Welcome to our first blog post! We are so excited that you are here and are so looking forward to sharing our plant and flower knowledge with you! For our very first post we wanted to kick it off by discussing the very important basics.
All plants have unique and individual needs which vary between species and home, these are the needs that they all have in common:
Let’s look at our house plants into three easy categories: tropicals, desert plants and air plants.
Tropicals tend to want to have a consistent watering schedule. A good rule of thumb is for smaller pots (6 inch pot size and smaller) to water when the top 2 inches of soil are dry. For larger potted plants (8 inches or larger) water fully when the top half of the soil is dryer. You can check this using a moisture meter or if you can test it with your finger. If you stick your finger into the soil 2 knuckles in and soil does not stick to it, then the soil is dry. They also love humidity, so staying away from heat vents is best. You can even mist your tropicals once a day to make them even happier.
Cacti and succulents can survive with much less frequent waterings. When they are completely dry, then they can get a complete watering. This mocks the desert climate – mostly dry and a drenching rain every few weeks! Cacti can survive longer periods of drought than succulents. If your succulent leaves start to look wrinkly, then increase your watering schedule.
Air Plants are very unique and take in most of their water through their leaves. Mist them once or twice a day, and give them a full watering every 1-2 weeks. I usually fill a bowl or bucket with water and dunk my air plants (root side up) and let them soak for an hour. Make sure the shake them out very well before placing them root side down in your desired air plant to avoid any rotting in their roots.
Tropicals vary in their lighting needs (from low to bright), but all tropicals need INDIRECT light. This means if there is a direct stream of light coming in through the window, it should not be directly in it, but near it. Filtered light using sheer drapes is great!
Cacti and succulents require DIRECT light. South or West facing windows are ideal for desert plants. Find your brightest room with the sunniest window, and this will be their favorite spot in the house.
Air Plants need bright, but INDIRECT light. So, think about that room for your cacti and succulents, but most of them just a little bit further from the window out of the direct stream of light. Their leaves can scorch in too much direct light (it acts like a magnifying glass).
Nutrients come from the soil as well as fertilizers we can add in the spring and summer. (Don’t worry – we will dive a bit deeper into fertilizing this spring!)
Tropicals need a more nutrient dense, moisture retaining potting soil. If you are shopping at your local plant store or hardware store, look for a general potting soil. I personally avoid “moisture control” potting mix because if you are a heavy waterer, then you may run into a root rot issue. If you want to make your own potting mix for tropicals, a general recipe is 1 part peat moss, 1 part perlite or vermiculite, to 1 part garden soil. When we dive deeper into specific species, we will see that some may need more drainage than others but a general potting soil is always a good start (and google may help!).
Cacti and succulents need very fast drying and high drainage soil. They will still receive their nutrients from the soil but there is a higher ratio of sand in most of the potting mixes you see in stores.
Air Plants are EPIPHYTIC meaning they grow outside of soil. Sometimes you may see them growing on tree branches. Since they are more tropical plants, they will receive most of their nutrients from the air. We can use an air plant fertilizer in the spring and summer but all together they are very low – maintenance!
Stay tuned for our next newsletter for the latest store updates and our next blog post!