Over the last three years at Design*Sponge, I’ve spoken to countless creative-minded people. During my conversations with these innovators, one of the most interesting things I’ve learned is how they fell into their niche, special talent or skill. For many, the burning desire to follow a certain passion has been flickering in them since before they could remember. For others, though, some momentous event or experience propelled them towards a specific field. Hilton Carter, for example, experienced the latter when he left chilly Baltimore, MD for sunny Los Angeles and New Orleans.
There he was: new cities, new homes and totally new climates to master. Unbeknownst to him, the warmer weather would end up influencing his house more than he could have ever imagined. For the first time, he was able to use greenery to decorate without the fear of a brutal Northeastern winter coming through and undoing his home’s lush look. So he started with a fiddle fig, and the rest is sort of history.
For a decade Hilton collected a thriving collection of green buddies. Then an opportunity to relocate back to Baltimore, MD came calling. A lesser gardener would have sacrificed their love for greenery in the face of Baltimore’s brutal winters, but not Hilton. Instead he mastered how to keep his indoor jungle thriving even when outside temperatures dip to freezing. And fortunately he’s sharing his top 5 tips for keeping plants alive in winter with us today. So grab a pen, and get ready to take notes from this master gardener as he takes us through his tropical, verdant abode. Enjoy! —Garrett
Photography courtesy of Hilton Carter
Light Them Up: Given that the light in your home will be changing, some of your plants that require high sunlight will need to be relocated to a spot where they can receive that sort of attention. Since most of them will be receiving less light than they did during spring and summer, expect some leaf loss. Don’t freak out. This is natural.
Be Vigilant: Since your home will be a touch cooler than it was in the warmer months, your plants won’t require as much water. Plants that normally need water every seven days will then require water every 10 days. The best way to always determine if your plant bud needs a drink is to take a finger and stick it about an inch deep into the dirt. If it’s dry to the touch, water your friend. If it’s damp, wait until it’s ready. The way I stay on top of this is to create an alarm in my calendar [for] which plants need to be watered and on which day.
Monthly Rotation is Key: Rotating the plant will encourage a balance in light and growth. No one wants a lopsided rubber tree, right?
Wipe Down: Cleaning the foliage off once a month will also help for light intake. Layers of dust and grime can block out light and wiping off each leaf with lukewarm water and dish soap can help avoid this. It will also make your plants look shiny and new.
Just Warm Enough: The colder it is outside, the colder the area around your windows is. I usually back my plants in the window back a bit from the glass. You don’t want their little green tips getting cold, do you?