Urban dwellers with green thumbs can appreciate stylish items that bring the outdoors in. Whether it's a new addition to their indoor garden or simply a pretty token of their passion for plants, these unique gifts are sure to please.
This weekend, I stopped in Santa Cruz to enjoy a perfect beach day and to also stop by a garden shop I'd been meaning to visit for some time now — DIG Gardens.
DIG (which stands for Design, Interior, Garden) cultivates a unique mix of chic style and practical products. You can buy baby chicks here for your urban chicken coop, or you can pick up one of the cool concrete and metal succulent tables from Five Feet From the Moon, a metalworking company whose wares are displayed at the shop.
There's an impressive number of lovely things to distract you at DIG, from terrariums and handmade pendant lamps to framed succulents and organic cut flowers. DIG is a shop that warrants a generous time allotment for browsing, and I did my share of wandering in the shop before picking up a few items to take home with me. As I was checking out, I couldn't help but snap a picture of this lovely mix of mercury glass and succulents, displayed at the front counter.
While I love succulents in many different types of vessels, this particular combination is really compelling. The mercury glass takes the elegance level up a notch, while the wildness of the succulents offsets the formality of the containers. This combination would work well in more traditional homes, such as Victorians or Edwardians, that would like to move in a more modern decorating direction.
If you're using a vase, cup, or other nontraditional planting vessel for your succulents, make sure to add a handful of pea gravel to the bottom of the cup and water sparingly to avoid root rot. Get started on your own mercury glass succulent collection by picking up mercury glass at flea markets or antique shops or by picking out some of these beauties below.
I'm excited to share a post from Stylelist Home. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know for caring for orchids. They're not as hard as you might imagine!
I love the elegance and the exotic feel of an orchid, but every time one winds up in my care, I find myself with a dead orchid after a short while. I do well with my other houseplants and like to think I have a green thumb. Are orchids really just that difficult?
Orchids are a lovely gift (for so many reasons), but they are not just temporary. Orchids have a few tips and tricks. They are a little bit different from other houseplants, but no more difficult.
That's sort of a relief. How can I keep the flowers in my home longer?
Flowering time on any houseplant is limited, and orchids are no different. While their bloom duration can, and often does, exceed consecutive months, they will eventually go off bloom. Losing the flower does not mean that your plant is dead or diminish the beauty of the plant itself. Check out the form of the leaves, the root structure, rhizomes, pseudo bulbs...
Wait, wait, wait...the what?
I got carried away, they're just so mesmerizing ... Many orchids are not terrestrial plants, meaning they are not growing in the ground or in a typical potting mix we often use in the home. Check out the roots when you care for your orchid and you will see that they are often potted in a much looser mix — typically a blend of sphagnum, peat and fir bark (a standard "orchid mix"). While there are different formulas for different types of orchids, an all-purpose orchid mix will get you well on your way to a happy orchid.
If they are planted in special soil doesn't it make them delicate?
Don't freak out — this potting mix readily dries out, meaning these frilly-looking beauties are actually tough as nails. They have developed water-storage means almost like a plant you would find in the desert. Some orchids have thick, knobby roots that will hold on to water (Phalaenopsis orchids or "moth" orchids). Many others feature bulbous growths that support their leaves (Oncidium orchid). The pseudobulbs serve as a water tank for storage. Others still will store water in a rhizome, or a thick root structure that also supports spreading new growth.
I guess I'm not an orchid-killer just because the flowers dropped. And now that I know they have all of these 'features' it might be a little easier for me to care for them.
These features do indicate how we should care for them and paying attention to them will certainly help. Soaking up the ambient humidity of tropical climates -- the most commonly-gifted orchids need a mock-up of this scenario in the home. While they are accustomed to rains soaking their loose, chunky growing medium, they are also used to this material drying out quickly. Be sure your orchids roots do not stay too wet for too long. The water-storage features we discussed each indicate a slightly different watering technique, but generally a thorough soaking once a week is adequate as long as the material dries in a few days.
It came inserted in a decorative sleeve. So, the water that is sitting at the bottom is a bad thing?
Take it out of its sleeve. Ideally your orchid wants a breathable, porous container or one with openings on the side, often called a standard orchid pot. Having the orchid roots be able to breath will expedite the drying time. While the roots appreciate this, the leaves are all but arid. Keep the humidity levels high by misting with water, or setting your plants on a tray of gravel and water, allowing the evaporating water to add humidity to their space. Grouping your plants together will also offer more humidity.
