Winter Plant Care; Our Top Five Tips.

Winter Plant Care; Our Top Five Tips.

By Alana Langan

1   EASE UP ON THE WATERING 
You may have noticed throughout the cooler Autumn months that your plants’ watering needs have also decreased. This will continue on throughout Winter too as water is evaporating more slowly from your plant's soil than in the warmer months. This doesn’t mean plants need less water day-to-day, just that your usual watering sessions will be less frequent, so keep an eye out and adjust the timing as needed. As a *general guide*, wait until the top 3cm of potting mix is dry before watering again. If the soil stays wet for too long it can also be the perfect place for fungus gnats to breed; a common pest that can run riot in Winter!



2   LET THERE BE LIGHT
As the Winter days get shorter, darker and cooler, pay attention to how this affects the light and temperature in your home. Consider moving some plants so they can catch some extra rays of sunlight or have a brighter spot to call home. Once Summer kicks back in you can move them back to their usual spots. Plants also don’t like dramatic changes in temperature so keep this in mind and move them away from drafty windows and doors and don’t forget to consider heaters and fires - they can wreak havoc on some plants, drying out their leaves and browning the edges. To overcome this, increase humidity by misting your plants every few days - and get those plants moved to a less intensely heated position ASAP!



3   HOLD TIGHT ON THE FERTILISER
Fertilising your plants is a necessity, however it is best done during Spring/Summer when the plant is in its growth phase. When a plant is dormant (eg in Winter) fertiliser can easily burn the roots. If you really think your plant is deficient in nutrients and needs a helping hand, try diluting the fertiliser solution (organic is best) and see how your plant responds.



4   DON'T RE-POT YOUR PLANT BABY
Spring is the best time to re-pot plants, so if you missed the opportunity then - and are itching to do so now, sit tight! Practice patience and leave the job until next Spring – if you don't heed this warning you could end up with a dead plant (and nobody wants that!.) Re-potting can be a big change and it’s a task best carried out during your plant's growth period, when it can confidently grow into its new home.


 
5   TIDY THAT PLANT UP
The start of a new season is a great time to stop and take stock of your plant gang and see how they’re travelling. Give them a little TLC; trim and prune where needed and remove any unsightly dry, yellowing or brown leaves plus any wayward growths or leggy vines that may have appeared. Wipe down the leaves gently (both sides) using a damp, wet cloth and check for pests and treat where necessary.


 

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GREEN SHELFIES

GREEN SHELFIES

By Jacqui Vidal

They may take a little practice to perfect, but 'green shelfies' are worth their weight in gold when you get them right.

It's not just about cramming lots of plants onto a shelf. Focus on using spacing, texture and shape to best effect. Allow tendrils to float downwards to grab your attention, then create a visual journey that bounces from one glorious green scene to the next.

Pepper the shelves with personal items in a variety of colours and shapes. It pays to keep things balanced - if all the plants are on one side, it will look disjointed. Use a mix of upright and trailing plants to give your 'green shelfie' variation and texture. 

Featured below: IVY MUSE 'Plant Shelf'

 

 

OUR TOP PICK FOR THE PERFECT 'GREEN SHELFIE' PLANT:
WAX FLOWERS

There are nearly 200 species of hoya, sometimes known as wax flowers. Originally from tropical Asia and Australasia, these woody-stemmed vines have delicate porcelain-like flowers and lustrous evergreen foliage. They thrive in warmer conditions and enjoy a bright spot. 

WATERING
Keep moist in warmer months and drier in winter and you can expect to have a beautiful plant for many years to come.

LIGHT
Most species require three to four hours of direct sunlight everyday for healthy growth and flowering. 

STYLING TIP
You can use hoya to create interesting sculptural shapes, making them ideal for shelves and ledges. Each one has its own unique character - we've never seen two exactly alike! We have a particular fondness for their versatility, their uniquely shaped leaves and the beautiful shades of green they offer. 

FAVOURITE VARIETIES
Crimson queen hoya, hoya heuschkeliana and green exotica hoya all cast wonderful silhouettes. 

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Part 2 | Choose the right pot or vessel for your plants with these styling tips!

Part 2 | Choose the right pot or vessel for your plants with these styling tips!

By Jacqui Vidal

Do you have a penchant for handmade, one-of-a-kind pots? Do you prefer textured or smooth finishes, bold or muted colours, simple or elaborate shapes? Work out what appeals to you, how well the pot will compliment the plant, and if the pot will fit in with the overall look of your home.

