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Welcome to the Amazon Alexa Skill: Houseplant Tips and Tricks

 

November 16, 2018

We're going to be talking about plant pairing and plant design today. The typical way most people choose their plants is by finding the ones that look best to them; and there is nothing wrong with that! But if you want to take your plant design to the next level, think about contrasting them. You can contrast color, overall plant shape, leaf shape, flowering versus non-flowering, and plant sizes; just about everything. An easy one to try is contrasting color. Try out a Moonshine Snake plant, which has a sage green-like color to it, and very smooth leaves, contrasted against a Peace Lily, that has very dark green leaves with pronounced venation, and bright white flowers. Another favorite of ours is contrasting the Golden Pothos with the Marble Queen or Neon Pothos. It makes for a very symmetrical combination since they are both the same size and shape, but the colors starkly contrast. If you have any questions about contrasting, or would like some tips, reach out using the chat feature! Thanks for listening, see you all tomorrow!

November 15, 2018

Today we're talking about the difference between watering styles. We're going to make a broad generalization to simplify this topic and place houseplants in two categories. Think of them as two groups of watering needs. The first is the more drought tolerant category. This group thrives in moist soil, should dry out before being watered again, and reacts very poorly to overwatering. Think of Snake Plants, Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees, Dracaenas, and Pothos. When you water these types of plants, make the soil thoroughly moist, but no need to soak the plant for extended durations and make the soil too muddy. This can get you into some trouble with these drier houseplants. The second group also thrives in moist soil, but if the soil dries out, the plant will show signs of distress, and tends to react more strongly to underwatering. This second group is quite water loving. Think of Lilies, Spiders, and other plants with soft tissue type leaves. This group can be soaked in water, and the soil can become quite wet and muddy usually without issue. We recognize this is a simplified way to classify houseplants, and there is a middle group, but it helps to understand how much to water. To recap, plants with tough leathery leaves you want to keep the soil between moist and dry between waterings. Then there is a group with more delicate leaves, you want to keep between moist and wet between waterings, making sure to not let the soil dry out. We hope this helps out the most challenging topic for plant parents! Have a great day!

November 14, 2018

Today is about the commonly confused Pothos and Philodendrons. We're definitely guilty of confusing these easy to care for plant families. Both plants can be climbing vines, make for great hanging plants, and have spade shaped leaves! They look very similar, but have some nuanced differences. First off, the Pothos has more of a cupped leaf, with a slightly bumpy texture, and a waxy feel. Its leaf colors tend to be very bright. The philodendron typically has a flatter leaf, with a smooth texture, and a matte feel; and its leaves tend to be more muted in their color. The leaf stems on the Pothos are quite thick, whereas the philodendron leaf stems are more delicate! Try out either of these popular plants for an easy to care for classic! Thanks for listening!

November 13, 2018

With winter approaching fast, and the first frosts settling in, it's an appropriate time to talk about plants freezing. Some plants are able to withstand freezing temperatures, but houseplants certainly are not able to. We've all left a can of soda in the freezer too long and it explodes, right? This is because the water inside configures its H2O compounds to be hexagon shape, therefore consuming more space. Think of a snowflake, and the geometry found in those unique shapes! This same concept happens inside the cell walls of plants. Their water storage vessels, outgrow the space provided when freezing, and their cells burst too. Some frost can be recovered from, but a full freeze on a houseplant will kill it quite quickly! Keep your plants warm this year by keeping them indoors! Thanks for listening! We'll see you tomorrow!

November 12, 2018

Hello everyone! In light of the California fires, today we're going to talk about low humidity and dry conditions, and its effect on houseplants. Houseplants are from regions exactly opposite of cold and dry. Most of our houseplants come from the tropical regions of Central America and Africa. It's often humid and warm in the tropics -- think vacation weather! So to combat the cold and dry air, make sure your plants aren't directly in the draft of a window or door; or even outside. You can put a tray of pebbles, rocks, or marbles in a saucer near your plant and fill in with water. The pebbles will provide varied surface area to allow some moisture to be released. You can even add a fan pointed at the water to encourage evaporation. If you have access to it, a humidifier is a great option too! Your plants are going to dry out much faster in this weather, so keep an eye on the soil! Thanks for tuning in! See you all tomorrow!

November 11, 2018

The amount of light you give your plants is crucial to their success. Logically, it is the primary driver of growth. Too much and the leaves will bleach or burn. Too little, and growth will be slowed. Keep in mind, many house plants come from the jungles of central and south america, as well as Africa. So they are acclimated to bright, but indirect light. Full sun will harm most common house plants. A handy way to measure light levels is to measure the strength of the shadow casted by the plant. With most common house plants, excluding succulents, if the shadow cast by the plant has hard edges, the plant is receiving too much light. Aim to have a soft edged shadow. If you would like to get a bit more scientific, try downloading a light meter app for your smartphone from your favorite app store. Thanks for tuning in! See you tomorrow!

November 10, 2018

Today is an episode devoted to the plants in our lives. At Pretty in Green, we truly think the Plant Kingdom is one of the most underrated of them all. Plants have created the majority of the oxygen we breathe. They also consume heat trapping gases, like carbon dioxide, that are toxic to us in high concentrations. Look around the room you're in. I bet you can identify numerous furniture items that are made from the wood of plants. Maybe it's the morning and you're going to enjoy a big cup of coffee -- a seed from a fruiting plant in central america. Look at your bed, or the shirt you're wearing. Probably made from cotton plants. The majority of a healthy diet is plant based, too. Olive oil, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. We owe a lot to plants. We wouldn't be here if it weren't for them! Thanks for tuning in everyone! By the way, I think it's time I introduce myself. Although we have Alexa verbalize our flash briefings, my name is Chris. I'm a co-owner of Pretty in Green Plants, an online plant store. Thank you for listening everyday. We truly appreciate the engagement and interaction with listeners. Please reach out on Instagram or Facebook and say hi! At Pretty in Green Plants. Have a great weekend everyone!

November 9, 2018

Did you know some genera of plants have separate male and female plants? The male plants contain the stamen, which produces the pollen. And the female plants contain the ovaries, and pistils, which collects the pollen. However, most plants contain both reproductive organs on one plant. And are born as both sexes. This means that they can self-pollinate, although for the strength of the offspring, it's best to be pollinated by another plant all together. Crossing two different plants in the same species allows for breeding out weak genes, and strengthening superior ones; therefore leading to a healthier line of plants in the long run! Thanks for tuning in to the Pretty in Green tip of the day! See you tomorrow!

November 8, 2018

Today is about developing a healthy habit of checking in on your plants. Creating a schedule for watering will simplify your life, and yield more success with your plants. The primary benefit will be helping to avoid over and underwatering. On our plant labels, we often give watering suggestions denominated in weeks. Water every one, two, or three weeks. This is given as a rule of thumb, but there are too many variables that will change how much water a plant consumes. We suggest developing a habit of checking in on your plants once a week. Every Sunday, at 3PM -- hint, set a reminder on your phone so you don't forget -- go around to all of your plants, and dig a finger into the soil one to two inches, and feel if it's moist. If it is, your plant is probably fine without water. Repeat this process on all of your plants; it shouldn't take very long. Use your intuition to tell if a plant needs water, and remember how much it rains in the region your plant is from. And most intuitively, feel the plants leaves and determine how much water they can hold in! We hope this tip helps you water more effectively! Have a great day everyone!

November 7, 2018

Today is the final episode on supplemental plant lighting. So, after learning a bit about plant grow lights, let's say you decide to jump in and purchase a grow light. It's highly likely you'll choose a blue and red spectrum LED light that will be sold as a full spectrum light. It will provide both the blue and red spectrum of light visible to plants. Once you get the light, make sure to place it close to the top of your plant. Light intensity decreases heavily with distance. Place your light between eight and eighteen inches from the top of your plants. If you purchased an LED light above twenty watts, increase spacing closer to two feet away, as to not burn your plants! Put your light on a timer, or turn on as needed. But remember, your plants will photosynthesize more now, and consume more water, so make sure to water and fertilize regularly! Let us know if you have any questions about the topics discussed!

November 6, 2018

Today continues our series on supplemental plant lighting. The spectrum of light you give a plant is important to the type of growth it will stimulate. Think of lighting in two categories of color temperature, blue and red spectrums. Generally speaking, the blue spectrum simulates winter and spring months, while the red light simulates summer and fall. The blue spectrum will promote bushy growth, leaf development, and root development. Your red spectrum of grow lights will create flowering conditions for a plant, and this warm spectrum of light is required for the fruiting of a plant. The warm spectrum also has a tendency to grow plants up much taller, with more space between their nodes. The cool spectrum will promote the opposite; developing thicker stems, with tighter spacing between nodes, allowing for heavier fruits to be held by the plant. First, a plant needs the cool spectrum of light to develop its infrastructure, then it can focus on flowering and fruiting! Grow lighting will be rated in Kelvin Color Temperature. The higher the number, the cooler the color temperature will be. Tune back in tomorrow for the final episode on plant lighting! Thanks for listening!

