Plants are all the rage right now, the millennials are going nuts for them and in some circles, plants direct design and aesthetic, just step into any new hip restaurant with satin pothos draping in windows and over the entry. I asked one of my plant suppliers how he’s enjoying the sudden popularity of all things green and he remarked that he’s been in the business for close to 40 years and has not seen anything like this rush since the 70’s. He had planned on retiring but decided to hang in to see where this green rush leads. I vaguely remember my mom having a collection of plants on the south side of our dining room in the 70’s. The house next to ours was close enough to offer decent shade so we had nice bright indirect light. The current “great green rush” really shouldn’t come as a surprise, with our lives getting busier, screens swallowing up hours and hours of our time, and the cultural shift slowly turning away from nature and towards technology, our primal instincts are screaming out- our desire to “get back to nature”, to nurture something from the earth, to be near something green grows stronger and stronger.
Here are some general plant tips for indoor plants that will help you get closer to your agrarian roots.
1.Succulents like to be tight in their pots. I hear a lot of customers say they’d like to plant a succulent “in a bigger pot to give it room to grow”. Succulents get kinda lost in big pots and appreciate a snug fit. Your succulent would prefer a pot 1″ too small over a pot 1″ too big.
DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT mist your succulents! Let them dry out completely between watering- depending on how hot it is and where you live, that could be every 2-3 weeks in the summer and every 4-6 weeks in the winter. Assuming they have proper drainage, water thoroughly.
2.If you are going to repot your tropical plant do not go up in size more than about 2″. I find many if not most tropical plants enjoy a regular watering cycle (I water my plants on Saturdays, this way I never forget when I watered them last and when they are due). I advise customers to water their tropical plants every 7-10 days-and unlike succulent plants, most tropical plants will love a little misting. In lieu of misting, you can also take your tropical plant to the kitchen sink and water it with the spray nozzle (which is how I do it) or water them in the shower. It’s a win win…the leaves get a refreshing shower and the soil a good drink. As always MAKE SURE YOUR PLANTS HAVE PROPER DRAINAGE (that’s me yelling).
3.Ask or google what kind of light your plant will require. Bright direct, bright indirect, medium or low light? And make sure you understand those terms.
-Bright direct light is obvious, it’s usually a south or west facing window where the sun will make actual contact with the leaves of your plant. Succulents, ponytail palms, snake plants and zz’s (zamioculas zamiifolia) are popular bright direct plants.
-Bright indirect light means that your plant likes a nice bright spot with bright ambient light but will burn out if the sun hits it directly. A plant that needs bright indirect light can go either in the interior of a room with south and/or west windows or close to windows that are facing north or east.
-Medium light would be a few to several feet away from the window; any space where your plant can see outside but cannot see the sky- its light that’s been diffused (sheer curtains) between the plant and the light source (window).
-Low light plants will do best in a room that has only north facing light- a low light plant should do fine up to several feet away from the light source. Some low light plants will even tolerate work cubicles if the office florescent lights are kept on 24/hrs.
So, there you have it, a couple of easy rules that should be a snap to follow. Of course, every plant is different, but once you’ve found the right plant for the right spot you shouldn’t have much more parenting. I once heard a plant friend say- “plants appreciate a little benign neglect” and I’ve kept that ringing in my ears and hang my hat on it. You provide the right pot, the right light, the right water… now it’s up to your plant baby to do her thing!