Propagating Plants

Filling up your home with plants can be an expensive project to take on. I love to browse through nursery’s and gardens to sneak a peek at all their new selections but rarely do I have the ability to throw a bunch of cash down to bring them home with me. An excellent way to double the number of plants you own on a budget is to propagate from plants you already own (or from a friend!).

Propagation is breeding a plant- taking a cutting from the stem or leaf, dividing the plant, or using their offsets. This allows you to use what you’ve already grown to bump up the plant count in your apartment. And luckily, it’s really easy! Let’s take a look at these methods.

Stem Cuttings – During the spring, your parent plant will be growing quickly. Find a stem that has grown recently and hasn’t flowered yet and cut off a 4-6 inch section. To prepare it for planting, remove the lower leaves and fill your new pot with well-draining soil. Make a small hole to plant the stem into, cover with soil, and water. Be sure to give the plant plenty of sun and water to help its growth! Cuttings usually take 6-8 weeks to root into a new pot.

Leaf Cuttings – Find a plant with nice large leaves to propagate through leaf cuttings. Cut a leaf from the parent plant at the base of its stem. Split the leaf into a few even pieces. Plant these pieces with the leaf veins pointing up and down and about half the leaf piece sticking out from the soil. Give the newly planted leaves a good watering before covering with a plastic bag and set in the sun. These cuttings also take between 6-8 weeks to root.

Dividing Plants – I find this method to be the easiest, and works great with plants that have already grown fairly big. Remove the entire parent plant from its pot to take a look at the roots. Taking a look at the plant and roots, find a good segment where you can physically pull the roots apart. Try to keep as many of the roots intact as possible, massage them apart if the roots are having trouble dividing. Once they are apart, they are ready to be potted!

Offsets – This is the smaller growth that comes up around the stem of the plants. To remove an offset, you’ll want to be sure that it is at least one third the size of the full plant you are removing it from. Remove the entire plant from its pot and using a knife cut the offset you’ve chosen to plant. Be careful to not remove any of the roots or cut into the parent plant. Once the offset is removed, the parent plant is ready to be planted back in its pot. Plant the offset by covering only the very bottom of the cutting. These usually root quickest between 3-6 weeks.

Another great way to propagate is to pick up any little plant cuttings, leaves, or pups you find! You can find potential plants in friend’s yards, on the floor of a nursery, or even in the cracks of the sidewalk. Bring them home to give them a chance to grow! It’s also a great way to work out your green thumb without breaking the bank.

5 Common Houseplant Issues and How to Solve Them

There have been a few times I’ve woken up and headed to check on my plants when I’m hit with some kind of disaster. A yellow leaf, wilted stems, or my biggest enemy… brown leaf tips. I try my hardest to keep a plant happy and healthy, so it feels unacceptable to see evidence that I’m failing.

However, plants can be finicky and much like humans will have flaws from time to time. Plant issues can be caused by a few different things, including water/light care, disease, and pests. The good news is that your plant will tell you what is happening to it based off of what you see is physically wrong. That will translate to the cause of the problem!

Yellow Leaves: This can actually be a good thing! If you have a leaf or two that turns yellow and falls off, it’s just the plant keeping itself healthy. When you find that you have quite a few yellow leaves that are dying on your stem, you are likely looking at over or under watering. Check how the soil feels, and compare that to what is recommended for the plant. Try adding or removing a day or two of watering from your weekly schedule.

Curled Leaves: Curled leaves happen when a plant is too hot. Moving this plant further away from a window or to a cooler spot in the house will help bring it back to full health.

Wilted Leaves and Stems: While this can be a symptom of over or under watering, it’s also a symptom of the plant being root-bound. Replant into a pot that is at least twice the size of its current pot to give the roots the room it needs to absorb water.

No Flowers: When a flowering plant won’t grow any flowers, it likely means it’s missing sun! A lot of these plants will grow its greenery in lower light without issue but need the extra sun for flowering. Moving them closer to a window or a sunnier room will help their growth.

