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Urban Jungle

Interior, Urban Jungle

How to keep your plants happy (and fill your home with greenery)

I love having plants in my home. Almost every room in my house has it’s fair share of greenery and I can’t imagine having a house without plants. I often hear people saying they don’t know how to keep plants alive or people saying that they don’t have a green thumb. So let me tell you how to keep your plants happy.

How to fill your home with greenery and keep your plants happyHow to fill your home with greenery and keep your plants happy

01. Make sure you put every plant in a place they love

Some plants like lots of direct sunlight, others hate it. Read the label on the plant when you buy it or ask the florist what the preference of the plant is. Using common sense also helps to decide what the plant might like. Plants that like a moist environment (who easily dry out) often like a more shaded spot.

When you really don’t know you can almost always tell how the plant feels about its place after a couple of weeks. Plants who don’t like direct sunlight often have brown edges on their leaves or burnt patches. Do the leaves look duller or are the colours fading? Then the plant probably likes a place with more daylight. Move your plants around until you find their perfect spot.

How to fill your home with greenery and keep your plants happy  Keep your plants happy by giving them a bath Keep your plants happy by giving them a bath

02. Water regularly, but never too much.

Giving the correct amount of water probably is the easiest way to keep your plants happy. I handle watering plants in a very simple way: every two weeks I gather all my plants in the kitchen or bathroom. I place them in the tub or sink and gently spray them with water. When there are a couple of centimeters of water in the tub/sink I stop spraying. Now let the plants soak for half an hour to a couple of hours. Afterwards, I let the water drain and wait half an hour before removing the plants so the excess water won’t stay in the flowerpot.

I do this with both succulents, orchids, ferns,… Between baths, I always keep an eye on plants that need extra watering, but I try to avoid watering them in their pots. Whenever I get lazy and stop giving them baths, that’s when the casualties fall. I don’t own any cacti (I tend to over water them, or as I call it, I smother them with too much love), so I can’t help you with those.

A small tip: if you’re wondering whether it’s time to water your plants, put your finger in the soil! Just feeling the top soil can be misleading, especially for plants near a window. If the soil under the crust still feels moist, you can wait with watering a bit longer (unless you have a drama plant who basically lives in water and is starting to droop).

How to keep your plants happyHow to fill your home with greenery and keep your plants happy

03. Keep an eye on your plants

Plants aren’t just pretty decoration, they’re living things, so you’ll have to keep an eye on them. They can get sick, get bugs or are sometimes in need of extra water or nutrition. Take a good look at your plant’s leaves once in a while, they can tell you a lot about how your plants are faring:

  • droopy leaves: probably in need of water, but droopy leaves in combination with wet soil means the opposite!
  • brown spots: too much or too little water, sunburn or too much fertilizer
  • sticky leaves or a sticky environment of the plant: your plant has bugs. I’ve noticed this with both aphids, scale insects and mealybugs. Keeps these plants away from your other plants. Get yourself a pesticide and prepare for battle. Getting rid of pests is hard. Sometimes you can’t save your plant and you’ll just have to try taking pest-free cuttings and getting baby plants. Throw away the pest riddled plant and keep an eye on your other plants the following weeks to see if the creepy crawlies have spread.

How to fill your home with greenery and keep your plants happy

04. Don’t forget: plants need food too!

As with all living things, plants need food too. They get it from their soil, but if they haven’t been repotted in a long time that soil can run out of nutrients. This is something that happens faster with high maintenance plants that also need a lot of water. So, once every month, add a bit of plant food to the bathing water to keep them happy. Whenever you put fertilizer in the plant bath make sure to leave them soaking for a bit longer. Getting those nutrients in takes time!

If you notice your plant is getting too big for its pot, it’s time to move to a larger one. Whenever you do this, the plant also gets a boost thanks to the nutrient-rich fresh soil you’ve added.

So those are a couple of tips to keep your plants happy. Tell me, are you a plant lover or a plant killer? Which tricks do you use to keep your plants happy & alive? Please share them in the comments, I’d love to learn new tricks.

