Our Top Expert-Level Plants

Our Top Expert-Level Plants

Have you levelled up from snake plants? Mastered the palm and are ready for a bigger challenge? We'd like to introduce you to some of our most difficult amigos (we say it as a compliment... sort of). 

You know the plants you can water once and forget about for weeks? You'll find those guys in our Easy Care collection. The plants we're talking about here are... not that. 😅

Today we're highlighting some of our trickier plants that can be found in our new Expert Care collection. We'll give you some insight as to why these plants may be fussy, and share tips on how to get on their good side. Let's get into it! 

1. Calathea Lancifolia | Rattlesnake

Calatheas are stunning, pet friendly houseplants that are super popular due to their unique and colourful foliage. 

While beautiful in their prime, things can quickly deteriorate if a number of conditions aren't met. 

Calatheas will develop brown and crunchy leaves often due to dry air, or chemicals in our water. They are also quite dramatic, and their leaves can droop, curl, or look dull if their soil is too dry or if the lighting conditions are not ideal. 

Moist soil, high humidity, and using filtered water are absolute musts if you're hoping to keep those leaves looking glossy, colourful, and healthy! Be sure to keep them away from direct sun, but in a well lit area. If you don't have a humidifier to place nearby, you can place your Calathea with other plants to bask in their collective moisture, or move it to your kitchen or bathroom (if there is sufficient light)!

2. Alocasia Amazonica | African Mask

Tiki, our resident Alocasia Amazonica, is the perfect plant if you're wanting immediate jungle vibes in your space!

Alocasias require very similar care as Calatheas, with an added bonus—they are very prone to pests. 

If you're planning on taking an Alocasia home with you, be sure to check it diligently for pests in the soil, or under the leaves. 

You'll know you have spider mites if there is webbing around your plant with tiny mite-like creatures crawling around. If you spot these, don't panic!

Spider mites are attracted to dryness, so keeping your soil moisture and humidity levels high are key for prevention. You'll want to physically remove the pests by showering your plant and applying a pesticide/insecticidal soap. This will need to be repeated once a week until they're fully eradicated.

See here for more details on treating spider mites. 

3. Nephrolepis Exaltata | Boston Fern

This list wouldn't be anything without Carl. Can't live with him, can't live without him.

Ferns are major water lovers, and shacking up with one may require a learning curve. 

Frequent, light watering is key to ensuring their foliage doesn't get too dry or drop off. In addition, these plants need very high levels of humidity to keep their lush green colour. Boston Ferns make amazing bathroom plants because of this, so try placing your fern by the bathtub next time you're having a self-care day and watch him thrive (don't worry, he'll close his eyes). 

4. Ficus Lyrata | Fiddle Leaf Fig

We're amping things up with our next culprit—the Fiddle Leaf Fig. This plant has a reputation to uphold of being quite temperamental.

One thing about Ficus's in general is that they don't like change. A common problem associated with bringing one home is that their leaves will immediately drop. This can also happen when the seasons change (or during any other temperature fluctuation), or when you move them from one room to the next. Before bringing home a Fiddle Leaf Fig, it's a good idea to select a spot for it and let the plant adjust before stressing it out with anything else—pruning, repotting, the general plant traumas. 

Fiddle Leaf Figs also require a super bright spot! They won't do well in a corner (nobody puts Baby in a corner, am I right?) or beside a window where the sun misses it completely, casting it in darkness. Filtered light is also ideal, so if your window is south facing, you can set it back a few feet. You'll also want to rotate it regularly so that all the leaves can bask in that glorious Vitamin D. 

Let the soil dry out a bit before watering, and ensure it's getting lots of humidity with no drafts or vents blowing on it. 

These plants sometimes get bacterial or fungal infections, which will show up as brown spots on the leaves. You can treat it with an appropriate fungicide, and may need to remove damaged leaves to prevent spread. Brown spots can also mean it's been overwatered, or is reacting to temperature fluctuations. Small red spots on the leaves, otherwise known as edema, is caused by moisture stress due to inconsistent watering. This isn't anything to worry about, and will go away once the plant gets older. 

5. Senecio Rowleyanus | String of Pearls

Annnd finally, we come to the crème de la crème of difficult plants, AKA Peggy, AKA the String of Pearls. Raise your hand if you've felt personally victimized by Peggy.

These plants are beautiful—there's no denying it. However, once things turn south, it's often hard to turn things around. Some homes just aren't cut out for Peggy, and that's okay! 

Giving your plant between 6 and 8 hours of bright light per day is essential. A mix of direct and indirect is preferred. They also flower, although it is unlikely this will happen indoors.

Watering instructions for strings of pearls seems simple enough, but can be hard to pinpoint if anything goes wrong. Essentially, you'll need to let your plant dry out between waterings (usually every 7 to 14 days). The pearls will shrivel when it's too dry. Water thoroughly, but be careful not to overwater. This is another common issue with pearls, and they may appear mushy or soggy if you've been too generous with the watering can. They also have delicate roots and are susceptible to root rot.

Do you have any of these trickier amigos in your home already? If not, are you willing to take on the challenge (and reap the benefits) of taking them on? We encourage you to try if you're feeling brave, but remember—there's no shame in the easy game! 

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