Brown Leaf Tips: Another symptom of over or under watering, brown leaf tips can also be caused by dry air and high temperatures. For plants that require high humidity, add wet pebbles to their drip tray. This helps keep the roots and soil wet and the plant happy. If the plant is feeling too hot, try moving it to a cooler room and upping the watering to help keep it cool.

Working on these issues with various plants has helped me become a better plant owner. I understand what spots in my apartment are too hot, what overwatering actually looks like, and when to just let a plant take care of itself. Don’t be too intimidated if a plant looks sickly! I’ve had plenty come back from near death that are now thriving. So make small adjustments and give it a week or so to see how the plant responds, and keep going from there.

Until next time!

Mercedes Simonion

The Best Indestructible Houseplants for Your Space

Having plants in my apartment helps keep my space feeling alive. It’s the easiest way to make a city space more open and comforting. However, getting plants that can survive the small space, low lighting, and my own busy schedule can be difficult. There’s travel, late nights, dark rooms, and general forgetfulness that can really affect how well your plants look. There is no definitive answer for what plants are best for apartment living since each space is going to have different advantages and each life is going to have a different schedule. There are, however, plants for all different lifestyles! Here are some plants that will keep on through different conditions.

For the apartment with small windows or not enough light to fuel a cactus, plants that require low light are going to be your best bet. These are my favorite plants that can survive in shadowy conditions.

Peace Lily

I love this plant in particular because it will show you when it needs to be watered. At the first signs of wilting, give it a nice watering and by the next day it will have perked up again.

Elephant’s Ear

The big leaves on this plant are so gorgeous I could cry. They are sensitive to the sun though, and need to be kept in shady spots to avoid burning!


There’s lots of different pothos, but they are all going to be seriously easy to care for. They will survive in any room of the house, though I prefer for them to be hanging or placed on a high shelf so they can trail down.

There are some plants that do best when left alone to soak up some sun. These are plants that will be great for someone who travels frequently or has a hard time keeping their plants on a schedule. Succulents are a great starting point for low watering, as they almost only want to soak up the sun.

Crown of Thorns

A succulent that blooms will give you a sweet burst of color! Giving this plant as much light as possible will help it to flower, and only needs to be watered every few weeks.

Zebra Cactus

A unique succulent with white stripes that can be kept in a small pot. Let the soil dry out between waterings.

Calling a plant indestructible seems silly because I’m not sure there are any that would survive a blow torching. But that is the standard a lot of people are looking for! It’s a stretch but if any plants are going to be considered actually indestructible these would hit the mark.

Snake Plant

I have no idea how I haven’t managed to kill one of these before, but that just goes to show how hearty they can be. The top inch of soil should be dry before you water a snake plant. They can survive in low light but will grow their best when getting some good sun through the day.

ZZ Plant

Watching this plant grow like crazy while hardly taking care of it has been a wild ride. If you want to really feel like you’re taking great care of a plant, plop a ZZ where it can get some sun and you’ll get that feeling.

Copper Spoon

These plants are so beautiful, that it almost seems unfair that they are so easy to take care of. Find the right lighting that’s bright but not too close to a window for the happiest Copper Spoon.

There are plants to be found for all different lifestyles, so don’t give up! If you’ve killed one plant, it’s worth trying again. I’ve killed way more than one plant in my day, but now I’ve figured what plants work best in my apartment and just how much time and care I can put into their lives. As always, the option for fake plants is still out there too.

Until next time!

Mercedes Simonion

Finding the Right Lighting for Plants

Finding the right lighting for your plant can be tricky. “Full light for six hours, five hours of sun daily, north-facing window, low light plant…” Left up to interpretation, these could mean so many different things. Light is what helps your plants grow big and strong, so understanding their requirements is a must. Plants usually come with a little tag stuck in the dirt that will give you an idea of what the plant needs to thrive. You’ll be looking for the type of light (bright/low) and the amount (direct/indirect). For example, I just bought an Areca Palm that says ‘bright light’ at the top of its tag without any other lighting information. A quick google said ‘bright, indirect light.’