November 5, 2018

With days continuing to shorten, and daylight savings beginning in some areas, we figured a series on supplemental lighting would be appropriate. In an attempt to keep our plants happy, many indoor plant enthusiasts use supplemental lighting. Now this doesn't have to be highly sophisticated and expensive lighting, it just has to be the right type of bulb. You cannot use incandescent bulbs for growing plants. Those are the old ones that got really hot, and consumed between sixty and a hundred watts. What works is LED lights, Fluorescent Tubes, and Compact Fluorescent Lights -- also known as a CFL bulbs. You likely have some of these, or a mixture of these in your home already! Adding supplemental lighting can be as simple as keeping a nearby lamp on for your plants! Or you can take it to the next level and buy plant specific grow light bulb. We suggest the LED based bulbs, as they are the most energy efficient, emit the least amount of heat, and typically have a good spectrum of colors! They can be found for as little as ten dollars! Check back in tomorrow for an episode on the spectrum of light that plants prefer! Thanks for listening!

November 4, 2018

Do you live or work in a noisy space? Plants have the ability to insulate areas and absorb and refract noise in rooms and offices. Because of their varied leaf shapes and angles, when plants receive sound waves, they disperse them and quiet them naturally. This can be a large benefit for a home office, open office floor plan, or classroom. Any busy space with talking and noise can be improved by decreasing echo and sound bounce on dense and hard walls. And plants will also be absorbing some of the carbon dioxide from the people, and providing them with oxygen so they can talk more! Wooohooo! Try out a dense bunching of Sansevieria along walls to minimize echos in your office or home! Have a great Sunday everyone!

November 3, 2018

Did you know that the spider plant is a flowering plant? It belongs to the Clade of Angiosperms! It is one of our favorites at Pretty in Green, due to its easy care, rapid growth, unique look, and that you can harvest its offsets; also known as plantlets. If you want to harvest its plantlets, start with a seedling mix of perlite and peat moss. Moisten the mixture, and put it in two or three inch pots. Then, bury one of the offshoots from the mother plant at the node point. It should be where the plant naturally bends. In a few weeks, you'll see new growth from the baby spider plant. When there is obvious growth, cut the baby from the mother plant and expose it to medium light and don't let the soil dry out. After a few more weeks, you can transplant it to a bigger pot! This plant will be genetically identical to the mother plant! Good luck with the challenging, but fun process of offset propagation! Thanks for tuning in, and we'll see you tomorrow!

November 2, 2018

Today is an emergency episode about the Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree. We recently hosted an open house at our greenhouse, and noticed a misconception about this popular tree! The most popular myth about the Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree is that it's hard to take care of. We were shocked to hear this, because it is one of the more low maintenance plants. We think it's seen as hard to care for because of two reasons. First off, it doesn't need that much water. Feel the Fiddle's leaves. They're pretty tough and leathery; that means they can hold in a good amount of water. With that said, let your Fig's soil dry out between waterings, almost completely. The second key tip to make a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree low maintenance is to give it a bunch of light! We have one outdoors that gets filtered sunlight a couple hours a day, and is absolutely thriving! Get it right up next to that window, but monitor it isn't getting sunburnt! With these tips, you should have no problem with the Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree. Just water it every two weeks, and put it in the brightest spot in your house, just out of the sunshine! Have a great rest of your day!

November 1, 2018

 

Yesterday was about plants growing toward light; a phenomenon called phototropism. Today is about a similar condition called Gravitropism. As the name suggests, gravitropism is when plants grow with or against gravity. Most plant stems grow against gravity; away from the earth, so this is negative gravitropism. When roots grow with gravity, it's called positive gravitropism. Charles Darwin was one of the first to scientifically document roots growing with gravity, and plants growing against it. It seems logical, but is quite interesting when you see it in action. Think of a tree growing out from the side of a mountain. It initially grows outward, as a sapling, but begins to bend upward, so it is directly perpendicular to the direction of the ground. Quite amazing that plants react to the experience of gravity, similar to how humans do! Check out a video of this in the how to section of our site! Thanks for listening, and we'll see you tomorrow!

October 31, 2018

Today is about a condition you have likely witnessed in one of your house plants. It's called phototropism, and is when a plant bends toward the direction of light. If you have a plant near a window, you've probably witnessed this. It's an interesting phenomenon since it proves a plant's ability to determine the location of light. The condition of positive phototropism doesn't only occur in plants, but also in fungi. Plants and fungi arrange themselves and their chloroplasts in a way that harnesses as much light energy as possible. Bending in towards the light makes them effectively perpendicular to the light, and exposes as much leaf surface area to light. The condition of negative phototropism can also occur, and that is when plants avoid light. This condition often occurs in roots, since roots can be harmed in direct light.
October 30, 2018

Today is the last episode of the flower series. This is a bonus episode on seed germination. So far in our story, our plant has been pollinated, the seed has fully developed, and it has made its way down from the plant to a rooting medium. Now, in many scenarios, flower pollination occurred in late spring or summer, seed development was achieved through the summer, and the seed is released in the fall. In northern latitudes, this seed will hunker down for a cold and wet winter. Most seeds will go dormant, and not sprout due to the cold temperature. When the temperature gets closer to sixty degrees fahrenheit, and there is adequate moisture in the soil, our seed will begin its germination; usually over the course of one to three days. It will grow a root system and sprout its cotyledon, also known as its first leaves. Many seedling will not make it through this phase, but those that do will be the strongest of them all! Thanks for tuning in! See you tomorrow!
October 29, 2018
Today we continue on our flower series. So far, we've talked about how flowers are pollinated, and the seed is developed by the host plant. Today is about seed dispersal, and how seeds make their way from the mother plant, into a rooting medium to develop a new plant. Probably the most interesting example of seed dispersal is that of conifers that require fire to break open their seed pods, and drop the seeds. In some pine-like trees in northern latitudes, the heat from a forest fire is required to break open the seed pod, and release the seed. A large amount of seeds are dispersed by animals; either by being eaten and digested, or by being attached to the animals. The latter are aptly named hitchhiker seeds. Their ingenious, but sharp, thorned sides attach to animals or humans and literally travel around the world! Some seeds are so ingenious that they only need the help of the wind to carry their seed. Some seeds have glider-like wings that allow them to fly in a brisk wind, and some even look like little satellites. The milkweed seed harnesses the power of the wind to carry its seed over four hundred miles! Quite incredible! Tune back in tomorrow for a bonus episode on seed germination.
October 28, 2018
Today we continue our flower series. Yesterday we talked about how the pollen reaches the plant's female parts. Today we'll talk about developing the seed. Once successful pollination has occured, the flower will close. The petals will begin to droop, and over time, will be dropped, to leave only the pregnant ovaries left on the stem. This area will begin to swell, not unlike what occurs in animals. For the next one to ten or more weeks, seeds will be developed. The plant will now only focus on developing as many fertile seeds as possible. This is the plant's primary and sole goal. Sometimes these seeds are by themselves without anything surrounding them, and sometimes they have fruit to entice animals and insects to eat the seeds and spread them far and wide. Once the seeds are fully developed, the plant will begin to release the seeds from itself to continue the long process of reproduction. Check back in tomorrow for how seeds make it from the host plant and back into the ground to grow!
October 27, 2018
Today we're kicking off a series about flowers. Flowers serve many purposes for humans, but for plants, they are only there to serve one goal; and that is to spread their seed and reproduce. Flowers come in many shapes and sizes, and the reason for this has to do with the type of pollinator. There are nearly limitless variations in pollination. But the primary methods are wind, insect, and animal pollination. Did you know some flower pollen is carried for miles to find a partner to pollinate? Insect pollination may be obvious, since we've all seen bees pollinate flowers, but our favorite is when ants walk into a flower to receive their reward of sugar water, or sap, and in doing so, they pick up pollen from the flower, and carry it to the plant's ovaries. The classic example of animal pollination is a bird drinking the sap of a flower. The hummingbird is an incredible pollinator and has many trumpet-like flowers that are uniquely suited to its long beak. It's thought that the beak of a hummingbird has adapted over time to become a long tube to reach the depths of these long flowers. Crossing the male and female parts of flowers is only the first step of pollination. Next up is developing the seed and carrying it away from the host plant! Check in tomorrow for part two!
October 26, 2018

Determining when to water succulents, and drought-loving plants can be quite a challenge. They don't want to be overwatered, but let them go dry for an extra week, and you might find your snake plant wrinkling up! And to clarify, when we say succulents, we don't only mean cacti; we're referring to any plant with a thick shell over its leaves and a fleshy inside that holds in its water. The best way to tell when to water, is to determine your soil is completely dry. Stick your finger in the pot, or use an object to make sure the soil isn't dark -- meaning it still contains water. As soon as it completely drys out, water it. And water slowly. Let each bit absorb. Water should come out of the bottom of the pot. This can be done easily using a watering can with a quarter inch outlet to make sure the water can only come out so fast. We have a few like this in our store.  It's also important to make sure your succulent soil imitates the desert landscape. It shouldn't have a great deal of organic, water-holding matter. It should be objects that don't hold much water; like perlite, sand, and rocks. This will ensure your plant doesn't suffer from root rot! We hope this houseplant tip helps you have more success with succulents! Thanks for listening, and we'll see you tomorrow morning!

