Plant Styling Inspiration at The Sill

I bet you didn’t know this about me but I have a dirt phobia. Yep, I hate dirt especially wet dirt like mud. Blech!

So you ask, but! but! Anita, you lurrrrve plant babies!

Yes I absolutely do! I can’t live without them! Especially when it comes to designing a space and making it filled with life and visual interest. Case enpoint above.

In comes my psychology background to do some Cog B therapy on myself. LOL! Hey glad all those years of counseling others hasn’t been wasted amirite?

Rewind back to a couple weeks ago when I had the rad trip to NYC for the Domino Blog Award Event, I made a point to also visit the incredible plant store, The Sill!

How can I *not* comment on this gigantor fiddle leaf!! My jaw literally dropped at the front door. Look at how happy and big it is!

I was told that it will have to stay here forever because just getting him into the store was a feat in of itself!

The Sill’s Story and Mission

The Sill was started by owner Eliza Banks 5 years ago at the end of 2012. She started the store with the simple concept, “Plants Make People Happy.” Her online store did well and she opened her first mortar and brick store in NYC’s Chinatown district and this past month they opened their second location on Amsterdam Ave. I was able to visit the newest location and show you these lovely pics and tour!

Gah! I was in plant heaven snapping away all these lovely shots to show my design besties!

Eliza’s mission for The Sill is to utilize the love of being a plant parent into building community and content so that not only are our plant babies happy, so are the plant parents!

They offer weekly workshops at their stores throughout the year to build that community in mind.

If I lived closer, you can bet I would be attending almost every one! Click here for the latest!

Educating green and black thumbs alike, The Sill displays the wonderful world of plants through their website and social platforms like Instagram.

My visit to The Sill

Just look at all these plant babies living at The Sill.  I wanted to scoop up every single one and pack them into my luggage to take back to LA. No worries though, The Sill ships nationwide all over the USA! So if you want some plant babies but have no idea what or where hop over to The Sill and I bet you will find some babies to ship home in no time!

The pink blush planters were such a great way to accent the green plants. It gave me inspo to go back home and order some myself!

Plant Style Pro Tips

Using small tiny stools (like the above pic), vintage baskets turned upside down, small footstools, anything with legs work like magic to display plants in your home.

If there are corners or nooks that just seem too bare, use this idea and display a plant that loves the light it gives in that space.

Obvy shelves and plants ALWAYS go together!

Obsessed with another plant styling tip?

Look at these airplants hanging on a chicken coop wired frame. Definitely a DIY that I could show you how someday!

All you have to do is prop them against a wall on top of a bookshelf or credenza. Or hang it up for added visual interest. Anywhere and everywhere in your home are potential plant baby homes!

While snapping pics at lightning speed, this Cereus repandus cactus caught my eye.

Which brings me to another plant styling pro tip! Do not be afraid to invite bigger cacti into your home! I have 3 younger children and suffice to say none has drawn blood yet from these wonderful plants.

Do you know why I love cacti SOOOOO very much? Biggest reason hand down: you don’t have to water them often!

Ha! You probably could have guessed that answer right? I am the Accidental Plant lady, I need easy maintenance please! 

Plant Questions answered by The Sill’s Plant Science Guy

Not only does The Sill have the best plant selection but they also have a resident Plant Science Guy, Chris Satch.

I had the opportunity to ask him a few burning plant baby questions/dilemmas that we all come across leaving us to scratching heads and blank eye stare emojis.

Question 1: Are there foolproof ways to know when to water plants?

Chris: That depends on the plant! Thicker, fleshier plants like cacti, succulents, or zz plants tend to get wrinkly by the leaf bases/base of the plant. Others, like air plants, calatheas, and such curl their leaves in on themselves. The best way to know if a plant needs water (and really the ultimate way) is to simply feel the soil a few inches deep. If it’s dry, water it!

Anita: Remember when I told you I had a dirt phobia? I am happy to report that I actually can now test the soil with my fingers and not go into a mini panic attack. I agree, it really is the best way to know.   

Chris: Just be aware of two pitfalls that are water-related:

  1. Just because water goes through the pot does not mean that it is watered.  When soil gets dry, it actually pulls away from the pot’s edge, and if you pour water on top, it will rush down through the pot without absorbing.  This gives the illusion of wet soil, but nothing has really absorbed.  It’s tricky, because it LOOKS watered, but that’s really an eggshell of wetness concealing a dry core.
  2. Not repotting from the original plastic pots. Every new plant MUST be repotted from the plastic pot that it’s sold in because when it’s sold, it’s already overgrown!  They tend to decline fairly rapidly when left root-bound like that.  Also, with more soil comes better water-managing capacity.

Anita: Eek! I totally leave my plants in the original pots so that I can easily switch pots to change up my home aesthetics in a pinch! Some have been very happy in its original pot though! So what I plan to do is plant them in a new pot with good enriched soil and still swap in and out of bigger pots for aesthetic reasons. Happy medium don’t you think? Chris advises to re-pot into a pot that is 1-2 inches bigger than the original.

Question 2: Do you recommend indoor plant fertilizer? How do we get our plants to grow big and happy?

Chris: For the long-term health of your plant, you definitely need to fertilize. Soil is the multi-vitamin for your plants. Eventually, the plant will exhaust the supply of nutrients. In nature, the plant’s roots just keep growing, but in a pot, there’s only so much space! Therefore, the onus is on you to replace the nutrients with regular fertilization, about once a month to three months with any fertilizer of your choice. Just follow the instructions, and you’re good to go!

Question 3: Most people struggle with their Fiddle plants including myself! They seem so sensitive. My plant’s leaves dry up constantly. Why does that happen? And if they appear to be losing lots of leaves, how do I help them make a comeback? Is it possible?

Chris: It’s important to note that Fiddle leaf figs are exactly that- Ficus.  They ARE your grandmother’s finicky ficus – just a different species for the modern era (Ficus lyrata as opposed to Ficus benjamina and others). I know you may not want to hear this, but they are actually pretty weak plants and are susceptible to just about every plant disease under the sun. Also, for most people, they usually drop leaves because they are not getting enough light.  Remember, light is food for plants, so without full sun to sustain them, they will drop their leaves. If they are losing leaves, make sure they’re getting some direct sun for a good portion of the day.  Then make sure that you’re watering when the soil dries out – they like their soil to dry, but not for too long.  Water with 1/4-1/3 the pot’s volume of water, and you should be good! Also, there is a fresh green bud being protected by the dead tissue, so fear not! If getting good light, and fertilized regularly, new leaves should appear in a few months.

Question 4: What are your top 3 easiest plants to care for and recommended for beginners and/or black thumbs?

Chris: Any plant is easy depending on your style!  Some people can rock cacti but kill tropical plants. Some can kill succulents, but rock at orchids. It just depends on how much light you get, and how much time you’re willing to devote to your plants. If you need to poke at and do something to your plant every day, perhaps ferns and air plants are for you- they like to be misted daily and watered when the soil starts to dry. If you get good light, but travel a lot, bring on the cacti! If you get poor light and travel a lot, bring on the snake plants.  If you want more involvement, there are tropical plants and orchids that can suit different light requirements.

Anita: For me, I love any type of cacti, snake plant and surprisingly the Pony Tail Palm needs very little maintenance as well!

While visiting the store, The Sill also interviewed *me* on Instastory! Wanna see the interview? Check it out here! It was so fun to share my plant mama adventures with them.

So what plant babies are inspiring you to bring home today? I really hope this tour of The Sill has given you all the feels to embark on your plant parenting journey!

Happy day!

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