Interior, Tutorials, Urban Jungle

How to make a wooden air plant hanger

DIY wooden air plant hanger

Ever since I bought my first air plant, I absolutely love having them in the house. I’ve had my ups and downs with them (and I’ll definitely share my tips on how to take care of them in the future), but today I want to share a quick and easy DIY on how you can make a wooden hanger for showing your air plants off in what I think is an awesome way.

DIY wooden air plant hanger

You don’t need a lot of materials for this DIY and all things considered, making three of these hangers cost me less than €10.

Things you need:

  • Wood block to cut to slices
  • Leather cord
  • Triangle Picture Hangers
  • A hammer
  • A saw
  • A drill
  • Air plants

DIY wooden air plant hanger

Find yourself a slice of wood and a drill

First, you need to find yourself a piece of wood. I got myself some slabs of wood when my father was trimming down one of our trees, so there’s no need to run to the store for this. Ask around or find yourself a thick branch somewhere. When you have your wood, you need to cut it up in slices. Mine are all about 2 cm thick. I didn’t do much cleaning on them. Apart from wiping down the tree bark a bit and sanding them slightly, I didn’t do much. I really liked the rough texture of the wood, so I wanted to keep it visual.

Next, you need to drill two holes in each slice of wood you want to use. Measuring with the leather cord and the air plant I wanted to use, I figured out where the holes should go on one slab of wood. I kept the distance from the edge of the slice to the holes even through all my slices of wood (as I felt this would make them look better in a group). I also made sure that the thickness of my leather cord and the thickness of the drill I used were about the same.

DIY wooden air plant hanger

Fitting the cord

Now it’s time to fit your cord onto the slice of wood. My leather cord and the holes I drilled are about the same size. This means putting the cord through asks for a bit of patience, but it also means the cord won’t slip out too easily. In fact, I didn’t need to add knots on the end of the cords, because it’s stuck enough by itself to keep an air plant in place. I placed my air plant between the cord and the slice of wood to measure how much cord I needed for each plant.

DIY wooden air plant hanger DIY wooden air plant hangerDIY wooden air plant hanger

As you can see, there is no glue or anything else to keep the cord in place. You can, of course, hammer the cord in place with a u-shaped nail (or even hot glue), but I didn’t think this was necessary. I also liked that I was still able to adjust the length of the cord to my air plant. If I put a smaller specimen on the slice of wood I can just pull the cord a bit tighter.

How to make a wooden air plant hanger

Adding the triangle picture hanger

Finally, as a finishing touch, we still need to add a triangle picture hanger to our slice of wood. Get out your hammer and hammer away! Be careful though, because those are very tiny nails (and I definitely hit my finger more than once).

How to make a wooden air plant hanger

And that’s it! That’s how simple it is to create your own wooden air plant hangers. It only took me 30 minutes to make all three of them.

How to make a wooden air plant hanger
DIY wooden air plant hanger
DIY wooden air plant hanger
DIY wooden air plant hanger

If you’re wondering where I keep them in my house: there above my desk, next to my computer screen (on a very blue wall, which is the worst background for taking pictures). But I still love them there.

DIY wooden air plant hangerDIY wooden air plant hanger

Do you love air plants? How do you keep them around? Also mounted to the wall? And please tell me if you liked this tutorial. I felt it was awfully simple and I was unsure if I should even publish it.

Interior, Urban Jungle

Urban Jungle Bloggers – 1 plant, 3 stylings

You might not know this about my house, but it’s filled with plants. I absolutely love decorating with plants and I believe a house without some greenery feels empty. So imagine my delight when I discovered Urban Jungle Bloggers. They’re plant-loving people like me and they urge bloggers to take photos of their beloved botanical friends. June’s theme was 1 plant, 3 stylings, which inspired me to do a little photoshoot.

