Spring plant care: Our top 5 tips

Spring plant care: Our top 5 tips

By Alana Langan

01   HELLO SPRING! 

This beautiful warmer weather means that plants are starting to wake up and starting to stretch their roots again, ready for a season of growth after a dormant winter period. So, you'll soon be seeing all of your favourite plant species back in our Botanical Emporium, like hoya, fiddle leaf figs and luscious trailing devil's ivy. Spring also means it's time to give your plants a little TLC. Just like us, plants need a little prep after their long slumber to help them get back to their best.


02   WATER; HOW MUCH, AND WHEN?

As your plants start to grow and rejuvenate, they'll use up more water. On top of this, warmer weather means that water will evaporate from your soil at a faster rate than it did in the cooler months. Be sure to adjust your watering schedule by watering more regularly. 

Be careful not to kill your plant with kindness. Overwatering is the most common affliction that plants face. A change of season doesn't mean that plants need more water day-to-day, just that your usual waters will get closer together (i.e. from about once every two weeks in winter, to every week in summer). To make sure you're on the right track, just follow the golden rule: wait until the top three centimetres of soil are dry before watering.
 
Of course all plants have their own 'personalities'! Notable exceptions to the '3 cm rule' include Mother in-Laws Tongue, cacti and succulents, which all like their soil kept drier for longer. On the flip side we have ferns and palms, which like their soil kept moist throughout spring and summer (no drying out between waters!).

Pictured: IVY MUSE Watering Can in Moss



03   FOOD FOR PLANTS 

Plants love a boost of energy to help them grow over spring and summer. Feed your plants an organic fertiliser throughout the season and they'll thank you for it with healthy, new growth! Again, be careful not to over do it, as you can easily burn the roots of your plants if you feed it too regularly, or don't dilute the solution enough. But don't stress! A quick google of your plant's species will let you know which fertiliser to use, how much it needs and how often.

Check out our Plant Food offering HERE.
 
As your plant starts to grow more quickly, you'll notice it needs a little elevation to give it more room to branch out - especially when it comes to devils ivy, hoya and heart leaf philodendrons. Plant stands, shelves and plant hangers can display cascading plants to maximum effect. 

Pictured: IVY MUSE 'Elevate' series plant stands



04   TO RE-POT OR TOP-UP?

If you want your plant to really do its thing, consider repotting or potting-up. Repotting means that you're using the same pot, just replacing old soil with new and giving your plant a little root trim. This is the equivalent of a spring clean for plants, making its home a better place to be! 

Potting-up means popping your plant into a bigger pot, giving its roots more room so your plant can grow. Remember to only go up one pot size at a time.

Pictured: Simone Karras Medium Pot in White Raku & IVY MUSE 'Loop' stake in Stone



05   PRUNE & TIDY UP
 
Most indoor plants aren't huge fans of winter and it's natural that they come out the other side looking a little worse for wear. Give your plant a spring makeover by trimming any yellow and brown leaves, so it can focus its energy on lush new ones, and prune any leggy vines or branches (don't worry, they'll grow back). Dust the leaves with a damp soft cloth and try using an organic leaf shine like this one to finish off.

Pictured: Papaya Pedra Pot Medium with IVY MUSE 'The Base' plant stand with marble top.



Happy Planting,
Team IVY MUSE x

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How to style 'Chubby' pots and stands

How to style 'Chubby' pots and stands

By Alana Langan

The next instalment in our video series 'Plant Style At Home', here our co-founder Alana Langan shows you how to style with our 'Chubby' pots and plant stands. 

Our goal for this series is to help you get more out of your IVY MUSE wares; now that Victoria is once again in lockdown we miss so many of your smiling faces in-store plus we are so thankful to have so many new customers Australia-wide so we thought we'd bring the IVY MUSE experience to you instead.

With that being said, we'd really love to hear your feedback; what would you love to see from us? If there's any questions/topics you'd like us to answer, (product, plant styling or plant care related) let us know!

Keep an eye out for the rest of the series coming soon. Enjoy x

 

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The next instalment in our 'Plant Style At Home' series, here our co-founder @alanalangan shows you how to style 'Chubby' pots and stands. Our goal for this series is to help you get more out of your IVY MUSE wares; now that Victoria is once again in lockdown we miss so many of your smiling faces in-store plus we are so thankful to have so many new customers Australia-wide so we thought we'd bring the IVY MUSE experience to you instead. We've been loving your feedback too; keep it coming! P.S Our FLASH SALE ends tonight - and 'Chubby's are included! Happy Sunday Team IVY MUSE x 🎥 @selenabrownson . . . . #ivymuse #plantstyleathome #chubbypots #plantstyling #planters #pots #interiors #stylingwithplants

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WINTER PLANT CARE | OUR TOP FIVE TIPS

WINTER PLANT CARE | OUR TOP FIVE TIPS

By Alana Langan

The third instalment in our brand new video series 'Plant Style At Home', here co-founder Alana Langan shares her Top Five Tips to keep your plants healthy and happy through the final few weeks of the winter season; often the most trying time for our plants!

