Products I {Heart}: Novelty Planters

Today’s blog starts a series called “Products I {Heart).” Many times as I peruse the Internet, I come across plant-related products that I absolutely adore or that I’d love to tell others about. My goal with this series is to share these awesome finds with you in the hope of inspiring your own houseplant journey.

You’ll notice that many (but not necessarily all) of the products I feature will come from Etsy or other independent artisan websites. As I’ve said in a previous blog, I love supporting small businesses – be it local or online.  I would be thrilled if my little blog funneled more internet traffic their way! You know what they say: when you buy from a small business, an actual person does a little happy dance!

To kick off this series, I thought I’d have some fun sharing some of my favorite novelty planters.

Large Three-legged Planter with Black Cat on White

Black Cat Etsy
Image via Etsy

Tiny Sloth Planter

Tiny Sloth Etsy
Image via Etsy

Wool Cat Succulent Planter

Wool Cat Etsy
Image via Etsy

Face Planter

Face Planter Etsy
Image via Etsy

Friendly Face Planter

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Image via Etsy

Orange Jellyfish Air Plant Holder

Jellyfish Etsy
Image via Etsy

Wild Alpaca Pot

Llama Planter Anthro
Image via Anthropologie

Lion Planter

Lion Planter West Elm
Image via West Elm

Bunny Planter

Bunny Planter Amazon
Image via Amazon

Pineapple Airplant Holder

Pineapple Etsy
Image via Etsy

Which one of these is your favorite?  Let me know in the comments below.

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– the {house}plant momma

 

Take a Deep Breath

Have you ever stopped to think of the quality of air in your home or workspace? In the last few years, more and more people have been turning away from many products – including candles, air fresheners, soaps and hair products, detergents and cleaning products – in order to avoid bringing toxins into their homes.

However, how often do you stop and think about the quality of air around you – especially indoors? Did you know that you can actually improve the quality of air just by adding houseplants into your space?

In the 1980’s, NASA began researching how houseplants could be used to improve the air quality in space stations. Their research uncovered that plants are helpful in many ways; specifically, they filter out certain harmful compounds from the air and make it healthier to breathe – which means a healthier space overall.

The good news is that many of the houseplants that made NASA’s list are easy to grow – and beautiful, to boot!  Below you will find a list of plants that ranked high on NASA’s list, as well as some information to help you get started growing them in your own home.

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Bamboo palms are different from many palms in that they can grow in indirect light. When purchasing a bamboo palm, look for a plant with bright green leaves and one that stands tall. (Unless you’re on a rescue mission, don’t bother with one that is leaning too much or has browning foliage.)

Water the plant when the soil feels dry to the touch, but beware of over- or under-watering.

Caring for a bamboo palm also includes using a time-released fertilizer during the growing season. Granular fertilizers tend to work best. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when feeding your palm plant and always water the fertilizer in.

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Pothos are one of my favorite houseplants! I have at least four varieties in my house currently, and I absolutely love propagating them because they root very quickly. They do well in bright indirect light to low light (hence the reason they do well in my house – lots of low-light areas).

When it comes to watering, drench your plant well each time you water and let dry in between waterings. Beware of over- and under-watering. When I first got started with pothos, I frequently over-watered and couldn’t figure out why all of the leaves were turning yellow and the roots were rotting out.

Pothos do not require fertilization, but are a little happier if they are fed periodically. Fertilize them three or four times during the spring and summer.

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Dracaena are a beautiful addition to any home, and are quite easy to care for. They do well in bright, indirect light. Once again, beware of over- and under-watering; if you do over-water, look out for drooping or yellowing leaves.  Soil should be thoroughly drenched when watered, allowing it to dry out between waterings.

Dracaena do well when fertilized every two weeks in the spring and summer. In the fall, fertilization can be reduced to once a month. Because the plant benefits from periods of being dormant, it is not necessary to fertilize in the fall.

