No Longer Plant Killers: Tierra Sol Studio

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with little things. As a child of the 90’s, that meant that I couldn’t get enough of Polly Pocket dolls tucked inside their clamshells, Littlest Pet Shop animals, and Maple Town characters – complete with a teeny-tiny baby bottle (which I still have!).

As an adult, I still have an attraction to miniature things, so I guess that it’s no surprise that a tiny thimble cactus caught my eye one day when I was browsing on Instagram. Upon further investigation, I discovered Tierra Sol Studio – a fantastic Etsy store that specializes in low maintenance cacti and succulents in a variety of sizes. As soon as I read the first line of the “About” section on their website (which reads, “I am so happy you found us! We were plant killers too!”), I know this was a company I wanted to work with!

Image courtesy of Tierra Sol Studio

I have ordered several cacti from Tierra Sol Studio (here’s their Etsy store), and have been so impressed by the products I have received. The cacti have arrived in tip-top shape, the little handmade pots are so cute and perfectly complement the cacti, and – most impressively – my recent move did not even phase these cacti. I can’t tell you how pleased I am to have these plants in my collection!

Tierra Sol Studio was started in January 2014 by Seana and Yair Monley Rodriguez because, as Seana puts it, “We couldn’t keep plants alive.” Seana wanted to have plants in her writing space for grad school, but the apartment in which she and Yair lived had little light, and neither one had much experience with plants. She and Yair began experimenting with plants that could survive lower light conditions and the neglect that Seana’s long trips out of the country on fieldwork caused. They found that many succulents do not do well indoors, even though many are advertised as being “hard to kill.” Because of this, they began researching plants, their natural environments, and how they could best replicate those environments inside.

Image courtesy of Tierra Sol Studio

“Our goal is to provide forever plants,” Seana tells me. With this goal in mind, Sean and Yair now grow the hardiest plants possible in a greenhouse that they designed and built specifically to allow plants to adapt easily to indoor light. They make their planters absorbent to avoid overwatering, discovering early on that glass containers did not work well for desert plants as it holds in too much humidity. Seana and Yair also hand-mix their own fluffy, sandy cactus and succulent soil.

Tierra Sol Studio has high standards for growing only low-maintenance cacti and succulents; the plants they grow survive with one tablespoon of water per month (or less) and have a low light minimum. They use only one type of hardy moss in their terrarium kits that needs no light at all (!!!) and only needs to be watered every six months. In case you can’t tell, they are truly committed to providing the most user-friendly, easy plant experience for fellow “plant killers.”

Image courtesy of Tierra Sol Studio

Because of this commitment to excellence, Tierra Sol Studio has gotten national attention – which is well deserved, if you ask me! Their top selling unicorn moss terrarium kit has been featured by Buzzfeed three times, and they just recently came in second place in USA Today’s 10 Best Makers in the US: Home and Garden for their top-selling handmade planters and studio-grown plants. They have also been featured on Etsy a few times so far this year (2017).

Recently, Tierra Sol Studio started a new feature on their website: the Planter Killer Club, which allows them to connect more closely with fellow plant lovers. This club is intended to build the confidence of plant owners by providing tips and advice on plant care. Seana says, “We like being a part of an online plant community because we can see which plants people love that are classics and new variations, we hear about people’s plant problems, and are able to help them build their confidence about plant care.”

Image courtesy of Tierra Sol Studio

I asked Seana why she loves working with plants, and she responded, “They make us feel happy and calm.” (I’m thinking to myself, This is the exact reason I work with them, as well!) “Plants are scientifically known to help us focus and reduce stress. They are beautiful and are relatively inexpensive ways to make bold changes in your home, which is especially nice in fall and winter when you spend more time in the cozy indoors.”

Seana also has valuable advice for those who are new to the world of houseplants. She recommends first doing research about the plants you need, or get your plants from a grower who is knowledgeable and can give you good recommendations. She also recommends starting small with a hardy plant, a high-quality, hand-mixed soil, and an absorbent planter. “The top reasons for succulent and cactus plant death are bringing in plants that can’t survive indoors and keeping plants in cheap soil that can slide out of the plastic cup. This soil clumps around roots, holds water against them, and kills them from the roots up. A great hand mixed soil and an absorbent pot will allow for roots to dry and receive oxygen.”

Image courtesy of Tierra Sol Studio

(Seriously, I had an “ah-ha” moment when she said that…no wonder I always see cacti and succulents growing more happily in terracotta planters…duh!)

I love supporting small businesses, but I also love good quality products. Tierra Sol Studio puts a checkmark in BOTH of those boxes! Please take a look at their site – I promise, you won’t be disappointed. Each one of their little plants has so much personality! I seriously want one of each!

Image courtesy of Tierra Sol Studio

Instagram: @tierrasolstudio

Tierra Sol Studio.png

Please take a look at their site and let me know what you think in the comments below!

– the {house}plant momma

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