Plant Care 101 with Pop Up Greens March 15 2017

We are all about going green. As in, decorating with plants! This spring, we are bringing the outside in with our brand new, artisan-made Plant Stand Collection from Cambodia, and complementary Planters made by LA local Molly from Pop Up Greens. After working with Molly, there were plenty of times we chatted about what kinds of plants would look best in each of our planters. It wasn't long into each conversation that we learned not only how skilled she is at designing the planters, but also how knowledgable she is when it comes to plant care. You can have the prettiest stands and planters, but learning how to have a green thumb goes hand in hand so your plants thrive. We wanted to share about Pop Up Greens, as well as a few of her plant styling and care tips!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and Pop Up Greens!
Pop Up Greens is a Los Angeles based company specializing in hand-painted planters and interior and exterior plant decor. We sell lightweight, hand painted planters in our online shop or through local pop-ups and markets.

I’m an LA native and I’ve always had an interest in design and originally studied Interior Design before switching to fashion. I got my start in the fashion industry interning for anyone I could - designers, stylists, showrooms, magazines. I think I had like 9 internships total. I just wanted to learn it all! Most recently, I worked at Madewell where I was in charge of the events & marketing in Southern California. After I left the retail world, I was in between jobs and Pop Up Greens started as a hobby that eventually grew into a business. It makes me laugh that I went from the fashion industry, to working in overalls with plants every day! Now that I’m doing Pop Up Greens and plant decor, I’m back to working in interior styling and decor, my original love so it feels natural that it has kind of come full circle.

What made you start Pop Up Greens and how has it evolved?
I had a ton of plants around my apartment and had such a hard time finding planters that matched my design aesthetic. I found ceramic plain white ones but nothing that had any sort of design. I started painting on the white ceramic planters, just simple stripes or shapes, but adding a little something. I posted some of the planters on Instagram and people started to ask if they could purchase them. Starting a business was never the plan, but it grew in that direction in an organic way, and it just felt like the next creative outlet I’d been looking for. In the beginning, I didn’t realize I couldn’t paint on glazed surfaces so there was a lot of trial and error as to the materials I used. I painted terra cotta pots for a while, but they’re heavy, fragile, and limited my customer base to Los Angeles, so I looked into fiberglass. Now we import fiberglass planters that are painted white but not sealed so the paint we use sticks and won’t scratch off.

Where do you find design inspiration and what’s your design process?
I’m very drawn to simpler, geometric designs and neutral colors. I find inspiration everywhere and constantly take photos of something that could translate to a planter design. There’s a range of designs we stick to that take about the same amount of time to paint so we can base the price point off the planter size, not the complexity of the design. I’m always testing out new designs to paint though. Once I decide on a design, the next step is to see if that design will work on all planter sizes. I plan out each design on each planter size and write it down so I know the scale I’m working with when I get an order. Measuring the circumference of the planter and how many triangles will fit and what sizes they need to be... basic math skills I didn’t even know would come in handy later!

How do you think adding plants to a home can transform a space?
Adding greenery to any room instantly livens up the space and can add height, color and texture. Plants are also amazing to purify the air. Indoor air pollution is actually a huge hazard to our health. Plants increase oxygen levels and remove toxins from the air from furnishings, finishes and household cleaners. Plus plants make people happy! Having indoor plants can provide a calmer environment making you feel more optimistic, and contribute to your overall well being.

Do you have a rule of thumb for knowing what size plant should go in a space?
Some plants grow wide and some grow tall so make sure you ask the nursery which way the plant will grow. If a plant grows wider rather than taller, make sure there’s enough elbow room around the plant so you don’t constantly knock the leaves when you walk by. Adding a tall plant to a corner, say next to a couch, is a great way to add height and dimension. Hanging smaller plants can add height as well if your plant budget doesn’t allow for that 6 ft. tree you’ve been eyeing.

What are a few plants you'd recommend for the Planters?
Small - Anything in a 6” size plastic container. Most of the plants you’ll find in that size are a rubber plant, spider plant, or cactus, but my favorite would be any plant that grows downwards like a pothos (low light) or string of bananas (bright light). The leaves on both plants drape down so it’s perfect for the taller planter, and I love the "rapunzel" vibe it gives off.

Large - Anything in a 10-12” size plastic container. If the plant isn’t tall enough, you can use some sort of block to place under the plant to prop it up. A palm, dracena, split leaf philodendron, fiddle leaf fig would all look great but my favorite is the bird of paradise. They’re really easy to take care of and feel so lush and tropical.

What are your best tips on plant care?
For watering, plants should be watered every 7 to 10 days depending on your climate. Be sure to check that the soil is dry before watering again. The best way to do this is by sticking your finger about 1 inch into the soil, and if the soil is dry go ahead and give your plant a drink! If the soil is still moist, leave the plant for a few days and then check again. I also suggest misting leaves every so often for plants that need a little more humidity.  As for sun, I know you want to fill that blank wall, but often I see plants in spaces that look great, but aren't near a window or don't provide enough light. Don't just grab the trendy plant, choose your plant based on how much light your place has. Some plants need more shade and others love to sunbathe. An easy trick is that usually the darker the plant or leaf, the more likely they need more shade. No matter which plant you choose, all plants need sunlight and water to thrive, so make sure your plant is near a window and gets some of that good ol’ vitamin D & H2O!

If there a special way to care for a Pop Up Greens pot?
Although I use paint that can hold up to normal handling of the pot, they can still scratch, crack, or chip if not handled carefully. I suggest using a damp cloth to gently wipe any dirt or marks on the pot. Be careful not to rub too hard as that can alter the paints finish. I recommend leaving the plant in it's plastic container and placing it inside the pot, but you can plant directly if preferred. I suggest lining a shallow plastic saucer (available at most local nurseries) to prevent possible water leakage before you place the plant inside.             

Are there any other tips you'd like to share?
Every so often, wipe down the leaves of each plant with a damp cloth to ensure its best absorption of air particles and toxins. Extra credit tip if you make a small mixture of coconut oil, water and add a few drops of peppermint and orange oil. It smells amazing, keeps the bugs at bay, and makes the leaves bright and shiny. If possible, capture rainwater in a bucket outside to water your plants. Plants thrive best with natural sources of water.

To learn more about Pop Up Greens, visit their spot on the web or follow them on Instagram.

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