Houseplants for Beginners - Tip #1: Drainage

If you’re new to the world of houseplants, unless you have a special knack for watering them just right, keeping your houseplants in a pot with drainage is going to be the best thing you can do to keep your plants happy. When plants are in containers without drainage, it's extremely hard to water them enough while not overwatering them. Overwatering is, by far, the #1 mistake new houseplant owners make. Most houseplants prefer to be watered thoroughly (a great indicator of "watering thoroughly" is watching the water drain out of the bottom of the pot) and then, and here's the most important part guys, they need to dry out-- at least a little, if not a lot, depending on the plant-- between waterings. 

When the soil doesn't properly dry out and the roots don’t get the oxygen they need, root rot can occur. You do not want root rot.  It's usually an irreversible problem that can pretty much guarantee you're going to kill your new plant baby.

Why then, you may ask, do most of the pots we sell inside our houseplant section have no drainage? Well, it's because they're cachepots.  'Cache' comes from the French word 'cacher', which means "to hide".  The ceramic pots with no drainage are made to hide the plastic pots that plants are grown in-- they are not meant to be planted in. 

If anyone has ever suggested that you put rocks in the bottom of a pot for drainage, I’m here to tell you that that method is probably not the solution to your houseplant problems- and it could potentially make things worse (here's a great explanation of why).


”But, what if my plant needs to be repotted!?”  I’m going to go ahead and say that 9 times out of 10 (okay, maybe 8 times out of 10) when you buy a houseplant from us, it does not need to be repotted right away- and usually not for many months after. When it is time to be repotted, you can repot it into another grower pot (a plastic pot with holes in the bottom)- and then place it inside a larger decorative cachepot. Keep your eyes peeled for a future post from me on how to tell when your houseplant needs to be repotted!

There are alternatives to cachepots. Pots with attached saucers and pots with holes that you put a saucer underneath are also good options for houseplants. Just make sure to never let your houseplant sit in a saucer full of water!

The Myth of the Poisonous Poinsettia

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If you're anything like me you're trying extra hard to wait and celebrate Christmas AFTER Thanksgiving, but boy is it hard!  I LOVE everything about Christmas: decorating the tree, figuring out the perfect gift to make my loved ones smile, singing along to my favorite Christmas music, and the general atmosphere of warmth and goodwill that most people are radiating that manifests itself in a variety of beautiful and heartwarming ways.  Another symbol of Christmas for me is the sight of the thousands of poinsettias that my father grows.  For me, Christmas would just not be complete without this plant which has decorated my home and my heart for my entire life.  

One thing I've been saddened to hear as this season approaches is the myth of the poisonous poinsettia.  Many of you have probably met my 6 year old Jack Russell Terrier, Stella, on a visit to Plant and See, and if you have, you know that she is my baby.  Having said that, there is no one who understands the concern for pets more than I (After seeing a recent report on the danger of Xylitol I immediately called my fiance and demanded that he throw away the chewing gum in his car for fear that our other baby, a red heeler/Australian Cattle Dog, would get into it).  I'm here to tell you the good news!! No one should have to miss out on the beauty of a poinsettia during Christmas!

Poinsettias are NOT poisonous!

Scientists have been researching this for decades, and every study has the same result: Poinsettias, while certainly not considered edible, are not poisonous despite this widespread myth.  Ingestion may cause a stomachache and related symptoms (if a high amount is ingested) but they will not cause fatalities in your pet (or your child for that matter!).  The American Veterinary Medical Association does not include poinsettias on it's list of plants that are a threat to animals and the American Association of Poison Control Centers found that out of 22,793 cases of ingestion in humans, no toxicity was found.  This is not to say that I would ever intentionally let my pet or child eat poinsettias, but that if this were to happen while you are turned away, when you look back to see the mistake, simply correct it and move on with your day, without fear.  

Now,  if my calculations are correct, we can get to decorating in exactly 1 week! (Or earlier, if you want, because why delay your happiness, really!) 

And just in case you're questioning my scientific credentials, here is a link with more information and a list of scientific sources: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/newsletters/hortupdate/hortupdate_archives/2003/nov03/No.html

Happy Thanksgiving, ya'll!

Lindsay

Writing and Gardening

Writing and gardening, these two ways of rendering the world in rows, have a great deal in common.
— Michael Pollan

Hello Plant and See community!  I hope that you've found our new website to be easy to navigate and enjoyable to view.  This section of the website is a blog where I will write about current happenings around the nursery and post gardening tips, specials, new arrivals, and more.

With my recent return to the nursery, I have been allowing myself to embrace my nostalgia by going through old photos.  I essentially grew up at Plant and See- we lived on the property until I was 6 with my grandmother, uncle, and Great Aunt as our neighbors and even when we moved a few miles down the road I spent most days after school at the nursery.  Some of my favorite times at the nursery were special occasions like Mother's Day and the 4th of July when Plant and See would have live music, food and drinks, and one of my parent's friends walking around on stilts.  I would love to be able to help bring these sorts of community events back, so hopefully I will be adding information about events to this section of the website in the near future! 

I'd also love to use this medium to hear from you!  For starters, comment below to let us know what you'd love to see in Plant and See's future- Classes? Events? Music? Field trips? Partnerships? Let's dream big together and see what we can do!   Again, I'm so excited to be here and am looking forward to where this new adventure will take us!

- Lindsay