To Mist or Not to Mist: That Is the Question

My friend Eliza with Stamen and Stem recently posted a meme about misting plants, essentially saying the practice has no benefit. This is a controversial topic within the plant community…and as soon as I saw her meme, I knew it was going to create some drama! And needless to say, I was NOT disappointed. Whew – talk about a hot topic!

Misting Cartoon.jpg
Image via Stamen and Stem

The topic of misting comes down to on important element of plant care:  humidity. Most houseplants are considered tropical plants, meaning that they require a tropical-like environment to thrive. What do you know about weather in the tropics? It’s typically hot and humid, right? Because of that, many tropical houseplants do well with a relative humidity of around 70-80% (source). If you live in a space where the humidity is lower than that, your tropical plants may not do grow as well.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to misting: those who feel it is beneficial to a plant, and those who feel it is not.

As I prepared to write this blog, I decided to do a little poll on Instagram to see how many of my followers were misters and how many were non-misters. I was absolutely shocked to see how close the numbers were – with even more misters than non-misters responding! What a fun little tidbit of research to do as I dove into this subject!

IMG_5792
Background image via Williams-Sonoma
Misters

I know that misting is a very common practice in the plant community. Many of my plant friends swear by misting, saying that it helps their plants thrive. My Instagram friend @allidoesyoga told me, “I mist because it seems like a gentle rain for the plant babies.” Another Instagram friend, @foliage_therapy, swears that misting helps leaves grow bigger, while @naomiplanter says that misting helps leaves on her velvet philos unfurl without getting stuck and tearing.

IMG_9530
My little mister – a Christmas gift from my BFF!

The rationale behind most misting is that it boosts the humidity of the plant’s environment. The increased humidity helps meet the plants biological needs and thereby helps the plant thrive.

I searched all over the Internet to find research supporting misting, but unfortunately, I could not find anything concrete. I found many, many articles encouraging/advising the practice of misting, but none of them really explained benefits beyond increased humidity.

Non-Misters

Those who feel that misting isn’t beneficial argue that misting only raises the humidity around the plant for a few minutes – until the tiny water droplets have evaporated. The University of Illinois Extension explains it this way, “The humidity level is affected for only a short time and repeated misting is necessary” (source). This leaves your plant living in a low-humidity environment the rest of the time.

nickel-plant-mister-lifestyle-2_720x@2x.jpg
Image via Frida Florentina

One of my IG plant friends – @that_one_plant_guy – explains another concern with misting. He says, “Water that sits on the leaf surface is the perfect for bacteria and fungi to start their life cycle. All that’s needed is the pathogen, the correct environment (water on the leaf), and a host (your plant).”

Research backs him up: according to the University of Vermont Extension, “A film of water on the foliage is often all that various fungus spores need to germinate” (source).Yikes! Like I don’t have enough to worry about when it comes to my plant babies…

Me? Oh, I’m a….

I’m sure some of you are wondering: “Is the {house}plant momma a mister or a non-mister?” Well, here’s the truth: I have a little mister that my BFF got me, and I absolute love it. It sits on one of my shelves, styled nicely with some plants.

Late_june-5_1024x1024.jpg
Image via Appetite Shop 

But…that’s all it does: sits on a shelf looking pretty. I am a non-mister. Initially, I didn’t mist my plants because I didn’t like the “mess” that my mister made. There’s no way to control where the water spray goes, and I didn’t like having to wipe down a bunch of surfaces every time I used the mister. However, the more I have learned about misting, the more I have realized that I don’t feel it is a best practice.

Methods of Increasing Moisture

There’s no denying that plants need moisture and humidity. One way to increase humidity around plants is to use a humidifier. Many humidifiers even have a gauge on them that tells you the relative humidity of the space. (This is the humidifier I have.) Keen in mind that as you raise your humidity, it is important that you don’t raise the temperature too much. “With a given amount of water in the air, the higher the air temperature, the lower the relative humidity” (source). 

Another way to increase humidity for your plants is to group them together. Plants naturally release moisture through their leaves in a process called transpiration. This release of moisture can help create a humid microclimate.

dwEhfJusQWSVhZPLsnH0qA_thumb_7b3a.jpg
Plants grouped together in my home – my husband refers to this as my “jungle.”

Some people feel that putting plants on a water tray with pebbles. This method, however, is about as controversial is misting – raising the question if this truly raises the overall humidity of the environment. However, a word of caution: This method can cause the plant to run the risk of root rot if not implemented properly. Additionally, standing water can become a breeding ground for insects. (Gross!)

To Mist or Not to Mist.png

So tell me: are you a mister or a non-mister? Please tell me in the comments below….and don’t forget to tell me WHY!

– the {house}plant momma

Com’mon! Gimme the Dirt!

I love a good pun! Growing up, my dad was always cracking corny jokes, causing my brother and I to roll our eyes.

Ugh.
So dumb.
So embarrassing.
“DAD…STAHHHHHHHHP!”

But now that I’m a parent, I think puns are comedy gold! Any time I can make a play on words, I feel like a champion. It’s my oldest son (who just happens to be 13) who now rolls his eyes. He’ll give me the look, say “Mom…stop,” and then I’ll burst into giggles. His rejection of my humor only makes me love it more.

Omg. I’m such a mom.

Ahem. Anyway. Today I want to “give you the dirt” on soil. Did you know that different species of plants do best in different kinds of soil? If your soil holds too much moisture, plants that prefer dryer conditions – such as succulents and cacti – can easily experience root rot or the plant itself can even rot. If you use a fast draining soil for plants that like lots of moisture – such as a calathea, they can quickly dry out. Selecting the correct type of soil for your plant is part of good plant care.

