Green & Serene | Creating a plant-loving home | The Small Home

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Green & Serene | Creating a plant-loving home

Green & Serene | Creating a plant-loving home

 

I have always loved indoor plants, not only do they look beautiful, adding vibrant colour, textures and shapes to a room. They also have a wealth of health benefits, cleansing the air we breathe and offering mood enhancing and uplifting qualities… and best of all, they are relatively affordable!

Back before I started The Small Home, I worked in a demanding fashion buying office in central London. The job was stressful, hours long, the offices dark and airless... not to mention the Northern Line commute! I'd regularly finish the week feeling depleted and exhausted.

I regularly found refuge in the huge Victorian greenhouses at Kew Gardens at the weekend. I’d wonder the epic glass structures breathing in the vegetal scent of plants and damp soil, hoping that the plants energy would somehow transfer itself into my weary body. I would always leave feeling replenished, calm and ready to go back into the crazy rat-race!

Realising the rich benefits of plants, I have instinctively filled my home and workspace with lots of verdant greenery - ranging from dramatic indoor trees, trailing foliage hanging from curtain rails and exotic cacti and succulents placed on sun-filled window sills.

I've experienced varying degrees of success when looking after my house plants. For this reason, when I was on the hunt for some greenery for my newly decorated north-facing sitting room, I decided to seek advice from someone in the know...

Houseplant enthusiast Sabrina Wolfe, @wolvesinlondon, sells curated houseplant boxes and she offers heaps of tips to help keep houseplants alive and thriving, including which position best suits which plant.

Keeping plants happy and healthy is simple if you follow some basic tips. Below, Sabrina offers some essential plant care tips for beginners...

    

Feeding

Plants in pots quickly use up the minerals and nutrients in the compost and need extra feeding, particularly in “growing season,” in spring and summer. You can buy feed from the standard Baby Bio right through to specific formulations for certain plants. Follow the instructions on the bottle, but never pour in more than is recommended as too much can damage or kill the plant. I use a few drops of a liquid feed in the watering can, usually once a fortnight.

Repotting

Houseplants growing well often outgrow the pot. Their roots take up so much space, there isn’t enough compost to retain water or nutrients. It’s time for a re-pot when you see roots appearing out of the bottom. 

To repot, choose a pot size only one bigger than the pot it is in, shake off as much of the old compost as you can, without damaging the roots, and fill with fresh peat-free houseplant compost. The best time to re-pot in spring at the start of the growing season.

   

Propagating

Propagating plants sounds complicated, but is nothing trickier than cutting off a bit of stem, putting it in some water, and watching new roots grow. 

I love growing new plant babies from plants I already have!

If you’re not sure of the best way to propagate a plant either Google it or just give it a try and see what happens! Three of my favourite plants for propagating in this way are tradescantia, peperomia and philodendrons.

Perfect starter plants

Plants which are not fussy about erratic watering, cope with gentle neglect and won’t mind imperfect light conditions make excellent starter plants. My top three easy-going plants include:

Satin pothos, (Scindapsus pictus ‘Argyraeus’) Beautiful dark green velvet, heart-shaped leaves, speckled with white. Its stems grow downwards, so it’s the perfect trailing plant for a high shelf or in a hanging basket. It’s attractive, easy-going, fast-growing and low maintenance.

Prayer plant (Maranta leuconeura ‘Fascinator’) has the most stunning leaf pattern: deep green, with red and lime green lines across it. At night, the leaves point upwards, as if praying. I love plants that bring movement to the room, as well as looking good.

Rhipsalis is an unusual shaggy plant with soft green stems cascading over the pot. It doesn’t need frequent watering, and can hang out in fairly low light. I have a huge one in a hanging planter that makes me feel happy every time I look at it.

Troubleshooting 

Overwatering is the mistake which causes the most problems. Often, the plant sits in a decorative pot and water builds up, so the roots can’t get oxygen from the waterlogged soil. The roots can start to rot and the plant will eventually die…If your plant looks unwell, take it out of the decorative pot and check for water sitting in the bottom. So often, there is!

Avoid this by removing the plastic pot from the decorative container when you are watering and leave to drain in the sink for ten minutes before replacing.

SHOP THE LOOK

   

Hang trailing foliage - Rebecca Wood – Hanging Plant Holders

Intricate texture - Rebecca Wood - Triangle Planters 

    

Raffia Baskets 

Rustic Artisan Planters - Tim Lake - Facet Planters

   

 

Simple Planters - Tim Lake - Lugged Planters

Contrast aged terracotta with Brass Trays

 

   

Add a tree to a Colombian basket

Or a cacti to a Farmers Baskets 

 

For more information

For more information, follow @wolvesinlondon. As well as selling boxes of houseplants in South East London, Sabrina shares houseplant guides of her favourite plansts on Insta and on her blog (https://wolvesinlondon.com/plant-guides/), with care tips and info on each plant’s individual requirements. 

Plant clinic 

She runs a “Sunday night plant clinic” once a fortnight on Instagram. Send her any houseplant questions, from diagnosing problems, to inspiration for plants for certain spaces. Past clinics are saved to her Story highlights, so it’s worth checking through them…. she gets asked about sciarid flies AKA fungus gnats almost every week!

 

 

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