Our aim for this series is to bring the IVY MUSE experience to you; now that Victoria is in lockdown 2.0 and so many of our customers are dotted Australia-wide - no doubt a lot at home too. We've been loving hearing all your feedback, keep it coming. If there's any questions/topics you'd like us to answer (product, styling or care related) let us know. Enjoy x

 

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The third instalment in our brand new video series 'Plant Style At Home', here IVY MUSE co-founder @alanalangan shares her Top Five Tips to keep your plants healthy and happy through the next few weeks of the winter season; often the most trying time for our plants! Our aim of this series is to bring the IVY MUSE experience to you; now that Victoria is in lockdown 2.0 and so many of our customers are dotted Australia-wide, no doubt a lot at home too. We've been loving hearing all your feedback, keep it coming. If there's any questions/topics you'd like us to answer (product, styling or care related) let us know. Enjoy x 🎥 @selenabrownson . . . . #ivymuse #planstyleathome #winterplantcare #plantcarevideo #winter #melbourne #australia

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How To Stake A Monstera Deliciosa With 'Dot' | With Co-Founder Jacqui Vidal

How To Stake A Monstera Deliciosa With 'Dot' | With Co-Founder Jacqui Vidal

By Alana Langan

The second instalment of our 'Plant Style At Home' video series, here IVY MUSE co-founder, Jacqui Vidal, shows how to stake a monstera deliciosa using the 'Dot' plant stake.

Designed and made in Melbourne by IVY MUSE, 'Dot' was created for those customers who needed a stake solution for larger plants; and has since become one of our most popular designs.

Let us know what you think! We love to hear your feedback and if there's any plant styling or care questions you want us to answer let us know and we'll do our best to cover them in this video series.

Keep safe and enjoy! The IVY MUSE Team.

 

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How To Stake A Plant With 'Loop' | With Co-Founder Alana Langan

How To Stake A Plant With 'Loop' | With Co-Founder Alana Langan

By Alana Langan

The first in our brand new video series 'Plant Style At Home', here our co-founder Alana Langan shows you step-by-step how to get the most out of your 'Loop' plant stake.

Our goal for this series is to help our customers get more out of their IVY MUSE wares; now that Victoria is once again in lockdown we miss so many of your smiling faces in-store plus we are so thankful to have so many new customers Australia-wide so we thought we'd bring the IVY MUSE experience to you instead!

With that being said, we'd really love to hear your feedback; and what would you love to see from us? If there's any questions/topics you'd like us to answer, whether it be plant styling or plant care related let us know and we'll do our best to cover it! Keep an eye out for the rest of the series coming soon. Enjoy x

 

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How To Bio-hack Your WFH Space For Wellbeing

How To Bio-hack Your WFH Space For Wellbeing

By Alana Langan

Working From Home? Ramp up your wellbeing with our Top 5 Tips to bio-hacking your space.

1 ADD PLANTS

Working from home can get the best of us - and for us Victorian, just when the thought things were looking good, we're back in a 6-week lockdown (!) BUT, we like so many others are taking this in our stride and looking at this time as an opportunity to hunker down, ramp up our health and wellbeing and enjoy the slower pace with our families.

Our WFH space must support our wellbeing while we juggle our family life - (and potential home-schooling?!) There's a few easy steps we can all take to do this, with adding plants our GO-TO at the top of the list.

We all know the benefits of having plants in our home; increased creativity and a sense of wellbeing, decreased stress levels, cleaner air etc etc, you know the drill. Studies have also shown having a plant on your desk increases productivity by 15%, so there, you have no excuses now!

 

2 BE NEAR NATURAL LIGHT

The best position for your WFH desk is right near good natural light. As the Winter days are shorter and darker, we can struggle to get our daily dose of Vitamin D (in the form of sunlight). Even if you can't manage a little direct sunlight, a well-lit position will help your body to naturally regulate your circadian rhythm and contributes to better health overall.



3 TAKE BREAKS OUTSIDE

WFH can often mean hours in front of the computer, or other devices. Blue light emitted from these devices can take its toll on our circadian rhythms - our bodies can get confused as to what time day it is, and when to secrete the appropriate hormones (anyone had trouble falling asleep after watching too much Netflix)?

