After worrying that I'd planted my Runner Beans and Courgettes out too early, I spent the evening in the bath reading 'How to Grow' by Hollie Newton.  A guide for gardeners who can't garden yet.  Who'd have thought I'd read a book on vegetables cover to cover until the water went cold!? 

Growing outside is all new to me, but what's the worst that can happen?  "Fake it until you make it", that's what I say!

So I thought I'd spare you my planting dilemmas and move inside.  House plants are much more my thing. It's not always good to take your work home with you, but for me it's a dream. When I did actually go to work that is. When I opened my shop, I knew I couldn’t sell anything that I wouldn’t have in my own home, even down to small things like candles! Gemma who used to work with me once said “you need to buy these candles, they’ll sell really well!” “but I don’t like them!” I replied. “well, not even if they sell well?” - “no, not even if they sell well!”  This may not be the best way to conduct business, but for me, it’s the right one.

My love for indoor plants was a gradual one. I used to love going to the florist wholesaler to choose flowers for the events I styled. It was always my dream to have part of the shop filled with fresh flowers, where people could choose their own blooms or pick a bunch to take home for the weekend.  A bit like this stunning florist Flowers Vasette on Brunswick Street I visited in Melbourne recently.

This may happen one day, but if flowers don’t sell, they die! I started to buy a few plants for the shop instead.  If they didn’t sell, they grew! But they did sell and now it’s become one of my favourite buying trips and we are becoming quite well known for our house plants.  I have my regulars, like Ferns, Peace Lilies, Prayer Plants, but my favourites are Calatheas, Sansevieria’s, Monsteras, Pileas! I could get the plants delivered, but I love going to pick out a few larger beauties too, like an Australian Fern or Birds of Paradise! A Birds of Paradise is next on my own wish list.

So the problem with buying plants is I always want to bring more home. Each week, my son says, “not another one, where are you going to put that!” as I march through the door with a different variety of Calathea under my arm. And there lies the problem. There are so many beautiful Calatheas to choose from, one just isn’t enough!  It also helps me know how to take care of them.  How well they grow in different light, how well they grow at all infact. Knowing that the plants I buy are healthy plants that are the best quality and will actually survive once they’ve left our shop, is very important to me!  I’m planning to post more on what plants to buy for specific rooms, but I thought I’d start with a little tour of what I have at home in our lounge. If I went round the whole house, we could be here all day.

Pilea Peperomioides
Also known as: Chinese Money Plant
I have two of these.  The larger one grew a baby, now its a child. They don't like being on a windowsill or in direct sunlight.  The child on our coffee table, I move in the shade when the sun moves in. If your Pilea starts to change colour to a more lime green, move it. They will grow babies underneath, I believe they are called 'pups'.  Wait for them to get quite big before you remove them, but do remove them and start another plant to share with freinds to bring wealth and prosperity. I'm still waiting!

Calathea Medallion
There are so many varieties to choose from.  I love this one as it looks like its leaves are handpainted.  It's also a fabulous air purifier.  The leaves sometimes go a little brown on the edges, but I've just learnt a new trick, just trim them off, following the shape of the leaf. 


Also known as: 'Swiss Cheese Plant'
The small one was the last plant left in our shop on our last day before lockdown.  The large one, or should I say, huge one, started off this small about four years ago.  If you own one of these plants, you'll need a moss stick when it starts to get big, otherwise it will take up too much space.  You want it to grow up, rather than out.  Watch out for new leaves, they may look like stalks.  You can see one on the bottom right of the big plant. Watch it gradually unfurl (you might have more time on your hands now?)  A new leaf will be very delicate and a paler green, so take care of it.  It will soon harden and become more robust and darker like the rest.

Also known as: 'Snake Plant' or 'Mother-In-Laws Tounge'
I have two varieites in the lounge.  The larger one started out quite small and was on the bathroom window sill.  I then had to bring it down onto a chair by the bath, until it got too big there, so had too move it downstairs.  Its now on the other side of the house where it doesn't get as much light, but is still very happy. It really is the easiest plant to keep.

Ficus Lyrata
Also know as: Fiddle-leaf Fig
I named this plant Frank after my Dad (his middle name).  I bought him from Columbia Road just after he died, so he's very special.  He lay dormant for ages, then springs to life and grows a few leaves. He's just produced another one.  They can be tricky, but once they find the right spot, they'll behave.

Dieffenbachia Leopard Lily
I have a few of these around the house and a great houseplant for beginners.  Their new leaves unfurl from a central stem.  I love this variegated variety. 

Boston Fern
These can be temperamental and I think out of all the house plants I sell in the shop, they're the hardest to keep. Since being at home with this one, I've watered it twice a week and don't let it dry out. Something I suggest for most other plants.  This one seems to be enjoying it here and ready to re-pot.  Now is the time to start repotting your houseplants. Only go up one pot size though.

I haven't been able to get these for ages, I do try every time I go, as they're a great little plants for our smaller pots and so easy as they seem to tolerate a wide range of growing conditions.  They don't grow very fast.  This has stayed like this for about a year, so don't expect it to do much!!

So, that's the end of my house plant tour.  As soon as I can open the shop again, I'll be heading straight down the motorway to stock up.

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