I tried coming up with three completely different styles for one of my smallest plants. The star of this photo shoot is my cute Peperomia. I picked it up a couple of months ago and I adore the textured leaves of this plant. It’s really easy to care for, so if you’re looking for a small and air-cleaning house mate, consider adopting a Peperomia.

For my first plant styling I used the blue walls in my studio as inspiration and I went a bit bohemian.

Urban Jungle Bloggers - 1 plant, 3 stylingsUrban Jungle Bloggers - 1 plant, 3 stylingsUrban Jungle Bloggers - 1 plant, 3 stylings

For my next style I tried to go the completely opposite way and went for clean, black & white, with a dash of green.

Urban Jungle Bloggers - 1 plant, 3 stylingsUrban Jungle Bloggers - 1 plant, 3 stylings

Urban Jungle Bloggers - 1 plant, 3 stylings

And last, but not least, I went to my living room for inspiration. I’m not sure what style this is, but think natural history museums and lot’s of greenery.

Urban Jungle Bloggers - 1 plant, 3 stylingsUrban Jungle Bloggers - 1 plant, 3 stylingsUrban Jungle Bloggers - 1 plant, 3 stylings

If you’re familiar with Urban Jungle Bloggers, you might notice I’m a bit late with this blog (the photos have been in a blog draft for more than a month :O), I still had a ton of fun styling my little Peperomia.

Design & Illustration, Urban Jungle

Sketching at the Ghent botanical garden

Did you know the fair city of Ghent has its own botanical garden? It’s owned by the university and it’s pretty awesome. It’s also not that big, but that doesn’t matter. They have the coolest tropical plants and one day I went outside and went to draw them.

Let's go Outside! Sketching at the Ghent botanical garden

At least, that was the plan. I didn’t actually do much drawing while I was there, because there were other people and I was way too embarrassed. By the time I actually dared drawing it was almost time to go home. I did take a whole bunch of pictures while I was there and I now use these as reference material for when I feel like drawing jungles.

Let's go Outside! Sketching at the Ghent botanical garden Let's go Outside! Sketching at the Ghent botanical garden

It’s pretty amazing to see how many shapes and patterns there are in such a common thing as leaves. Even if you ignored all the special shapes and colours on leaves, you could probably fill a book with all the different patterns the veins make on leaves. That’s why I love collecting plants so much.

Let's go Outside! Sketching at the Ghent botanical garden

Testing my Boc'n'Roll sandwich wrapper at the Ghent botanical garden

While I was at the botanical garden it was the first time I used my Boc’n’Roll sandwich wrap (which was sent to me for review). It did all the things you’d expect from a sandwich wrap (keep your bread fresh and crunchy) perfectly, but with the added bonus you don’t have to throw it away and it takes in less space after you used it (as opposed to a lunchbox). I’ve used it daily since I started working full-time and I can’t believe people are actually still using aluminium foil when there’s an alternative that is so much better for the planet!

Let's go Outside! Sketching at the Ghent botanical garden Let's go Outside! Sketching at the Ghent botanical garden

After taking lots of pictures and drawing on location for a teeny tiny bit I went home, to draw some more. The following days and weeks I kept on drawing leaves in my sketchbook. I’ve still got a couple of jungle ideas I want to draw, but I haven’t found the time. So even though this excursion felt like a fail at the time, it actually gave me an extra inspiration boost! And I feel like my leaf-drawing actually got a bit better.

Let's go Outside! Sketches made at the Ghent botanical garden Let's go Outside! Sketches made at the Ghent botanical garden

I want to go back to the botanical garden, but it’s proven rather difficult. I also want to go sketching (or at least try to go sketching) on other locations. I’m not sure where though.

If you have any tips, please let me know! Also if you have a Boc’n’roll wrap (or something similar) tell me what do you think of it? Has it proven it’s durability?

Let's go Outside! Sketches made at the Ghent botanical garden

Interior, Urban Jungle

Lovely little air plants (and where to find them)

Lovely little air plants (and where to find them in Belgium)

Ever since I saw the first air plants pop up a couple of years ago I knew I wanted to get my grubby little hands on them. I had to be patient, but I finally have my own small collection of air plants!