The other reason it's a great idea to take breaks outside is so our body can experience sunlight; see No.2 above!


4 OPEN A DOOR OR WINDOW

Biophilia is the theory we all have an innate connection to nature. By opening a window or door, you're literally increasing your connection to nature; you might feel the breeze blowing indoors, or smell the grass outside or even hear the birds; these are all elements of biophilia in action.



5 SURROUND YOURSELF WITH NATURE

A key element of Biophilic design is the process of incorporating natural materials within your home that speak to, or directly connect with nature.

'See' Nature (Eg; artworks, paintings, photos etc)
'Smell' Nature (E.g; burn candles or diffusers with essential plant oils, or Palo Santo, incense or smudge sticks)
'Hear' Nature; (E.g; Open the doors and windows, listen to the birds, hear the breeze blowing your curtains etc)
'Touch' Nature; (E.g; use natural materials like stone, timber, linen, wool, leather etc)
'Taste It'; (E.g.; Drink plant-based teas and elixirs, eat plant-based meals etc)

Given the current climate and the fact that so many of us are WFH, we all could do with increasing our health and wellbeing. Nature is an undisputed gateway to increasing this.

Keep safe and well,
Alana & Jacqui

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Green vignette with co-founder Alana Langan

Green vignette with co-founder Alana Langan

By Alana Langan

We recently teamed up with Melbourne label Viktoria & Woods and are excited to share our second video in the series 'How to Create A Green Vignette'. 

Keep an eye out for the rest of our IVY MUSE x Viktoria & Woods series by following @viktoriaandwoods and @ivymuse_melb on IG.

 

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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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The ancient healing practice of burning sage to cleanse your home.

The ancient healing practice of burning sage to cleanse your home.

By Alana Langan

1.   GET SET UP
 
The ceremony of burning plants can be cleansing for the mind, body and spirit (and home) and is recognised as a beneficial wellbeing practice across many differing cultures. We're big fans over here and cleanse our homes around once a month. There's no right and wrong schedule, just go with what works for you.

1. You'll need a sage smudge stick - we love Crown of Thorns 
2. Something to light the sage with 
3. Vessel to hold your sage, this one works well from Addition Studios 
4. Something to fan the smoke, we often just use our hand
5. Open a window in every room you intend to cleanse

 

02   SET AN INTENTION

Setting an intention before smudging helps to identify what it is exactly that you'd like to cleanse or release from your home. Is it someone else's energy who visited? Is it to purify your own and start afresh? Set your intention and then consciously reflect on it as your are smudging. You can even decide on a mantra to say aloud which supports your intention. The ritual of burning sage is sacred in many cultures and we should always remember to respect the practice and be grateful for its wellbeing benefits.

 

03   BURN, BABY BURN
  
Light your sage, let it flame for a few seconds then blow it out. It should now billow smoke quite well (you should see it lit up orange at the ends). Walk around your home (either hold the smudge stick or keep it held securely in the vessel) and let the smoke get to work. Let the smoke waft around slowly, use your hands or fan to guide it around and out the open windows.

Don't get distracted during this part; you need to watch for any falling embers and be careful not to drop the smudge stick itself as it is a fire risk! Also don't inhale the smoke directly, it can irritate your lungs and eyes.

 

04   OUR GO-TO SMUDGE STICKS
 
Crafted by hand in the Tweed Valley, Australia, we're pleased to be now stocking Crown of Thorns smudge sticks. Choose from two types, one for sleep the other a more general purpose cleanse.

Organically, sustainably and ethically grown plants including Organic White Sage, Rosemary, Lavender and Orange/yellow Straw Flower combine to create a calming and cleansing bundle to release negative energy and to promote luck, unity, longevity and a state of calm. Lavender has strong antiseptic qualities and is also known to promote sleep.

Hand-bound with various natural Australian Quartz stones for cleansing, protection and promoting positivity - every Smudge Stick is bound with a different stone, no two are the same. 

Now more than ever we need to turn to the nurturing benefits Mother Nature can offer us.

Keep safe and well A&J xx

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The restorative effects of Biophilic Design

The restorative effects of Biophilic Design

By Alana Langan

The restorative effects of Biophilic Design; Five steps to increase your wellbeing at home.

1. SEE NATURE


Biophilic design can be incorporated into any home; whether it's a new build or you're looking to retro-fit your existing home. Aesthetically speaking, plants enhance spaces, softening them while counterbalancing the increased use of technology within them. Plants actively reduce air pollution, whilst also decreasing our stress and improving our creativity and productivity, generating an overall sense of increased wellbeing.

