Plants 101 with the Sill

Sometimes we want to learn about things beyond skincare, ya know? Which is why we were psyched to connect with The Sill, a genius home delivery service for plants. Below, they give us the 411 – or 101? – on selecting and caring for houseplants. 



What are some great plants for urban-dwellers who reside in (not-so-light-filled) apartments?

When choosing a plant for your space, the consideration The Sill team emphasizes the most is the amount of light your space receives. So many people claim they do not have a “green thumb” – but they’re usually having trouble keeping their plants alive because they’re choosing ones that cannot thrive in the environment they’re providing. For example, if your space is lacking bright, direct sunlight then don’t get a cactus.


Our five favorite plants for spaces lacking in big windows that let in bright sunlight – aka pretty much every NYC apartment, or at least the ones we’ve lived in – are:



How about for those lucky folks who live in an airy, light-filled houses?

If you’ve hit the apartment-lottery, or live out in the suburbs with a window that faces a yard and not a brick wall, and have a space that receives bright light, you can try:


Or, really, any plant! Though the plants mentioned in question #1 could thrive in low-light conditions, they don’t mind bright light either. Overall, houseplants prefer bright to moderate light. Just make sure it’s indirect – unless you’re dealing with a cactus – so the leaves do not burn. A good rule of thumb: if the sun is too strong for your skin, it’s probably too strong for your plant’s leaves.




What are some of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to purchasing and caring for houseplants?


When it comes to purchasing a plant, the most common mistake we’ve come across is customers choosing a plant based on looks, or popularity, and not based on plant requirements.


For example – the Fiddle Leaf Fig tree has gained some serious popularity recently. Although pretty low-maintenance, they can be extremely fickle in the wrong environment. There are a lot of customers who request them based on their cool-factor, but don’t have a space with bright, indirect light for the tree to thrive in. Then it’s really not worth it. The awesome thing about plants, unlike cut flowers, is they don’t have an expiration date (they can outlive you!) so you definitely want to do a tiny bit of research pre-purchase.


Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree 

When it comes to caring for a plant, the most common mistake we’ve come across is customers overwatering. Overwatering is the easiest way to kill a plant! It can lead to root rot and a possible pest problem. Our rule of thumb? It is better to under-water than to over-water. You can always add more water, but subtracting it from soaked soil is a much more difficult process.


We’re in the process of decorating our office and definitely want to integrate some plants – what are some design and styling tips we should be mindful of?


When creating design plans for our plant installations, there really are no set rules, but we do have a few tips:


  • Cluster plants together to make more of a visual impact
  • Don’t be afraid to mix and match planter materials and colors (i.e. terra cotta and glazed ceramic)
  • Play with plant size, color, and texture by incorporating multiple varieties
  • Make sure to choose plants that will thrive in your space
  • Keep in mind plants’ toxicity levels, in case your space is shared with a office pet


Clustered plants = good design advice 

We’re big into aloe over here, namely because it’s amazing for skin. Any tips on growing and caring for it?


Aloe is one of our favorite species of succulents because not only is it extremely easy to grow and care for, but it also is a wonderful ingredient for home remedies. If you plan to grow Aloe at home, we recommend using a well-draining, sandy potting mix – like a prepackaged ‘cacti and succulent mix’ – and a terra cotta or ceramic planter with a drainage hole and saucer.
It is important to keep potted Aloe in a spot that receives bright, partially indirect, sunlight. Make sure to allow the Aloe’s soil to dry out completely in-between waterings. Aloe is a succulent so it’s drought-tolerant! Do not overwater.


When repotting your Aloe plant, divide new growth from the “mother” plant and into separate spots to allow for further grow and prevent pests. And we would not recommend ingesting Aloe in any way, but feel free to use it on burns, rashes, scrapes, bites, etc.! We’ve also heard that massaging your scalp with aloe can reduce dandruff. Who knew? ☺


Any random trivia and/or surprising facts on some of the plants you feature that you’d like to share?


Our favorite plant here at The Sill is the Sanseivieria, more commonly known as the ‘Snake Plant’. Not only is the Sanseivieria incredibly easy to take of (it can thrive in conditions of low light and serious neglect – i.e. it can grow almost anywhere), but it also has one of the highest conversion rates of carbon dioxide to oxygen AND is one of the best plants for improving indoor air quality by absorbing common indoor toxins such as formaldehyde and nitrogen oxides.


The Snake Plant 

All images via The Sill

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