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 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. 








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


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.



Cat Friendly Houseplants

Happy National Cat Day! In honor of our feline friends, we're sharing our favorite non-toxic houseplants. 

Favorite Feline-Friendly Houseplants 

1. Watermelon Peperomia
2. Ripple Peperomia 
3. Rex Begonia 
4. Staghorn Fern  
5. Spider Plant 
6. Pony Tail Plant 
7. Majesty Palm
8. Maidenhair Fern 
9. Burro's Tail Succulent 
10. Snake Plant 

*The plants above are non-toxic or have an extremely low toxicity level. 


Ways To Protect Your Plants + Your Cat 

1. Place them out of reach on a high shelf or in a hanging planter
2. Add rocks to your top soil to prevent your cat from using it as a litter-box
3. Add some cat-grass or catnip plants to your houseplant collection to divert their attention
4. Surround your cat's favorite plant with prickly cacti or aluminum foil 
5. Spray your plants' leaves with rosemary - most cats aren't fans of the scent 
6. Pot your plants in ceramic, terra cotta, or a planter of an equally substantial material 
7. Put citrus peels in your plant's container 


Unsure where your houseplant stands? We recommend checking online at the ASPCA and also giving this post on Gardenista a read. 


Our Favorite Air-Purifying Houseplants

Americans spend an estimated 90% of their time indoors (Environmental Protection Agency). That indoor air can contain 10x more pollution than outdoor air - a consequence of toxic emissions from synthetic materials, airborne mold, viruses, pollutants, and reduced air circulation.

With winter approaching, as you spend more time indoors, you might find yourself unconsciously craving some greenery – and not just because it looks nice. Plants have been shown to naturally clean your air of toxins & chemicals, which improves indoor air quality and consequently your health and wellbeing. 

Meet 6 of our favorite air purifying, and easy to care for, houseplants…

(Illustration by Liz Tafaro - follow her on Instagram for more awesome work @thingslizwants)

Plants clockwise from top left: 

1. Snake Plant

This no fuss tropical plant has thin, upright leaves with irregular banding that resemble the skin of a reptile. Its adaptations for surviving drought make it a suitable plant choice for anyone, anywhere. Unlike the majority of houseplants - it can even thrive in a dark corner. 
Low to bright, indirect light. Water 1x every other week. 

2. Golden Pothos

Nicknamed the cubicle plant at our office, the Pothos is our go-to for brown-thumbed clients. Like the similar-looking Philodendron, the Golden Pothos's heart-shaped leaves and trailing vines can grow to over 10 feet long. 
Low to bright, indirect light. Water 1x weekly. 

3. Rubber Plant

A popular houseplant, this variety of ficus has thick upright stems with glossy, oversized leaves that store water incase of drought. They prefer bright to moderate indirect light.
Medium to bright, indirect light. Water 1x weekly. 

4. Spider Plant

A Spider Plant is a spectacular choice for a hanging planter. From long, arching stems sprout both spider-like baby plant-lets and tiny white flowers during the growing season. 
Medium to bright, indirect light. Water 1x weekly. 

5. English Ivy

Considered an invasive species outside - pruned English Ivy, although a little more difficult to grow indoors, makes for a lovely trailing plant inside. They thrive in indirect bright light and a moist, humid environment. 
Medium to bright, indirect light. Water 1-2x weekly. Keep moist. 

6. Philodendron

In the right indoor conditions, the Philodendron's heart-shaped leaves and trailing vines can trail to over 10 feet long. This makes for a striking sight on a high shelf. Did we mention it has a reputation of being one of the easiest houseplants to grow?  
Low to bright, indirect light. Water 1x weekly.  


*NASA recommends 1 potted plant per every 100 square feet of space. For more information, see NASA's Clean Air Study and B.C. "Bill" Wolverton's "How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 Houseplants That Purify Your Home or Office" (link). 


Fall in New York City

The Sill Team's Fall Favorites