A friendly reminder from your resident plant lady

I posted this picture on instagram yesterday:

It makes me laugh every time.

Side note: When messing around with the letterboard, I cut that delicate skin underneath my fingernails on two of my fingers and now they hurt. Oh, the things you do for letterboard-ing.

It is no secret that I have a thing for indoor plants. Just one look around almost any room in the house and you’re likely to find something green.

In the family room:

(photo from the family room pillow post)

In the kitchen:

(photo from a quick kitchen update tour)

In the living room:

(photo from the living room reveal)

In the dining room:

(photo from the dining room makeover)

In the bedroom:

simple bedside styling (photo from a bedroom tour – sort of)

In the studio:

(photo from the summer studio tour)

True story:

Audrey and I went up into the studio to wrap a present the other day. She saw a little vignette on the desk with a tray and some notecards, a frame on the wall behind it, a spool of ribbon. She wondered what it was out for and I told her I had just taken a few photos. She replied instantly with, “I think it needs something green.” My girl has never spoken truer words :)

Also? How in the world did she know this?! Our kids pick up such random things from us without us saying a thing.

Since we’re nearing the end of winter, and spring is fast approaching (yay!) it’s time to start thinking about bringing more green into the house.

I do a fairly good job of keeping plants alive year round, but there are a handful that just didn’t make it between the summer and now. I had a big, beautiful fern in the studio that I brought into the house this fall and it did not like the change of scenery. There’s a cool plant I bought last summer called String of Pearls (see it here) that is mostly shriveled now. Maidenhair ferns are temperamental and only last a few months. I don’t let it get me down, though.

My philosophy on indoor house plants is that for about the same price as a cut bouquet of flowers, I can get a plant that will last much, much longer. If after a few months it dies, or looses its leaves or starts to look ragged, I feel okay about sending it off into the woods behind our house. It brought me joy for far longer than cut flowers would have.

So this spring, don’t be afraid to bring a plant or two into your house and follow these few tips:

  1. Make sure it is an indoor plant. Basically, if you find it in an indoor greenhouse, it should be fine.
  2. Pot it in a container with holes for draining. Or just pop the plastic container it came in into a more decorative pot (see below) and you’re set.
  3. Place it where there is indirect sunlight. Most plants don’t like to be in direct light, almost all need at least moderate light. So a windowless bathroom might not be the best place, nor the windowsill that is pounded by sunlight all morning.
  4. Keep it watered. Set a reminder on your phone, create a regular routine, have your kids do it as a chore. Use a mister, ice cubes, a watering can, a drinking glass. Whatever it takes. Just don’t forget to water :)

Need a couple of container suggestions? Here are a few of my favorites from around the internet.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12

As for my go-to plants, check out this post.

Happy (almost) Spring!

22 Responses to A friendly reminder from your resident plant lady

  1. Nilu March 1, 2018 at 11:27 am #

    Thanks to your recommendation about the ZZ plant from a previous post. It is growing and thriving..I haven’t killed it yet!

  2. bonnie March 1, 2018 at 8:54 am #

    Love all of your plants! I’ve got a fiddle fig and two ferns that I’m loving so much! My local florist that I bought them from says she learned this saying from her grandmother on how to remember to water her plants each week…she uses “holy water” every Sunday on them! I just love that sentiment and have a weekly reminder in my phone for my own holy water :)

  3. Kristin February 28, 2018 at 8:58 pm #

    Buy some diatomaceous earth and lightly sprinkle a bit of it over the top of the dirt. It won’t hurt your plants but it will get rid of any insects that are making their home in your plant.

  4. Nancy February 28, 2018 at 8:58 pm #

    Emily – this has nothing to do with plants. Sorry.
    I am wondering where you got your kitchen table (black with the crossed legs). I’ve looked for the source, but haven’t seen it yet. Can you help, please?

    • emily February 28, 2018 at 11:37 pm #

      The table is almost 10 years old from CB2. We wish we bought a second, it is such a great, simple, useful table.

