Ten Tips on Caring for Your House Plants According to Artist & Floral Sculptor William Farr
After a lifetime of looking outside, suddenly the world has found itself in introspection: a goddamn intimidating pile of books you had vague plans of reading when you felt like an intellectual a**hole; buttons to sew back on jeans when they popped off your crotch (either in an act of passion or you just ate one too many Scotch Eggs); cookbooks that you have no idea why you ended up in the ownership of them, and have no desire to ever make anything from them.
And then you have the plants. Plants bought during frothier times at the Flower Market or the ones inherited from past flatmates that never left the windowsill. The gifts when you were sick, the cactus that looked cute in the supermarket… We all covet images of houses teeming with flora, our very own greenhouse or conservatory. Orchids! Ferns! Venus Flytrap! Monstera Deliciosa! However, once we have all bought the beautiful plant pot, the sister stem to keep the other one company, moved the couch to make room for your new comrade’s massive vase… What then?
As we all sit through unchartered waters, and our immediate surroundings become more important than ever, one thing we need to ask ourselves: do we even know how to take care of these new companions we find ourselves in close quarters with? We caught up with floral sculptor William Farr, whose multidisciplinary work with plants has been celebrated globally for his strange, abstract and unexpected figurations and formations. As lockdown tightens, and the importance of immediate surrounding swells, we collated William’s top ten lessons to dealing with your herbal flatmates…
1. Learn to see when your plants are happy and unhappy. You can come to notice that they are almost smiling at you when you just water them!
2. Feather dusters are great to get dust off the leaves but an occasional shower is good for them too. Use lukewarm water that is not too cold, and not too hot. A note: do not shower those with furry leaves though – only leaves that are waxy and glossy.
3. Rotate your plants if they start to grow lopsided so they straighten back up.
4. Don’t give up on your plants easily. If they survive hard times they will gain character!
5. Make sure they have space, plants don’t like to be cramped
6. Invest in mature plants: they will last much better. A lot of young plants that are sold don’t develop root systems and die really quickly. It might not be the owner but the way the plant has been sold to you.
7. Learn when your plants need repotting and what soil they need. If your plants are overwatered they can suffocate.
8. Plants are hard work! They are like pets in that they need attention and love.
9. Accept the fact that some plants will die – buy some new ones until you find what works for you.
10. Have patience! Plants can bring you much happiness if you let them.
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