I went on a little plant shopping spree a few weeks ago for my birthday, and actually bought a little dracaena plant. My variety is dark-green-and-white variegated. I can’t wait to see how large I can get him to grow!

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In spite of its name, peace lilies are not true lilies.  As such, it requires different care than a lily would. Peace lilies are hardy and easy to grow; they’ll even let you know when they are thirsty as they begin to droop when they need watered. Keep their soil fairly moist, but let dry out a bit between waterings. Another part of peace lily care is keeping their leaves clean of dust, allowing them to process sunlight as efficiently as possible.  Wiping down their leaves with a wet cloth once or twice a year is a great way to help clear off the dust.

When it comes to fertilization, peace lilies benefit from being fertilized once or twice during the spring and summer. They do not require more fertilization than that.

Peace lilies also benefit from being repotted or divided when they become too big for their current container. You will be able to tell if you peace lily needs repotted if it droops within a week of being watered or new leaves emerge deformed.

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Weeping fig trees are a type of ficus tree. They are sought after because they add a bright statement to any room and can grow to be fairly large. Weeping fig trees do well in bright, indirect sun.  In warm weather, their soil should be kept moist. However, when the weather cools, let the soil dry out between waterings.

Weeping fig trees need to be fertilized once a month from the spring to the fall with a liquid fertilizer, diluted to half-potency.

It should be noted that, as with many ficus trees, weeping fig trees do not do well with change. Moving it to a new location, changes in air temperature or air humidity, or over-/under-watering can all cause leaves to drop. If this happens, do not worry. Once the tree gets settled and care is stabilized, the tree should continue to grow.

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Spider plants are easy to grow and very easy to propagate. I have several in my home – all from the same “momma” plant! Because of their resiliency, they are a fantastic starter plant for many aspiring {house}plant mommas.

Spider plants like to be watered thoroughly and then allowed to dry out between waterings. They also enjoy a cooler temperature than do most other houseplants.

In regards to fertilization, feed your spider plant once a week during the summer with a liquid fertilizer. Or, if you prefer, use pellets on your soil at the beginning of the growing season.

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Philodendron is another plant that is great for beginners, as it is very forgiving. Philodendron like to be in bright, indirect light, but also can survive in low light. This means that it will do well in a variety of environments.

Philodendron should be watered regularly in order to keep the soil moist, and benefit from an occasional misting.  The leaves will begin to droop if it is over- or under-watered, but they will typically bounce back once the watering schedule is corrected.

When it comes to fertilization, philodendron are fairly low-maintenance there, as well.  Plants should be watered monthly with a liquid fertilizer during the spring and summer. During the fall and winter, fertilization should be spaced out to every six to eight weeks.

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Snake plants happen to be another of my favorites. Not only do they look great, but they are very resilient. They do well in a variety of lighting situations – from bright, indirect light to low light.

Snake plants ought to be watered less frequently than many other houseplants, and need to dry out between waterings.  This may mean that you water less than once a week, depending partially on the size of your plant and pot. Root rot is an issue for snake plants, so beware of over-watering.

These plants can be fertilized a couple of times during the spring and summer, but this isn’t required.

When I bought my first snake plant, the girl working at the shop told me that it is also know as “mother-in-law tongue” because it’s impossible to kill. I don’t have a bad mother-in-law by any means, but the nickname sure does make me smile every time I think of it!

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Now…take a deep breath.  Is your air as clean as it could be?  Maybe it’s time for you add a little green into your life!

– the {house}plant momma

Eden Floral Boutique: A Cincinnati Oasis

The moment you walk into Eden Floral Boutique, you are transported. On all sides are plants of every variety – big, small, and in between; the greenness of it is simply delicious. Gorgeous leaf-clad wallpaper covers the back wall of the store. A flower bouquet bar boasts lovely pops of color. Seriously – this place is perfection.