If you are working with a delicate plant, try a light-coloured container with a simple shape. Pair a plant that has a strong, sculptural shape or bold colours with a visually striking vessel for an amplified effect or, for a softer look, choose a simpler pot. Large plants often work well with bold containers, like painted or patterned pots, where the plant isn't swamped by the loudness of the pattern. 

Pictured: Hay Design 'Flower Pots'

 

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Part 1 | Choose the right pot or vessel for your plants with these styling tips!

Part 1 | Choose the right pot or vessel for your plants with these styling tips!

By Jacqui Vidal

01   TO CACHE OR NOT TO CACHE?

Everyone has probably owned a terracotta pot, but there are many more materials being used to hold plants nowadays: ceramic, stoneware, fibreglass, seagrass - even washable paper bags. The options are endless. 

When you are choosing a pot for a new plant, think about how you are going to use it. Check the size of the plastic container your plant has come in then look for a new pot that will fit it. You can either plant directly into the new pot, or keep the plant in the plastic container and use the new pot as a cache-pot (a decorative container that holds a plant pot). If you're going to plant directly into the new pot, let the plant settle into your home for a couple of weeks before doing so - repotting too soon may send your plant into shock and kill it. The best time to repot is during the start of the plant's active growth period, which is generally in spring.

Also, only ever increase your pot size by two inches width and/or depth at a time - a pot that's too big gives the roots too much space to grow into. The plant won't grow above the soil until its roots begin to fill the container. An oversized pot can also hold excessive amounts of water and cause root rot. 

Below | IVY MUSE 'Cloud Pot' and 'Halo (White/Small)'


Below | IVY MUSE Nest in 'Brass & Clover Eggshell' and 'White & Feather Grey'

02   DRAINAGE - IS IT A MUST?

It's a good idea to use a drip tray when you have a pot with drainage holes. This will catch any drips and also allows you to water the plant without having to move it to the sink or put it outside. Drip trays can be hidden inside larger pots or put on display as a design feature. Empty any excess water from the tray.

Some plants can survive without drainage and - given the array of beautifully designed vessels that are available - you might be tempted to go that way. If you've decided to put a plant into a pot without drainage holes, be careful with your watering. Only let a little bit of water in at a time and keep it to a minimum. If there is too much water, tip the pot on its side to drain. The last thing you want to do is drown your plant.

Another option is to use self-watering pots, which have a well in their base to store water. These are great if you're a regular traveller or a bit forgetful.

Below | Leaf & Thread 'Self-Watering Planter (Slate)'



Below | Mr Kitly 'Self-Watering Planters'

WANT MORE HANDY TIPS ON HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN GREEN OASIS?
 
 
Ferns are back in the bathroom, cacti are sitting on plant stands and devil's ivy is cascading from hangers. Indoor plants are the ultimate indoor accessory. Softening interiors and readily available, they are a stylist's best friend. However, it's their power to transform a sterile space into an urban sanctuary that makes them more than just an inanimate prop - all you need to know is how to use them.
 
From the founders of coveted plant-wares label, IVY MUSE, comes this charming guide on how to turn your home into a jungle-like retreat. With design-savvy tips and expert advise, you'll learn all there is to know about decorating with plants and botanical styling plus the necessities like light requirements and when to water and feed. From bathroom to boudoir to every room in between, create your very own green oasis with Plant Style.

PURCHASE PLANT STYLE: HOW TO GREENIFY YOUR SPACE HERE

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The Ivy Muse guide to bathroom plant styling

The Ivy Muse guide to bathroom plant styling

By Jacqui Vidal

01   TRANSFORM YOUR SPACE INTO A TRANQUIL OASIS
 
Even though they are one of the most used areas in the house, bathrooms can often seem bland and simple. Often thought of as hard to decorate due to the damage steam and excess moisture can cause to decor, plants can thrive in these conditions and add interest. Even a few green additions on a window sill or on the corner of a basin can complete the scene, creating a lush, serene spot to unwind. 

(Plant pictured below 'Leatherleaf Fern')

 

02   SIZE
 
Bathrooms are usually small and compact, with minimal space to fit any extra furnishings. However, if you take a step back and look at your space with some greenery in mind, you'll find your options to decorate will double. With so many amazing plants available, and with so many accessories like hangers and stands, it won't take long for you to build up your bathroom to the space you've always wanted.

