News and Tips

Planter Stands

a planter display in an office in Waltham, Massachuetts

Planter Stands

Planter stands are a cool way to bring out the best visuals in your plant displays

This display is in a bank in Waltham, Massachusetts. Normally, this corner is kind of bare. There’s no desk, no file cabinet, nothing to put this lovely flower bowl on, and if you just stuck it on the floor, it would look pretty silly.

So in this case we can bring up the bowl to either waist or eye level by placing it in a symmetrical modern plant stand.

These types of stands come in both short and tall sizes, depending on the situation/area they are going in. The stand itself is important as well, because the minimalist appearance of it (thin and airy; single inch or so diameter legs vs a solid block, for instance) helps draw your attention to the bowl, so that you don’t focus on what it’s sitting on. Pretty basic, yes, but important in design if you want to bring out the best visual impact of the bowl.

The plants used in this planting include neoregelias, pothos plants, and zz plants for height.

These planters and stands are from Architectural Suppliments, in their Earthforms Tier Planter line.

an example of a short metal planter stand
an example of a tall planter stand

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

To learn about the benefits of indoor plants, check out our Benefits page.

By |2020-03-31T08:39:53-04:00March 31st, 2020|Interior Plant Design|Comments Off on Planter Stands

Office Plant Pests: Mealybug

Of all the pests we deal with in Interiorscape, nothing bugs me more than Mealy (har!).

indoor.plants.light
photo courtesy of University Of MD College of Agriculture

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mealybug is one of the most pervasive pests we deal with in interior landscaping.  It appears as white, q-tip looking type cottony blemishes on otherwise healthy leaves.  These little miscreants suck the juices from the plant leaves and cause yellowing, browning, and dying leaves.  If left untreated, it can quickly ravage the plant and render it in need of replacement.

Worse, the severely weakened plant is much more susceptible to other pests such as scale and mites as a result.  It’s like I tell people:  The mealybug throws a party on your plant and invites all its pesky friends over for a buffet.

Plants in your home are not immune to mealy, but it thrives in offices and commercial buildings because of the poor air quality, limited airflow, and hot, dry conditions.  In large commercial indoor plantings it’s a nightmare: It can quickly spread from plant to plant and before you know it you have a full scale infestation.

Treatment is usually two fold:  For a quick “knockback” we use a combination of rubbing alchohol and water, 50/50, that kills the mealy on when it’s sprayed on the leaves.  Another great natural pesticide is dishwashing detergent and water. Yes, plain old liquid dishwashing detergent.  Mix a half a teaspoon or so in water, get it nice and foamy, and spray it on the affected areas.  It smothers the mealybug, and as long as you don’t overdo it, is perfectly fine for the plant.  It can dry on the leaves–it doesn’t need to be washed off. Routine application of this over a period of a week or two when the mealy is noticeable should eventually eliminate it.

For long term control Merit or some other systemic pesticide is best–these are introduced into the soil with watering and the plant absorbs them through it’s root structure and it becomes inherent in the leaves and shoots of the plant providing protection for up to 6 months or more.

To keep Mealy from forming on your houseplants, use a humidifier in your house in the winter. Spraying the leaves periodically with water will help the plant as well. Generally healthy plants don’t develop mealy, but nature can sometimes find a way, and with a little help from humans we can rid the plant of these pests.

 

By |2019-02-01T14:58:57-04:00May 10th, 2016|Plant Care|Comments Off on Office Plant Pests: Mealybug

Office Plants and Light Requirements

Today let’s talk about indoor plants and light.

indoor.plants.light
Everybody thinks that all interior plants need as much light as possible.

Everybody couldn’t be more wrong.

Indoor plants, depending on the species, require everything from low to medium to high light, and on top of that, there are a myriad of other variables thrown in such as airflow, temperature, and humidity in the room they’re in that will affect their growth patterns.

 

 

attack plant

YIKES!

 

But let’s get back to light for a minute…

When you go for a walk around here in the woods in New Hampshire or Massachusetts, what do you notice?

That’s right…The woods can be awfully dim.  Especially for the plants on the forest floor.  Ferns, sedges, moss…These plants thrive in low light.  If you dug them up and transplanted them in a sunny field, guess what?  They’d croak because they’re not used to that amount of sunlight; it’s not in their makeup to receive that many lumens per day.

The same thing goes with a tropical jungle–you’ve got the plants in the canopy; ficus trees, etc., that require a lot of light, and will get it, because they’re in the canopy with an unobstructed amount of direct sunlight on a daily basis.

Medium light plants; philodendrons, pothos, etc., grow in the mid level canopy and get filtered sunlight.  Plants on the bottom of a rainforest floor receive no direct sunlight whatsoever.  In your office, it’s the same.  You can’t take a low light plant and stick it in a sunny window.  It’ll do poorly (not to mention the fact that the window acts as a magnifying glass and can scorch the leaves).

So this is where an interior landscaper comes in handy.

A man cycling and carrying a lot of flowers and plants on his bicycle in the street of Shanghai, China 3 April 2013.

You:  Intelligent, clever, up and coming office professional that you are, often know as much about choosing the right type of plant for your lighting and space requirements as I do about the absorption coefficient of semiconductors.

I’ll pick the right plant for the right spot in your office, because I can see things you don’t–not just obvious things like if this room has a window, does it face east or west, etc.  But I know how to look for more subtle things that you might not think of;  like are there shades in this room and are they often kept closed…Does the CEO travel a lot and therefore her overhead lights are likely never to be on, etc.

Some plants do very well under fluorescent lighting.  Standard fluorescent light has weak lumens (a measure of light power) but it’s the right spectrum for root and tissue growth.

