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Cactus Office Plants

Cactus Office Plants: Opuntia or Prickly Pear Cactus

Recently the interior plant craze has been succulents in small bowl arrangements. Accordingly, cacti are also making a comeback.

Once popular in offices in the late nineties, there’s been a big resurgence in placing cacti as office plants, and we’ve been installing more and more of them.

One of my favorites is Opuntia, or Prickly Pear Cactus.

In the picture shown at the top left, we have the common opuntia that we install in offices–these are grown in Florida and are “spineless”–for ornamental purposes they’re grown without their trademark long spines for both safety and visual appeal. The picture on the bottom left shows a true prickly pear cactus in all it’s spiky glory–big, half inch to inch long thorns that will do a number on you should you make the mistake of falling into one–trust me–I know from hiking in Arizona and accidently falling one one or two.

In general, Cacti make pretty easy office plants to care for–it goes without saying they can tolerate long periods without watering, and are very resistent to most pests that attack other indoor plants with the exception of scale from time to time. What they need, which most people don’t understand, is lots and lots of natural sunlight. The need to be in a window, preferably a south/southwest facing window, so they can get all the sunlight they’ll need to survive indoors. They simply won’t survive under flouescent lights–these types of lights don’t emit enough lumens to support cacti.

You can learn more about our services on our Interior Plant Services page.

To learn more about us, visit our About Us page.

By |2019-07-12T09:35:49+00:00July 12th, 2019|Plant Care|Comments Off on Cactus Office Plants

First Office Planter Installation

Memory Lane: Our First Interior Planter Installation

In looking through some very old photos we had of when the company was just starting out, I came across this picture from 2002.

It’s of the very first planter installation we ever did–meaning a built in planter in an office building in Burlington, MA. I guess I feel kind of nostalgic when I look at this photo; it wasn’t a big job at all, but it felt like it at the time!

It was the same feeling you get anytime you’re doing something for the first time–are all the plants perfectly aligned? Are they seated too tall or too short in the planter? Is the rock groundcover perfectly even–did we use enough? Though I had lots of experience doing interior plants at the now defunct City Gardens in Newton back in the 80s, this was the first major renovation/installation I did on my own

It’s funny too–I keep saying “We”–it was really just me, I was all alone back then–I used to do the installations and then come back the next week to water the plants myself, but you have to start somewhere!

You can learn more about our services on our Interior Plant Services page.

To learn more about us, visit our About Us page.

By |2019-07-09T09:02:39+00:00July 9th, 2019|Plant Care|Comments Off on First Office Planter Installation

Osmocote Office Plant Fertilizer

Soil Additive: Osmocote Fertilizer

As I’ve mentioned before, a good balanced fertilizer is important to periodically introduce to the soil to keep your office plants fed and healthy, and is an important part of any indoor plant maintenance schedule.

Osmocote is an old standby–been around for as long as I can remember. It’s a great balanced N/P/K fertilizer, typically the values being somewhere along the lines of 15/9/12 respectively, with some added micro nutrients that are important for plants such as manganese, copper, iron, and zinc.

It’s extremely important to fertilize all your plants, indoor and outdoor, with a regular schedule. Fertilizer nourishes the plant and is especially important for indoor plants because the nutrients in the soil that is in the grow pot quickly get depleted over time. You basically just sprinkle it onto the top of the soil and water it in (read and follow the directions as to how much–too much will kill your plant!) and it will work on it’s own.

Osmocote is a slow release fertilizer, meaning it breaks down slowly over time, gradually introducing nutrients into the soil, versus a liquid fertilizer, or a granular fertilizer that gets mixed with liquid and watered into the plant, which can get absorbed by the roots right away and has a much quicker absorption rate.

Osmocote is available anywhere–garden centers, hardware stores, amazon.com–it’s easily found and affordable. On our office plants we usually use a balanced liquid fertilizer for quick absorption into the soil, but for living walls on self watering systems that we can’t introduce liquid fertilizer into we use osmocote.

You can learn more about plants on our Interior Plant Library page.

To learn more about our fantastic staff, visit our staff bio page HERE

.

To learn about the benefits of indoor plants, check out our Benefits page, or view our Portfolio Of Plant Installations

.

