When Should You Fertilize Your Plants?

Plants need light, water, and nutrients. Most plants get their nutrients from the soil, but over time a soil’s nutrients can get depleted, especially with potted plants. This is when fertilizer comes in handy. But there are a few things you should know about fertilizer before feeding your plant.

Most commercial fertilizers include 3 main nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK for short). These are often listed as numbers on a fertilizer’s packaging, in the form of 10-20-15 or 15-15-15. The numbers correspond to the percentages of N-P-K in the fertilizer. All purpose fertilizer usually has them in equal proportions, but the labeling should be clear. There are special fertilizers for plants like orchids or roses that have different proprotions of NPK and other micronutrients the plants might need, and there are even fertilizers for stages of growth (ex: younger plants often need more phosphorous). A fertilizer’s label should tell you all you need to know about what it’s meant to be used for.

Now about when to fertilize: the general guideline is to fertilize during the growing season, which is usually spring and summer. The extra warmth and light during these seasons stimulates plant growth that pauses during the cold and dark of winter. This is also why plants need less water during the winter. Adding nutrients at the right time helps spur that growth.

Something else to note is that it’s very possible to give a plant too much fertilizer. It’s possible to “burn” a plant with too much fertilizer at once, and you’ll notice this if the tips of the leaves turn yellow/brown. Always follow the guidelines that come with the fertilizer you’ve purchased. Some fertilizer is liquid that you mix in when you water the plant, and some comes in solid form you stick in the soil or sprinkle above it.

Also note that new commercial potting mix generally already has fertilizer in it, so you wouldn’t want to fertilize a freshly potted plant right away – wait about a month or so.

That’s about it. Now go forth and feed your hungry plants!

Why The Pothos Is The Ultimate Plant For Beginners

The Pothos (botanical name: Epipremnum aureum) has a well-deserved reputation as the easiest houseplant to own. It develops long vining stems (that can grow up to 8 feet long!) with leaves that unfurl open and grow larger and more variegated with time. Though the plant grows best in bright light, it can survive even in dark corners of a home or office. It has lush leather-like leaves that come in all sorts of colors and varieties. The Pothos is also a terrific air purifier and it filters our indoor toxins like formaldehyde and benzene from the air.

It’s so hard to mess up with this plant that it’s been nicknamed the “Devil’s Ivy” because it’s just so darn hardy. It is the perfect plant for someone who’s never had plants before or thinks they have a black thumb (we wholeheartedly believe that plants are for everybody and a little basic plant care knowledge goes a long way).

The only serious mistake one can make with the Pothos is overwatering. If the roots are waterlogged they may develop root rot and begin deteriorating. But this is the case with almost all houseplants, and watering less often is easier than always worrying about maintaining wet soil.

The resilience and low maintenance qualities of the Pothos is why we’re excited to share it with plant lovers and aspiring plant owners across the country – and we’re shipping it for FREE anywhere in the USA! Check out the varieties of Pothos plants we have on our website available for delivery to you or as gifts to friends and family.

How To Tell How Much Light Your Plant Gets

Naturally, in almost every care instruction guide for a plant (indoor or outdoor), you’ll see a section on how much light the plant should receive. But the level of sunlight a plant should get is always described in terms like “high” or “bright” or “medium indirect,” and it’s not always obvious what that means.

Well, first, the difference between direct and indirect light is just whether the sun is hitting the plant straight on, or if instead the light is filtered through some window shades or translucent medium. A lot of indoor plants don’t like to get much direct sun, and even though they may like a lot of light, they don’t want to be soaking up rays all day.

But what consitutes “bright” light vs. “medium” light vs. “low” light?

A quick way to tell is just with a hand test. Take a piece of paper or some other plane surface and hold your hand about a foot away from it, between it and the light source. If you can’t see much of a shadow or it’s very faint, you’re getting low light. In a medium light situation you’ll see a blurry or fuzzy shadow of your hand, and in bright light you’ll get a crisp clear shadow.

Often if a plant is receiving insufficient light, it’ll cause spindly stems (that are reaching out to get closer to a light source), yellow foliage, and leaf drop. Too much light results in burned leaves or pale foliage. But these are just general guidelines – some plants behave differently.

Note that if you need to give a plant more light, being close by a large unobstructed south-facing window will likely give you the best brightest sunlight. Many houseplants also thrive in artificial light, thought this is usually a low light situation, because unless you have exceptionally bright indoor light bulbs it’s not nearly as strong as natural sunlight, which provides a broad spectrum of light.

The Best Creative Valentine's Day Gift Ideas in 2017

It’s hard to find a good Valentine’s Day gift that is creative, interesting, useful and affordable. Some of our ideas for gifts are below, so skip the roses and get something they’ll truly enjoy. All these gifts should work well for both men and women.

A unique reusable glass bottle shaped like a sheet of paper.

The Zanzibar Gem
An elegant and low maintenance plant, custom potted, and delivered for free with an optional box of chocolates.

Gemini Espresso Maker
Keep flavor and temperature intact from stovetop to cup with this exceptional espresso maker. Brew on your stovetop and the Gemini delivers two perfect cups simultaneously.

Diaries Made From Books
Charming upcycled diaries made using pages from old children’s books.

Love Poems Set
Let the experts express you love with this set of five anthologies of the best love poems ever written.

Are You Hurting The Environment By Gifting Roses?

Roses are a classic gift and as a result of their association with romance are in high demand during Valentine’s Day. In fact according to the National Retail Federation $1.9 billion is spent on flowers for the holiday.

But behind their pretty appearance, there’s an ugly fact. According to Scientific American:

[…] sending the roughly 100 million roses of a typical Valentine’s Day produces some 9,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from field to U.S. florist.

The vast majority of roses sold in the American market are grown in South America, and since roses can’t survive long journeys all those millions of flowers sold have to be flown here on airplanes – lots of airplanes. Rose farmers are also big users of pesticides (20% of which are “so dangerous they’re actually restricted in the US or Europe” according to the International Labor Rights Forum). And labor conditions at these farms are also far from ideal, where workers (mostly women and children) work for very little money.

At Léon & George we sell beautiful easy-care plants. Plants are elegant and can last for years, unlike cut flowers which have an average life of 2 weeks before they wilt and rot. Plants also have incredible health and psychological benefits when used in indoor spaces. But best of all, plants are much more environmentally-friendly. In fact, our plants are all grown domestically, most of them right here in California. And to offset some of the effects of transporting them, we also work with a foundation to plant a tree in a US National Forest where it is most needed.

So this Valentine’s Day, and for any other occassion, consider skipping the roses and gifting a plant instead. The Earth will thank you for it.

If you’re convinced and would like to gift someone a little bit of nature, try Léon & George. We have a great selection of resilient easy-care plants and beautiful pots and deliver them right to anyone’s door in San Francisco.