October 25, 2018

Today we are continuing with our Monstera Deliciosa fun fact series. Yesterday we talked about how Monsteras grow towards darkness. This is because in their natural habitat, darkness means a taller tree is blocking off the sun with its bigger leaves. So if they can reach the darkest point and push through that foliage, they will find an ocean of sunlight. But what happens when they find that direct light? So happy you asked! When the Monstera leaves are exposed to bright light, the structure and shape of their leaves change, and they begin to split. The splits, or holes you see on Instagram's most famous Monsteras, properly known as fenestrations, are a result of this light exposure. It goes something like this: in the tropical forests, where it rains daily, exposure to sunlight means direct exposure to raindrops, so as a survival mechanism the Monstera creates these holes, or fenestrations, on its leaves to allow raindrops through without puncturing them, tearing through, or pooling on its often-massive leaves inviting molds and other pathogens. Pretty smart, huh? We think so! Hope you enjoyed today's episode on the popular Monstera Deliciosa, please come back tomorrow for more houseplant tips and tricks!

October 24, 2018

Today we are talking about some fun facts on one of our favorite plants, the mighty Monstera Deliciosa. The Monstera is native to the tropical rainforests of southern Mexico, Central America and Colombia, where they reach up to 65 feet in height! They are naturally climbing plants, so if you have one at home, be sure to give yours a pole to attach itself to. Once their air roots attach to the pole and they begin climbing, you'll notice some interesting changes in behavior. Like the the leaves and branches reorienting themselves towards the darkest areas. This is because they think that the shade is provided by the host tree's large leaves, and if they climb towards the darkness, they will eventually make their way through the foliage and find the sun! Quite a smart plant!  We hope you enjoyed learning more about this popular plant, we'll be back tomorrow with a few more interesting bits on the Monstera Family!

October 23, 2018

Today's episode is about the true difference between organic and inorganic soil. An easy way to think of it is, in organic gardening, the soil feeds your plants; and in non organic gardening, fertilizers feed your plants. When using organic soils, the microbes in the soil break down the wood chips and other materials, and make nutrients available to your plants. With chemical, inorganic soils, the soil acts simply as a holder of water, and fertilizer needs to be added back in addition to the soil; since the soil's biology is likely dormant, and not able to feed the plants. At Pretty in Green, we always use a custom blend of organic soil, even if it's more expensive, because our plants will do better in the long run, and it's easier on the environment. Chemical fertilizer is derived from oil and gas, and is incredibly energy intensive to produce. Try using worm castings, compost, and an organic soil blend for your plants. They'll be happier and it's more affordable in the long run! See you tomorrow morning!

October 22, 2018

Today is about variegation is houseplant leaves. Variegation is the absence of chlorophyll pigmentation in parts of a leaf or stem. Often presented as white stripes or patches on leaves, these plants are highly sought after in the plant community because of their rare look. However, they are very rare in nature, and mostly originate from the jungle regions of the world; where most of our house plants come from! Interestingly, variegation is actually a cell mutation. Due to the green parts of a plant being able to carry out photosynthesis, variegated leaves have less potential to convert sunlight to energy, and therefore grow slower than their non-variegated counterparts. If you have a variegated plant and want to replicate it, you can likely do so by stem cuttings. The new cutting should also possess the variegation in its leaves! Thank you for listening! See you tomorrow!

October 21, 2018

Today is about the self pruning of plants. That is, when plants release leaves that are unneeded. We're going to focus on when this happens in two types of plants. The first are those with bushy growth and many growth shoots, such as Pothos or philodendrons. And the other is those with one to a few primary growth shoots, such as a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree or a Dracaena. Assuming your plant is in the correct conditions, it is completely normal for leaves to deteriorate and fall off. In a bushy plant such as the Pothos, which has many growth shoots, you'll find that lower leaves receiving less light are browning off. This is completely normal. In plants with one, or a few primary growth stems, such as a fig tree, you'll find the tree can only support the top ten leaves or so; and as it grows from the primary stem, which is located at the top of the plant, it will self-prune the lower leaves to free up resources for the new growth. A great visual example of this is the massive palm trees found in California and Las Vegas. There is one primary stem, the trunk of the tree, then a few palm leaves at the very top, which are green. And all the way up the sides of the tree, you can see where the old leaves existed, then were self-pruned by the plant, and eventually removed by a tree trimmer. That's what gives palm trees the texture of their trunk. Those are the stems of many leaves trimmed off over the years! Thank you for tuning in, see you all tomorrow!

October 20, 2018

You can learn a lot from a plant by looking closely at its leaves. Notice the pattern of the veins. What direction is the venation? Is there a primary vein, then smaller veins branching out? Or are the veins parallel to one another? You can learn what clade, or branch of plant family, a plant belongs to by observing the veins of the leaves. There are two segments of plant families, monocots, and dicots; meaning one or two cotyledons. That's the first leaf that comes out from a seed. If the leaf has parallel veins, it will have one leaf when it comes out from seed or bulb. Think of a tulip, or an iris. The veins all go in the same direction, and there is one leaf when the plant is young. Now think of a tomato seedling. When it comes up from the soil, there are two baby leaves, since it is a dicot. And the leaf venation is webbed and complex. These two plant families contain all of our houseplants. Can you guess what class the Snake plant is in? Does it have parallel veins, or webbed veins? Does that make it a monocot or dicot? Direct message us on instagram @prettyingreenplants, to tell us your guess! The first three people to message us correctly will get a complimentary baby snake plant! Good luck!

Dicot(above)
Monocot(above)
October 19, 2018

Today is about keeping your soil the correct moisture. Since plants stand upright using internal water pressure, you want to keep your roots moist, and not let them dry out. But too wet, and the roots will begin to decompose and develop root rot; since they won't have oxygen. It's a careful balance that you'll learn to strike just right. Each plant will be different. You want to test the moisture of your soil where the roots are. For developed plants, this is throughout the whole plant. For younger plants, or those that have been recently transplanted, test the soil moisture between the bottom and the middle of the pot. It is usually a safe bet to assume the middle and bottom of the pot are more damp than the top soil, since the top is always being exposed to open air. You can dig a finger into the soil to check a few inches down, or use a soil moisture tester, which measures the conductivity of the soil, since moisture conducts electricity. That concludes our briefing for today! Thanks for tuning in!

October 18, 2018

As the weather gets cooler and we start spending more time indoors, keeping an eye on the indoor air quality of our homes and offices becomes more important. So today we are going to talk about the best air purifying plants for each room in the house. Keeping plants in bedrooms is often considered to be a bad idea, because at night they consume oxygen like we do, and we don’t want to compete with them for fresh air. However, Snake Plants are one of the few that produce oxygen at night instead of during the day, so they freshen up the air while we sleep and help us get better rest. Peace Lilies are perfect for bathrooms. Not only do they love the humidity and tolerate low light, but they also absorb mold spores, keeping our bathrooms and shower curtains clean of mildew. For the living room, or the space where we spend the most time, a Golden Pothos is ideal. They are easy to care for and clean the air of all the toxins most commonly found in American homes, so adding one to your home will help you stay healthy this winter! Thanks for tuning in, and we'll see you tomorrow!

October 17, 2018

Today is about the rare Pilea Peperomioides. Known commonly as the Chinese Money Plant, and our favorite nickname, the UFO plant. Its leaves look like little flying saucers! Growing natively only in China, the Pilea is found growing in the damp, shady areas of mountainous areas. It is actually thought to potentially endangered in its native region of China. Though, the Chinese and the rest of the world cultivate it as a houseplant. The Pilea is very easy to grow, needing medium, indirect light and a watering every one to two weeks. It is a slow grower, so it can be challenging to find for sale. We just released a line of Baby Pileas. It is a very unique plant, and will catch the attention of your houseguests! If you can find it, give the Pilea Peperomioides a chance to update the interior of your home or office! See you all tomorrow!

October 16, 2018

Now that fall is well underway, and the winds are beginning to pick up, it's important to maintain moisture in your plants' soil and leaves. Low humidity in winter and fall can dry out house plants too quickly. Add in the effect of household heaters, and you can expect your humidity levels to drop down well below forty percent. Even though it's not as hot as summer, this cool and dry air can strip your soil of its moisture, just like it does to our skin. Make sure to check your soil every couple days to make sure it hasn't gone dry on you. And try to mist the undersides of your plants' leaves as a supplement. It will not add back much moisture, but it will get their humidity levels back closer to the sixty to eighty percent that they are used to! We just got some great looking stainless steel watering cans in stock that are cheaper in price than Amazon! Go check them out! Thanks for tuning in today, see you all tomorrow!