IMG_5698.jpeg

When I first started keeping houseplants, I didn’t know this. I had a large planter and was preparing to put a giant snake plant in it. I went outside, dug up some dirt from my flowerbeds, dumped in the planter, and put the snake plant inside. (Seriously, I’m cringing as I tell this story.) The soil from outside was a) not sterile, b) didn’t have the correct nutrients for houseplants, and c) was way too dense. Needless to say, my snake plant suffered until I realized my error and gave it the correct type of soil!

You can purchase pre-mixed soil at your local garden store or nursery. Or, you can mix it yourself, which happens to be a cheaper option most of the time. (Plus, who doesn’t like getting their hands a little dirty?)

There are four main elements present in different types of soil.

Elements Present in Soil.png

When mixing soil, you will notice that each recipe calls for a certain number of “parts” of different elements. A “part” is simply anything you use to measure your ingredients. Therefore, if you are using a scoop to measure elements in a recipe that calls for “1 part all-purpose soil and 1 part sand,” you would use one scoop of soil and one scoop of sand.

Soil-based Planting Media

  • 1 part all-purpose soil
  • 1 part peat moss
  • 1 part perlite

Soil-based Planting Media.png

Soil-less Planting Media

  • 1 part peat moss
  • 1 part perlite

(Please note that because there is no soil in this planting media, plants will not receive the nutrients they need. If you choose to use a soil-less planting media, be sure to fertilize/feed your plants frequently!)

Soil-less Planting Media.png

Planting Media for Succulents

  • 3 parts all-purpose soil
  • 2 parts coarse sand
  • 1 part perlite

Succulent Soil.png

Planting Media for Cacti

  • 3 parts all-purpose
  • 3 parts coarse sand
  • 2 parts perlite

Cacti Soil.png
My favorite way to mix soil is to do so in a giant bucket.  I dump of my ingredients into the bucket and mix with a small hand shovel. (You can also mix with your hands if that works better for you.)

It should be noted: you can use plain ole’ all-purpose soil in your planters if you want! There is nothing wrong with this plant medium. However, if you discover that your plants are not thriving, you can add in elements to help your plants grow bigger and better. If you think your plants need some extra drainage, add in some coarse sand or perlite to the soil. If you feel your plants need to hold in moisture better, mix some peat moss into the soil. Through time and experience, you will begin to learn what your plants need!

Com'mon! Gimme the Dirt!.png

Now that I’ve “given the dirt” on soil…get out there and get dirty!

– the {house}plant momma

Spring Cleaning: Plant Edition

Spring is, without a doubt, my favorite time of year. After a gray, cold winter, spring comes in with warm breezes, brightly colored flowers, and longer days full of sun. (Oh, sweet, sweet sunshine!) This winter has seemed to drag on especially long, with snow coming to Ohio all the way into April.

1iZ+EAqISAyJmlRS%1%E%A_thumb_7400.jpg
April showers bring May flowers…

Another aspect of spring that I love is spring-cleaning. I am a self-professed neat freak and a serious germaphob. Add those two together with my Type A personality and…well, you get the picture. Every spring, I look forward to purging unneeded junk we have acquired over the winter, washing every single sheet and towel in sight, and organizing all of our closets, dressers, and cabinets.

There’s another aspect of spring-cleaning that has been on my mind this year – especially after all of the home renovations we have done over the winter – and that is cleaning my plants. Despite my best efforts to dust them off here and there during the winter, or occasionally give them a good rinse in the sink, many of my plants have a fine layer of drywall dust covering their sweet leaves. With the dust blocking the sun’s rays from the leaves, the plants can’t properly photosynthesize, which inhibits their development and could even cause them to die.

sfDi4rfVRp6IPMXhoh+VxA_thumb_798c.jpg
Poor, dusty leaf…

**I’d like to add that I never thought I would use the word “photosynthesize” in my life – ever – so shout out to Mrs. C, my sophomore year biology teacher, for enduring all of my attitude, eye rolls, and attempted manipulation to not do any work. Turns out I learned something after all!

IMG_4478.JPG
Here I am at age 16 with the infamous Mrs. C (dressed as “Proton Woman”), and my BFF – a picture of a picture right out of my high school scrapbook!
IMG_4477.JPG
Another shot of “Proton Woman”

Well, that was a fun little aside. *clears throat* ANYWAY….

Needless to say, spring-cleaning my plants has been at the forefront of my mind. However, as this is my first spring with plants, I wasn’t quite sure of the best method(s) to clean them. I read up on many different products and methods, and thought I would give some of them a try!

Spraying with Water

Have you ever watched a four-year-old wash their hands unattended? I watch it – literally – everyday. My son is the worst at WASHING his hands. He thinks that by putting one squirt of soap on his hands and instantly washing it off, he has done his due diligence and his hands are “clean.” (Guys, kids are gross. If you have them, then you understand. If you don’t, then you should be forewarned. Gross. Gross. Gross.)

This is what I feel like happens when I spray my plants with water to clean them. All the water does is move around a little of the dust and dirt on the leaves, but as soon as the water dries, the dust is still there, just dried in the shape of water droplets.

pF2u%r7RTOGLDA3x1qyEdw_thumb_7973.jpg
Old dust and dirt dried in the shape of water droplets on my peace lily

While this method feels easiest and might give you the vibe that something good is happening, I don’t really think it’s very effective in actually cleaning the leaves.

Washing with Water

I have, however, found that washing my plants with water is an effective way to clean the leaves. Typically, I put some water on my fingers or a soft cloth; then gently rub the leaf – both top and bottom – clean. When I’m done with all the leaves, I spray the plant down with the sprayer on my sink, just to rinse off any extra dust or dirt that I might have loosened.

AFkAMdsAQRe+noaCx3L9DQ_thumb_79a8.jpg
Peace lily much cleaner and happier after an actual WASH in the water!

I would like to add that both of the water cleaning methods are best done in conjunction with watering. If you wash them in addition to watering your plants, there’s a good chance that they will get overwatered and/or possibly flood.

