Prolong The Life of Holiday Houseplants

Unlike cut flowers - houseplants don't have an expiration date, which is one of the many reasons we love them! Popular holiday houseplants like vibrant poinsettias and miniature evergreens can survive long after the holiday season is over. Below are our top four tips to make sure your holiday plants outlast your holiday decorations. 

- Light

Common holiday plants like poinsettias, evergreens, and christmas cacti prefer moderate, indirect light. Keep them on a windowsill to give them the most amount of daylight as possible. If the sunlight is direct, draw a thin curtain during the day. If your apartment lacks natural light altogether, you can try placing your plants directly under a fluorescent lamp during the day. 

- Temperature

Be mindful of the temperature indoors. You might want to blast your heat when you get home from work - but ideally holiday plants like it humid but cool. They prefer 60-70 degrees fahrenheit during the day, and 50-60 degrees fahrenheit at night. Unless you live in southern Florida, don't plan to place your plants outside until late spring. Remember - poinsettias are native to Mexico.

- Water

Water your plants about twice a week, but be careful not to overwater them, which leads to root rot. Empty the planter's saucer if there's excess water. You can help keep smaller evergreens moist by misting them with a spray bottle two to three times a week. Poinsettias can benefit from some extra humidity as well.

- Trim

You can save significant pruning for the springtime, but remove all dead leaves and flowers from your holiday plants - like crispy poinsettias leaves. If they're in holiday packaging, for example a paper or foil sleeve, it's time to remove it. Decorative sleeves usually push leaves up and block light, which ultimately shortens a plant's lifespan. And repot those in plastic nursery pots into something more substantial, like ceramic or terra cotta. 

 

Winter Break Plant Care

We all deserve a break once and awhile, and the holiday season is ideal for taking one. Whether you're headed to Hawaii for two weeks (take us with you?) - or simply planning on not getting out of bed till the New Year - we have your houseplant care covered. The last thing you want to come home to - or wake up to - is a sill full of dead plants. Don't fret… follow our top 4 tips below to ensure your houseplants survive winter break (hey, you survived the months leading up to it!) 

  

1. Maintain moisture

- For short departures:

Soak it. While you shouldn't regularly overwater your plants, this is an exception to the rule. If you're going to be gone for up to a week, a good soil-soaking before departure is be sufficient. Make sure to let drain so the soil is soaked but your plants aren't sitting in water. Leftover water can attract pests, so check saucers 15 minutes after watering and empty saucers. We like to transport our plants to the kitchen sink or bathtub and give them a good shower. It also provides a great place for them to drain - aside from all over your hardwood floors, of course.

- For longer absences:

a. Add it. Add mulch, rocks, or wood chips to your plant's soil to help hold moisture.
b. Bag it. Water thoroughly and then cover with a clear plastic bag, creating a makeshift greenhouse. Make a couple slits in the plastic to allow for air circulation. Use birch sticks to hold the bag up and way from the foliage. Make sure not to cover the planter's drainage holes.
c. Move it. Transport your plants to your bathroom (provided you have a window) or another small room with medium light. The smaller the room the easier it is to maintain humidity. Grouping your plants together also helps.

2. Tweak temperature

Plants are likely to wilt in direct sunlight - and if you're not home to catch it, the results after a week or two can be devastating. If you usually keep your plants on a sunny sill, move them to the center of the room, or a spot lit by indirect sunlight, while you're away. This helps to keep the soil from drying out. Turning down the thermostat a smidge helps, too. Once you return, be sure to move your plants back to their usual spot on the sunny sill.

3. Forgo fertilizer

If you use fertilizer - hold off on until you return. You want your plants to grow as slowly as possible while you're gone. They deserve a little rest and relaxation, too. 

4. Please prune 

Prune off any dead or dying foliage. 

Remember, these tips do not apply to your drought-resistant and sun-loving cacti and succulents! 

P.S. The Sill Shop will be closed December 24th - 28th, December 31st, and January 1st. We will have limited hours December 29th - 30th, and resume our normal schedule of 12pm to 6pm on Friday January 2nd. Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday & new year!

 

Happy Holidays from The Sill team!

Eliza Blank

Team Position: Founder
Neighborhood: Fort Greene
Local Recommendation: Brooklyn Flea or Fort Greene Farmers Market for apple cider donuts
Favorite Holiday Activity: Playing in the snow; sledding; cozying up by a fire - - in that order.
Favorite Gift To Give: Anything subscription based - a gift that keeps on giving
Holiday Wish List: A cashmere beanie, please! It's going to be a cold winter. 

