I don’t know about you but we (aka The Sorry Girls) have bought quite a few pants in our day. Some have survived with minimal watering and some basic attention, while others have died within a month of us getting them. WHAT COULD WE BE DOING WRONG? We took a trip to our local plant store aka nursery-studio-plant-heaven called Crown Flora and we got the low-down on all things plants from owner Adam. On a scale of one to green, I’m getting there… but there was SO MUCH that we didn’t know. There are so many simple steps that we’re about to give you so that when it comes to keeping your green friends alive, YOU’VE GOT THE KNOW HOW. Also, BTW our YouTube video on this subject matter was brought to you by Google’s Science and Making team – friggin’ cool! Alright, let’s get plant-ucated.
Let’s name a couple of SUUUUPERRR popular plants right now: palm, fiddle-leaf fig, succulents, cacti, tropicals. What do all of these have in common? We’ve owned and killed them or we’re afraid to own and kill them. If you’re anything like us, you cannot justify spending $100+ on something that may not be here in a month due to your lack of knowledge. Here are some things we learned after spending a couple of hours with Adam, plant expert extraordinaire:
Where do you do most of your plant shopping? Honestly, we would get our plants from box stores that sell plants (the hardware stores, Walmart, etc). Although the prices may be significantly cheaper there, you’re purchasing a plant that hasn’t be individually selected, and has likely just been on a long journey from wherever it grew up (especially if you live somewhere like Canada). If you’re buying plants, turn to a local nursery or plant studio. Go to the place where they have the dedication and knowledge to help you choose and care for the right plant. It may be more money up front but many local shops will replace your plant if something goes awry in the first month, and they will be happy to hop on the phone should you have a question!
Seriously SO important. Obviously you want your plant to live in that cute pot anyways, so instead of dropping in that black or green plastic pot into your new fancy pot – you need to re-pot it. Get yourself the right soil, some pea gravel, some activated carbon (aka charcoal) and set your plant up for success in the new pot. Our video shows you how to re-pot a plant with ease!
So you’ve heard “water every week”. Guess what, every plant is different and every environment is different. I’ve had my fiddle-leaf fig for about 3 weeks now and have only watered it once. The soil is still pretty damp and you SHOULD NOT water your plant if the soil is still wet (most plants cases). Get your hands dirty and feel the soil (deeper, deeper, okay you got it). Find that balance between wet and dry – too dry will get “air pockets” in the stems of the plant and you can’t recover (think gas in an engine). Too wet and bacteria will grow killing your root system (pro-tip, if you use the activated carbon, this helps to kill bacteria). Keep an eye (or feel) on your plant and figure out a schedule that work for your plant in your environment.
“Bright filtered light”, BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN? All plants are different but we’re talking a lot about tropicals today. Bright filtered light means close to a window in a well-lit room but make sure there is no light coming in the window that will land directly on your plant for a long period of time (this will burn the leaves).
When I brought my fiddle-leaf fig (or lyrata bush) home it dropped over a dozen leaves in 2 days. I WAS FREAKING OUT! This is my new baby and she doesn’t like my house!? After speaking to Adam from Crown Flora Studio (where I picked up Miss Fiddle-leaf) I tried a couple of different things, a) I moved it to the corner closest to the window, b) started misting the leaves with a spray bottle I picked up from ikea and c) started rotating the plant every other week. Within a day of doing the first two steps it stopped dropping leaves – phew! Adam also said since the plant was re-potted and moved it may have been a little stressed after I brought it home. Who knew? Plants get stressed too, they just drop leaves instead of getting pimples.
To keep your plant leaves shiny, dust free, and healthy – try a milk bath on their leaves when needed (couple of times a year depending on your environment). To do this take a cup of water, add a little bit of 2% milk, and then use the mixture to wipe down the leaves and bring that shine back.
Okay, no, your plant doesn’t eat the soil but it does suck the nutrients out of the soil and watering will flatten the soil over time, making it look like you’re loosing soil. A genius idea that Adam told us is to top up your plant with some fresh soil if you’ve seen the level go down. This will bring back nutrients to the plant.
Hope you guys found this blog post super informative. As per pretty much every DIY/ blog post, there is a YouTube video on all of this information that you can check out below!
Google Making & Science for sponsoring the video that goes with this blog post!
Adam Mallory from Crown Flora Studio
Icons from Noun Project: Danil Polshin, iconsphere, Marie Van den Broeck, Alberto Gongora, Arthur Shlain, CDH, Chananan, Oliviu Stoian, Brad Goodwin, Iconic, Juraj Sedlák, Simon Graf.