Dusting Glove

For Christmas, my mom got me a microfiber dusting glove as a joke. She forgot, however, with whom she was dealing. I love the glove, and I actually use it frequently when cleaning around the house. My kids think it’s hilarious, and since the glove is big and blue, we refer to it as the “Cookie Monster Hand.”

v01WgJcfSgS7of6Bg6FpHw_thumb_797b.jpg
Poor monstera…all covered in dust…

I decided to try the microfiber side of the dusting glove on my plants to see if it might effectively remove dust. I feel like this method is preferable to many of the other methods I tried, and it doesn’t include any products that might potentially block the leaves pores, which clearly does more damage than good.

qJX0MFnTSVa7B%pYZxs25Q_thumb_797f
All ready to soak in that gorgeous spring sunshine!

Overall, I felt like this method was effective – especially on my plants with bigger leaves such as my monstera, snake plants, or pothos. However, for any plants that have smaller leaves, I’m not sure that the big, bulky glove is as effective, as it can’t get into small crevasses. For smaller leaves, I have found that a microfiber cloth does a great job!

Milk and Water

This is a method that I read about on Instagram. One of the accounts I follow (and please forgive me, I cannot remember whose account I saw this on!) said that she was cleaning her leaves with a mixture that was equal parts water and milk. I had never heard of this (and was also pretty skeptical, as I didn’t want my entire house smelling like sour milk), so I decided to do a little research.

Turns out that this is actually a thing called foliar feeding. Apparently, if you have an empty milk container, you can add water to it before throwing it away and can water your plants with that. Or, you can dilute the milk and spray it on the leaves. (If you have skim milk, you can supposedly put that directly on the leaves.) This process is said to give the plants a nutritional boost; additionally, the milk can serve as an antifungal, and and can even potentially cure some of the fungal issues to which some plants are susceptible. (I found this information here.)

However, there is conflicting opinions about this method. Some people contend that using this method might attract pests and potentially make your house smell like sour milk. (NO THANKS!) Another argument against foliar feeding is that, while using food products like milk might make your plant have shiny leaves, it’s not actually doing anything helpful for the plant itself.

I debated trying this process of cleaning/shining leaves with the milk/water solution, but decided against it. I couldn’t run the risk of my house smelling like sour milk or attracting any unwanted pests. (We are currently facing a “lovely” invasion of springtime ants…so I am currently focused on making my house as un-bug-friendly as possible.)

Vinegar and Water

According to the Garden Report website, a good way to remove hard water stains from leaves is to use a weak vinegar solution (1 part vinegar to 5 parts water). This site claims that if you spray the hard water stains and wipe them away with a soft cloth, this will remove the stains.

UFY9nDBnQQ6OqAaSxOzkMg_thumb_7998.jpg
Hard water stains on my Christmas Cactus

I have a Christmas Cactus that I purchased at IKEA that has hard water spots (plus dust on top of that!), so I decided to give it a try. I was really nervous to spray something as acidic as vinegar – even in a diluted form – onto my plants (plus it doesn’t smell great), but I went for it.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_79a0.jpg
A much cleaner and happier Christmas Cactus

I sprayed the solution on my cactus, and wiped it off with a soft cloth. I was pleasantly surprised to see the hard water spots disappear! I’m honestly not sure if the spots disappeared because of the pressure I used when wiping the leaves , or because of the solution. However, this is definitely a method I would try again.

Treating Scale

I currently have a rubber tree that is fighting scale. It is so sad to watch the spots appear on the under sides of the leaves and then watch the life slowly drain from the leaf. I read online that you can use rubbing alcohol to treat the scale spots, which I have been doing for about a month now. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any improvement.

309QZS9Q30VQ30IKLSGKAKVQRS7K6KSKB04Q304Q9K5QEKHK6K8Q2KZKWKZKEKZK6KHKEK4QPKSKPK
Scale up close – GROSS! (Image via BugGuide.net)

My next idea for treating scale was to give neem oil a try. If you haven’t heard of it, neem oil is well known around the plant community, and according to the Today’s Homeowner website:

Neem oil is made from the seeds of the neem tree (Azadirachta indica), which is native to India. Since ancient times, the neem tree has been prized as a sacred remedy and important ingredient in Ayurvedic medicine. In the garden, neem oil boasts a powerful insecticidal ingredient, azadirachtin, which makes it a great organic choice for controlling a variety of problems.

Because of all of these fantastic properties, neem oil can be used to combat insects, fungus, and even some kinds of plant disease. Additionally, it’s nontoxic (meaning that it won’t hurt predatory wasps, honeybees, earthworms, ants, spiders, ladybugs, and adult butterflies, as well as being nontoxic to humans, birds, and other animals), organic (meaning it’s plant-based and it’s easy to find a brand that is organically grown), and biodegradable (meaning it breaks down easily and has no lasting residue).

The jury is still out on if the neem oil is going to help with the scale…I’m going to keep applying, though, and will see if I can save my poor little rubber tree!

Spring Cleaning.png

After all of these cleaning experiments, I’m pretty sure I have the cleanest plants in Columbus, Ohio. (HA!) But seriously, I have learned a lot, and have gathered some new methods of keeping my plants healthy and happy. I am hoping that all of the cleaning I have done will  help all of my plants have a healthy, happy summer!

What methods do you use to clean your plants? Is there a product that I didn’t try that you swear by? I hope that you’ll take the time to tell me about it in the comments below.

– the {house}plant momma

 

Stump

Before my family and I were even thinking of moving to Columbus, Ohio, I had already scoped out the plant scene here. As part of my search, I stumbled upon Stump’s Italian Village location. The moment I walked into the store, I was surrounded by what can only be described as “art.” The dark walls and carefully placed lighting accentuated the incredible greenery and handmade ceramics all around. I could instantly tell this was a special place.

