Planting Edmonds is a monthly column written by members of Edmonds Floretum Garden Club.
Hello, fellow plant peepers. I’m here to talk about my favorite topic: Plants! I have been working with plants all my life, but I found my calling, passion and niche about 27 years ago in an industry called Indoor plant creation.
My company. Seattle Plant Company, primarily designs and styles indoor plantings for commercial spaces. However, I do not leave my work at the office. I love plants. I love having them around me in my house too. I like to shop for them in my spare time as well.
In the last few years, research has shown that plants actually make you happy (duh, I knew that), but scientists have discovered that working and living around plants is our innate nature. It is called biophilia. Biophilia is the instinctive bond between humans and other living organisms and living systems.
Did you know?
Workers in office environments with natural elements, such as greenery and sunlight, report a 15% higher level of well-being, are 6% more productive and are 15% more creative. Plants have also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.
My industry’s purpose is to communicate the aesthetic, well-being and economic benefits of nature in the built environment. We are people with plants; making life better and connecting other people with plants is our goal.
This time of year, when we are more indoors and miss our gardens and outdoor patio plants, I recommend bringing your focus inside. Go buy some new varieties and planters that can add freshness to your home. Consider getting larger planters so you can mix a few varieties together. Or maybe find a corner where you can mix 2 or 3 complementary planters and plants together to create the outdoor feeling.
I will show some examples of ways we decorate with plants. Let your creativity flow.
The comment I hear most often from people is that they don’t have a “green thumb”. I believe we can all have green thumbs, especially now with new technology. You can order small grow lights online and set reminders on your phone to water your plants, or you can follow millions of plant bloggers online.
The pandemic created a plant frenzy when we were all isolated indoors at home. We needed a connection with other living things. Plants are more popular now than ever before, even in the 70s. Oh, and I hope you didn’t throw out those macrame planters from the 70s because they’re back!
Houseplants have grown in popularity among consumers of all ages over the past decade. Some people buy houseplants not only for aesthetics, but also for their air-purifying effects or as mood enhancers.
Succulents are always popular. Just remember that these will need to be rotated periodically. Because our weather is too cool, dark and wet for the long-term survival of the large succulents we see at garden centers, I suggest using them as rotating plants in arrangements.
Preserved moss walls are another popular trend, requiring no maintenance but offering biophilic benefits.
One of the most requested plants is the ficus lyrata or fig tree. This plant is so popular, but it can be difficult to keep alive if not given the right placement and care. Also, purchasing plants from a reputable nursery or grower has a lot to do with your success in growing old with this beautiful specimen. These green girls love a bright window!
Of course you will ask, “How much water do I give it?” This is a difficult question for me to answer because there are so many factors that play a role in your plant care. It’s not just the water that makes them thrive. What time of year is it? How hot or cold is your house? Which direction is the window facing? My plants now only drink every seven to 12 days. In the summer I may need to water every four to six days. I always start by feeling the soil well and then watering until it comes out the bottom (yes, always ensure proper drainage). That way you know your plant has had a thorough drink.
– Fertilization. This is not the time to fertilize our darlings. They need a little break from growth mode. I usually recommend light fertilization April through October.
– Prune. Don’t be afraid to prune your plants. We all enjoy a haircut from time to time. The best time to prune is during the growing season.
– Cleaning. Dust and wipe leaves regularly
– Pest control: Check your plants regularly for pests and diseases.
– Rotate your plants so they are full all around.
Finally, it’s okay to add plants to your compost when it’s time. There is a life expectancy for all living things, so don’t feel bad. I always tell myself that they are going to plant heaven to make more plants.
— By Michelle Ritter
Michelle Ritter owns Seattle Plant Company. Her passion for indoor landscaping comes from 25 years in the horticulture industry, creating award-winning indoor plant and living wall design. She firmly believes in the power of plants and how they affect our lives. Her company is a full-service horticultural resource that provides indoor landscaping, patio landscaping, holiday decor, flowers and living walls. It is federally and state certified as a women-owned business and is an active member of Green Plants for Green Buildings.