Big thanks to Tess Robinson at Smack Bang Designs for this guest post that Byron and her collaborated on together – Byron sharing the plant knowledge and Tess sharing her wordsmith wisdom.
Since sharing a few photos of the Smack Bang studio in cyberspace, I have been asked a couple (okay, maybe more like hundreds) of times who, what, why and how I deal with such a jungle.
To be honest, it’s really not that difficult to not brutally murder a houseplant. I often hear of friends committing houseplant homicide and I get it – It’s tough to remember what we need to do to take care of ourselves let alone remember what the damn plant requires. Too much water, not enough water, morning light or lunchtime sun, cool draft or warm breeze, soothing jazz or up-beat Tay-tay, soy flat white with coconut nectar or strong macchiato with a winne blue… Ugh, it’s just too much responsibility and fuss.
Or is it?
Thankfully, I have killed enough in my day to figure out which plants are super difficult to care for and which plants will survive even the murderiest of murderers. And, as an added bonus, I now have a knight in shiny armour (read bushman in dirty overalls) who doubles as not only my life partner, but a qualified plant-carer-horticulturalist-person-thingy – Head Urban Grower, Byron.
Together, Byron and I thought it would be a good idea to share impart our wisdom (ahem, his wisdom) with you all to help turn your thumb a brighter shade of green.
So why should you make friends with fronds? Well, my friend, there is a list as long as the great wall of China, but for now – here are our top five reasons. The Smack Bang studio is consequently filled with green delights and flowering brights. Apart from the fact that it takes me half a day to water our mini amazon, I love that these little pockets of green make for healthier, happier, and consequently more productive and creative, employees.
Here is Byron’s list (the culled version) of road-tested house plants that keep us company on the reg. These guys are tried and true winners that I can personally vouch for as they’ve survived my often forgetful or overly cautious peaks and troughs of care.
THE FIDDLE LEAF FIG
This guy, known for its leathery leaves and appearances in Vogue home circa 2013-14. The Fiddle has had his fair share of spotlight in recent years, for its glorious shape and big statement leaves. He loves a life of indoors and tries to stay off the drink as much as he can (ensure you allow the soil’s surface to dry out in between waterings). Medium to bright light is the magic formula for Mr Fiddle.
The rubber plant is known for his ability to make a big statement with its dark shiny leaves. As I’ve noticed in the Smack Bang studio, these guys get larger and more hardier with age, so this sucker will grow into a nice size relatively quickly. Get this boy into some quality medium to bright indirect light, but sure to avoid direct sun. Like his mate Fiddle, allow the surface of the soil to dry out in between waterings.
There are various varieties of the dracaena, but all are just as spesh and sexy as the next. People love the exotic look of this plant, which thrives in medium to bright light. Again, it’s important to allow the soil surface to dry between waterings, and do note that the plant can be poisonous to your furry friends.
MOTHER IN LAW’S TONGUE
Also known as the snake plant, but I much prefer the sound of Mother-in-law’s tongue! My plant-man boyfriend once told me that this guy is the next best thing to plastic plants – heaven to my ears! That’s a good sign about it’s as low-maintenance as my hair regimen, perfect! Whilst he can handle low light, it truly thrives in brighter spaces. Chill on the watering front because they can get root rot (which will kill most plants FYI).
Succulents are where it’s at for 2 reasons: they are damn cute and super hard to kill. These guys do well in rooms with bright light, and they highly prefer not to be over watered. I’m deadly serious about this last point. While people joke that these plants will survive the most neglectful of owners, they will not survive excess amounts of water.
You may know the monsterra from such publications are On-Trend Right Now, Interior Wet Dreams or perhaps even 1800SexyPlants. In the words of Derek Zoolander, these guys are ‘so hot right now’. The monsterra are super easy to care for and maintain, however, if the right conditions and care instructions are not followed the plant leaves can go from fab to drab faster than Velour Tracksuits went out of vogue. Direct sunlight will damage the leaves, so find a spot with indirect rays.
ZEE ZEE PLANT
This dude is a long-lasting, super-resilient houseplant that can handle low to bright light. If you want a perfect little bookshelf plant that you can forget about and totally ignore, this is your guy. I’m not even sure you could kill this one if you tried too, he’s kind of like a zombie that keeps reappearing from the dead. The zee zee loves low to bright light and drying off his soil between waterings
This guy is my number one prediction for Australia’s Next Top Model, or Plant – whatevs. When growing the yucca indoors, try to locate it in a partially shaded area of bright, but indirect light for better leaf color. It’s no biggie if you leave on a holidays and forget to ask a friend to water your plants. These guys have very low water requirements and would probably prefer to stay in your home by themselves – babysitters and bottles are for sissies.