While I have visited Stump on multiple occasions, including a workshop I took in the fall, I had only had a chance to chat briefly with owners Emily and Brian Kellett. It was a pleasure to sit down with them several weeks ago and learn more about Stump. With Ray, the sweetest shop “mascot” you will ever meet, lying sleepily on the floor at their feet, Emily and Brian shared their story with me.

uwqVSLxXT+mI2bcmJliCEw_thumb_7392.jpg

6WyKH7GIRBufImHrUSsvvA_thumb_7397.jpg
Ray was thoroughly unimpressed with my attempts to take her picture…

Before Emily and Brian met, Emily went to school for industrial design with a focus on design research; as part of one of her projects, she researched what the future of garden retail could potentially look like. At the time, many garden centers across the country were having difficulty remaining relevant year-round, as almost all of their sales were made in the spring. Additionally, many garden centers struggled with appealing to people of different generations, ethnicities, etc. Emily traveled around the country, visiting different garden centers, and interviewed owners, employees, and customers about their experiences.

Around that time, Emily and Brian met when some mutual friends invited them both out for drinks. Brian was teaching full-time, going to Ohio State University for his doctorate, and was working to help with the design of Rockmill Brewery. However despite both being insanely busy, the two hit it off and began dating. With their corresponding backgrounds, they dreamed of starting a plant business together.

zkthmpNmRA6cQJe3sBqc6Q_thumb_739c.jpg

IEUQTmjxQQycN+IKa2FG7g_thumb_7394.jpg

At first, Emily and Brian considered running a plant booth at a farmer’s market or owning a plant truck that would host pop-ups in the Columbus area. However, when a retail space became available about two and a half years ago – the space where they are now located in Italian Village – they took a leap of faith and decided to launch their business as a brick and mortar space instead.

“The outside [of the building] was kind of a mess, but it had potential” Emily says, laughing. The building was light gray with green trim, and had lots of cracks in the exterior finish. The inside featured lime green walls and fluorescent lights. (Sounds lovely, right?!) After some TLC from Emily and Brian, along with their friends and family, they transformed the space, and within a month, they opened the shop. (Fun fact: Stump opened its doors exactly one year to the day from when Emily and Brian met.) Less than two years later in February 2017, Stump opened its second location in German Village.

mu4z3I47SFS2SMYFNK0N6g_thumb_7646.jpg
Stump’s German Village Location

GHnPQVodQTGiatilodH7Mw_thumb_73a3.jpg

Working together at Stump only brought Emily and Brian closer together. (Let me tell you how LUCKY they are…because I’m not so sure I could work in such close proximity to someone I also lived with…ha!). Last month, in March 2018, Emily and Brian eloped to Rocky Mountain National Park!

Image.png
Woohoo! Congratulations Emily and Brian! (Image courtesy of Stump)

Something else that makes Stump really special is that they carry an ever-rotating collection of curated, handmade ceramics. When they first started, they facilitated several artist residencies, where ceramic artists came into the shop and created pieces of art on the premises. These pieces of art bring something special to the shop, and work to compliment the beautiful plants that they hold.

Emily and Brian are currently expanding Stump with the recent purchase of 10 acres of land outside of Columbus. They are planning to build a greenhouse on there so that they can keep extra inventory on hand, as well as grow some of their own plants. They also plan to reinstate the artist residency program once they build a ceramic studio on that property.

B775CED2-8D4E-47B9-82AE-CC7FCB77BCE6.JPG

UZyvZnOKR%mxuYJsVMFIhQ_thumb_73a4.jpg

Before ending our time together, I asked Emily and Brian if they had any tips for those just beginning their plant journey. One tip they had was to select a forgiving plant to start. Stump always keeps ZZ plants and snake plants in stock, as they are some of the best plants for beginners. They also have extremely knowledgeable staff members on hand that are able to advise customers on the right plant for their own, personal space.

Another thing that Stump does to make their customers have a successful plant experience is that they fill out a plant care card for every plant they sell. The card indicates the name of the plant, how often the plant should be watered, and the type of light the plant needs. This is fantastic for any plant owner – especially new ones!

qhkK8x%eTZiWoTH1cn+bGw_thumb_7644.jpg

Ua5hz8cORpKqxuapsRg8Yg_thumb_73a5.jpg

Emily and Brian are seriously some of the nicest people I have met during my time in Columbus. Case in point: Emily ended our interview together with a hug. I love getting to know the people behind the plant stores I love, and getting to know Emily and Brian a little has only made me want to shop at Stump even more.

stump1.png

If you are from the Columbus area or are ever visiting, you must check out one of Stump’s locations! They are located in Italian Village at 305 E. 5th Avenue (Monday thru Saturday, 11:00-6:00 and Sunday, 12:00-5:00) and German Village at 220 Thurman Avenue (Monday thru Friday, 11:00-6:00 and Saturday/Sunday, 10:00-5:00). If you stop by, be sure to tell them that the {house}plant momma sent you!

To learn more about Stump…
Website: http://stumpplants.com
Instagram: @stumpplants
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stumpplants/

– the {house}plant momma

My Favorite Plant People

If you’re part of the plant community, then you already know…plant people are literally the best! I have been part of a lot of groups, clubs, and organizations throughout the years – be it church groups, mommy groups, music groups, etc. – but never have I seen the level of openness and kindness that I see in this community.

Being part of the plant community has opened me up to many new friendships, found around the world. With that in mind, I wanted to share some of my favorite plant people with you. Please take a few minutes to read about these amazing folks; then give them a follow on social media, check out their websites, buy their amazing products – just give them some love!


Screen Shot 2018-04-04 at 8.23.38 AM.png

Favorite thing about plants: Propagating! There is something so magical about being able to create new plants from cuttings. It makes me feel like a plant-magician!

Fun facts:
– I wear many hats owning my own business, but my favorite part across all aspects of my content is photography. Challenging myself to be a better photographer always brings me joy and excitement.
– I love playing video games and my favorite is League of Legends!