Now that I know what this plant needs, here’s the breakdown of how to find that bright/indirect light. First, you’re going to want to see what kind of window lighting you are working with.

South Facing Window– Most amount of light! These windows will receive the most amount of light throughout the day.

North Facing Window– Lowest amount of light through the day.

East Facing Window– Short amount of light at the beginning of the day.

West Facing Window– Few hours of light midday.

Keep in mind that keeping a plant at a west-facing window also means it will be receiving the most amount of heat. You can control the amount of light/ heat coming in from the windows by making use of shades or curtains. It’s always easier to have a big sunny window that you can control than a small, north facing window that you’re trying to pull every light out of. From here, you have the options to put your plant right next to the window or a few feet back. This determines full/direct or low/indirect lighting! Still with me?

Full/Direct– Plants placed closest to the light

Low/Indirect– Plants placed a few feet away from the light

Most indoor plants aren’t going to want full light from a south facing window since that would be the most amount of light they could receive in a day. You also won’t have a lot of plants that can thrive a few feet away from a north-facing window.

Let’s go back to the Areca Palm I mentioned up top, who has a lighting combo of bright and indirect light. The easiest way to achieve this combo is by keeping the plant a few feet back from a south facing window. You get the most amount of light through the day, while also keeping the plant far enough away that it isn’t getting blasted. I currently have it posted up on top of table about 5 feet away from my Southwest patio door. It seems like a pretty happy plant, growing slowly but surely! I’ll say it again; research is your friend. If your plant isn’t thriving in the place you’ve picked, keep finding new information and trying new things. Keep track of the health of your plant, and eventually, you’ll find the right spot for it to grow!

Until next time!

Mercedes Simonion

A Beginner’s Guide to Caring for Plants

Something hits in adulthood that I like to call “plant fever.” Suddenly you’re noticing houseplants everywhere and can’t stop looking up Fiddle Leaf Figs on Pinterest. Every millennial has at least one plant. Of course, I’ve had plant fever my whole life. And, what’s not to love? Houseplants are an easy way to bring beauty and character to any room! For many starting on their plant-journey, they’ll find two things: 1) plants are expensive and 2) plants die within a matter of weeks. What gives?

I’ve been testing and taming my own thriving indoor jungle for a long time. While each plant is going to vary on what kind of care it needs, here are a few beginner-tips for happy, domestic plants.


1) Buy Cheap Plants

It’s tempting to go to the aesthetically pleasing nurseries with expensive pottery and exotic plant finds. However, with your first few buys, I highly recommend picking up some cheaper plants. Head to a larger gardening center to find some of the more popular plants for a lower price. You’re learning, so if you make mistakes and send a cheap plant to the big nursery in the sky, you won’t be out too much money. As you become more experienced, support local nurseries and get some wild guys!


2) Drainage Holes

There are so many cute pots in existence, I could cry. It takes every ounce of my strength to not buy every single pot I encounter. But I’ve created one rule to live by when choosing pots to buy: drainage holes must be present or easily able to be drilled in. Plant roots don’t like sitting in water, so having proper drainage is necessary. Saucers are a good plus to let the water drain into while keeping your floors and furniture safe.


3) Light & Water

It can be frustrating finding the right combo for light and water, but that is really the key to keeping plants healthy and happy. Check what kind of lighting you have around your home, and plan to keep regular with watering.


4) Love & Attention

Maybe I’m a big hippie, but giving my plants love and attention has shown a significant amount of difference in their health. Stability is seriously important for their growth, so being mindful of their placement, watering, and how they are looking is going to help you make the proper adjustments needed.


5) Do Research

This may not be glamorous, but each plant is going to have individual needs. They range from super easy to mega hard to care for, so keeping on top of the knowledge is going to be your best tool.


So, there you have it! A basic overview of what you’ll get into as a plant owner. Keeping these things in mind will put you on the right path to happy plants. So, go forth and build your jungle!

Until next time!

Mercedes Simonion

Scroll to Top