I'm confident on watering now but what about sun? I always thought that the more sun the more bloom when it comes to plants.
Most orchids can only handle mild sunlight. Keeping them in a sunny room, but with no sun rays reaching their leaves is absolutely perfect. While some orchid species can handle more than others, generally ensure that you shield them from direct sun rays in the middle and latter half of the day, as these are the most intense rays.
Wow — they're pretty much ideal houseplants!
Absolutely, and we've only scratched the surface, with tens of thousands of orchids species out there and more to be discovered! Then there are also all of the cultivated hybrids, as well as hybrids between different genera that we call "intergeneric orchids." Many of the terrestrial orchids are ideal houseplants because they are a little more typical and appreciate consistent soil moisture.
Granted, Anthropologie's exclusive Nieves Lavi silk print dress, which was featured on the Anthropologie Facebook page, is quite lovely. But what I adore even more is the chic styling of this photo and the unusual plant peeking out behind the model. The plant in question is sometimes called African spear plant, or sansevieria cylindrica. What you need to know, however, is that this plant is one of the easiest houseplants you can add to your home.
I bought my sansevieria cylindrica plant from Flora Grubb Gardens over a year ago, and it resides on the top of our very tall record shelves, which makes it rather inaccessible. This means that I usually forget to water it. And guess what? This sansevieria cylindrica plant doesn't seem to care. It's survived and thrived through poor watering and care, nonoptimal light conditions, and general inattention to its houseplant needs.
I can't recommend sansevieria cylindrica enough for those of you who think that you're incapable of keeping a houseplant alive. This one will not disappoint you. Even if you forget to water it for a couple months (as I have), it will survive your poor care. Black thumbs? Bring 'em on!
Keeping houseplants inside your home has a host of benefits: they clean the air, brighten up your décor, and can even elevate your mood. But not every home is equipped with the right space for indoor plants, nor does every inhabitant love the look of flower pots scattered around the house.
Enter Swedish furniture company Offecct, whose Oasis collection seamlessly melds form with function. Offecct enlisted six different designers to create the pieces, so each design is completely different. I'm especially loving the Green Pedestals and the Grip Vase; I can easily see incorporating them into my home's decor. Click through to view the rest of the collection, and tell me what you think!
For years, my experience with orchids was spotty at best. Oftentimes they died shortly after blooming, and I never had any that rebloomed. But three years ago I was given an orchid that has, since that time, rebloomed eight times, and just this past week, another orchid displayed three new flowers. When I met with gardening expert Flora Grubb last week, she told me that the real secret to orchids is to leave them alone: don't repot them, and once they find a sunny spot that they like, leave them there. Apparently I'd been heeding this advice through simple laziness. Hey, if it works, why change?
The Hand That Rocks the Cradle may have ruined greenhouses for some, but I still adore them. Unfortunately my finances and space limitations are keeping me from propping my own conservatory up, so I've found something else to satiate my greenhouse appetite — itty bitty Green Houses ($12-26) from My House Party.
The miniature structures are hand-crafted from wood and treated with an eco-friendly substance that makes it safe to spritz the air plant occupying the open space. Convertible roofs and tiny windows allow for the blooms and roots to expand and show themselves in their natural form. I can't help but imagine a village of these special little homes in my kitchen window or even along a bookshelf.
There are plenty of reasons to keep houseplants healthy and prolific in your home, including improved air quality. But if you're looking for modern planters to complement your modern home, it's often hard to find a pot that's not terra cotta, stamped, or a little too organic-looking.
Luckily, there are more and more pots on the market now that will fit in with your more streamlined decor. One of my favorite pots out there is also very easy on your pocketbook. The Grobal Self-Watering Flower Pot ($15 and up) is available in a spectrum of colors. Designed by Karim Rashid, it makes it easier for even the blackest-thumbed indoor gardener to keep her plants looking gorgeous.
Want a few other options? See some of my favorites below.
If your dining room isn't lacking for light, why not take this tip from the pages of Skona Hem and replace a chandelier with a hanging plant?
To get the look, use a Victorian plant stand, or search for a round hanging pot rack that can be augmented with hanging pots. Try using these Ikea Asker pots ($6) for your hanging plants. You can simply hook them on the pot rack hooks, and let them drape at an angle. I'd try using vining plants like heartleaf philodendron or swiss cheese plant, though ivy would also look lovely as well.
Have you tried using plants as a centerpiece in a room?