Why she made my list: When I first started my plant journey, Alessia was super-encouraging; she even sent me some clippings from her own urban jungle! Her Instagram account is absolute eye-candy, and she is really engaged with her followers. This is a plant lover you definitely want to get to know!


Screen Shot 2018-04-04 at 8.24.45 AM.png

Favorite thing about plants: I am obsessed with beautiful foliage and plants that interact with the environment (e.g. Oxalis triangularis). They bring joy and serenity to me; a green space reminds me of nature and how it gives generously.

Fun fact: I’ve always been a fan of Biology (it’s my favorite subject) and fancy plants a great deal. My love for them grew exponentially when I received a succulent from my mum. From there, things sky-rocketed. I deeply enjoy planting and interacting with the plant community on Instagram.

Why he made my list: Marvin is not has a beautiful Instagram feed and a fellow plant lover, but he is also a top-notch guy! He frequently gives me positive feedback and advice about my own plant experiences. I have also really enjoyed watching his plant journey – even if it’s halfway around the world!


Screen Shot 2018-04-04 at 8.23.52 AM.png

Favorite thing about plants: I love how it seems like they each have their own personalities and quirks. There’s always new things to learn about each one!

Fun facts: 
– I actually have my masters in Interior Architecture & Design, but soon after college my love for plants and my need to help others with their plant journeys took over. I was way happier inside with the change.
– I’m pretty obsessed with Corgis. I follow about 20 different ones on my personal Instagram account. The day I finally bring one home will literally be the best. day. ever.

Why she made my list: I initially met Alicia through a group of plant lovers on Instagram, and was thrilled to discover that she sells plants on Etsy. Her store, Land of Alice Studio, sells excellent-quality plants at fair prices; plus, Alicia is able to get ahold of plants that I am not able to get locally in Ohio. Oh, and did I mention she’s a total sweetheart??



Screen Shot 2018-04-04 at 8.24.08 AM.png

Favorite thing about plants: How much they have taught me – patience, mindfulness + intentionality, and letting go.

Fun fact: I was born on Valentine’s Day!

Why she made my list: I also met Eliza through a group of plant lovers on Instagram. She is a wealth of plant knowledge, and has an awesome blog. (You should totally check it out!) Another thing I love about her is that she is a mom, so we can sympathize with #momlife things together.


Screen Shot 2018-04-04 at 8.24.30 AM.png

Favorite thing about plants: Learning, exploring, sometimes failing, the bewilderment and magic, sharing and connecting with others doing the same. Not to mention the beauty it brings to any environment!

Fun fact: I make pretty decent sushi.

Why he made my list: Jonathan manages a an absolutely gorgeous Instagram feed. If you are not following him, you should be! He also has been a big encouragement to me throughout my plant journey. So thankful for this Insta-friend!


Screen Shot 2018-04-04 at 8.24.19 AM.png

Favorite thing about plants: Watching them grow and nurturing something so innocent and pure, and they way they bring life to any space!

Fun facts about me: I’m an only child. I have MANY creative outlets and started my blog so that I could honor them all instead of choosing just one. I love working with crystals to bring more balance and serenity into my life. Currently saving up for some new tattoos and a puppy.

Why she made my list: If you have had any interactions with Joi, you know that she absolutely radiates positivity and kindness. In my early Instagram days, Joi and I forged a friendship as newbies to the Instagram world and “beginning bloggers;” I am so thankful that we have formed a fast friendship since then. It’s amazing when online friends become REAL friends!


Have you met any amazing people in the plant community? How have they impacted you? Please tell me about it in the comments below!

Screen Shot 2018-04-04 at 8.39.13 AM.png

And if there’s a new Instagram account, Facebook account, or blog that I should be following – let me know! I’m always excited to meet new friends, learn new things, and invest even more in the #plantlife!

– the {house}plant momma

Spring Awakening

I’m baaaaaaaaack!

After a winter away from the world of blogging, I have returned! Spring is a time of restoration and renewal – not just in the natural world, but also for individuals. The gloom that winter brings – gray days, ice and snow, tree skeletons framing the sky – prevents not only plants from growing, but people, too.

L0mJsSY8QOiowby9OvSJ0A_thumb_738d.jpg

This winter, I have been buried. Not under depression, as I have spent many winters before, but under “life.” I am currently working two part-time jobs, working to renovate my house, and trying to balance all the aspects of being a good wife and mother. We’ve also battled sickness after sickness this winter. (Um, hand-foot-mouth is LITERALLY the most disgusting thing to ever happen in the history of ever.) It’s honestly been overwhelming. I keep waiting for life to “calm down,” but it seems that never happens. There’s been no time for me to breathe, no time for me to pursue my hobbies, no time for myself.

Real talk: winter has been hard.

FVcxSgnFSUagk0rVoLtE6A_thumb_735a.jpg

But warmer days are coming. Days filled with blue skies and balmy breezes. Days with sunshine from sun up to sundown. Days without feeling quite so “buried.” I feel winter lifting.

My plants can feel it, too. This winter has been hard on them. I have lost at least 15 plants for various reasons. Some of them died from lack of sun, as they couldn’t seem to thrive no matter where I tried to move them in the house. Others needed more moisture than I could provide (let me tell you that running a heater almost 24/7 makes a house as dry as can be!). Still others died just because…well, I really can’t figure out what happened. They just gave up the ghost.

qcEtOvk+TLm9u8YrBUAnTA_thumb_7381.jpg

However, across the last few weeks, I see signs of spring bursting from my plants. My monstera – who is still pouting from our move last September – is starting to put out some new shoots. All of my tradescantia varieties are growing new baby leaves, and are reaching out their vines. Two of my snake plants have brand new shoots pushing out of the soil.

Spring signifies hope in so many ways.

3uXqWKgwTk+dfFcRf4to4g_thumb_738e.jpg

I know I have been absent for quite some time, but I hope that you will come along with me as I continue blogging about my plant journey. I know there is still tons left to experience in this {house}plant world, and I have a whole list of new blog topics to share with you.

