Houseplants. We are 7×7 in San Francisco. That is 7 miles by 7 miles. Not all of us have outdoor space, though in the City many of us are lucky to have our little slice of land in the back yard. If you don’t have that, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fabulous greenery that is living, in your very own home.
Here is my best kept secret. Purchase potting soil and a pot that is a little bigger than the plant you have purchased, drop in a screen to cover the hole in the bottom of the pot (purchased at a garden supply store) and some gravel or old pot shards as a small bottom layer. Ease the plant out of the pot by turn it on its’ side and holding close to the stem(s), drop it into the pot with some soil previously placed in the pot leveling the top of your new plant about 1-2” below the rim. Surround it with soil and press the plant down, and tamp the soil down lightly.
Here’s the Secret to keeping plants alive…get ready…place a dish under the plant to catch the excess water, which also allows the plant to draw that water back (if its’ not too much water). You can even purchase a cork or plastic mat, or stand to place it on to get it off your floor or carpet and voila, greenery.
I have a few favorite plant spots where I purchase. Lowes Home Center on Bayshore Blvd. and close by is Flowercraft, an outdoor flower mart. Sloat garden Center on Sloat Blvd. near the Zoo, and several smaller plant stores in the inner mission.
Think about the lighting and know the direction of the light when you go to purchase and a salesperson will generally advise you on what plant will thrive in that light and exposure for optimum shelf life! Purchase a plant food, I like Maxsea, to add to your water once a week. As you watch your houseplants grow, you will likely feel a pride of ownership akin to owning a pet! Plus they put lots of oxygen in the air.
Some of my favorite species are spider plants, Boston ferns, lucky bamboo, the money plant, dieffenbachia, ivy, coleus, peace plant with white flowers, herbs for the kitchen like basil, oregano, mint and thyme. Succulents are great too and don’t require much water, like jade and many other exotic and beautiful varieties. Don’t overwater, just make a layer of water…just enough to see the water soak into the soil and not spill over the other side. You don’t need to be a gardener or study gardening books to own and enjoy plants. Just dig in!