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Eden Storefront {1129 Walnut Street, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45202}

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When I arrived at Eden, I was greeted by storeowner Kelly Dragoo and store manager Nola Lee. I had the privilege to sit down with them for a bit to learn about the origins of Eden, as well as their store today. As we talked, it was evident that they both love what they do, and both adore working with plants.

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Kelly Dragoo {owner} and Nola Lee {manager}

Located in Cincinnati’s Over the Rhine (OTR) district, Eden has come a long way since it’s humble beginnings. Owners Kelly Dragoo and Kelly Murphy met in 2008, and formed an instant friendship. Both Kelly’s were looking to do something new professionally, and decided to go into business together. They started what is now Eden Floral in Kelly Murphy’s basement. Initially, their business focused on creating floral arrangements for weddings, daily deliveries, and events.

As their business grew, they searched for a building they could buy to expand their business. In 2009, they found their current building and set up shop. For the next seven years, they operated by appointment only, as OTR was not the booming area it is today. The business continued to revolve around floral arrangements.

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However, OTR has grown quite a bit across the last few years – thanks, in part, to expanded housing, more shopping and businesses, and increased foot traffic in the area. In June of 2016, Kelly and Kelly knew it was time to expand yet again and open the doors as a storefront. In addition to floral arrangements, they now offer a variety of houseplants, pots, and planters. They offer a small selection of gardening tools and home décor, as well.

Kelly views working with plants and flowers as an art form. That’s why manager Nola – whose degree is in fine arts – was a perfect fit for joining the store family. Not only does she have a natural green thumb, but she has an eye for the beautiful.

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A beautiful flower bar is set up each day so you can create your own hand-selected bouquets.

Eden’s main goal is to not just make a sale, but to inspire their customers and equip them with the knowledge it will take to keep the plant alive. Specifically, they want to ensure that their customers know the correct light and amount of water required so that they don’t kill their plant. This is achieved not only through maintaining a very knowledgeable staff (seriously – you can ask them anything!), but also through the use of little “care cards” that come with every plant. These helpful resources make it easy – even for those with a brown thumb – to have a successful houseplant experience.

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Care cards come with each plant, making your experience once you get home {hopefully} more successful!

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Houseplants are becoming a hugely trendy home décor item. If you open almost any décor catalog or peruse décor pins on Pinterest, you’re bound to see plants everywhere. In fact, Kelly said that her plant supplier told her there hasn’t been a demand for plants like this since the 70’s! Also, Kelly believes that our culture’s increased interest in a health-conscious lifestyle – yoga, organic living, etc. – has made people more interested in improving the air quality in their home by keeping houseplants.

All of Eden’s inventory is handpicked from a wholesale plant market. This enables them to check the soil and ensure that the foliage is healthy. If the plant doesn’t meet their expectations, they won’t sell it in their store. The Eden staff is always looking for new varieties to carry in their stores; in fact, the day I visited, Nola found three new varieties at the wholesaler – which was clearly exciting to everyone!

I asked Kelly and Nola what their best advice would be for someone just beginning with plants. Nola responded, “I would look at your space at certain times. So like in the morning, what kind of light do I have? In the afternoon, what kind of light? At night, what kind of light, or in the evening? Consult your space and also where you want to put things. And then you can come into a shop like this, because the first question I’m going to ask you is what kind of light do you have and where do you want to put [your plant].”

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“The other question, too, is to think about your pets. ‘Do you have curious cats? Do you have a dog that wants to munch on things?’ That’s something I’m going to ask you next… Also, if you have young children, you don’t want toddlers going up and biting on some plants.”

Nola continued, “I guess the third one would be, ‘How much effort do you want to put in to it? Do you want a plant that you don’t really have to worry about? Do you travel?’ It’s like, ‘do I want something a little more complicated with a bigger outcome or invest less time?’”

Kelly added, “I always think, too, go small. Start with a six-inch pot at the biggest and see how you do with it. Don’t go buy a $125 plant because that’s an investment and a lot of time! Start small and then go bigger.”