What do you say? Will you join me?

Screen Shot 2018-03-30 at 3.06.01 PM.png

– the {house}plant momma

HandHeld & Co.: Beautiful Art, Beautiful Heart

I moved to Dayton, Ohio eight years to be closer to my then-boyfriend/now-husband, and ended up falling in love with everything about the city. It was the city where I got married, where I became a mom to my step-son Alex, where we bought our first house, where my two babies August and Ana were born.

However, my family and I recently moved from Dayton to Columbus, Ohio. Even though Columbus is only about an hour and a half from Dayton, moving was H-A-R-D. Leaving all of those sweet memories behind, packing up our belongings, and saying goodbye to friends was, honestly, heartbreaking. As we pulled away from the house for the last time, I vowed I wouldn’t cry…but found myself blinking back tears anyway.

The first weekend we were in Columbus, I was lonely but determined to stay busy and not allow myself be miserable or sad. I saw on Instagram that an account I followed – HandHeld & Co. – was going to be part of a local street bazaar. I was thrilled that I might be able to make a connection in my new town, and messaged the owner that I would be stopping by.

The day of the bazaar, though in early September, was cold and rainy. All of my warm clothes were still packed away in boxes, as I thought I wouldn’t need them for a long time. However, I bundled up the best I could, threw on some rain boots, and headed to the bazaar.

M70+MGmDRUS39uSZtcIYdA_thumb_6d25.jpg
FREEZING, but thrilled to meet Isabella at the street bazaar!

It was there that I had my first interaction with Isabella Cartolano, owner and artist of HandHeld & Co. Not only did she have an awesome booth at the bazaar – which was evident in spite of the rain – but it was also immediately clear that this girl has a sweet spirit.

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Isabella and learn more about her journey with HandHeld.

Isabella has been making cards since she was twelve; at that time, she made scrapbooking-style cards, which were carried at several local stores in Columbus.  “And I’ve been painting since…forever,” Isabella says with a smile during our time together.

Twin Flower.jpg
Image via HandHeld & Co.

However, “life” happened, and making each card individually became too cumbersome. After taking a break from card-making for several years and attending an 30-week class focused on entrepreneurial skills, the idea was sparked for Isabella to start her own business. As a result HandHeld & Co. was born at the beginning of 2017.

Isabella says she gains much of the inspiration for her cards from one of the local nurseries, where she works fulltime. “I love working there,” Isabella tells me. (And I have to admit…the nursery where she works is my absolute favorite in the area!)

CACTISAURUS.jpg
Image via HandHeld & Co.

Each card design is hand-painted by Isabella using a combination of watercolors and gouache (which is basically an opaque watercolor), then is reproduced and beautifully packaged before being sold. She also sells place cards, gift tags, clothing patches, and pins.

But Isabella isn’t just a talented artist; she also has an amazing heart. As she was kicking off HandHeld & Co, she decided that she wanted to donate a portion of each of her sales to a cause. Through some friends, she learned of an organization in Columbus called She Has a Name, which combats human trafficking right here in Columbus.

She-Has-A-Name-Logo-504x500.png
Image via She Has a Name

According to their mission statement, She Has a Name is “committed to engaging the community, strengthening partner organizations, and equipping survivors through workforce development.” They do this in three ways: by educating communities about human trafficking, by serving as a resource and support for survivors, and by collaborating with practitioners in order to provide the best possible care to survivors. They strongly believe that “survivors of human trafficking have a name, a nobility, and a narrative.”

Ten percent of Isabella’s profits go to the organization to further the efforts of She Has a Name in our very own community!

Fiddle Leaf.jpg
Image via HandHeld & Co.

Succulents and cacti are Isabella’s “thing,” which is evident when looking at her work. Many of her cards feature beautiful succulent and cacti subjects.  When asked what her favorite houseplant was, Isabella responds, “Probably silver Philodendron and most types of Euphorbia.”

Cactus 1.jpg
Image via HandHeld & Co.

You can find HandHeld & Co. products on their website and at various festivals, bazaars, and pop-ups. (Check out the HandHeld Instagram account for updated information on events!) You can also find her products in some boutiques and stores in both Columbus and Dayton.

As a seasonal side note, I also want to add that right now HandHeld & Co. is offering some gorgeous Christmas-themed cards, shown below. If you haven’t bought your seasonal cards yet, be sure to check out the website!

Christmas.JPG
Image via HandHeld & Co.

Not only is Isabella of HandHeld an amazing artist, but she also is a kind and wonderful person.  It is a pleasure to not only live in the same community as her, but to share her amazing work here on my blog!

HandHeld.png

Check out HandHeld & Co. here:
Website: https://www.handheldandco.com
Instagram: @handheldandco

– the {house}plant momma

A Touch of Magic: All About Propagation

I have to confess something: I am a huge Harry Potter fan. When my husband and I first started dating, I noticed that he had the entire series of books in his closet. Now, not to say anything bad about my sweet hubby but…he’s not really a reader. He’d rather sit down and play his guitar for hours on end or play a video game.

When I asked him about the books, he enthusiastically told me that I absolutely had to read them because they were amazing. I had read the first book – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – in college and liked it well enough, but not enough to pursue reading the other books. However, upon his high praise and recommendation, I dove into the series.

Harry-Potter-Wizarding-World-Weekly.jpg
Image via Warner Brothers

He was right. The books were fantastic. I fell in love with each of the characters in their own right, absolutely dying inside when one of them was killed, cheering on Dumbledore’s army, swooning over the love story interwoven into the action. After reading the second book, I couldn’t stop…until I read the entire series. I was devastated when I finished the last book because there was no more. And so, I decided to start back at the very beginning again.

