Our editor’s a plant mom … growing, drinking, eating!
May is for the plant moms! It’s the month to dig your way into the world of plant parenting with confidence. Celebrate Mother’s Day with a new addition to the family or gift mommy dearest with something to help with that empty nest. Our ed’s a massive fan of Life is a Garden … who she follows for great plant parenting tips.
SEASONED PLANT MOMS
If you’re looking for a plant that says “this isn’t my first child”, these three high-maintenance favourites will glamorously show off your expert parenting skills.
Moth orchid Tantrums about: could be anything but especially overwatering • Bribe it with: patience, loose bark potting mix, indirect sunlight, humidity, scheduled watering.
Maidenhair fern Tantrums about: not being able to watch you shower • Bribe it with: misting, dappled light, and humidity. Also, some time outdoors where it can see the sunset.
Calathea Tantrums about: being the only child and open spaces • Bribe it with: bright, indirect sun, well-draining soil, lots of friends to increase humidity, and a shallow container (short-root syndrome).
FIRST-TIME PLANT PARENTS
When gifting or homing a plant as the first indoor offspring, go for these three easy greens that don’t always need to be the centre of attention.
Snake plant May give glares when: irritated by too many water kisses • Give pocket money and: only one or two waterings during winter and almost any light condition.
Spider plant May give glares when: it’s too hot to play inside • Give pocket money and: well-drained soil, indirect light, occasional pruning of playful spiderettes.
Pothos (Epipremnum) May give glares when: grounded and unable to go anywhere Give pocket money and a hanging basket or trellis, a little pruning, and a chance to dry out between watering.
INDOOR GROWING GUIDE
Regardless of what you are planning to grow, here are some top tips for successfully raising your bundles of joy indoors.
Adoption Buy plants and seedlings from a quality approved GCA Garden Centre, so you know your new babes have been given the best head start in life.
Containers Always choose a container with many drainage holes, and don’t forget the saucer! Buying a small watering can with a long spout is also a great idea.
Repotting Potted plants will eventually outgrow their containers. You’ll know it’s time to repot them when there is more root than soil left inside the pot. Upgrade your pot size, use fresh potting mix and a splash of fertiliser. Ask your garden centre assistant for help on which plant food and soil mix to use for your particular plant.
Journaling To help organise feeding, watering and pruning times, begin a diary for your indoor plants where you can schedule your playdates properly. A journal will also help future babysitters and prevent them from accidentally doing damage to your hard work while you are away.
Maintenance To keep your plant children looking and performing their best, use a damp cloth to remove any dust from the leaves. Dust prevents plants from absorbing adequate light and clogs their stomata – the holes which they need to breathe. In addition, deadheading spent blooms will encourage more flower power while pruning promotes lush regrowth.
THE BENEFITS OF PLANT BABIES
Indoor gardening is a fabulous hobby! You could start an Instagram page to promote your plant-parenthood journey and let the world celebrate those special growth milestones with you. In addition, gardening of all kinds promotes a connection with nature, increases happiness, improves air quality, and is really fun (and slightly addictive). From conversation starters to filling an empty nest, there’s always a reason to get a new plant. Remember to check the growing instructions of your new addition and make sure you can provide the perfect place for optimal growth. Life is a Garden, and plant moms are awesome! Details: lifeisagarden.co.za, insta @lifeisagardensa
After we’ve grown the flowers … we eat them. Floral Provisions by Cassie Winslow may well be our gift of the year. Drool-worthy photographs and marvellous sweet and savoury recipes using edible flowers. From simple jasmine sugar and rose salt to berries with whipped lavender cream, raspberry elderflower scones and lemon and hibiscus ice pops to the ultimate floral treat … blooming rocky road ice cream. If you’ve a mum who loves flowers, or loves cooking, or (like our ed) both, this is the gift that’ll win you the favourite child award. Chronicle Books, R350. Be sure to also follow Cassie on Instgram @decotartelette
Gin was once known as Mother’s Ruin. Not this one … the brand new zero-alchohol version from Flowstone Gin. Still made with local botanicals, there are two to choose from … Wild Cucumber 0% and Marula 0%, both from flowstone.co.za
This Sow Delicious Planting Chocolate Slab of Seed Pure Gin Herbs has a double whammy … we can grow our own herbs, and, in this case, we’re growing herbs that are suited for spicing up our gin. R59 from yuppiechef.com
Last, but most certainly not least, on our ed’s wish list is a bottle of Prossecco Valdo Paradise. R198.95 from Solly Kramers
This Good Roots Watering Can, with folding handle and perforated rose sprout, holds 4.5 litres so you’ll be well equipped to quench the thirst of plenty of plants with one refill. R349 from yuppiechef.com