Get creative and look at areas in a new light as windowsills, ceiling hooks, and high ledges are a dream to decorate with! Neutral pots and accessories will keep the focus on the greenery and details of the bathroom - light colours will make a space feel larger, with the reverse seen in darker tones creating a smaller, more intimate feel.
 
(Plants pictured L-R: Zanzibar gem, mistletoe cactus, crimson princess hoya, green exotica hoya, chain of hearts).

 

03   PLACEMENT
 
In small bathrooms, focus on making the most of your space. Think about hanging air plants on the wall, filling windowsills with a mix of pots or use the available floorspace as best you can. Consider how the plants will grow too; if space is limited, choose plants that grow vertically or will cascade down a wall rather than spreading out horizontally.

(Plant pictured: Begonia) 

 

04   THREE PLANTS THAT WILL THRIVE IN A BATHROOM
 
Our top three plants for bathrooms are monstera (variegated variety pictured below), begonia and peace lily. Begonia and peace lily don't like dry conditions, so the humidity of a bathroom is ideal. All three are easy to care for. Begonia and monstera enjoy filtered light while pace lilies grow well in medium light, which is great if your bathroom verges on the shady side. 

 

05   DARK BATHROOMS
 
Bathrooms often have very little or no natural light at all. It's a problem - indoor plants really do need some light to thrive. If there is a little bit of light, try a devil's ivy or heartleaf philodendron. They are both trailing and climbing plants, so they work well in a variety of positions. If you need an upright option, go with a zanzibar gem, commonly known as the 'plant that thrives on neglect'!

 

06   FOR MORE GREEN INSPIRATION CHECK OUT OUR BOOK 'PLANT STYLE'
 
With its first Australian print run already sold out, 'Plant Style' is proving a hit amongst plant lovers and newcomers alike.  Check out our guide on how to turn your home into a jungle-like retreat. With design-savvy tips and expert advice, you'll learn all there is to know about decorating with plants and botanical styling plus the necessities like light requirements and when to water and feed.

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Propagating; what is it and should you be doing it?

Propagating; what is it and should you be doing it?

By Alana Langan

Marimo moss balls and monstera deliciosa (above) can both be propagated in water.

Propagating plants (making more plants from the ones you have) is one of the best and easiest things about living green. Seeing your new plants develop swirling roots as they propagate in their vessels is incredibly satisfying and a beautiful insight to processes that usually take place below the soil.

Any glass vessel is ideal for propagating, though if your plant needs extra support try a purpose-designed propagating vase (try STEM).

A few handy tips on propagating;

  1. Take your cuttings a day or two after watering, so that popping them in water won't come as such a shock to the plant.
  2. Take healthy cuttings from newer growth.
  3. Cut the stem of your plants at an angle, this helps it take in water until it takes root.
  4. Don't allow leaves to sit in water.
  5. Cuttings need partial sun - a windowsill with bright, filtered light is best. Let new roots grow 2-3 inches before transferring your new plant into moist potting soil.

While you should always follow these rules, some species have additional requirements that need to be met to really thrive.

DEVILS IVY (Epipremnum aureum)
One of the easiest plants to grow and one of the easiest to propagate.  When taking your cuttings from a healthy vine, make sure you snip a 3-5 inch length of stem with at least three nodes (small woody protrusions under the leaves). This should leave you with a cutting with about  3-4 leaves. If there are more leaves, carefully prune the ones closest to where the cutting was made - until they take root, cuttings can only support so many leaves.

SWISS CHEESE VINE (Monstera obliqua)
This very popular and highly sought after species isn't as fragile as its delicate leaves suggest. You can easily propagate this beautiful plant by following the same rules listed for Devils Ivy. The only specific ingredient Obliqua's require is a little more light (but still filtered!) which helps their leaves grow with their characteristic holes.

SUCCULENTS

Succulents can be propagated in water by division (cuttings). Before popping your succulents in water, allow them to dry out for a few days, until the cut end becomes calloused. After this they're ready to place in water. Like the established plants they come from, succulent cuttings require a lot of light, so make sure you place your propagating vessel in a bright spot.

MARIMO MOSS BALLS

These fuzzy little balls are not moss at all, but rather Japanese algae. As such, these guys thrive when they're submerged in water and kept in low light. To propagate, squeeze any excess water from your ball and cut it down the middle, if you have a larger Marino, you can cut each of these halves again. Then, shape your Marimo into a ball - to keep it in shape, tie it with cotton thread. After this you can pop them back into water.
 
Let's get propagating; don't forget to tag us on IG @ivymuse_melb
 

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