Earth Day: How to bring the outside in

It is no surprise that I love plants both inside and outside. I decided that to celebrate earth day this year I would share a post on what I’ve learned from research and silly mistakes about keeping plants inside. I went on a huge planter buying spree and found some seriously adorable ones.

Light

Most plants will come with a card stating if the plant thrives in direct vs shaded light  An easy way to tell the amount of light coming through a window is the direction it faces. Southern facing windows have direct light while east and west are moderate sunlight windows. Shade loving plants can go on interior rooms or farther from windows. A good rule of thumb is that low light plants are slow growing but easiest to take care of. Also of note is that the more a plant needs light exposure the more you will (generally) need to water it.

Humidity and Watering

Air plants, ferns and mosses are great for the bathroom because they thrive off the humidity.  A rule that I always follow is to never water an already wet plant, saturate the top and then let it soak in.  A good rule of thumb is to on average water only 1/4 of the pot volume in the morning. Move the foliage out of the way and water only the soil (ferns and air plants are general exceptions to this). I have a weekly watering schedule for the plants and try to do it the same day of the week. While watering, I also dust the plants. This sounds silly but a feather duster works wonders on ferns and a wet cloth wipes down broad leaves so that the plant can absorb all the light it needs.

Potting

This really depends on the vessel you are going to put the plant in. If the bottom of the container doesn’t have a drainage hole, then I like to put lava rock just to cover the bottom if the container. This lets there be a reservoir for water to accumulate if you put too much in. Plants will grow faster if you re-pot them yearly on average using potting soil.  When re-potting maintain the same level of soil as before , increase pot size by an inch or two. Again, the high light plants will tend to grow faster than the easy to care for low light plants. A good key that you need to re-pot a plant is that the new growth leaves are significantly smaller than before.

Where to buy

I have had success with plants purchased everywhere from wal-mart to a boutique greenhouse. It really is all in how you care from them and not buying plants that are doomed from the start. My absolute favorite place in Lexington happens to be Micheler’s Florist and Greenhouse which is where most of these photos were taken. Their selection is fantastic,and they have a cafe that is to die for (read review here).

My favorite indoor plants that are easy to keep alive

Aloe vera — a personal favorite (I have a few), air purifying, great for burns, bright light and low moisture.

English ivy (Hedera Helix) — air purifying, can hang or be potted, medium light, consistent moisture

 

Snake Plant(Sansevieria Trifasciata) — loves bright light but will tolerate low light and low but consistent moisture

Rubber Tree (Hevea Brasiliensis) — medium light with lots of consistent moisture

Peacock plant (Calathea) — low light with consistent moisture

 

Chinese money plant (Pilea Peperomioides) — medium light, loves lots of water all at once then to dry before watering again

Dragon tree (Dracaena Marginata) — low light and low but consistent moist

 

Boston fern (Nephrolepis Exaltata) — great for in bathrooms, low light, thrives in humidity

String of pearls (Senecio Rowleyanus)– just so beautiful and unique, succulent so deals well with low moisture, bright light

 

Birds Nest Fern (Asplenium Nidus)– those wavy leaves get me every time, low light, great in bathrooms as it thrives off humidity

ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas) — indirect or low light, low moisture, allow to dry completely before watering again

 

Hoya Heart (Hoya Kerrii) — bright light, great for a windowsill, low water

Bromeliads (Bromeliaceae) — tropical plant perfect for the bathroom, low light, humid conditions

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