You can also view some Testimonials and the latest Blog posts, as well as learn about our Charitable program Plants for Paws

By |2019-07-03T07:12:41+00:00July 3rd, 2019|Plant Care|Comments Off on Osmocote Office Plant Fertilizer

Office Plants in Their Natural Environment Part 2

Office Plants in Their Natural Environment Part 2

I’m a plant nerd, so whenever I travel, I’m snapping photos of random plants and landscaping around the properties I stay at.

These photos were taken when we stayed at Naia Resort and Spa in Placencia, Belize.

In the first photo the landscaping outside this building includes Croton plants, Cordyline, and King Sago Palms..

Near the equator, there’s generous sunlight and year round warm temperatures, so these plants that normally grow fairly statically in office environments are allowed to thrive. They also benefit from high humidity and frequent rainfall, helping them fight off pests and diseases.

The Croton and Cordyline plants in particular are not really suited to office environments here in the north. They tend to dry out and develop spider mites and other insects. But here in the tropics, where they’re in their natural environment, they thrive.

You can learn more about our services on our Interior Plant Services page.

To learn more about us, visit our About Us page.

By |2019-06-28T07:11:12+00:00June 28th, 2019|Plant Care|Comments Off on Office Plants in Their Natural Environment Part 2

Plant Rockery

Click to enlarge

Plant Rockeries

So here’s something different–our blog isn’t always about office plants.

This is an exterior plant rockery we created on my home property. In New England, there’s no shortage of spare rocks hanging around your yard outside. Why not do something unique with them?

Really all this is is a collection of stray rocks piled in such a way that creates at least a couple of different “levels” of height as well as little mini planter beds for the plants themselves. We filled the holes in with just regular potting soil and then planted New Guinea Impatiens, Rex Begonia, and Sedum (there’s a sweet potato vine in there too, though it’s struggling in this shady spot). With regular fertilizer and water, these flowering impatiens have thrived and are popping blooms out every day! This is directly under a big oak, so it’s pretty shady.

We actually had enough rocks around to do three different shaped rockeries around the property. Pretty cool, and really doesn’t take much design skill–just pick the right exterior plants and flowers for the light level, arrange the rocks so that they can support the soil, fill and plant it, and keep it watered, especially through the hot summer months, because there’s not much soil there to protect the roots from drying out.

You can learn more about office plants on our Interior Plant Library page.

To learn more about our fantastic staff, visit our staff bio page HERE

.

To learn about the benefits of indoor plants, check out our Benefits page, or view our Portfolio Of Plant Installations

.

You can also view some Testimonials and the latest Blog posts, as well as learn about our Charitable program Plants for Paws

By |2019-06-27T09:07:19+00:00June 27th, 2019|custom projects|Comments Off on Plant Rockery

Interior Plant Design: Filling Large Spaces

Filling Large Spaces with Plants

Just as space can be sometimes tight in offices, many times we’re asked to come up with a solution to fill a large, empty blank area of an office with some sort of planting solution.

In the example at the left, we had this large space to fill with some sort of planting. The client was budget conscious and needed something to fill this space that would be affordable.

Though the natural impulse might just be to stick a big, specimen sized plant in this spot, often this isn’t the best solution. Because this area was near the entrance of the office, a single giant bushy plant would have looked a little silly, and a little lonely sitting there all by itself, no matter how big it was.

Groupings Fill Large Spaces

Instead, we tried a different approach.

This grouping of one specimen sized Hologram plant in a raised European cylinder along with three Lemon Lime floor plants does the trick. The large plant gets an additional 3 feet added to it’s height by the raised cylinder, so that the foliage is a focal point at eye level. Around the base, we cluster 3 colorful Lemon Lime plants to offset the grey colored planters and the grey carpet.

Filling The Space

Here’s the rendering of what the finished space will look like.

Incidentally, this is how we assemble all our quotes–by incorporating pictures of our plants directly into photos of your office, so you can get a clear visualization of what the finished product looks like before we come to install. If this design wasn’t to the client’s liking, we can always tinker with it in photoshop before presenting something that they liked–a clear advantage in this digital age.

Learn More About Plants for Your Office

For a free consultation, or additional information, fill out and submit this short form, and we’ll be in touch soon!

You can learn more about this service and others on our Interior Plant Services page.

