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Creating an At-Home Greenhouse – Pittsburgh Photographer

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  • Post last modified:March 5, 2021

Since I grew up in a home full of beautiful houseplants, I thought I’d create a similar at-home greenhouse for my own kids. Even though I hate to admit it, until November 2019 I thought I had a black thumb!

Hana’s Houseplant Advice

My husband is from the Czech Republic and his family still lives there. It seems every Czech home we enter contains beautiful green plants. On a recent visit with my sister-in-law, Hana, I decided to ask for help! She gave me simple yet wonderful advice. She explained that I needed to look at the plants leaves, the dirt, and study the window light. Every week when she waters her plants she takes mental notes on how her plants look. She may give them more or less water based on the color of the leaves. She may move them closer or farther away from the window or even move the plant to a different window. Or she may add fertilizer to her watering can. She is mindful of different types soil for a cactus, succulent or tropical plant.

West-Facing Window

Best Window Light

Hana taught me that the quality of light is different from each window depending on the direction the window faces. North-facing windows receive the least amount of light and typically aren’t conducive to growing house plants. East-facing windows receive morning light and are typically best for plants that need moderate or morning sunlight. South-facing windows are usually where the strongest sunlight enters your home. West-facing windows get the afternoon and evening light and are ideal for sun loving plants.

Before talking to my sister-in-law, I used to buy plants based on where I though they’d look the best in my house. Now, I buy plants that I love and I may have a place in mind where I’ll put them, but I move them if I notice that they are not thriving in their location.

West-Facing Window

Leaves are Turning Yellow

When you are watering your plants and you notice yellow leaves, it could be a variety of issues like: low light, over or under watering, low temperatures, mature leaves or a virus.

Plants Developing Brown Spots

Brown spots could be caused by not enough light, too much heat, too little water, or too little humidity.

West-Facing Window

Plants are Dropping Leaves

If you are seeing leaves dropping off of your plant, it could be from shock, low humidity, physical damage, pests, low light, extreme temperatures, over or under watering, or a nutrition deficit.

South-Facing Window

Home Temperature

House plants thrive in a warm environment. I’ve read that 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. That’s easy enough. Just watch out for cold drafty windows and hot radiators, etc. Earlier this year, the leaves on our hanging philodendrons started curling. By simply pulling up the vines away from our radiators the leaves uncurled and look healthy again.

East-Facing Window

Fertilizing Houseplants

My plant loving friend, Lenna, gifted me a container of her favorite plant fertilizer, Jack’s Classic All Purpose Plant Food. It’s wonderful! I’ve been using Jack’s for over a year. It is easy to use as you just add a small amount to your watering can. It makes my plants look fantastic. I couldn’t be happier with it!

From Left to Right: Spider, Snake, Philodendron, Cactus, Snake, Elephant Ear in East-Facing Window Light

Repotting + Growing Media

Recently I realized that my monstera’s roots were outgrowing it’s pot. It needed more dirt to continue to grow. Typically it is best to repot plants in the spring before growing season. I use growing media from IKEA to avoid root rot by keeping the roots aerated.

From Left to Right: Parlor Palm, Lemon Button Fern, Umbrella Plant, Monstera

Quarantine Life

Once quarantine hit and we were home ALL THE TIME, I kept gravitating towards new plants! I often picked up a cute plant while doing our grocery shopping and before I knew it our house started turning green!

Grow Your Greenhouse

These days, when I’m worried about a plant I either google information, check out Hilton Carter’s Wild at Home book or IGTV, or visit a local nursery. I hope these tips help you transform your home into a beautiful greenhouse!

Propagation Station

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Hi, I'm Laura Mares! I'm thankful to be a wife, mother and Pittsburgh lifestyle photographer. I photograph because I believe that life is simply beautiful and every person has a story worth telling. I'd love to tell yours.