An Interview With A Plant Whisperer, Rocky Pepper from Glasshaus Nursery
We have Rocky on speed dial. On more than one occasion she has rescued our sad and helpless plants. We plead with her ‘but we DID water it!’ and she smiles a sly smile because she knows the truth. She is the plant whisperer and these are her buddies. So listen up children, this is important…
We asked Rocky how to care for indoor plants;
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST COMMON MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE WITH INDOOR PLANTS?
1) Plants are living things which I think sometimes people forget. They need water, light and love just like us. Each of us have things we like and we are all a bit different.
2) Moving indoor plants outdoors for some sun. NO, JUST NO! If you think it needs more light gradually move it closer to the window.
3) Leaving (most) plants sitting in a pool of water – no one likes wet feet.
WATERING. WHAT’S THE SECRET?
There’s no absolute rule with this and it depends on the individual plant in your space. A good tip is to always water the plant at the centre of the pot so the roots are getting water. Also try to moisten the entire top soil surface with water to avoid it becoming hydrophobic and repelling water. If unsure when you need to water, you can test this by digging your fingers down the side of the pot to feel if the soil is dry or moist, never let the soil dry out completely.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE INDOOR PLANT?
WHY DO PLANTS MAKE PEOPLE SO HAPPY?
Green is such a calming colour. They literally breathe life into a space and my hippie spiritual self thinks that people have a deep connection with energy from the earth.
IF YOU WERE A PLANT YOU’D BE… a hoya (total creeper)!
HOYA (WAX PLANT)
KNOWN FOR: Some say I’m creepy but really I just like to hang out, have my quiet time and be left alone to do my own thing. Then one day you’ll suddenly notice me looking amazing, crazy and wild, giving you flowers and it will be love.
WATER: I like regular water once a week during Spring and Summer as I’m pretty active. Reduce to once a fortnight in Winter but don’t let all my soil dry out. I also hate being left to sit in water, so don’t do that please.
POSITION: Normal room temp thanks. I hate the cold and will need at least 3-4 hours of sun to thrive. If more shaded, you won’t see my flowers develop.
IF I GET DEPRESSED: Can you see my flowers? Then I’m already depressed buddy. Position is key, move me to the ‘Byron Bay’ of your house – somewhere bright and warm with hours of sunshine. Also I’m susceptible to stem tip burn from low humidity or from touching cold or hot surfaces. So give me a spritz and I’ll love you forever.
KNOWN FOR: My split personality. I can’t decide if I’m cheese or salad. WATER: Sparingly, only keep my potting mix barely moist and let the top third of the pot dry out before watering again.
POSITION: Bright filtered light, although I can handle a bit more sun during Winter. In a warm room, I will love increased humidity.
IF I GET DEPRESSED: I probably just need some support. Place me on a moss covered or bark pole and train my aerial roots up so that I can become that three metre monster you’ve been dreaming of. Also wipe my leaves down regularly please – I love it!
KNOWN FOR: I made my break on the social media scene and have never looked back. Some like to say that I’m the Serena van der Woodsen of indoor plants.
WATER: Infrequently, every 1-2 weeks. Make sure it’s a good amount though to soak through the soil. Before watering again, let the top half of soil dry out. Dark spots on my leaves and lower leaves falling off is a sign of overwatering, so tone it down a bit.
POSITION: Melbourne weather is all too extreme for me. I hate the cold but the Summer sun will burn my sensitive leaves. Best to keep me in a bright warm room.
IF I GET DEPRESSED: There’s a lot of public pressure for me to perform and I’m a diva that needs her space. Don’t even think about man handling me as I bruise easily and the scars run deep. If you truly love me you’ll gently wipe my leaves with a warm diluted milk solution to help keep them shiny and glossy.
FICUS ELASTICA (RUBBER PLANT)
KNOWN FOR: Robust and resilient I take whatever life throws my way. Most of the time I just like to chill and lay around in the sun all day everyday.
WATER: Every 1-2 weeks and less in winter. Though never letting my potting mix dry out completely.
POSITION: Medium to bright filtered light indoors although I can acclimatise to shaded, sheltered spots outdoors. If I’m of the variegated variety then a brighter spot is key.
IF I GET DEPRESSED: I’m probably not getting enough light. Think like a lizard, I need energy from the sun.
Now that you’ve settled on your perfect plant, finding equally handsome pants for your plants can be just as challenging! Think about creative ways to display your greenery with these sexy pants for your plants. We’ve got pots and planters of all shapes and sizes.
For more ideas on how to get your indoor plant on, head over to the garden and outdoor section at Hunting for George.