When I started looking for air plants, they were nowhere to be found in Belgium. It took a while, but now the air plant hype has landed. They’re a couple of stores selling them in Ghent and online, but I find their prices quite outrageous. Luckily for me there’s Luchtplantjes.nl. I’m still pretty much a cheap skate, so when I saw Luchtplantjes selling B-quality (meaning they’re not as symmetrical as they should be or don’t have perfect colouration) plants for cheap I ordered a bunch of them.

Lovely little Air plants (and where to find them) Lovely little Air plants (and where to find them)

I ordered three B-quality plants and two A-quality: a Ionantha and a small Oaxacana. Everything together I paid €15,50, shipping included. Knowing that I can find OK-looking plants in Ghent for €12 a piece I think this was pretty much a bargain.

Lovely little Air plants (and where to find them) Lovely little Air plants (and where to find them)

One of the reasons I didn’t want to spent too much on air plants is that the first air plant I bought almost immediately died. I know from experience I just can’t seem to keep some plants alive (gerberas and cacti e.g.); so I didn’t want to spent too much in case I had the same problem with air plants.

Lovely little Air plants (and where to find them)Lovely little Air plants (and where to find them)

It’s been two months since my plants arrived and I can happily tell you they’re still all alive and kicking. I’ve noticed the different species do seem to need a bit of different care taking, because one of them looks a bit unhappy. I’m sure we’ll get there though.

Lovely little Air plants (and where to find them)Lovely little Air plants (and where to find them)

I’m still looking for ways to display my air plants in the house. At the moment they’re just chilling on my desk and I love seeing them there, but I’d also like to display them in a more special way. I did buy a himmeli at the recent Etsy fair in Ghent, so maybe one of them will fit in there. 🙂

Lovely little Air plants (and where to find them)
Lovely little Air plants (and where to find them) Lovely little Air plants (and where to find them)

Have you guys jumped on the air plant train already? Do you also want to start a little collection?

Tips, Travel, Urban Jungle

Floraliën 2016 – Sneak Peek

Floraliën Gent 2016

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to the Floraliën sneak peek. If you’re unfamiliar with the Floraliën (Floralies in English): it’s an enormous event all about all things flora. On the Floralies you get to see the prettiest flower arrangements and sculptures and inspirational gardens. All this is set in contrast with historical locations in Ghent.

I’m a bit of a plant lady (and a cat lady, I basically live in a jungle with feral predators), so being invited I was very excited to see the sneak peek for the Floraliën. I’d never been to the Floralies before and they only take place every five years!

Floraliën Gent 2016

I met up with Elisse, Ines and Sarah and we explored the 5 km long trail, taking us from place to place, all the while talking blogs, taking silly pictures and having a good time. It was nice to see Elisse again and to meet Sarah and Ines. And it was awesome to talk about blog-stuff without people thinking I’m a crazy person living only on the internet.

Floraliën Gent 2016 - Plutomeisje has made it to the wall!

I was very happy to see Plutomeisje made it on the Floraliën name wall at the STAM. Being an eager beaver is pretty awesome sometimes. You can still make your own name in Floraliën style on the website.

Floraliën Gent 2016 - First stop: the LeopoldskazerneFloraliën Gent 2016 - First stop: the LeopoldskazerneFloraliën Gent 2016 - First stop: the Leopoldskazerne

The Floraliën went through a bit of a make over. In the past the exhibition took place in a giant event hall and was completely indoor. With the 2016 edition you have indoor and outdoor parts on all the different locations, which I actually really liked. Knowing how much people have bought a pre-sale ticket (100 000!) I think everybody will be able to appreciate the fresh air and the change of scenery between locations.