Andrew Erdle

Team Position: Director of Product
Neighborhood: Morningside Heights
Local Recommendation: Walk in the park
Favorite Holiday Activity: Wearing moccasins/White Russians
Favorite Gift To Give: Books
Holiday Wish List: Books

Erin Marino

Team Position: Head of PR & Marketing
Neighborhood: Stuyvesant Town
Local Recommendation: Breakfast at Ess-a-Bagel
Favorite Holiday Activity: Watching christmas movies; wearing pajamas all day
Favorite Gift To Give: Something I've made or potted. 
Holiday Wish List: Ceramic classes; a [much needed] manicure  

Adam Menzies

Team Position: Gardener/Plant Specialist/Ceremonial Jester
Neighborhood: Bushwick
Local Recommendation: Cicro's Bakery
Favorite Holiday Activity: Singing/humming/whistling christmas music pretty much any time & place. For a good 30 days or so.
Favorite Gift To Give: Laughter and lottery tickets. 
Holiday Wish List: A good haul in the old stocking 

Kristin Monji

Team Position: Plant specialist/gardener; design/create/maintain client gardens
Neighborhood: Jersey City, NJ
Local Recommendation: Hiking in Liberty State Park followed by tacos at Taqueria Downtown 
Favorite Holiday Activity: Eating all of the special holiday food!
Favorite Gift To Give: Something I've grown myself
Holiday Wish List: A trip upstate to go horseback riding in the snow. 

Sam Sheppard 

Team Position: Studio Manager
Neighborhood: Bushwick
Local Recommendation: Eat at Bunna Cafe, Montana's Trail House, Arepera Guacuco or Dear Bushwick; see a show at the Bushwick Starr or Silent Barn; check out the Bushwick Collective murals 
Favorite Holiday Activity: Cooking, sharing, and consuming comfort food with friends. And going to lots of dance parties (to make room for more food). 
Favorite Gift To Give: Something made by hand, or experience gifts like classes, shows, or adventures.
Holiday Wish List: Travel! Anywhere will do. 

Joel "Ric Flair" Rogers

Team Position: Delivery/Installation
Neighborhood: Flatbush
Local Recommendation: Santana's Premium Cigars & Lounge
Favorite Holiday Activity: Meditation in the woods
Favorite Gift To Give: The best book I read during the year. 
Holiday Wish List: Peace in the Puzzle Palace on the Potomac

 

Winter Plant Care

Our Top 5 Tips for Winter Plant Care

  1. Plants like stability - fluctuation in their environment's temperature can seriously stress them out. We recommend keeping your plants away from heating units, radiators, fires, and from open windows or front doors that might create draughts. 
  2. Most houseplants are dormant during the winter - so it is important to tweak your watering schedule. Allow soil to dry out completely between waterings. If you know your plant prefers humid conditions, mist it weekly so it stays moist but not soaked. Soaked soil can lead to root rot. 
  3. Put away the fertilizer & plant food! Give your plant a break. 
  4. If your plants are leaning towards their light source, gradually rotate them to help them straighten up. 
  5. Dust off leaves weekly. Dirt build-up can reduce the amount of light getting to your plant - which can be detrimental when days are short! To combat extreme dirt build-up, use water with a drop or two of lemon juice or household soap and a soft cloth.

 

Need help? Email us at help@thesill.com or stop by The Shop at 84 Hester Street. 

 

Poinsettias 101

Poinsettias have become one of the most recognized holiday plants. Native to Mexico, poinsettias are named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first US Minister to Mexico, who introduced the plant to the states in 1825. Poinsett brought the vibrant red and green plant back to his South Carolina plantation - where he continued to cultivate them and give them as gifts to friends. The plant soon became a holiday fixture.

Many mistake the poinsettia's colored bracts for flower petals because of their bright hues and groupings - but they are in fact leaves! The bracts are traditionally red, but can be orange, pale green, cream, pink, white, or marbled. There are over 100 cultivated varieties of poinsettia.

Unfortunately this lovely houseplant has received a bad rep. Some are weary of the plant - claiming its poisonous. But that's about as true as Santa Claus…

The genus Euphoria to which the poinsettia plant belongs does contain some highly-toxic plants, but the popular poinsettia itself is not toxic. Like most houseplants, it isn't completely harmless - upon digestion, one may become nauseated or throw up - but it surely isn't life-threatening! For example - a 50 pound child would have to eat over 500 leaves to reach a potentially toxic dose! In addition, the leaves have a very unpleasant taste… making this highly unlikely. 

We urge you to give the poinsettia a chance this holiday season! Stop by The Sill Shop at 84 Hester Street to pick up a poinsettia of your own and get expert times on how to care for them. 

 

#THANKFUL

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

A HUGE - AND HEARTFELT - THANK YOU

FROM ALL OF US AT THE SILL

 

 

November 27, 2014 by The Sill

Fall Hostess Gifts

Unique Fall Hostess Gifts Under $100 

Shop: Mimosa Candle from Diptyque Paris - $60; You Are So Loved Print from WordBirdShop on Etsy - $10+; Geo Chimes from Anthropologie - $68; August Potted Plant from The Sill - $48; Equilateral Triangle Nails from Catbird - $28 for set of 4; Laser Etched Wooden Coasters from twoarms on Etsy - #32 for set of 4. 

 

 

Thanksgiving Seating Cards

Today we're sharing a few of our favorite ideas found on the web for seating cards for your Thanksgiving table. Whether it will be a party of two or twenty, seating cards are a fun and easy way to make the holiday meal feel a wee bit more special. 

