Her 200 little green babies thrive in her store and she has 100 at home who are just as happy – showing you that you don’t need any formal gardening training to develop a green thumb.
All you need is a love of greenery, and to abide by a few basic plant principals.
We picked Marita’s brain and here are her top plant tips;
#1. Where do I come from?
First things first. Find out where the plant comes from – its origin/habitat. Work out what it likes & mimic that at home. For example, you will kill a cactus if you put it outside on a south facing balcony in the Melbourne winter (remembering that a cactus is a desert plant and it thrives in dry conditions and with little water). Your plant will grow and respond to you and the conditions you provide – so do your research.
#2. Let there be light.
Ensure your plant is placed in the right position based on its light requirements, i.e. is it a desert dwelling sun lover (cacti)? Or a rainforest shady guy (fern)? Plants get their food from the sun and require different levels of light based on the way they have evolved.
- Window light/heat - Plants should never be placed in direct sun behind a window.
- North = brightest light
- South = lowest
- West = moderate & hottest
- East = moderate
Also consider what is outside the window e.g. are any tall building or trees casting shadows and blocking light?
#3. To water, or not to water.
It is always better to underwater a plant than to overwater.
Points #1 & #2 will determine how often we water our plants along with some other factors such as pot size and…
Plants drink with their roots so must be soaked right through pot.
Less natural light = less water and the opposite applies.
Weight of pot (very light generally means time to water).
Soil pulling away from the sides means soil is too dry and time to water.
Compacted soil, use skewer to aerate soil for proper water absorption.
Water more in spring and summer (growing season). Roughly half the water in winter.
Water less in winter when plants are dormant (be careful of indoor heat).
Warm/Tepid water preferred.
Misting for humidity loving plants (tropical plants, figs, palms etc.).
Indoor plants like stable conditions like we do. Be careful of cold drafts or excessive heat from a heater. Wipe the leaves to keep them free of dust and ensure nutrients can be absorbed through the light and to avoid stunted growth.
#5. Love. Check in with your plants every 3-4 days.
Build a relationship and take the time to get to know them. They will love you for it.
#6. When buying a plant, look at the foliage
This is a good indicator of the health of the plant. Look out for yellow/brown leaves and tips which generally reflects the health of the plants root system.
Marita’s suggestions for good starter plants for someone who doesn’t know anything about plants? Philodendron Congo, Peace Lily, Zanzibar Gem, Sansevieria [more commonly known as mother-in-law's tongue].
What does Marita love most about plants? The energy and life that they breathe into your space.
Need some plant advice? Contact Marita, or visit her gorgeous Hampton store, take in a photo of the space you are wanting to fill and note the conditions. She can suggest some green babies to breathe life into your home environment.
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