.

Winter Hibernation

With how short our winter days are, everyone is getting less natural Vitamin D from the sun than usual. We may even be feeling the difference, getting a little sluggish and tired on darker days. The indoor plants in your house also rely upon the sun to boost their metabolism, so many of them may even be hibernating these days.

You might notice your plant taking a short break: leaves might fall, and growth slows down. Don’t worry too much, as your plants will perk up with the return of more sunlight in the spring. 

In the meantime, watering less will help your houseplant’s dormant roots to avoid being overwhelmed. If you poke your finger into the soil and it is dry up to the first knuckle, it’s time to water your houseplant.

Dry Air

On the other side of giving your plant the water it needs, the drier winter air can be very stressful for your houseplants. With the exception of succulents and cacti, most houseplants are from tropical forests, where they enjoy nearly 100% humidity. If the air gets dry enough in the winter, it can even pull moisture out of the leaves of your plants, leaving them parched.

If possible, keep your tropical houseplants close to together to let them benefit from each other’s moisture (with the added bonus of creating an attractive tropical oasis in your home). Boosting the humidity of the air can also help, either through the use of a humidifier or by letting your plants enjoy evaporating air nearby. For a quick pick-me-up, your houseplants will love a brief misting to keep them healthy and lush.

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Cold Drafts

Another thing your favorite tropicals struggle with is temperature changes. Back in their rainforest homes, the temperatures barely change a few degrees over an entire year, while our homes can change several degrees in a single day.

If your houseplants are close to cold windows or in the way of icy drafts from doors, they’ll appreciate moving away from sudden, cold temperatures. Keeping attractive and healthy plants sometimes calls for being flexible about where they are displayed to keep them rich and green, especially this time of year.

Houseplants are one of our favorite ways to add winter interest to our indoor living spaces. We get to bring something green and colorful inside to enjoy every day of the year. Keeping your houseplants healthy in winter conditions will ensure that they are lush all season and better than ever when they come out of hibernation in the spring!