 

October 15, 2018

Today is about the vascular systems of plants. There are two primary transportation structures in plants. Xylem and Phloem. Xylem is responsible for moving water and nutrients throughout the plant. Phloem is responsible for transporting sugars. From the roots, all the way to the top of the plant. It is actually one of the factors that limit height in trees. Interestingly enough, plants don't use any pumping system -- such as a heart -- to propel liquids vertically, against gravity. Yet, trees get water and nutrients to leaves hundreds of feet from their roots. Plants use negative pressure in their inner vessels to vertically move water and nutrients. Think of a wick being dunked in water. The water will climb the dry wick, until it is saturated. This is how plants transport liquids, too. Next time you look at a tree stump to count the rings to determine its age, look at those little chambers throughout the stump. Those tubes carry water, nutrients, and sugars throughout the plant! Thank you for tuning in! See you tomorrow!

 

October 14, 2018

Today is about Aerial Roots. Often known as Adventitious Roots. These types of roots, which seem to grow out of the side of the stems of plants, can be found on various plants such as Orchids, Monstera Deliciosas, and Philodendrons. They look woody, and more like stems, but are a bit more flexible. The Philodendrons put out a nodal type that have terrestrial looking roots. These roots are looking for soil or other structure to anchor into. Some Aerial Roots act as structure to hold the plant up, while others absorb water and nutrients as terrestrial roots do. But some aerial roots are actually to provide the plant with more air if the terrestrial roots become waterlogged, or simply live in water. This occurs with the mangrove tree in Asia. Fishermen actually use part of this air root as a float in fishing nets because of its buoyancy. 

 

October 13, 2018

The ability to read and analyze a plant can be what gives some people a green thumb. Now, some of this will be learned with time, but there are many tricks to intuitively read a plant. Think of gardening like cooking. The best chefs don't follow the recipe exactly; they gather the ingredients, and vary levels to taste. Taking care of plants works similarly. A plant's instructions might say, semi-sun and water once per week, and fertilize regularly, but it is up to the plant parents to decide exactly how much sun, water, and fertilizer is correct. Always start by looking at the arrangement of the plant's leaves. This is best done from across the room, to get a sense of how the plant is feeling, and how to tell a plant needs water or not. If a plant's leaves are pointed upwards and out to the sides, that is a healthy and happy plant, generally speaking. When the leaves begin to point towards the floor, this usually indicates too little or too much water. Feel the leaves and the leaf stalks. Are they weak and flimsy, or rigid? Next, look at a plants direction relative to the light source. Is it bending or leaning towards the closest window? Is it stretching out the space between its leaves and branches? If so, it's probably not getting enough light. Are the top leaves changing colors and becoming yellow? It might be getting too much light then. Try and observe your plant more frequently. They're often telling us exactly what they need. See you tomorrow!

October 12, 2018

When you add a new member to your plant family, reading and analyzing for world origin will help you take the best care of your plant, and understand it more. Start with the leaves. Touch them. What do they feel like? Are they soft and flexible, or are they rigid and tough? Do they have a thick, leathery skin, known as the cuticle, on them? Would they lose water quickly like a grass or spider plant, or do they have a thick shell that would hold in the water like a Dracaena? Think about where in the world this plant would come from. Look at its color. Is it more muted and dull colored like a Sage from the California desert, or does it have a vibrant color like the Neon pothos that comes from the jungles of Vietnam? You can always cheat a bit, and take a look at the respective plants wikipedia page. The next best thing to do with a new plant is to micro experiment. Place the plant in a bit extra sun. If it doesn't like it, it will react quite quickly, usually within fifteen to thirty minutes. Think you might be watering it too much? Let the soil dry out until the colors change a bit, and it starts to wilt. You'll then know the plant's boundaries. You might lose a plant or two this way -- side note, we all have! But you will learn much faster through experimentation, and your intuition will grow. Just like cooking, you have to burn a few dishes before you get it just right. Tune in tomorrow to narrow in a bit further, and analyze a plant for individual health.

October 11, 2018

To wrap up our fall series, we're going to talk about executing the transplant. You want to get those houseplants into their new homes, before the days start to get longer. Get a trowel shovel, potting mix, your new pot, and find a space you can make messy. Knock the sides of the old pot to loosen the root ball; or squeeze the sides of the pot if it's malleable. For ceramics, try and dig the trowel into the edges of the pot to break the roots from the sides of the pot. Depending on the size of the plant, flip it upside down and let gravity do the work for you. The root ball should release. Open up the root ball with your fingers to spread it out wider; you want to unwind the roots, so they can go into new and different directions. Feel free to shake off loose dirt. Now, fill the bottom of your pot with some soil, so the height of your plant is correct, and place your plant in the new pot. Fill in the sides of pot, and a little on top, making sure to not bury too much of the stem or any leaves or branches. Gently push down the soil to make the plant stable. Water your new plant slowly, with at least as much water as the size of the container. Good work, you're done! See you all tomorrow morning!

October 10, 2018

Yesterday was about pots and containers. Today we'll continue our fall series and talk about the type of potting mix to use. Since fall and winter weather get cooler, and plants don't eat as much, you won't need as much organic matter in the soil for the next few months. No need to purchase what we would call a hot mix, that contains lots of fertilizer; save that for spring. But instead, something that provides lots of air to the roots will be best. Make sure it has perlite in it, and you can even add more perlite to the potting mix, up to forty percent perlite. Feel free to forego the vermiculite right now too, as it holds more moisture. Peat, coconut coir, and perlite makes for a great mix. If you want to get fancy add a small amount of phosphorus for strong root development. Look out for our Pretty in Green fall and winter booster to keep your plants healthy and strong through the cooler months! See you tomorrow!

October 9, 2018

Fall is the time your plants will be growing a stronger and larger root mass, instead of producing more foliage. This is the time to do your transplanting. With that in mind, today kicks off a three part fall series. Today we'll talk about planting containers. Choosing the correct container is imperative to the health of your plant. Your pots should have drainage holes to allow water to escape and encourage oxygen absorption in the rootzone. If your planters don't have drainage, use a drill to add one to three holes. However, avoid drilling ceramic and glass, as they are prone to breakage. When choosing a shape, try and look for pots with smooth transitions so water doesn't pool up in corners, and create anaerobic zones; areas that are oxygen depleted. Also, no need to oversize your containers in fall, since it will be cooler, and the plant will be using less water. Water a bit less than normal, and make sure to keep a close eye on moisture content; being mindful plants aren't on floors that are too cold! See you tomorrow for part two!

October 8, 2018

As fall settles in, and winter approaches in the northern hemisphere, it's time to start thinking about pruning your plants. The fall and winter months are ideal for trimming back your plants because of the shorter durations of sunlight. During these months, plants are busy developing their root systems and finishing up reproduction of seeds for the spring. If you have tomatoes planted, they should be finished or be finishing up by now, depending what latitude you're at. By spring months, when days have more sunlight, you want your plants to be healed from the pruning, and ready to grow. When you prune, make sure to be cutting stems, with a clean pair of scissors, making sure not to infect your plant with pathogens that may exist on the shears. Use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to clean your scissors. Cutting leaves won't direct your plant's growth. Think of pruning as directing your plants branching traffic. If you cut the lower branches, you're telling them to stop growing, and grow somewhere else. So they will grow up, away from where you pruned. Similarly, if you cut the top of a plant, the lower limbs will be stimulated to grow. Good luck pruning, and check into our upcoming youtube series at Pretty in Green. Have a great day!

October 7, 2018

Today is about the purpose of leaves. It seems quite simple: leaves capture sunlight and allow the plant to photosynthesize. But they do more than that. They release oxygen from their leaves, and absorb carbon dioxide. They also capture water! Have you ever noticed that some leaves, especially on single stem trees, are somewhat concave and cupped like little canoes? If you imagine water falling down on the plants, this is like a built-in rainwater collection system. The leaves expand much larger in surface area in order to capture sunlight, rainwater, and mist; funneling it down to their rootzones. So, in human terms, we're saying some leaves are essentially solar panels that collect rainwater! I wonder why we don't have solar panels that collect rain water simultaneously, yet? Hmmmmmm. Hello, Elon? Mr. Musk? I think we have a new project for you.

October 6, 2018

Today is about the importance of watering slowly. Think about how plants receive water in the wild. It's typically through rain, or being near a body of water and continuously receiving moisture through the soil. In most normal cases, it's a very slow process of wetting the soil in a delayed manner. This is how we should be watering our plants. Slowly, by letting each bit we pour on the soil absorb before pouring more. Now I know it is a bit more time consuming, but it will ensure the root zone stays undisturbed, and the soil structures remains intact. It's also important to not disturb the microbes in your soil. After all, the fungi and bacteria in the soil are the real heros of plants, by breaking down organic matter and making it available as a nutrient! Thanks for listening, and be sure to check back in tomorrow!

October 5, 2018

Today's episode is about the genus of Mother in Law's Tongue, also known as the genus of Sansevieria. The Snake Plant, a succulent desert plant, is a actually a flowering plant that comes to us from Africa. There are about seventy varieties of the Snake Plant, that come in various colors and shapes, but all have in common the thick skin of their leaves that help to protect their inner sap. This thick shell allows them to survive drought and the harsh climate of Africa, and what makes them such an ideal houseplant! Oddly enough, Sansevieria is actually apart of the larger plant family of Asparagaceae. Yup, that is the same family that contains the vegetable Asparagus in it. Side note, prosciutto wrapped, oven roasted asparagus is not to be missed. I digress. If you think about both plants, you can see the relation between the Snake Plant and the common vegetable asparagus. Both have a thicker shell, and grow in a cylinder like manner. Nature is pretty cool. Check out the Snake Plant for a super easy to care for and stunning houseplant! See you all tomorrow!