  5. Esther February 28, 2018 at 5:05 pm #

    I agree with the bugs being an issue. It’s one of the reasons I don’t keep fresh herbs. I would love a solution! I have found it best to leave indoor plants indoors even when the weather is nice. This does seem to help with some of the bug issues. I also found if you don’t pay close attention to them when you move them, they will die more easily due to temperature changes, etc.,

  6. Ann C. February 28, 2018 at 3:40 pm #

    Philodendron and pothos are great indoor plants that tolerate lower light. I’ve had some of mine for several years, and they still look healthy with lots of new growth. Plenty of plants die because they’ve been OVER watered. Once a week, I find, is a good rule of thumb for most plants, but I water them thoroughly. Indoor plants are also very trendy again.

  7. Kelsey February 28, 2018 at 2:59 pm #

    Hi! What do you do when the plant does really well and gets bigger and bigger and bigger, but can’t go outside? I almost feel better if it dies and I can toss it out, but now the plants are great but I just don’t know what to do with the size!

    • Theresa Stewart February 28, 2018 at 3:39 pm #

      Depending on the plant, you can top it off to shorten it, sometimes using the piece(s) you cut off to make more plants. Do a search for the plant you have and follow the instructions. Good Luck!

    • Sarie February 28, 2018 at 11:41 pm #

      You can either repot it in a larger pot (only go up a few inches in diameter to keep the roots healthy). If you don’t want to repot the plant in a larger pot, you can trim the rootball. Remove the roots from the pot and trim about 1″ off the sides and bottom and then repot back in the original pot with fresh potting soil. This can be done on most house/greeenhouse plants, but I would avoid doing this to any “delicate” species.

  8. Shelly February 28, 2018 at 12:52 pm #

    I am not sure if you have a Lowes where you live, but if you do you can get your money back if the plant you buy from there dies in the first year. So I get all my plants at Lowes so if it dies I just take it back with the receipt and get a new one.

    • emily February 28, 2018 at 1:16 pm #

      I had no idea! Thanks for the tip!

  9. Karen February 28, 2018 at 11:39 am #

    I have really good luck shopping for pretty, unique pots at Ross Dress for Less or TJ Maxx. :) They are pretty cheap too!

  10. Vi397 February 28, 2018 at 11:01 am #

    Try an orchid. The blooms last for months and the plant is beautiful. Easy to care for. I love them!

    • emily February 28, 2018 at 1:18 pm #

      I used to keep an orchid in the guest bathroom in the old house and always loved it in there. We don’t have a window in our guest bath in this house, so plants don’t do well. I’ll have to get another orchid, though for another spot in the house!

  11. Laura February 28, 2018 at 11:01 am #

    Where did you find the plant pots and containers that are pictured above? Can you send links or list the online places where you bought them? I’ve been hunting for the right pots for months now. Thank you!

    • emily February 28, 2018 at 1:19 pm #

      All of the pots are linked to their sources (see those little numbers below the graphic? Those are all links)

  12. Kelly February 28, 2018 at 10:54 am #

    I love plants and have four of them but I have two issues: finding a good place to put them in the house that looks good and what to do with plants that don’t look pretty. I have a begonia stem cutting that I have had for like 3 years and it’s kust not growing full. It’s a single stem with like two or three leaves on it. Don’t know if I should get rid of it and get something fuller. The other plant is a philodendron and the stems are all all over the place and if I bend them up or use a stick to hold them up, they may break off because they are used to being bent and growing a certain way. That’s what I need help on.

    • emily February 28, 2018 at 1:22 pm #

      My thoughts:
      Get rid of anything that doesn’t make you happy when you look at it (or can’t easily be revived). I hold on to dried out ferns way too long. Let them go!
      As for the philodendron, my sister gave me hers as it was overtaking her small kitchen. It started getting very arm-y and I decided to cut the stems about halfway up. It has been fine and much less crazy.

  13. Ellen February 28, 2018 at 10:39 am #

    I love indoor plants and greenery however I find that bring with it little gnat type bugs. Is that just me or you too? If so what do you do to get rid of the little buggers?

    • nicole February 28, 2018 at 1:26 pm #

      me too Ellen. If anyone has any suggestions? I would love to start Spring with real plants in my house again. I got so discouraged a while ago when I had tiny gnats that I brought them outside on my deck. They all went to ‘plant heaven’ shortly after.

  14. hayley February 28, 2018 at 10:10 am #

    I always feel massive amounts of guilt when I let a plant die (which happens often!), but Emily I love this new way of thinking about them as a slightly longer lasting alternative to cut flowers!

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