Further proof of my obsession: I almost named my daughter “Luna” because I love Luna Lovegood so much…

Luna_lovegood.jpg
Seriously my favorite… (Image via Warner Brothers)
spectrespecs.jpg
Can we say #freespirit? (Image via Warner Brothers)

In my opinion, one of the most enticing parts of Harry Potter is the idea of magic. We see the concept all around us – from Disney movies to video games, fantasy computer games to books like the Harry Potter series. How many times I have wished I could say, “Accio water!” from bed, and a glass of water would magically float into my room, or “Silencio!” when my three-year-old has asked me “why” 30000000 times in one hour.

Unfortunately, in the world outside of J.K. Rowling’s imagination is far less magical. If I want a glass of water, I have to march down to the kitchen to get it myself…and I have to answer “why” 30000001 times.

But there is one area of life that I consider to be simply magical, and that is propagation. It is simply amazing to me that one day, I put a seemingly nondescript plant cutting into water and when I check on it later – even sometimes as few as several days later – there are roots emerging from the stem.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_6cd0.jpg

I know it’s not magic, but to me the experience is magical.

My dining room gets awesome afternoon sun, and is where I have my little propagation station set up right now. I use a variety of jars and bottles for propagation, pretty much anything that will hold water and properly support the cuttings (i.e. I don’t use a tiny jar for a big cutting).

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_6cc0.jpg

My favorite plant by far to propagate is Tradescantia, sometimes known as spiderwort. I have propagated various varitities of this plant, including Tradescantia ‘zebrina’ (Wandering Jew Zebrina), Tradescantia ‘green and white’ (a green and white variegated Wandering Jew), and Bolivian Wandering Jew (Callisia Repens). I have had great luck with getting all three varieties to root in water. Many times, I have taken cuttings off my Wandering Jew Zebrina, have water propagated the cuttings, and have given friends these cuttings once they’ve rooted.

W+Y8wDQ0R0moKzQikXp6EQ_thumb_6cc1.jpg

Once, I tried propagating Tradescantia cuttings in soil only. They did not do well like this, and the stems ended up rotting out.

Another easy plant to propagate is Pothos. I have experimented with propagating several different varieties of Pothos, including Golden Pothos and Marble Pothos. These have done very well for me when I place them in water. In a matter of days, I notice little roots pushing out of the nodes on their stem and in what seems like no time at all, they are ready to place in soil.

Zto85UBzQ9Wz6x+dknG1eg_thumb_6cc6.jpg

Other plants that I have successfully rooted in water include Ficus benjamina, Syngonium, and Philodendron (although I should say that I have tried multiple varieties and only my Philodendron ‘brasil’ has rooted).

I have also tried propagating my Snake Plant. I have tried using both water propagation and putting cuttings in soil, but neither of these produced any results. The cuttings I put in water just turned to mush, and the cuttings I put into soil ended up drying out. I was very disappointed about these unsuccessful propagations, as Snake Plants are one of my absolute favorite plants!

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_6cc2.jpg

I tried propagating some English Ivy and some Tradescantia ‘zebrina’ once in some beautiful hanging wall vases I had. While the Tradescantia ‘zebrina’ rooted, the English Ivy did not and eventually died. Knowing what I know now, I believe it was because that wall didn’t get enough sun. (The Tradescantia ‘zebrina’ rooted much more slowly there than they have rooted when I put them in a more sunny location.)

I have read up on succulent propagation, but have only just recently had a bit of luck with it. I threw some succulent leaves into soil and have been trying to leave them alone (i.e. not water them, poke at them – ha!). I have been lucky enough to see some tiny roots emerge from the leaves, so I am hopeful that they will grow into viable plants eventually.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_6cd5.jpg

I should add that I have never worked with rooting hormones. I know that many of the fellow plant growers/collectors I follow on Instagram use that for more successful propagation. I myself have not experimented with it…yet. I’m sure in the future I’ll want to try something new and will give it a go!

Propagation is such an amazing, magical thing to be a part of. It allows me to expand my plant collection for free, but it also allows me to share my plants with friends – which really is one of my favorite parts the whole plant experience!

Propagation.png

Have you ever experienced the magic of propagation? If so, please tell me about your experiences. Also, if you have tips for me as I move forward with propagating, please feel free to share! I’m always eager to learn more!

– the {house}plant momma

 

 

Products I {Heart}: Metallic Planters

Growing up, I never really thought much of metallic tones. Maybe it was because my parents didn’t use many of them to decorate our home (aside from brass lamps in our living room), or maybe it was because my mom didn’t wear jewelry; either way, metals never really did anything for me.

When I got older and started wearing jewelry, I only liked to wear silver. I remember when I was in the 8th grade, my best friend went to London and brought me back a real silver necklace with a blue glass teardrop charm. I thought it was the most gorgeous thing I’d ever seen!

However, when I got still older, I began to appreciate metallic tones more – especially when it came to important things like my engagement ring and wedding band. You better believe I wasn’t UNinterested in metal when it came to that!

As my husband and I have worked to decorate our home, I have noticed more and more metallic items sneaking their way in. When we decorated our first home together, we only used brushed nickel and stainless steel. However, as we have been working on our new home (which has needed pretty much EVERYTHING replaced and updated), lots of gold and brass tones are making an appearance…and I’m not mad about it!

Metals are a great way to add a certain richness, depth, and shine to your space. There are so many different options to choose from – shiny to brushed finishes, gold to silver to bronze, and even rose gold is becoming popular.

Metallic planters are also a great way to accentuate your plants, as they really draw the eye. They easily take a lovely plant and make it into a statement piece. I have a few metallic planters in my home now, but here are some that have caught my eye recently.