 

October 4, 2018

Today's episode is about a recurring pattern in nature called the Fibonacci sequence, or the golden rule or ratio. This pattern is found in plants and animals repeatedly, and can easily be seen in fractals of succulents. This is that spiral pattern you've probably seen in the Nautilus shell. The first few numbers of the sequence are one, two, three, five, eight, and thirteen. Notice that most flowers have two, three, or five petals. Have you seen how a sunflower places its seeds in a spiral pattern? This is the fibonacci sequence. A brilliant example of this is how some plants arrange their leaves. They place them using the fibonacci sequence so that they never overlap. Look at a plant or tree from the top down. Notice how each of the leaves are arranged, so that the leaf above doesn't shade the leave below? That's the sequence at work again. This pattern is so common in nature, that some designers use it in their work. It is said that the first ipod was designed using this rule of thumb. Its width to height ratio was one to one point six, making it fit comfortably in your hand, a bit taller than it is wide. They say the greatest form of flattery is imitation, right? Thanks nature. And thank you for listening today, see you tomorrow morning!

 

October 3, 2018

Today is about air plants. The genus of Tillandsia that hails from many parts of the Americas, from Mexico to Argentina. These unique plants are typically found growing off trees in the wild, where they have secured themselves into their host trees using anchor roots. Air plants don't need soil to absorb water and nutrients. Instead, their leaves handle the task of absorbing water and nutrients from the air! And since they are mostly found in harsh environments, they are also part of the CAM family of plants, which keep their pores closed during the day, and exchange air and water at night, instead. Note, we did an episode on CAM plants on September 25th if you missed it, check it out below! Air plants need to be watered every 7 to 10 days by misting them or soaking them in a glass of water for a couple minutes, then turning them upside down to drain. Naturally, they don't need much water, so be careful not to overwater! String your air plants up with fishing line or put them in some sort of hanger on your wall. Have a great day! See you all tomorrow morning!

October 2, 2018

Today is about propagation. And specifically, taking cuttings or clones of your houseplants. This can be done fairly simply and easily, and will give you a genetically identical baby of the host plant in two to three weeks! Vegetative propagation is done in two primary ways: the water method, or the peat and perlite method. Both can be successful, but the water method is a fun way to experiment quickly, while the peat and perlite method might give you more steady results. For the water method, take your favorite houseplant, for instance the Pothos, and cut off the top of the growing stem, or a side shoot that contains stem and a leaf. Put the cutting in a glass of water, and out of bright light. Change the water every two days, and in a couple weeks you should see roots appearing. Once developed, plant your new cutting into an organic potting mix, and slowly expose to brighter light! That's it! For upcoming propagation videos and instructions, make sure to subscribe to us on youtube at Pretty in Green. See you tomorrow!

October 1, 2018

Today's episode is about the hearty, and pervasive English Ivy. Earning its name from being brought to the Americas in the eighteenth century, it originates in Asia and Africa also. The Ivy has commanded quite a presence across the world as a houseplant, as well as a landscaping plant. Preferring moist soil, with waterings every week indoors, and tolerant of shade to partial sun, Ivy is known to be a hardy plant. English Ivy indoors makes a beautiful hanging plant and comes in different leaf forms and colors. Ivy is a climber, attaching itself to surfaces such as walls and trees. Be careful when planting it outdoors, as it is known to cover sides of buildings and completely take over trees. In some parts of the States, it is even recognized as an invasive species, because of its hearty nature and the ability to overtake its host plant. These traits make for a popular and resilient houseplant that can bounce back from all types of care. Try out the English Ivy indoors for an easy to care for classic! See you tomorrow!

September 30, 2018

Have you ever wondered why some of your leaves yellow and fall off your plant? This is usually caused by a lack of light or lack of nutrients. And when we say lack of nutrients, we mean in the plant, not necessarily the soil. If you don't water your plant, the roots don't have the ability to extract nitrogen from the soil to provide for new growth. So instead, they remove nitrogen from the lowest leaves to provide for the newest growth, at the top of the plant! Nutrients that can move throughout a plant are called mobile nutrients, and nitrogen is a mobile nutrient. It is the powerhouse of the primary nutrients and is what can give, or take away, your plant's vibrant green color. If your lower leaves are yellowing, check three things. One, verify your plant is getting enough light. Two, verify your plant's soil is moist enough to unlock the nutrients within the soil. And finally, if there's enough light and moisture in the soil, add a general purpose organic fertilizer such as worm castings! 

Here's a few diagrams of nutrient deficiency:

 

(The most common nutrient deficiency, nitrogen, as seen on the right plant)

 

September 29, 2018

Today is part two of two on learning to read how much light your plant is getting. Today we'll focus on too little light. A very easy way to tell a plant isn't getting enough light is when the nodes are spread apart. Node spacing is the space between the leaf stems. These spaces on a rubber tree or fiddle leaf fig tree will begin to stretch out and it will lean towards the sunlight. The plant will become long and thin and usually bend. Very weak, and small growth that is light in green color is another sign of too little light. Since plants are efficient organisms, and leaves act as surfaces to catch light energy on, leaves that aren't receiving light will be shed and drop off. Often these will be lower leaves, or leaves on the backside of a plant. Make sure to turn your plant a quarter turn each week to evenly distribute sunlight amongst all the sides. See you all tomorrow!

September 28, 2018

Today is part one of two on learning to read how much light your plant is getting. Today we'll focus on too much light, and tomorrow, we'll focus on too little light. Before we get started, remember most houseplants originate from the forest or jungle floor, where they are receiving filtered indirect sunlight. These are the conditions they thrive in, out of direct sunlight. The first way to tell if a plant is getting too much light is by coloring. Whenever a leaf bleaches out, or pales in color, it is probably receiving too much light. This can happen in a matter of hours of direct sun. A plant that has received too much sun can also yellow and begin to wilt. If you see direct sunlight hit the leaves, then notice any of these symptoms, remove your plant to a location out of the sun. Your plants will react quickly to too much light, so just pay attention to how they are reacting. Tomorrow we'll talk about the more common condition of too little light.

September 27, 2018

Today is part two of two on learning to read how much water your plant is getting. This part will focus on overwatering. Keep in mind, many houseplants' soil need to dry out slightly to allow oxygen into the rootzone. Roots not only need water, but they need air. Striking the correct balance is the goal. Also, it's worth noting the most common issue with houseplants we see is overwatering. To determine if you are overwatering, keep an eye out for slowed growth; it's the first tell tale sign. Then see if your plant is becoming blackened on the part of the stalk which is touching the soil; this is the start of root or stem rot. Another sign of overwatering and root rot is a limp plant. If your soil is moist, but your plant feels weak and limp, you might be overwatering. The last sign of overwatering is blackening leaf tips moving in towards the plant. Look for your plant to become substantially lighter in weight before watering again. Tune in tomorrow to learn to read your plant for the correct light levels.

September 26, 2018

Today is part one of two on learning to read how much water your plant is getting. This part will focus on underwatering, and tomorrow will focus on overwatering. The first and easiest way to tell is by tension in the leaves; effectively the water pressure of the plant. This water pressure is called turgor in botany. Whenever a plant has enough water, it will be very strong, with enough pressure throughout to stand straight up. If there is not enough water, the plant will wilt, and need water immediately. Be careful, because overwatering and underwatering present themselves the same way. To determine which it is, lift the pot to feel if it is light or heavy. You can also dig your finger into the soil an inch or so, and if you feel moisture, or if the pot is heavy with moisture, it doesn't need any water. Underwatering also presents by the leaves losing color, and the vibrancy of the color going away. The color will become muted, and sometimes grayish. We've seen this happen with Spider plants! The final way to find underwatered plants is when lower leaves yellow off, and begin to be released from the plant. This can also be from lack of light or lack of fertilizer! There are always many factors affecting a plant at any point in time! But with experience, it will become easier to diagnose! See you tomorrow for part two! 

September 25, 2018

Today is about a small and special group of plants that have developed a unique ability to produce oxygen at night. This is the opposite of the majority of plants. This activity of absorbing carbon dioxide, and producing oxygen when it is dark, only occurs in seven percent of plants. Plants that have this ability are called CAM plants. They are most often plants that come from arid regions, and they've developed this ability to limit the amount of water they lose through their pores, by keeping them nearly closed during the daylight. This quality makes them wonderful candidates for bedroom houseplants to produce oxygen while you sleep. Some of the notable CAM plants are the Snake Plant, Aloe Vera, Zebra Haworthia, Agave, some succulents, and oddly enough the pineapple plant. Check these plants out to improve the oxygen levels in your bedrooms at night!