Even if you don't have the luxury of having the forest at your doorstep, you can create your own connection to the outdoors by ensuring clear sight-lines to gardens outside, views of nature in the distance, or even create your own indoor jungle with house plants. Not only that, but being able to see images of nature (e.g. photographs and artworks) inside can have a beneficial impact on our health and wellbeing. You can also incorporate shapes, patterns, colours, forms and finishes found in nature into your home (e.g. in your furniture choices, paint colour choices and materials etc).


02 SMELL NATURE


The ritual of burning incense, aromatic plant oils, smudge sticks or even candles is one that many of us hold dear. Connecting to nature using our olfactory sense can conjure up treasured memories and evoke a sense of grounding to our environment. The ceremony of burning plants can also be cleansing for the mind, body and spirit (and home) and is recognised as a beneficial wellbeing practice across many differing cultures. Scents like lemongrass, lemon myrtle, rose or jasmine and even Palo Santo incense can be beautiful.

03 TOUCH NATURE

Using natural materials throughout a home further creates a sense of connection to nature. Texture, variety and and depth of selections that replicate those found outside are all effective. Consider incorporating timber floorboards and furniture, rattan detailing, stone bench-tops, linen curtains and bedding, cotton and bamboo clothing, even animal furs for added texture and warmth. The key is to create comfort and coyness through the layered use of plant-based fibres and natural materials - the list of ways really is endless.

04 HEAR NATURE



Surround yourself with nature by listening to the sounds that cocoon your home. This might be birds chirping or animals digging about in the garden, buzzing bees by an open window, a curtain blowing gently in the breeze or leaves rustling in the treetops. If you're lucky enough to have a real water feature nearby, the sound of running water can also be immensely calming to the nervous system; you can use small desktop ones or create landscaped versions outside. If you don't have access to a garden, you can also listen to digital pre-recorded natural soundscapes like the gentle lull of crashing waves, rain falling on a stormy night or animal sounds like the bird calls of a forest - a popular choice for good reason.

05 TASTE NATURE


There's a growing movement towards eating a plant-based diet these days, the benefits of which are well documented. Plants offer us a plethora of beneficial vitamins and minerals and it really is second nature for us to rely upon them so regularly in our daily practices when it comes to cooking and eating. When the luxury of growing vegetables outdoors isn't possible, anyone can strive to have an indoor herb garden at the very least. As well as making the kitchen smell lovely, not only are herbs great for cooking with but you can even make your own smudge sticks from their dried leaves. Tea rituals are also a wonderful practice that inspires a grounded connection to nature.

Biophilia is humankind’s innate connection with nature. It helps explain why crashing waves captivate us and why we're drawn to spend time outdoors and feel restored after doing so. By designing homes and spaces with it in mind we're improving human health and our overall wellbeing as a global collective.

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Wellbeing With Plants | Dominic Hooghuis from The Plant Runner

Wellbeing With Plants | Dominic Hooghuis from The Plant Runner

By Alana Langan

Please tell us a little bit about yourself...

My name is Dominic Hooghuis and I’m one half of the Melbourne- based brand The Plant Runner. I started my plant obsession as a child, I grew up on a few acres of land in central New South Wales and I have amazing memories of my parents constantly out in the garden working with all types of weird and wonderful plants and trees! Their passion was infectious, and I started experimenting with plants, growing and propagating whatever I could find in whatever vessel I could find to grow them in! I’d go on adventures into the forest with my dirt bike and find stunning stag horns and birds nest ferns growing in huge trees, or go harvest nuts from Bunya Bunya Pines that had fallen to the ground! 

Duncan (Hilder) and I launched as Australia’s first plant truck after converting a vintage 1968 International ‘Horse Float’ into a mobile greenhouse in 2017. We pop up at events, markets and businesses selling indoor plants and plant accessories. Operating from the vintage truck always fascinates people, it’s a very positive space and we love to chat with our customers about indoor plants and people’s journeys. As the business has grown, we’ve up-cycled another two vintage vehicles into mobile greenhouses, a 1960’s Wayfarer caravan and a vintage tricycle – it combines our passion for the environment, recycling and the joy of all things green! We’ve also launched our range of Indoor Plant Products - a specialised fertiliser, a leaf shine and most recently an indoor plant potting mix.

We’re both a bit indoor plant obsessed and I think that helps a lot when developing our products for the indoor plant lovers of the world. We want to make products that not only work, but also look great on the shelf at home.

 

What do you love most about indoor plants?