To learn more about us, visit our About Us page.

By |2019-06-25T06:40:17+00:00June 25th, 2019|Interior Plant Design|Comments Off on Interior Plant Design: Filling Large Spaces

Picking The Wrong Plant For Your Office

It looked great in the store!

A month or so later…

This indoor Majesty Palm has fronds that are turning brown and dying. No surprise.

Picking The Wrong Plant

So to follow up on the post I did a couple of days ago about the importance of picking the right plant, I’d like to follow up with a post on what not to do: picking the wrong plant for your office.

Office plants are one of those things that people tend to be pretty cavalier about; “How hard can it be?”. Even people without green thumbs feel no hesitation whatsoever just heading down to Home Depot or Lowe’s and grabbing a bunch of plants that strike their fancy. Many times, they end up choosing the wrong plants for the lighting, space, and airflow they have, or, in the case with the plant on the left, they effectively get sold a “lemon”.

The plant on the left is called a Majesty Palm. I chose it because it’s the most common crappy plant stocked by both Home Depot and Lowes and pawned off on unsuspecting office personnel and homeowners.

Many people think picking indoor plants for your office is easy and anyone can do it. Sorry, but they’re simply wrong. I say this after working with plants in offices for over 20 years, and having people that contacted us for a quote, ultimately deciding to do it on their own, and then contacting us again 6 months later to come save their plants after their epic failure to take care of them on their own.

Majesty Palms grow outdoors in Florida, they grow aggressively (quickly) and they can be mass produced by nurseries for cheap. Accordingly, they get shipped to Home Depot and Lowes stores nationwide and marketed as a “houseplant.” They’re simply not. There is not enough humidity and sunlight to support this species indoors, even in Florida indoors they have a tough time, and in 99 out of 100 times the fronds end up browning and dying after a month or so, and the unlucky recipient is left thinking that “gee, it just didn’t do well” when in fact it should never have been marketed as a houseplant to begin with.

“But Home Depot guarantees their plants, if it dies I just bring it back and get a new one” is what I hear a lot. Uh huh….That’s dandy. How many folks do you think bother to stuff a 6 foot dead Majesty Palm back into their car and haul it to Home Depot to get a refund? Exactly. How many times are you going to stuff that replacement palm into your car and return it?  They count on very few people actually bothering to return plants, which is why they stock those particular species.

The other thing about these big box stores is they often get shipped the runts of the litter from the nurseries we buy from. There are certain specifications for the Interior Landscape industry in order for a plant to meet sizing standards; an example being a typical 10″ diameter Mass Cane plant has 3 stalks, being staggered at 3 feet, 2 feet, and 1 foot respectively. Those Mass Canes in nurseries in Florida that are underdeveloped, runty, or sickly get sold to big box stores like Walmart, Home Depot, and Lowes. In other words, we (Interior Landscapers) won’t buy them, so they get sent to mass retail locations to be purchased by you, the unsuspecting do-it-yourselfer office plant purchaser.

On top of all that, the plants are stored in the worst of conditions–poor lighting, jammed together in the plant department without adequate spacing between–just asking for insect and disease infestations.

Anyway, I could go on and on. If your intent is to purchase a couple of plants for your home or office, then this avenue is fine, just be sure to research what plant is best for the lighting and space you’re intending on placing it in. But if you’re about to invest hundreds of dollars in foliage for your office, don’t get it from a big box store. Purchase it from a quality Interior Landscaper who can recommend the right plants for the lighting and airflow in your office, and who will also guarantee their plants with regular service and free replacements, just in case anything goes wrong.

You can learn more about this plant and others on our Interior Plant Library page.

To learn more about our fantastic staff, visit our staff bio page here

.

To learn about the benefits of indoor plants, check out our Benefits page, or view our Portfolio Of Plant Installations

.

You can also view some Testimonials and the latest Blog posts, as well as learn about our Charitable program Plants for Paws

By |2019-06-17T07:22:30+00:00June 17th, 2019|Plant Care|Comments Off on Picking The Wrong Plant For Your Office

Picking The Right Plant For Your Office

Picking The Right Plant

Interior Landscaping often requires equal expertise in design elements as well as horticulture. Many times it’s not only about picking the right plant from a botanical standpoint–in terms of what plant works best given the lighting, airflow and humidity for a given office space, but also what plant works best with the overall design, color elements, and nearby furnishings. Added to all of this is the fundamental knowledge of how the plant will adapt to the space as it grows (does it grow up vs. out, is there a nearby vent which will cause it to lose tons it’s leaves from drafts, etc.) and this is why it helps to hire an expert if you’re going to be investing in a large number of plants for your office.