September 24, 2018

Did you know that theoretically, plants can live indefinitely? Unlike humans, plants cells continuously divide, and given the right growing conditions, plants can live continually. This is something called indeterminate growth in botany. Unlike mammals, plants don't have a preset size that they will become and eventually stop growing. They grow to their size, and continuously produce new flowers, shoots, and branches, season after season. In fact, there is a bristlecone pine tree in California that is over five thousand years old. And every year, it produces new leaves and new growth. That is absolutely crazy to me. Some very impressive houseplant caregivers have even had houseplants that survive over twenty years! Do you have any old plants? Tweet to us, at Pretty in Green on Twitter!

September 23, 2018

With winter coming, I think it's most appropriate to talk about plants that do well in low light and cooler air. Here are three plants that thrive in lower light conditions. Number one, the Snake Plant. Surviving in very low light, the Snake is our local favorite for its easy to care nature; and that it is nearly impossible to kill. Next is the Pothos. Coming in a variety of colors, pothos stands up to low light well, as well as some swings of temperatures, as long as they are brief. Third is the ZZ Plant. The ZZ is so resilient, I've heard tales of people keeping them in closets and not watering them for months, and they've survived it. I don't know if it's true, but I do know that they are very easy to care for as long as you don't over water them! The Snake, the Pothos, and the ZZ. All super easy to care for, and thrive in lower light and lower water! See you tomorrow!

September 22, 2018

Happy Vernal Equinox Pretty in Green Family! Today marks when days are exactly twelve hours of light and twelve hours of dark. The equator is pointed directly at the sun right now, and we are preparing to tilt the northern part of the earth away from the sun, creating winter. This will push the southern half of earth toward the sun, and it will become their summer in a couple of months. Have a great summer Australia! Anyway, remember, as days begin to shorten, your plants won't be photosynthesizing and growing as much as before. With less light, they'll use less fertilizer, and less water. So no need to feed much and make sure to not overwater in these colder months! What plants do you want to have episodes on? Direct message us on Instagram or facebook to tell us; at Pretty in Green Plants! Have a great Saturday!

September 21, 2018

Welcome to another houseplant tip of the day! Today we're talking about preparation for fall and winter seasons. Winter naturally brings cooler temperatures, but there's also less humidity from the air; since water is not being evaporated as much due to the lack of heat. Since most houseplants come from tropical humid regions, you're going to want to keep the humidity up as close to sixty percent as possible. This can naturally be achieved by a humidifier or by keeping a bit of water out in the area.  Also, be mindful of how cold floors can get, since the coldest air sinks to the floor. So try and keep temperatures above sixty degrees fahrenheit through winter. Tune in tomorrow for our Vernal Equinox episode!

September 20, 2018

Today brings another top three plants! These are pet safe houseplant options that are easy to care for too! And they are all non-toxic to dogs and cats! Number one for being pet safe and easy to care for is the Spider Plant! Medium light, and a waterings every week or so, the Spider Plant works well as a desk plant or a hanging plant option. Number two is the Neanthe Bella Palm. Doing best in medium to bright, indirect light, the Bella Palm is easy to grow and only needs to be watered once a week. The third pet safe option is the Calathea Rattlesnake. Non-toxic to dogs and cats, the calathea enjoys bright, but indirect light with waterings once per week. Find pet safe plants on the ASPCA's website, and we'll see you tomorrow!

September 19, 2018

Today we're talking about our top three easy to care for plants! All of these plants are durable, resilient, and can bounce back from improper waterings and light conditions. Number one is the Snake Plant. Low water, and just about any light conditions, the Snake plant thrives as long as you don't overwater it! It literally could survive in a dark closet! Second place is owed to the ZZ plant. The Zamioculcas zamiifolia can be treated just like the Snake Plant. Low water, and low light, also! Needing to only be watered every three to four weeks! Coming in third, is the Pothos. Coming in many different colors, the Pothos needs low to medium light with watering every one to two weeks. And if you ever deprive these easy to care for plants of water, they'll bounce right back!  See you tomorrow morning!

September 18, 2018

Today is about one of the largest plant families that gives us some of our favorite houseplants! The massive Arum family, scientifically referred to as the Araceae family.  Coming from the tropics, the aroids can be identified by their spade like looking flower. Think of the Peace Lily, Flamingo Lily or Anthuriums, as well as the Philodendrons. All of these come from the Arum family! There's nearly four thousand species in this massive family. Many of them are air purifiers, too! Many species in this family are heat-producers, meaning their flowers can reach one hundred ten degrees farenheit, in order to attract pollinators. And also to warm themselves in colder climates! Pretty cool, huh? If you happen to live in, or be visiting Missouri, the largest collection of the Araceae family can be found at the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis! This concludes your houseplant tip of the day! See you tomorrow!

September 17, 2018

Most of us have used aloe vera for a bad sunburn or burn, right? It's also used in thousands of cosmetic and medical products as the base of the product, due to its healing properties! Aloe Vera is an easy to grow plant that thrives on very little water, and bright light. Hailing from South Africa, Aloe Vera begins as a sage like green color, and as it matures turns more of a gray color, and will even bloom at maturity! If you injure yourself, you can use a lower leaf from your plant to treat your wound, or propagate it easily by sticking one of the leaflets into soil! Consider putting an Aloe Vera plant in your bedroom as it absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen at night, making it a suitable candidate for when you're asleep! Thanks for tuning in! See you tomorrow!

September 16, 2018

One of the best plants for beginners and experts is the legendary Spider Plant. Becoming very popular in the seventies and eighties, the Spider plant has understandably maintained its status for decades. Originating in South Africa, the Spider Plant needs semi-shade to semi-sun for light, and a watering every week or so to maintain evenly moist soil, making sure to not overwater. It is also a NASA certified clean air study plant, and will be purifying your home or office while growing! It even puts out baby plantlets that you can remove and replant to make new baby Spider Plants. Give the Spider plant a try for an easy to care for, but visually unique plant. That concludes your Houseplant tip of the day! Please give us your feedback, and let us know if there are other topics you'd like covered!

September 15, 2018

When it comes to organic versus conventional soil and fertilizer, try and use organics when possible. In gardening, they will often be comparable prices, and the benefits from organic soil is substantial. Organic soil relies on the microbes inside it to continuously break down the bark and minerals in the soil to make it available for the plant. It's best to think of conventional soil and fertilizer like a quick fix, or a magic diet pill that you'll always have to use, once you start using it. When you apply conventional or synthetic fertilizer to your soil, it kills off much of the biology in your soil. We've all seen what happens to a slug when covered in salt, right? This is exactly what happens to the life in your soil with synthetic fertilizer. It dehydrates the life in your soil! And worst of all, because the life in your soil is decimated, you'll have to always use synthetic fertilizer to feed your plants! Look into organic potting mixes with the appropriate OMRI organic markings, and use earthworm castings as a healthy general purpose fertilizer!

September 14, 2018

Today is about our most popular plant of all time. The blooming Peace Lily. Hailing from South America, the Peace Lily makes for a stunning house plant due to its waxy, dark green leaves contrasting against the bright white flowers. It is one of the few houseplants that will repeatedly, and reliably bloom indoors. And once the flower begins browning, you can cut out the flower for perfect look. It makes for a great gift, signifying peace, in times of struggle or celebration. All the better, it happens to be one of the best air purifiers; removing alcohols, acetone, benzene and formaldehyde from your air. Give your Peace Lily semi sun to semi shade, and water once or twice every week, aiming for moist soil. See you tomorrow morning!

September 13, 2018

Keeping your houseplants' leaves clean not only make them shine and look great, but it can keep pests at bay, too! For this, you're going to need a spray bottle, a clean cloth, white vinegar, and water. Fill the spray bottle with one part white vinegar, nine parts water; so a ten percent solution of vinegar to water. Out of direct sunlight, mist the leaves. Then, one by one, wipe them down gently. Making sure to remove any dust, dirt, or bugs. You'll notice this method removes any water spotting from the leaves, and the leaves will be much shinier. Try to do this every two weeks. Not only will it make your plants look great, but it will get you in the habit of inspecting for pests! Tune in tomorrow morning for another episode!

September 12, 2018

Watering in the morning, before the sun, is always the best choice. This is for a variety of reasons, but the main reasons have to do with light and temperature. Once you water, you want the plant to be able to immediately absorb that water and photosynthesize to create new growth. For the majority of plants, this happens when there is visible light available to the plants, during the day. Another important reason is to prevent root rot and moisture loving pathogens to spread and develop. If you water in the morning, the warmth from the sun or your house, will keep moisture at a more appropriate temperature for the roots, and excess moisture will be evaporated. If you can't make it out to water in the morning, just make sure to do so before the sun gets too bright. Of course, if your plants are in dire need of water, do water them as soon as they need it, independent of the time of day! Just try and avoid watering at dark, when the plant isn't getting any light! See you tomorrow morning!