Floraliën Gent 2016 - At the Sint-Pietersplein Floraliën Gent 2016 - At the Sint-Pietersplein

There are four main locations: the Bijlokesite, the Leopoldskazerne, the Sint-Pietersplein and the Citadelpark. We did have some trouble locating the entrances to certain parts of the exhibition, but I’m sure when there’s more people on the trail finding your way won’t be a problem.

Floraliën Gent 2016 - At the Sint-Pietersplein

Photo by Elisse

Floraliën Gent 2016 - At the Sint-PieterspleinFloraliën Gent 2016 - At the Sint-PieterspleinFloraliën Gent 2016 - In the Sint-Pieters church

Thank you WallkieTalkie  and Floraliën Gent for inviting me, I had a blast! And thank you Elisse, Sarah and Ines for the company, we need to do this more often (as in companies: invite me so I can be a more sociable blogger 😉 ).

Floraliën Gent 2016 - At the CitadelparkFloraliën Gent 2016 - At the Floraliënhal in the Citadelpark

Are any of you going to the Floraliën this year? Have you ever been in the past?

Floraliën Gent from april 22nd to May 1st.
Open daily from 8h to 22h (last entrance at 21h).
For tickets & more information check the Floraliën website.

Interior, Urban Jungle

Urban Jungle Bloggers – Botanical Zoom

You might not know this about my house, but it’s filled with plants. I absolutely love decorating with plants and I believe a house without some greenery feels empty. So imagine my delight when I discovered Urban Jungle Bloggers. They’re plant-loving people like me and they urge bloggers to take photos of their beloved botanical friends. This month the theme was Botanical Zoom and I decided to take part.

Urban Jungle Bloggers - Botanical Zoom

I gathered some of the plants that keep me company in my studio. Most of them are succulents, which are a good choice for this room, with its south-west facing windows. In the summer it gets really hot on the window sills and sometimes it’s even too much for the succulents. There is one odd one out (take a guess!) in this little group, but I absolutely love the colours on this plant!

Urban Jungle Bloggers - Botanical ZoomUrban Jungle Bloggers - Botanical Zoom

I’ve just potted the sprig in the top photo, I do hope it’ll start growing as this plant has absolutely stunning orange flowers. I have no idea what’s it called though. If anyone knows, please let me know! I don’t think I’m acing taking care of the adult plant and I’d like to find out what I’m doing wrong.

If you’re wondering where I got those cute teacup planters, I wrote a DIY about potting plants in tea cups a while ago.

Urban Jungle Bloggers - Botanical ZoomUrban Jungle Bloggers - Botanical ZoomUrban Jungle Bloggers - Botanical Zoom

I absolutely love all the little details on these plants. The red nerves, the pink hue on the tip of the leaves, the dots, the tiny roots some of them produce on their stems,… Now let’s take this botanical zoom a bit further.

Urban Jungle Bloggers - Botanical Zoom Urban Jungle Bloggers - Botanical Zoom

Sempervivum tectorum (?)

Urban Jungle Bloggers - Botanical Zoom

Crassula perforata

Urban Jungle Bloggers - Botanical Zoom

Sedum Makinoi ‘tornado’

Urban Jungle Bloggers - Botanical Zoom

Nerve plant or Fittonia verschaffeltii

Urban Jungle Bloggers - Botanical Zoom

I hoped you liked my first entry for Urban Jungle Bloggers. I really liked photographing my plants, they’re the perfect models. I’m already looking forward to the next theme and who knows, maybe this’ll become a monthly feature on this blog.

Urban Jungle Bloggers

Interior, Tutorials, Urban Jungle

How to make cute teacup planters

English

Before I start this post, I must confess. I’m an addict. My addiction? Plants! I can’t live without plants in my house. I have them in every room in my house and I never seem to have enough of them. Today I wanted to show you one of my favourite ways to keep plants in the house, because even when you have little space or money, teacups planters are always pretty awesome.

DIY Teacup Planter
DIY Teacup Planter
DIY Teacup Planter

I got all of my teacups in the second-hand store where you can find them in all shapes and sizes, for only a couple of euros. I use them for eating ice cream, organising tea parties and as planters for small plants. Succulents work best in teacups, because they grow slowly, but I’ve also kept some miniature Saintpaulia’s in teacup planters with success.

