I remember saying once that I would never have a houseplant. When will I ever learn not to make blanket declarations? Let’s see, by my last count I think I’m up to 22. But when you have a store it’s so hard not to rescue an orphan that needs a little TLC or to take home something exotic that just begs to answer the question…Can I kill that? It’s gotten pretty bad. My husband told me if I didn’t take the agave out of the bathroom, he was going to divorce me. It never pokes me (it likes me better). I think I need to go to a support group. But instead I am going to embrace my nerdy love of houseplants and start passing on what I’ve learned to you, dear readers, both practical and decorative.
Since we mostly sell succulents and cactus at Potted, everyone wants to know if you can grow them inside. General wisdom is they don’t particularly like the indoors (poor air circulation, heaters, too dark, over watering), but if you can avoid all those pitfalls, you might do okay.
I hadn’t tried too many succulents inside myself so one day I potted up this guy. I love using Tub Trugs to do my potting. They make pouring soil so much easier to direct and cleanup is a snap.
I added this chartreuse sedum for contrast…
…and inside this baby went. And it’s done fabulously. I ended up moving it to a North facing window were it got lots of indirect light because this particular sedum will burn with too much sun, and I’ve only watered it about once a month. I have noticed the sedum not looking too happy lately though as the heaters have been going full blast in the house. I’m trying a little more water but I want to be careful. I’m sure it will revive in the Spring.
What I’m always trying to find, though, is the perfect plant for my dining room table. What I’ve learned is that it’s good to enjoy things while they are looking good and swap them out when it’s time to move on. That’s why cachepots are a girl’s best friend. In fact, except for one terrarium, NONE of my houseplants are actually planted in their container. More on that later.
If you know me at all, you know I have a huge thing for black pots. Maybe it’s the whole black and green combo that gets me going…I don’t know, but I love it. Anyway, here is one of my favorite black 9″ Bauer Flower pots that is just perfect for a 6″ nursery pot. And a trick I’ve learned over the years (thanks to my husband’s love of good wine) is to save corks and use them to lift pots. If the plant is at the correct height and then you use moss to conceal the nursery pot, it looks great. This hydrangea will probably last a few more weeks and then I get to try something else. Hmm…
I really liked the detail of this little vase next to the larger plant and the pewter Moroccan tray by Roost (we often sell them in the store) pulls the whole thing together. I have a very long table so I like to have something large on one end to “decorate” that space when it’s not in use. Obviously you would never eat with something this big on the table but we almost never eat here anyway.
Here’s a little terrarium I put together today in about two seconds. I love cloches which is basically what this Pill Terrarium by Chive is. I’ve assembled my 4″ Hypoestes (Polka Dot Plant), my terrarium container and some spanish moss. That’s it.
Plant goes in terrarium, moss hides nursery pot, glass dome covers whole thing and voila…
You have this beautiful arrangement. And the best part…if you kill the plant by say forgetting to water if for 6 months (because you almost never have to water it as it creates its own moisture in the dome), this plant costs about $4 and you can just throw it in your green bin to become compost and go buy another one. Cost less than a cappuccino.
This final beauty is my favorite and one of my only finicky plants, the alluring Rex Begonia. It’s not hard to take care of them if you just remember one thing…consistency. They do not like to EVER dry out and the one time this one did (thanks to hapless teenagers left in charge for a long weekend), it immediately was devoured by a disgusting slug that nearly consumed it. But being extremely fond of this plant, I picked them out one by one (wondering where in the heck they came from in my kitchen) and nursed it back to health. Same advice for Maidenhair Ferns.
Most houseplants are actually quite easy but some, like the begonia and the maidenhair, do not thrive on neglect. But for all my houseplants right down to my agave (which gets watered once every three months) I take each one and put them in my sink and put diluted sea kelp in the water to give them a little boost. This is the main reason I never plant them. It’s so much easier to water them this way. They don’t get too big. And if I want to redecorate by putting different plants in different pots, it’s no big deal.
Stay tuned…I’ve got lots more plants in my house to show you.