September 11, 2018

The choice of where to put your houseplants is a critical one. At first, preference is given to the most aesthetically pleasing location, but eventually the most important factor is how much light a plant gets in that specific location. When choosing a window to put your plant, keep in mind south facing windows are a great option for summer, while the sun is overhead. As winter comes, the sun will become lower in the sky, allowing those long shadows to form through your south facing windows. Try and avoid the direct sunlight that comes through the south facing windows in winter. It might be a good idea to try out a north window for lower light plants. Every situation is different, but get creative with where your plants are in your home throughout the year, and switch it up! To figure out which direction is south, use the built in app on your smartphone, or download a compass from your app store. Below is a diagram of the sun's changing position through the year. See you tomorrow!

South Facing Windows

 

September 10, 2018

Did you know that Orchids are one of the oldest and largest families of flowering plants? So old that they are believed to have been around since before the continents split up, since they appear on every continent. It is estimated there are over twenty five thousand wild species of orchids. The vanilla plant is even an orchid; where we derive our vanilla flavoring and scent from! Orchids are very hard to grow from seed and can take years to become a flowering plant. They must create a symbiotic relationship with a fungus in order to germinate their seeds and feed themselves. Give your orchid indirect, but bright light, and water it every week or so. Their flowers and leaves will tell you when they are drying out by wilting a bit, and beginning to wrinkle. See you tomorrow to learn about where to put your plants as the season changes!

September 9, 2018

Today is about cacti. The sharp, and odd looking succulents. Did you know that the spines on a cactus are just highly modified leaves, and the primary stalk is just a stem? Cacti can hold up to ninety percent of their weight in the stem, in the form of water. Because cacti are native to such harsh, desert like environments, they have adapted to photosynthesize at night. So instead of absorbing carbon dioxide during the day, they conserve their water content, and do so at night when the temperatures are lower. Cacti thrive in bright, direct sunlight, with waterings every month or two. They can also tolerate extremely hot and extremely cold temperatures, similar to those experienced in the desert. Make sure to get a sand dominant cactus potting mix for any succulents you transplant! See you tomorrow morning!

September 8, 2018

Today we're going to talk about why you should water from the bottom up. What would happen if you dipped the bottom of a paper towel in a cup of water? As you might have guessed, the water climbs vertically, passed the top of the water level, seemingly defying gravity. This is exactly what happens when you water from the bottom of your pot. To do this, place your pot in a bowl or bucket of water, and let the soil and roots bring the water upward, in an action called capillary rise. You might remember that from science class! Give the plant thirty minutes to an hour here, and replenish the water as needed. By doing this, you're also making the roots go searching for the water at the bottom of the pot, which helps develop more robust root structures. This will also keep the top layer of soil dry, which will discourage insects from hanging out there! See you tomorrow morning!

capillary rise

Capillary Rise in Action!

(This is what your soil does when you water from the bottom up!)

 

September 7, 2018

Today's episode is about the Monstera Deliciosa, also known as the swiss cheese plant, or split leaf Philodendron. The Monstera is naturally found from the Jungles of Mexico to as far south as Panama. The second part of its name, Deliciosa, refers to the edible fruit it produces. Indeed, it is a flowering and fruiting plant! Although it takes a very long time for the fruit to become edible, and not toxic. All other parts of the plant are mildly toxic to pets and humans if ingested. The Monstera does well in medium to low light parts of the home, and even shady areas outdoors. A watering every one to two weeks will keep it nice and healthy, too! See you tomorrow morning! 

September 6, 2018

Today we're going to talk about the Pothos houseplant! Originating on an island in French Polynesia, Pothos come in a variety of colors and will be a great fall and winter houseplant, since it tolerates low light, and lower water. They are very easy to keep alive, and we have managed to bring many struggling pothos back to life. You can even take cuttings quite easily! When it comes to care, make sure to give the Pothos a well draining soil, that contains some perlite or vermiculite. Keep it out of direct sunlight, and let the soil get close to drying out between watering. See you tomorrow morning to discuss the Monstera Deliciosa!

September 5, 2018

Welcome to September everyone! For the areas starting to cool down, now is the time to start planning to bring your houseplants back into the home. Keep in mind, most houseplants don't do well in temperatures under fifty or sixty degrees, fahrenheit. So before it gets too cold, do the last of your transplants, and prepare your plants for the move inside. But before you bring them in, give them a rinse to make sure the leaves aren't carrying any bugs. If you have it available, use a bit of neem oil spray to make sure any insects are treated. Once inside, place them near a window that receives bright, but indirect light, always out of direct sunlight. See you tomorrow morning to talk about the easy to care for, Pothos plant.

September 4, 2018

Today we're going to talk about the three numbers on your potting soil or fertilizer bag. You'll see it written as numbers with dashes between them. That refers to the amount of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium contained within. Now don't run off yet, we'll keep the science to a minimum. The first number, Nitrogen, is what makes up the leafy growth of a plant. Nitrogen is what gives plants their green color. The middle number is phosphorus, and is responsible for root and flower development. And the last number, Potassium, is a bit of a jack of all trades, and helps out with almost every process inside the plant! And that's all! Not so bad, right? Remember it simply as, N, P, and K. There's a lot of other nutrients, and we'll get into those a bit later on, but these are the primary three to know! Have a great day!

September 3, 2018

Happy Labor Day to those of you in the United States! Today, we're going to touch on physical soil composition. Have you ever thought about what's actually in soil? Most potting soils made for houseplants begin with a mulch; ground up woody parts of other plants. This will provide food for the plants that they can breakdown over time. Potting soil also usually contains peat moss, which is just dried sphagnum moss; another ground up plant. Peat moss helps to retain moisture in the soil.  I guess it makes sense that the best way to grow plants is with other plants! There is also usually fertilizer from rocks, minerals, or animals that will be released to the plant over time. Finally, there is an amendment like perlite, vermiculite, or sand, that retains nearly no moisture, and its sole purpose is to keep oxygen in the soil for the roots to thrive! Tomorrow we'll talk about how to read a bag of potting soil or fertilizer.

September 2, 2018

Today we're going to be talking about root rot. A common issue for new plant owners. Root rot is caused by a lack of oxygen in the rootzone, or in other words, too much water.  This can be from over watering, a pot without drainage, or a soil with poor drainage. This can be identified by a black, mushy part of the stem or brownish, slimy roots. It is essentially decomposition beginning early. It is an anaerobic process, meaning without oxygen. To combat root rot, allow your soil to dry out. Your soil may be holding too much water, so you can add some perlite, vermiculite, rocks, or sand to improve drainage and increase the oxygen content of the rootzone. You'll want to look for the development of bright white, crunchy roots, and you'll know you have enough oxygen in the rootzone! Thanks for tuning in!

September 1, 2018

Did you know NASA screens for off gassing of new materials it plans to use in sealed aircrafts? This is because various household products release chemicals into the air throughout their life. This also happens in our homes and offices, but luckily we have air purifying plants to solve this! NASA conducted a study of a couple dozen air purifying plants that remove different toxins from the air. The study includes the peace lily, english ivy, areca palm, spider plant, pothos, fern, flamingo lily, philodendron, snake plant and a few more! These incredible plants have the ability to remove up to ninety percent of ammonia, xylene, benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene. Make sure you put a couple of these plants in each of your rooms to clean your air! See you tomorrow morning!

August 31, 2018

This episode is about the continuously popular Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree. Native to the tropical rainforests of West Africa, the Fig loves bright, but indirect light. It also needs a good watering every couple of weeks if planted indoors. Make sure not to overwater it, or deprive it of light. Give the Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree adequate root space, too. A good rule of thumb is half a gallon of pot size, per foot of vertical height. So, a four foot fig tree will thrive with a two gallon pot! It will also be hard at work purifying your air and providing oxygen for your space. Inside the house or office, it can reach up to 10-15 feet given the proper conditions and space, and makes quite the statement piece. If planted outdoors, it can reach thirty to forty feet in height! This concludes your tip of the day!

August 30, 2018

Today we're going to talk about the benefits of misting your plants. Since most plants come from equatorial, tropical regions, it's important to keep your plants in humid air. When plants breathe in carbon dioxide, they naturally lose some of their water vapor during transpiration. This can be combated by keeping the leaves humid.  If the air is a bit drier, and particularly during winter months, try and use a spray bottle to mist the bottom sides of the leaves. This will replace some of the water that is lost, and should improve the overall health of the plant if done properly. Make sure not to mist in direct sunlight, as the leaves may become damaged from this. And remember that misting does not replace watering! This concludes today's tip of the day!

August 29, 2018

Did you know Ferns are some of the oldest on land plants? They are estimated to have lived on earth for over three hundred million years. Because of their age, they interestingly enough don't have seeds, but instead they have spores. A Boston fern will drop millions of spores in hopes of creating new baby ferns, albeit with a low success rate. The spores can often be seen on the underside of mature leaves as black specks. The Boston fern is also a great humidifier, and air purifier. It has the ability to absorb formaldehyde which is found in cigarettes and fabrics, as well as other Volatile Organic Compounds. This concludes today's tip of the day! If there is a topic you'd like to learn about, reach out on Instagram or Facebook. At Pretty in Green Plants. Have a great day everyone!