DIY Teacup Planter
DIY Teacup Planter

I use normal soil for indoor plants, but you can use a mixture of sand and soil for a more airy mixture. For special plants, like cacti, you need specialised soil.

DIY Teacup Planter
DIY Teacup Planter
DIY Teacup Planter

I start my teacup planters with a thin layer of hard pressed soil. You can also start with a layer of gravel, for better drainage. Next you put a layer of loose soil on (or in) which you place your plant. Finish with a third layer until your cup is almost full (leave 1 – 0,5 cm). Press a little bit and water your plant immediately. Make sure you don’t give too much!

DIY Teacup Planter
DIY Teacup Planter

Since the water can’t leave your teacup you need to make sure you never give too much water at once. Since teacup planters dehydrate quite quickly you also need to make sure you water regularly. I give my plants always a bit of water and keep an eye on the top layer of soil. When you think it’s getting to dry, you can always put a finger in the soil to feel whether it’s still moist beneath the top crust. If it is, you can wait a bit longer to water again.

DIY Teacup Planter
DIY Teacup Planter
DIY Teacup Planter
DIY Teacup Planter
DIY Teacup Planter
DIY Teacup Planter

Nederlands

Ik ga deze post beginnen met een kleine bekentenis: ik heb een plantenverslaving. In alle vormen en maten (enkel Gerbera’s, mijn grote liefde, niet. Die heb ik moeten opgeven wegens seriemoordenaar-allures) zijn ze in mijn huis te vinden. Een huis zonder planten, ik kan het mij niet voorstellen. Eén van de leukste manieren om planten in huis uit te stallen zijn volgens mij theekopjes. Ze zijn klein en goedkoop, perfect voor de beginnende plantenliefhebber!

DIY Teacup Planter
DIY Teacup Planter
DIY Teacup Planter

Mijn theekopjes komen allemaal van de kringloopwinkel, waar je ze in allerlei kleuren en stijlen voor een paar euro op de kop kunt tikken. Ik gebruik ze om ijsjes uit te eten, tea parties met te houden en om plantjes in te planten. Ga voor kleine planten, vetplantjes werken best omdat deze meestal traag groeien, maar ook mini-Kaapse Viooltjes kunnen het goed doen in een theekopje.

DIY Teacup Planter
DIY Teacup Planter

Ik plant mijn vetplantjes in gewone aarde. Je kan ook aarde mengen met zand, zodat je een luchtiger mengsel krijgt dat sneller uitdroogt. Voor speciale plantjes, zoals cactussen moet je een gespecialiseerde aarde gebruiken.

DIY Teacup Planter
DIY Teacup Planter
DIY Teacup Planter

In ieder theekopje begin ik met een dunne laag aangeduwde aarde. Je kan ook beginnen met een laagje grind (voor betere waterafvoer). Daarop komt een lossere laag waarop (of in) je je plantje plant. Werk tenslotte af met een derde laag waarmee je het kopje tot op één tot een halve cm van de rand vult. Geef je plantje direct water, maar let op dat je niet te veel geeft.

DIY Teacup Planter
DIY Teacup Planter

Aangezien het water uit de theekopjes niet weg kan, moet je opletten dat je nooit te veel water in één keer geeft. Aan de andere kant heeft de aarde in theekopjes ook de neiging om volledig uit te drogen. Daarom geef ik mijn plantjes telkens een beetje water en hou de bovenste laag aarde altijd in de gaten. Wanneer je denkt dat de aarde te droog wordt, kan je altijd een met een vinger door de bovenste laag prikken. Is het daaronder nog vochtig, dan kan je nog even wachten met water geven.

DIY Teacup Planter
DIY Teacup Planter
DIY Teacup Planter
DIY Teacup Planter
DIY Teacup Planter
DIY Teacup Planter