  1. Baby Pumpkins - get as much use out of these little fellas before December 
  2. Fruit and Vegetables - cheap, easy, and can double as a post-meal snack  
  3. Pinecones, Nuts & Leaves - free and easy to upgrade with a little paint or ribbon 
  4. Mini Succulents - insanely adorable and a fun take-home for guests 

 

(Images via Pinterest and TheSill.com)

 

Plant Of The Month: Snake Plant / Sansevieria trifasciata

We receive a handful of calls and emails a week asking what we'd recommend for the houseplant-weary. Our answer? A snake plant. One of our favorite houseplants, the snake plant is not only a beautiful sculptural addition to any room - it also improves indoor air quality, produces oxygen, and is incredibly easy to take of. 

Name: Sanseivieria trifasciata
Common Name: Snake Plant, Mother-In-Law's Tongue
Description: A no fuss, tropical succulent with thin upright leaves that resemble the skin of a reptile, recommended for improving air quality, that can grow almost anywhere
Care: Extremely low-maintenance
Origin: Western Africa
Light: Bright to light indirect light
Water: Every 1 to 2 weeks, allow soil to dry out completely between waterings
Temperature & Humidity: Average
Dislikes: Over-watering, cold temperatures and drafts 
Placement: A living space, for example a bedroom or family room
Benefits: Purifies air, produces oxygen 

* Top 5 Reasons We Love Snake Plants *

    1. Its adaptations for surviving drought make it a suitable plant choice for almost anyone, like a forgetful or busy owner 
    2. Although all air cleaning plants have the ability to produce O2, the snake plant has one of the highest conversion rates of carbon dioxide to oxygen 
    3. They tolerate low and artificial light, making them great for dim spaces like first-floor apartments and office cubicles 
    4. Snake plants come in a variety of variegations and are visually appealing 
    5. They have a low-toxicity level, making them less harmful to your furry friends than other common houseplants 

  

A Horticulturist's Halloween

 

Happy Halloween: Meet 12 Strange And Bizarre Plants Worthy of Boos + Screams! 

 

1. Buddha's Hand (Citrus medica)

This extremely fragrant citron-variety of shrub or small tree has long thorny branches from which hang fruit segmented into finger-like sections. The usually juiceless and seedless fruit is commonly used in cooking for its zest.

2. Split Rock (Pleiospilos nelii)

The common name of this flowering succulent refers to the appearance of its leaves. Stemless, there is a deep fissure in the middle, with two or four opposite leaves surrounding it. Its resemblance of a small rock might have evolved as a defense mechanism against predators.

3. Brain Cactus (Mammillaria elongata Cristata)

The eery shape of this cactus generally occurs due to injury at a young age or genetic predisposition. Along it can expand and contract, its sharp edges should be handled with care.

4. Old Man Cactus (Cephalocereus senilis)

This tall, columnar species has is categorized by a shaggy coat of long, white hairs. Historically, the hair has been used as a cheap alternative to cotton. As the plant ages, it beings to lose its silvery mane.

5. Sticks On Fire (Euphorbia tirucalli)

This hydrocarbon plant produces a poisonous latex which can be converted to the equivalent of gasoline. The white, milky substance is used in traditional medicine in many cultures - yet research shows it might actually suppress the immune system.

6. Monkey Cups (Nepenthes)

This carnivorous plant has dangling pouches filled with a syrupy fluid that captures and drowns prey. Its name refers to the fact that monkeys have been observed drinking rainwater from them in their natural habitat.

7. Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula)

The carnivorous flytrap's leaves are trigged by tiny hairs on their inner surfaces that help them know to snap shut, trapping prey. Although the speed of closing leaves vary depending on the environment and type of prey - it can generally be used as an indicator of the plant's health.

8. Dracula Orchid (Dracula sergioi)

The name Dracula means "little dragon", which refers to the two long spurs of the sepals enclosing the orchid's piranha-like mouth.

9. Ghost Plant (Monotropa uniflora)

This herbaceous perennial plant, also known as the corpse plant, is commonly white or pale pink with black flecks. It does not contain chlorophyll - instead it generates energy through parasitism - making it great for dark environments, like dense forest floors.

10. Doll's Eyes (Actaea pachypoda)

This herbaceous perennial plant and its globular white fruit with black, iris-like center are poisonous to humans. The fruit contains cardio-genic toxins which have a sedative effect on the human cardiac muscle tissue - but are harmless to birds, the plant's primary seed dispersers!

11. Black Bat Flower (Tacca chantrieri)

A species of flowering plant with rare, black bat-shaped flowers that can grow up to a foot across while its 'whiskers' can grow over two feet long.

12. Devil's Tooth (Hydnellum peckii)

This inedible fungus has a mutually beneficial relationships with its host trees - it gives out minerals and amino acids in exchange for carbon. When the fungus is moist and healthy, its fruit bodies 'bleed' a bright red juice, while poor health and age make it become brown and nondescript.