In the picture shown at the left, we selected a Limelight Plant to go in this floor rectangle planter. We selected it because it complimented the artwork directly above, with the plant’s natural chartreuse colored leaves bringing out the same colors in the artwork. This plant also comes in Cane form but this selection would obviously not be the best choice, because it’s tall stalks would cover the artwork.

Limelight plants will stay tight and bushy over time if pruned properly, so this rectangle will continue to maintain it’s original appearance years after being installed.

Many people think picking indoor plants for your office is easy and anyone can do it. Sorry, but they’re simply wrong. I say this after working with plants in offices for over 20 years, and having people that contacted us for a quote, ultimately deciding to do it on their own, and then contacting us again 6 months later to come save their plants after their epic failure to take care of them on their own.

In pretty much all of these cases, people choose the wrong plants when they procure them on their own, either the wrong lighting requirements for what they have, the wrong care requirements (some plants are WAY fussier than others), the wrong shape (as I mentioned, over time growing out rather than up, and being unusable in the original space they were intended for), the wrong size (they pick a plant way too big for the pots they bought) or the wrong species altogether (some plants such as majesty palms, popular at Home Depot and Lowes, are not suited for indoors and brown and die within a month after purchasing them).

Honestly, I tell people, even if you’re not going to use us as your office plant company, then by all means, use one of our competitors, just don’t try to do it on your own. Picking the right interior plants is one of those things that looks easy but there’s a lot more to it than you would think.

You can learn more about this plant and others on our Interior Plant Library page.

To learn more about our fantastic staff, visit our staff bio page here

.

To learn about the benefits of indoor plants, check out our Benefits page, or view our Portfolio Of Plant Installations

.

You can also view some Testimonials and the latest Blog posts, as well as learn about our Charitable program Plants for Paws

By |2019-06-13T07:28:09+00:00June 13th, 2019|Plant Care|Comments Off on Picking The Right Plant For Your Office

Birdsnest Sanseveria

“Birdsnest” Sanseveria

Sanseveria come in a surprising number of varieties.

This style shown in the custom plant bowl on the left is called “Birdsnest”. Though sanseveria are usually tall (the typical floor plant being about 2.5 feet or so) this particular variety is known for is small, compact clusters of foliage.

It makes a great low profile plant for small tables, countertops, etc. Here we have it accented with some beautiful green reindeer moss and a wonderful fiberglass edged bowl.

This birdsnest variety also does wonderfully in living walls because of it’s tight, compact shape that doesn’t overwhelm the plants around it.

You can learn more about our interior plant service and others on our Interior Plant Services page.

To learn more about us, visit our About Us page.

By |2019-06-11T07:39:27+00:00June 11th, 2019|custom projects|Comments Off on Birdsnest Sanseveria

Flower Bowl Rotation Billerica MA

Seasonal Flower Bowl Displays

Here’s an example of our latest Seasonal Flower Bowl display installed at New England Pediatrics at 76 Boston Road, Billerica, MA.

One of the things that sets us apart from our competitors is the quality of the flowering plants displays we do. Instead of just a flowering plant thrown into a bowl, Erica, our Service Manager, does a tremendous job incorporating other elements into the design.

A former floral designer, she does beautiful design work like this on all our interior flowering plant displays. For this bowl, she’s used a base of three Indian Night bromeliads along with cute springy elements like mushrooms, frogs, and other decorations for this children’s pediatric facility.

I’ve seen other flowering plant rotations from other office plant companies in buildings where we have plant clients and they simply don’t compare. We try to provide you with the best possible quality at a reasonable price, and these flower bowls are one example.

You can learn more about this service aand others on our Interior Plant Services page.

To learn more about us, visit our About Us page.

By |2019-05-28T12:01:44+00:00May 28th, 2019|custom projects|Comments Off on Flower Bowl Rotation Billerica MA