August 28, 2018

This is part two of two on transplanting. We're talking about planting into the next sized pot. Before planting, we need to loosen up the root ball. To do so, wiggle your finger up the center of the root ball to loosen it and spread the roots out for a larger footprint. Don't be shy here, roots are fairly resilient. When choosing the next pot, select one that gives the root zone at least a couple inches of new soil in each direction. Don't go too big. It's better to step up in pot sizes gradually. Now, fill in the bottom of the pot with your favorite potting mix until you can stand the plant up on the soil, and the top of the plant's soil almost reaches the top of the pot. Fill in all of the voids, and straighten your plant upright. Next, push down the soil around the plant lightly. Make sure to not over compact the soil. Finally, water slowly. The soil may sink, so add back media as necessary. Thank you for listening to Pretty in Green Plants, tip of the day!

August 27, 2018

This is part one of two on transplanting. Today we'll focus on plant removal. When transplanting any of your plants, try and do so when the soil is mostly dried out. This will allow the root ball to maintain its structure and is less likely to damage the roots. Transplanting from flexible plastic nursery pots will allow you to squeeze the sides of the container to loosen the roots, then you should be able to pull straight out, assuming the plant is mature. When transplanting from ceramic, or ridgid pots, you'll have to get more creative. Tap the sides of the pot to loosen the roots from the edges. If you still have no success, try using a garden spade to dig out the edges and loosen the plant. Tune in tomorrow for part two, transplanting into the new pot!

August 26, 2018

Welcome back to Pretty in Green Plants! This episode is about our favorite plant, the majestic Snake Plant. Also known as Mother in Law's tongue. The snake plant remains our favorite because of its simple beauty, variety of colors, fairly rapid growth, and that it is nearly impossible to kill! Give your Snake Plant bright light, just out of the sun, as to not bleach out the leaves. And water it sparingly, about every three weeks. Another plus of the Snake Plant is that it produces babies that you can harvest from the root zone! Side note, today the moon is full, so if you are so lucky to see it, take a look up tonight! See you tomorrow!

August 25, 2018

Today we're talking about succulents! Succulents have remained popular for their easy of care and hardiness. Most succulents originate from arid parts of the globe where water is hard to come by. Their thick skin helps maintain their sap like insides which helps keep their moisture in hot times. Succulents are fans of bright and often direct sunlight with infrequent watering, often on the order of months. The medium you plant succulents in should be that of their natural desert like origin. Something sandy with lots of drainage! Good luck with your succulents! Keep them in bright light and make sure not to over water! This concludes your Pretty in Green Plants, tip of the day!

August 24, 2018

Today we're talking about pruning and shaping plants. Most of us have seen or have a lanky plant that we can't get growing in the right direction. To solve this, use your nails or a clean pair of scissors to pinch off the very tip of the stem. Make sure to get the stem. If you want to encourage vertical growth, pinch the ends of lower stems or remove the branches completely. If you want to encourage bushy, wide growth, pinch the very top of the tallest branches to slow the top growth and develop lower branches. That concludes our trick for pruning. Side note, If you're in the Los Angeles area tomorrow, join us at our open house! See you tomorrow!

August 23, 2018

Today we'll learn about how to check for pests. The most common houseplant pests attack the leaves of a plant, and tend to hide on the bottom side of the leaves. Look for signs on the topside of the leaves, and verify your suspicion by finding eggs or tracks on the bottom side of the leaves. You are looking for very small white or black specks. Use a light to see the traces, or if you are fancy, a pocket microscope works great. If you find something, do not worry, it is very common. Try an organic neem oil spray, which treats just about every pest under the sun, and can also be used as a root drench for root dwellers. If neem isn't available, try a household remedy with cayenne pepper and citrus. Check back in tomorrow for more houseplant tips and tricks!

August 22, 2018

Today we're talking about when to water. Watering too often is the biggest mistake we see with houseplants. Most houseplants can go at least a week without water, assuming that the planter is adequately sized. Our favorite method here at Pretty in Green Plants is to judge by the weight of the pot. After a deep watering, lift the pot and plant together to feel how heavy it is. This is your baseline for a fully watered plant. Now, let your soil dry out until not only the top layer of soil is dry, but the pot is substantially lighter. If you are unsure, dig your finger into the soil an inch or two, and if it is still moist, let it dry out more. Pay attention to what your plant tells you in its color, or by wilting. See a video of us rehydrating a Peace Lily after wilting in the how to section of our site! We'll see you all tomorrow!

August 21, 2018

Today's tip is about watering. This is the biggest challenge for new plant parents. And specifically, we're going to talk about how to water. For most common houseplants, it is best to water like it rains. Let the soil dry out, then fully, and deeply water, as it would during rain and drought. Our favorite method here at Pretty in Green Plants, is to fill a tupperware or dish with water, and put the pot directly in the water to soak from the bottom up. Now this won't work for your bigger plants and pots. For those, you want to slowly water over the soil, and make sure not to flood the soil. Pour a little, let it absorb, pour a bit more, and repeat. A good rule of thumb for the quantity of water is to water one time the container volume. For a gallon pot that is very dry, water one gallon. Water should definitely be coming out of the drainage holes in the pot. Tomorrow we'll talk about when to water. 

August 20, 2018

We've all seen yellowing or dying off leaves on our plants, right? Keep in mind this isn't necessarily a bad thing. It is quite natural for a plant to discard unneeded leaves. Also, if you can resist the temptation, keep the dying leaf on the plant. Plants transfer the nutrients from the old leaf and move that food to its other leaves. That is the green color you see in the leaf! If the yellowing leaves are primarily lower leaves, it might mean the plant needs a bit more fertilizer or light. Since a leaf's job is to absorb light, and a plant is getting less than ideal light, it will shed the lower, unneeded leaves to provide for new growth. 

August 19, 2018

Did you know keeping houseplants in your home or office increases memory and concentration? Having a green environment simulates the outside world and naturally calms us. Just a few plants around us can calm us and reduce the stresses of the day. It also helps that they absorb what we breathe out, and they create oxygen! Taking care of something other than ourselves, can give a sense of purpose and help improve feelings of compassion. Take a few minutes today to walk outside and take a look at some plants, and you'll come back to work refreshed and recharged. Tune back in tomorrow for your Pretty in Green Plants, tip of the day!

August 18, 2018

The soil your plant sits in is its home and food source. When choosing the potting mixture for your house plant, look for a houseplant specific mix that contains peat moss, organic fertilizer, soil, vermiculite or perlite, and ideally some sand. The most important component in your potting mix are those that allow the water to drain through. Since the most common issue with houseplants is overwatering, make sure not to pot directly in an outdoor potting soil, since it will hold too much water, and likely have too much fertilizer in it. When we make our custom organic potting mix, we focus on organic components that will provide aeration and feed the plant for 6 months to a year. When looking for a potting mix, find an organic blend, or try making your own at home! See you tomorrow!

August 17, 2018

 The proper light and water are the two most important factors to consider for a house plants success. When thinking of how much to water a plant, or how much light to give it, try and find the plants origin in the world. Understanding what part of the world a plant came from, will allow you to logically think about how often it rains in that region, and how much sun it might receive there. For example, Snake Plants, commonly referred to as mother in laws tongue, are originally from Tropical West Africa. You can imagine that region might receive filtered light, and a low amount of rainfall. This coincides with the Snake Plant's favorite conditions which are bright light, and waterings every three weeks or so. The Snake plant can tolerate some full sun, and is very drought tolerant. Tune back in tomorrow for your Pretty in Green Plants, tip of the day!

August 16, 2018

When choosing the correct pot for your plants, make sure to look for those that contain drainage holes. Allowing water to escape the pot will allow the rootzone to contain more oxygen, which is vital for the health of the roots. Pots without drainage are more susceptible to the roots drowning from overwatering.  The pot size is also important to not go too small or too large. Too small and you'll be watering too frequently, and the plant will become rootbound. Too large and the soil will remain wet for extended periods, leading to an overwatered and unhappy plant. This concludes your Pretty in Green Plants, tip of the day!

August 15, 2018

The amount of light you give your plants is crucial to their success. Too much and the leaves will bleach or burn. Too little, and growth will be slowed. Keep in mind, many house plants come from the jungles of central and south america, as well as Africa. So they are acclimated to bright, but indirect light. Full sun will harm most common house plants. A handy way to measure light levels is to measure the strength of the shadow casted by the plant. With most common house plants, excluding succulents, if the shadow cast by the plant has hard edges, the plant is receiving too much light. Aim to have a soft edged shadow. If you would like to get a bit more scientific with it, try downloading a light meter app for your smartphone from your favorite app store.

August 14, 2018

Summer months make the ideal climate for fungus gnats. Make sure to remove standing water from your surroundings, and make sure not to overwater. Fungus gnats, or commonly referred to as fruit flies, are attracted to moisture and humidity.  To get rid of them, use a combination of organic gnat controls, sticky traps, and fans to prevent them from landing in your soil! For a do it yourself method, try out one part hydrogen peroxide, 3 percent strength, which is the commonly sold strength, mixed with 3 parts water. Allow your soil to dry out, then water with this mixture as you regularly would.

 

 

YOU'VE REACHED THE BEGINNING! BRAVO 👏

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