There is something calming and grounding about plants and trees. In this digital world it feels like nothing is sacred anymore and nature is the only thing that can reconnect us with earth and reality again. Plants have a soothing effect on our souls and I love how plants can have such an impactful role in people's lives - they reduce stress, clean the air and provide a connection to nature within the home. They allow us to be creative in how we style spaces, giving us another medium to work with and express ourselves. I think there is also so much still to learn about plants and that excites me.

 

How do indoor plants enhance your wellbeing?

I think the sense of calm that plants bring to an indoor space really help slow my busy mind, I can find it really hard to switch off at times and the presence of plants helps to declutter my thoughts. I love stopping and checking in on each plant individually and observing it’s progression and growth and seeing how I can contribute to help the plants health and well being the way it does to mine.

 

In what other ways do plants nurture you?

I have a young family and we spend a lot of time in our small garden at home, nurturing and maintaining our green space. My two young boys have shown a real interest in the garden (both indoors and out!) and recently they’ve had an increasing interest in growing our own food. I love showing my boys where and how fruit and vegetables grow and we’re experimenting with growing food in vertical gardens and indoors with grow lights.The garden connects us and I treasure that time with my family.

 

What's your favourite plant?

I wouldn’t say I’ve got a favourite plant so to speak as I love so many for different reasons but I would say I’m currently loving Ficus Dammaropsis or Dinner Plate Ficus, it’s a cousin of the Fiddle Leaf Fig but has much larger deep green leaves and you don’t see it much, especially in the home, which makes it slightly more desirable!

What do you find most difficult about plant care?

I’ve found that once you know your space and have lived in it a while it’s far easier to understand your plants needs and how to keep them happy and healthy! Re-potting plants can be super messy and this was a big influence on the design of our indoor plant potting kit especially the addition of our compostable potting tarp, I actually use it quite a lot at home and during installs and maintenance.

Has taking care of plants taught you anything insightful?

It’s taught me that we can connect emotionally with plants in the same way we do with a pet. We have a huge Fiddle Leaf Fig in our house that has grown up to the ceiling and bent back down - growing over towards a large window. We’ve become so attached to it, it's like a member of the family now!

 

What is another wellbeing practice you swear by?

I feel it’s important to get back to nature whenever possible. I like to ride my vintage dirt bike (I up-cycled that one too!) up into the forest and spend a day on my own up there, I’ll ride until I a find a spot surrounded by trees and ferns and just chill out in the silence for a bit.



Photography: Four Point Zero

 

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Wellbeing With Plants | Thomas Denning

Wellbeing With Plants | Thomas Denning

By Alana Langan

Please tell us a little bit about yourself...

My name is Thomas Denning, I am a horticulturalist working out of a nursery in inner city Melbourne. My work is quite varied dealing with indoor plants, maintenance and garden construction.



What do you love most about indoor plants?

I really love the routine that plants help create in your life after you take one home. They force you to take a bit of step back and put time into caring for them and considering what is going to help them thrive.



How do indoor plants enhance your wellbeing?

Everyone can benefit in some way from owning indoor plants. Even having the visual of greenery from plants indoors helps improve wellbeing. There is something incredibly calming and grounding being surrounded by a mini indoor jungle. I always feel instantly relaxed when I walk through the door to my apartment.



In what other ways do plants nurture you?

I’m lucky that I get to be surrounded by plants at work and home. Just getting the opportunity to work with plants day in day out is nurturing in itself and seeing them flourish is always incredibly rewarding.



What's your favourite plant?

That is a very hard question to answer, I tend to be drawn more to plants with weird growth habits and forms more than anything else. Using different shapes and foliage indoors or in a landscape setting always helps create a more interesting visual. The variety in Acacia species is amazing and you can’t go past a Rhipsalis to help brighten up an indoor setting.



What do you find most difficult about plant care?

There are many things that can be a bit challenging about caring for plants. Factors like light, soil, nutrients, environment and pest control all need to be considered when choosing the right plant indoors or out. So making sure I spend the time doing a bit of research to investigate helps avoid any casualties. My apartment is also west facing and gets quite hot during the warmer months, so the watering schedule can be quite intimidating/time consuming during that time.



Has taking care of plants taught you anything insightful?

More than anything else plants have taught me to never stop learning and improving my own knowledge. There is still so much the natural environment and its inhabitants can teach us, it’s well worth investing our time to hear what they have to say.



What's another wellbeing practice you swear by?

I think it’s really important to recognise when you need to slow down a bit and take a moment for yourself. We all get caught up in our everyday lives and it can become hard to invest that time doing whatever brings us a sense of happiness. So making sure I focus on that a bit more has become part of my routine.



Photos by Thomas

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