Once I was done chatting with Kelly and Nola, I spent some time exploring their beautiful store. Not only do they carry plants of every type, but they also have pots and planters and very size and shape. Eden also features local artists work – both wall art and pottery. It is evident that every piece is carefully hand-picked and arranged into lovely displays.

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There are so many fun pieces available at Eden.

Eden carries many different plant varieties – many which are on my current wish list! I kept telling Nola, “You have this plant that I’ve been dying for!” However, as I was wrapping up my visit at Eden, I stumbled across a Snake Plant in a variety I have been searching for, called “Moonshine.” I absolutely couldn’t leave without it…so I didn’t.

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Me – the {house}plant momma – proudly holding my new plant baby!

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If you are ever visiting Cincinnati, you simply must visit Eden Floral Boutique – a true Cincinnati oasis! They are located at 1129 Walnut Street, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45202, and are open Tuesday thru Thurs from 11:00-3:00, and Friday and Saturday from 11:00-5:00. If you visit, be sure to tell them that the {house}plant momma sent you!

To learn more about Eden Floral…
Website: http://www.edenfloralboutique.com
Instagram: @edenfloral
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/edenfloralboutiques/

– the {house}plant momma

“The One”

It started with one plant.

All of my previous efforts to grow houseplants had been a massive failure. My mother-in-law had tried giving me a variety of house plants when my husband and I first started dating, but I had managed to kill each one of them in a few weeks time. (She eventually stopped giving them to me!) Another time, I managed to kill an expensive fiddleleaf fig so badly that it was literally a dead stick in a pot of dirt. My house was basically a place where healthy, beautiful plants came to die.

But then, one sunny spring afternoon, my husband and I snuck away from our three crazy kiddos for some time together. We headed to downtown Dayton, and spent the afternoon sipping lattes, eating dessert before a meal, and wandering in and out of little shops in the Oregon District.

"the one" - follow along my plant journey at thehouseplantmomma.com
Day date with my hubby

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One of the stores in which we found ourselves was a local plant boutique called Luna. The moment I walked in, it was as if my entire self took a huge breath of relaxation. I was surrounded in all sides by green, green, green, and I was certain I never wanted to leave.

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My husband must have seen the silly smile on my face because he told me to pick out a plant to take home. I must have looked at almost every plant in the store, finally settling upon “the one” – a little monstera. Once I had made my selection, my husband helped to pick out the perfect planter. And, with an ornery smile, he added an enamel pin that said “green thumb club” to our little pile of purchases.

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I’m now part of the Green Thumb Club…and have a pin to prove it!

Before leaving, I asked the shop girl a million questions about proper care for my monstera. And then, armed with new-found knowledge and a dash of optimism, I headed home to see if I could not – for once – kill a plant.

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Soaking up as much information as possible

As I carefully sunk my fingers into the dark soil, loosening roots and gently placing the plant in its new home, I felt the same sense of quiet that had come over me in the store. To connect so intimately with something alive was so incredibly calming.

In that moment, I was hooked. Hooked on the lovely green that houseplants add to my home. Hooked on the peaceful feeling I get when I care for my plant babies. Hooked on being a plant momma.

With all that being said, welcome to my little corner of the Internet! I’m pretty new to this whole being a plant momma thing; honestly, most days I consider it a victory when my plants are still green and alive when I wake up. I’m proud of each one of my little plant babies and have fun adding new ones to the family. Around here, I intend to share my houseplant journey, as well as the things I learn along the way – things that work and things that don’t. I hope you’ll stick around to see what we can learn together!

Oh, and in case you’re wondering…I haven’t killed my monstera. Since getting him, I’ve actually had to repot him again into a larger pot, and he’s making new shoots weekly. Pretty much love him!

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My beautiful monstera

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New growth = exciting!

I can’t wait to see where my houseplant journey takes me next!  I hope you’ll check back soon to see what I’ve been up to!

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– the {house}plant momma