Making a Home: Succulents & Flowers

I’ve moved.  To Austin!  It was only a couple of months ago that things in my life shifted dramatically and I knew I had to make a big change.  And when you listen well it’s funny what you find.  Austin just kept coming up.  I found a job, moved my boyfriend, packed three suitcases (and shipped three boxes) and one month later I was living in a studio apartment, furnished by a professor.  A summer fix.

I am a nester.  As soon as we got to the apartment we moved all the furniture around, vacuumed the floors, hid the art we didn’t like.  And once the quiet settled and we unpacked our clothes into the closet, it felt a little more full and a little more like us, but not quite.  As you already know if you’ve read me before, my mother is a garden designer.  I’ve lived in a house full of plants my entire life.  They were missing.

But buying plants when you’re new to a city can be a challenge.  For a start, we didn’t have vases yet.  Nor did we know where to buy flowers for the right price.  $10 succulents were not going to cut it, nor was $15 for a ceramic pot, or $12 for a glass vase from Whole Foods.  But two weeks in we found hydrangeas at the super market for $10 and a dozen mason jars for $12.  It was an easy purchase.  And on the drive home from work later that week we finally stopped at Austin Flower Company and learned that their succulents were a a great deal and so were their orchids.  Plus, they stored clay planters in the back of the store, which were a perfect fit for our new plants.  Settling in that night in the new apartment I finally felt like I was home.

But a post would not exist on The Good Taste Guide without some much needed advice on how to keep plants.  And so these are my tips for buying and keeping succulents and orchids in your home.

  1. Don’t be afraid to shop around for good prices, either on-line or in store.  Stick to purchasing plants at supermarkets and wholesalers, and watch for deals as the former will often go on sale.
  2. Always place your plants in a clay pot, whether you place the plastic directly in or tuck the plant in with new soil, it’s just prettier that way.  If you’re placing succulents, they like gravely soil, so be careful what you use, and ask for advice from the wholesaler if you’re able.  Make sure the planter has a whole in the bottom for easy drainage, and if it doesn’t, make sure to pour water out once the plant has drunk its fill during watering time.
  3. Orchids and succulents like moderate sun.  Don’t let them burn on the window sill or sit under your air conditioner.  Instead, place them in front of a moderately open set of blinds, or vary their light throughout the day.
  4. Orchids will need watering once a week.  The wholesaler recommended we place two ice cubs around its base to let it water itself slowly throughout the day.  Succulents don’t like much attention and should only be watered once a month.  Outside of that, just keep an eye on your plants, their color will fade if they need more love and will turn brown if they’re getting too much.


2 thoughts on “Making a Home: Succulents & Flowers

  1. I love this post… but then again I am your mother and like everything you do, mostly. I love the simplicity of the mason jars with all white Hydrangea, and the suggestion to put everything in clay is a basic fundamental. Plants simply look better in terra cotta. Well done!

  2. Pingback: {Monday Flowers} Spring is Coming! « jentertaining

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