One of the most frequently asked questions by our customers is 'how do you look after all of these plants?' I'm not going to lie - it is definitely a job in itself but I just can't imagine the shop without all of our lovely greenery. Some of the plants in here are ones that I purchased when we first opened our shop in Cessnock, so that means they will be eight years old in October! How time flies...
Now I am certainly not proclaiming to be any sort of expert on this subject - I am simply sharing how I personally care for my plants. Feel free to shoot through an email with any other tips & tricks and I will happily try those too!
The first thing you really need to do is choose the right location for your plant. Identify what level of light, the water requirements and if it is able to tolerate any drafts. A big mistake that I have made in the past is buying a plant completely based on aesthetics alone and putting it where I wanted it - not where it would be happiest! I have a lonely little spot at home where I would love to have a plant, but it is right underneath an air-conditioning vent so sadly it's not an option. If you don't get the position right, I feel like it doesn't matter how well you care for your plants - they will never thrive in the wrong environment.
Another thing that I do regularly is wipe down the leaves. I know, I know... as if we don't have enough things to dust! A layer of dust on the foliage will block sunlight and reduce the plant’s ability to photosynthesise. It really depends how much dust is around as to how often you should wipe down your plants. I will just rub my fingers over the leaves periodically and wipe down with a wet cloth whenever they look like they need it.
I dilute seasol in my watering can - just follow instructions on the packet... I can never remember the exact ratio! For optimum results you should be applying seasol once a fortnight. I would be lying if I said that I did this religiously though! I usually feed my plants with seasol once a month. We also have a worm farm at home and diluted worm juice works amazingly as well.
Most of my plants require watering around once a week. This can be twice a week in the peak of summer though. Observe the leaves of your plants and you will get to know when they are needing a drink. One of the biggest mistakes people can make is watering their plants too often. Leaves will start to wilt if you have overwatered your plant. This can be confusing and almost prompt you to try watering again - a vicious cycle! A telltale sign that you are overwatering is if the leaves start to turn yellow or if your plant starts dropping leaves. A good way to check if your plant needs water is to simply just stick your finger in the soil... if it is damp, give it a few days until it is dry to the touch and then water.
I also remove the dead leaves from my indoor plants at the same time that I go around watering them. It frees up nutrients and encourages new growth, it is thought to prevent the spread of disease or pests and also improves the plants general health and appearance.
I trellis the tendrils of my plants up along the walls in the shop. I love the look of it and since we've been in our Pokolbin store (almost 3 years now), I can't believe how much it's transformed our space over time. The trellising really lends itself to the overall aesthetic of the building and adds another layer. I don't trellis my indoor plants at home however as the little roots that come out of the tendrils can tend to stick onto gyprocked walls. If you have timber or concrete walls or an outdoor space to do this though - definitely give it a go! It's so rewarding to see how lush everything gets over time.
Every now and then a plant will just all of a sudden start to look a bit 'sad'. Joel and I have what we have termed a 'plant hospital' set up at home. It's literally just an area underneath our mulberry tree where we sit or hang the sad plants until they look like they're thriving again. I feel like indoor plants sometimes just need some time outside. They will especially love all of this rain that we've been having so far this year. If you do decide to move your plants outside, just make sure that it is a nice protected, shady spot and definitely don't do this in times of extreme temperatures (they will suffer in the middle of winter or on a scorching summers day).
All of the photos have been taken by the beautiful Anna Critchely