Don’t go it alone!  Get a professional, namely me, to pick the right plants for the light you have and present it to you in pictorial proposal so you can get a clear idea of what the plants will look like when they’re designed into your office decor, and make the most of your foliage investment.

 

Oh, and by the way…As as side note, don’t even talk to me about “grow lights” or “plant lights” they sell at hardware stores;  I can’t think of a bigger rip off to consumers.  Most of these are just glorified fluorescent lights with a hefty price tag that do nothing to help  the plant’s tissue or root growth.

The only real grow lights are HPS Sodium fixtures–they cost a fortune, and are usually only used professionally.  They put out a ton of heat and have their own separate ballast, and are a fire hazard in inexperienced hands…So yah, don’t go setting one of these up in the bosses’ office thinking it’s going to help his bonzai tree!

By |2020-03-23T06:06:47-04:00April 7th, 2016|Plant Care|Comments Off on Office Plants and Light Requirements

Pothos Totem

Pothos TotemPothos totem in a facility in Watertown, MA

Pothos Totem

Pothos Totems are great plants for tight spots. Being a vine, pothos usually grows as a tabletop or hanging plant, but in this case it’s grown into a pyramid or totem form by painstaikingly wrapping the vines and gently stapling them to a center pole or a teepee of three bamboo poles grouped together.
Pothos Totems are great plants for tight spots. They fit where most plants won’t, and their footprint is small–never taking up more than one square foot of floor space, since we keep the trailers trimmed as part of any Interior Plant Maintenance plan.

They’re fairly easy to maintain, water about every 2 weeks or when the soil starts to dry out. They are a bit prone to mealybug as a pest, especially in dry environments like offices, so they need to be monitored pretty frequently.

By |2019-03-14T09:19:34-04:00March 14th, 2019|Plant Care|Comments Off on Pothos Totem

Bushy Plant Walls

Green wall--live plant wall example

Bushy Plant Wall

When we first started installing live plant walls, I found myself tending to design most of them with this very organized, structured look of either all one species of plants, or two species layered perfectly together in exact slanted lines, etc.

Lately, I’ve tended to trend more to these bushy, junglely looking plant walls, such as this one we have installed in Watertown, Ma.

These types of design emphasize diversity of texture and leaf; big broad leaves, varigated shades of greenish grey and dark green, soft, rounded leaves and sharp pointed ones. Personally, I think it’s more indicative of what an actual jungle would look like–there’s not a lot of order and structure in the vegetation in the rainforest.

It’s kind of a zen thing. There is no perfection in nature because nature is perfect all by itself. I think these type of living plant walls reflect that type of thinking.

You can learn more about the plants used in this living plant wall on our Interior Plant Library page.

To learn more about plant walls, visit our living plant wall page HERE

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

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

By |2020-02-18T14:29:44-04:00April 11th, 2019|Living Walls|Comments Off on Bushy Plant Walls

Picking The Right Plant For Your Office

a brightly colored Limelight plant in a company in waltham ma

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

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

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

By |2019-06-13T07:28:09-04:00June 13th, 2019|Plant Care|Comments Off on Picking The Right Plant For Your Office

Watering Fake Plants

Watering Fake Plants

Here’s a facepalm moment courtesy of the New York Post:

Caelie Wilkes’ dream of being a nurturing plant parent died on the vine when she realized the succulent she’d been tenderly tending for two years was a fake. She recounted her botanical boo-boo Friday in a viral Facebook post….

“My Fake Plants Died Because I Did Not Pretend To Water Them”

-Mitch Hedberg

*original photo and article posted at New York Post

By |2020-03-09T08:33:00-04:00March 9th, 2020|Interior Plant Design|Comments Off on Watering Fake Plants

Container Trends

A limelight plant in a client office in Andover Massachusetts

Planter Trends

Over the years, I’ve seen lots of container colors come and go, as far as what’s in style for offices during which time period.

When I first started the company in 2001, burgundy colored containers were all the rage (believe it or not!).  Lots of offices were being furnished with burgundy highlights in carpet, furniture, dark wood, etc.  In the mid 2000’s everything was earth tones; wheat, khaki, olive, etc.  That trend stayed up until the next decade, when furnishings started to change to experimenting with grey highlights in carpeting, etc.

Over the past few years, grey has been omnipresent in pretty much EVERY office renovation that I’ve seen; so we had been installing a lot of charcoal, light grey, black, silver, and gunmetal colored planters.  

Lately though, white colored planters are starting to gain in popularity.

I love white planters.  Nothing brings out the color of a plant like the wonderful contrast that white planters offer.  Shown here to the left is a brilliant colored Limelight plant in an office at a client site in Andover, Massachusetts.  

Sometimes I wonder what colors planters will be 50 years from now.  Rainbow?  Plaid?  Clear?  At some point, you’ll have to think we’d have worked our way throught the entire color pallette!

 

By |2020-03-06T10:18:18-04:00March 6th, 2020|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Container Trends

Artificial River Rock

Planter rocks

Artificial River Rock

One of the great innovations in Interior Landscaping to come around in the last decade or so is Artificial River Rock.

These are hollow core, plastic rocks that resemble real river rock. They’re incredibly lifelike, (as lifelike as rocks can be!) and come in a variety of colors, though we tend to use black the most, and white the second most, because the white look great as a contrast against dark green plants.

They’re primarily used as a top dressing for plants, and a real modern alternative to moss or worse, (ugh) bark mulch. We use them in indvidual plantings and plants as well as top dressing in small planter beds.

By the square foot they are a little on the expensive side, but they’re much lighter and less messier than real river rock.

By |2020-03-06T13:01:46-04:00May 1st, 2019|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Artificial River Rock