Industrial Metal Planter 

Etsy Industrial Metal.jpg
Image via Etsy

Rossum Metallic Plant Stand (various sizes)

Anthro Rossum Metallic.jpg
Image via Anthropologie

Sahara Brass Planter

CB2 Brass Planter.jpg
Image CB2

Chrome Satin Foil Planter

Amazon Chrome.jpg
Image via Amazon 

Hammered Trio Plant Hanger

Antrho Hammered Trio.jpg
Image via Anthropologie

Eden Cross Base Standing Planter

West Elm Cross Base.jpg
Image via West Elm

Metallic Pineapple Air Plant Magnet

Etsy Pineapple Magnet.jpg
Image via Etsy

Cross Base Terrarium

West Elm Cross Base Terrarium.jpg
Image via West Elm

Sparkly Trio Air Plant Holders

Etsy Sparkly Trio.jpg
Image via Etsy

Antiqued Silver Planter

Amazon Antiqued Silver.jpg
Image via Amazon

Do you like using metallic tones in your home? Which of these planters most caught your eye? I hope you’ll tell me about it in the comments section below!

Metallic Planters.png

– the {house}plant momma

Momma’s Evening Out

My husband loves me. I mean, I know he loves me all the time, but sometimes he goes above and beyond to make me happy.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that we recently moved into a new house; what I haven’t shared, though, is that the house has been one issue after another – from carpenter ants infesting the walls to water damage to leaking pipes. The cost of moving plus the cost of all of the unexpected repairs has made us a little more financially careful right now.  It has also been emotionally exhausting.

tjwjMbyvQAm9y6C7n07WFg_thumb_6952.jpg
Love him.

About a month ago, I received an e-mail from Stump, a local plant boutique, about their upcoming workshops. One of these workshops really caught my eye – a workshop focused on creating cactus and succulent planters. I immediately wanted to go, but was hesitant to spend the money. When I mentioned it to my husband, he had one word, “Go.” That’s it. He knew how happy attending this workshop would make me, and he made my happiness a top priority.

He’s so good to me. *swoon* <Ok, I’ll stop with the mushy stuff…>

FJpMr71ORXSE80W8LgQN+Q_thumb_6d2e.jpg

0u3CEDyNS%+cEIocvadejg_thumb_6d28.jpg

I arrived to Stump the evening of the workshop, excited to get my hands dirty! The lovely owners, Emily and Brian, had the shop all set up for the workshop – including delicious snacks and drinks. For the first half an hour or so, we snacked, chatted, and admired all of the gorgeous plants Stump has to offer.

NpiVpILHQemFNpsvNyTluA_thumb_6d2f.jpg
The cactus and succulent room at Stump is kinda my favorite…

zZVvmOwuRPKY3VCo5pdZog_thumb_6d3b.jpg

And then, the real fun began! Before we began, Emily explained how to successfully make a cactus or succulent planter – first add dirt, carefully remove your plants (including how to avoid losing a finger if you were working with cacti!), set your plants carefully in the soil, and cover with a decorative soil cover. She also discussed how to care for the planters, including water and light requirements.

dcxquxqqt6wcamha7f5iq_thumb_6d29-e1511364359375.jpg
The lovely Emily giving directions
vfl8P8bFSjqkFB6pc%kh+g_thumb_6d2b
Aren’t these bowls lovely?

As soon as Emily was done demonstrating and giving instructions, she invited us to pick our plants and begin creating our planters. I meticulously poured over the plants, opting to create a cactus planter. There were so many unique options – big and small – that it was really difficult to choose the plants I wanted to use. Finally, though, I decided on five little pots of cacti, a terracotta bowl, and a light-colored soil cover.

WQwRuF0iRGi6I2MB4udvYQ_thumb_6d31.jpg
So many amazing options!
CKgTqtvgSH2KgKlVCoz52A_thumb_6d37.jpg
My selections

I began by looking carefully at my cacti and mentally figuring out how I wanted to arrange them in the planter. I moved them around in a variety of ways on the counter, trying to gauge how they would look best in my bowl. After I had an idea of how I wanted to arrange the cacti, I filled my terracotta bowl with soil.

8HlJ5XwPQlKT7+KBIAi1cQ_thumb_6d38.jpg
Concentrating…

Next, I carefully removed the cacti from their planters. I did this by first gently squeezing the outside of planter to loosen the soil. Then, I dumped out the soil and cactus gently on the counter. I removed much of the soil from the roots, trying all the while not to get pricked! I made a small hole in the dirt in my planter and carefully set the cactus down in the hole. I used my fingers, as well as the blunt end of a paintbrush, to pack down the soil around the bottom of the cactus. I then used the brush end of the paintbrush to remove excess dirt that got caught in the spikes.

obLbv0giTB6LIb0b1b9paA_thumb_6d39.jpg
Time to brush off the cacti!

Despite my best attempts, I got some pretty good pricks on the finger! Emily and Brian provided leather gloves for handling the cacti, but me – being ridiculous and stubborn – didn’t put them on.

bi91X3HXRpCRTlmYwunDPg_thumb_6d3a.jpg

After all of my cacti were in the bowl and had adequate dirt around their roots, I used a light color decorative soil cover on top of the soil and perlite. I used the paintbrush again to push the soil cover into the little nooks and crannies under the cacti.

cysKXvrfRyS64NLSDc6t7w_thumb_6d34.jpg

1rIgWixiSUeNBAcaicg6cw_thumb_6d35.jpg
Ta-da!  Finished product!

At the end of the workshop, Emily provided a care card for my planter, which will be helpful if I have any questions on how much water or light my planter needs. (I’m sure this was especially helpful for those who attended the workshop that were relatively new to plants…but as my last post discussed, I keep drowning my cacti, so I’m sure this will help me, too!)

HDhcdbAKR3ON%dYzf1WEHg_thumb_6d36.jpg

As I prepared to leave…my eye caught a gorgeous string of hearts plant for sale. I have had this on my plant wish list for AGES, so naturally I couldn’t leave without it.

Momma's Evening Out.png

My evening spent at Stump was amazing, and I left with some beautiful plants to add to my collection. Sometimes being a stay-at-home mom gets monotonous; the everyday routine can become cumbersome. I am so thankful for the opportunity to step outside of the norm and enjoy a night out!

– the {house}plant momma