The Sill hooked us up with the basics we should know for this project. In addition to the flowers you'll encounter at any corner bodega (roses, carnations, daisies, tulips), you'll want to pay close attention to succulents. Succulents are plants with thick, fleshy leaves that retain water to help combat the drought conditions of their natural arid habitat. You should also become familiar with techniques in plant maintenance. For starters, pruning is essential. Pruning simply means cutting back unnecessary parts of a plant to encourage more productive growth. Equally important is staking — tying plants to a stake to improve stability while giving it a better opportunity to grow.
Oh, and perennials are plants that survive for many seasons. #themoreyouknow
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But, if you're looking for something a bit more flowery, you can also go with an orchid. TheBouqs says they're low maintenance and long lasting. "Just put two ice cubes on the base of the plant once a week and you're good to go."
Of course, you need to consider the level of light your apartment offers before you pick a plant. For low light, The Sill recommends a pothos, dracaena, or snake plant. These are ideal for anyone whose windows face a brick wall of the building across the alley. For moderate light, try a philodendron, rubber tree, or (love) fern. And, if you're lucky enough to have a lot of natural light, go for a floor-sized fiddle leaf fig tree. But, just remember to check on which plants may affect any pets you have in the house. Some varieties can be poisonous to your furry friends.
Before You Buy
When you're browsing flowers, Ovando recommends squeezing the head to see how firm they are. "The firmer, the fresher." You should buy flowers that are closed tight, since they'll open a few days later and last longer. If you're buying roses, Ovando says to pull off the first layer of rose petals, which are called packing petals.
Once you get the flowers home, cut the stems at 45-degree angle, says Ovando. And, don't let the stems touch the bottom of the vase — it'll make it harder for them to drink the water. If you can't change the water every day, TheBouqs recommends adding a couple drops of bleach to keep bacteria levels low.
You should also consider where you place your flowers and plants. "A surefire way to kill flowers is placing them over a heater or in a really dry room," says BRRCH. Same goes for air conditioning, warns TheBouqs.
After finding the perfect spot for your new addition, don't forget to repot it. "The plastic containers plants come in are not meant to be their life-long home," Porcaro says. "A stoneware or terra cotta pot not only looks nicer, but also holds in moisture better." Choose vessels that you really like. "I suggest these common plants get housed in something interesting that you love, like a hanging macrame planter, or your grandmother's antique flower pot, or a modern glass vase so that you can see the dirt and the roots. They are common plants that will thrive and it can be more about the packaging than the plant itself, which makes a huge difference aesthetically and for your inner-gardening ego." And, don't be afraid to prune those babies. "Gently remove any wilting or dead leaves. This ensures all the plant's nutrients are going toward productive growth." And, don't forget to remove any fallen leaves that may be floating in the water.
But, most important, have a positive attitude. "Don't give up on them if they look droopy," says BRRCH. We kind of love that mantra.
The Sill recommends the New York City Flower Market on West 28th Street, too. Though, it warns that it's easy to get a little carried away your first time. "Plan ahead: Have a general idea of what you're looking for, a concrete idea of your budget, and show up early — the market opens around 5:30 a.m. and shops begin closing as early as 11:00 a.m. Also bring cash, not all of the markets shops accept credit cards."
Of course, Ovando, Flower Girl, TheBouqs, The Sill, and BRRCH are all fantastic sources for fresh, quality flowers as well.