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Long Live the Houseplant

Kim and I are not exactly what you’d consider “green thumbs.” In order to end our unintentional murderous rampage of houseplants, we took a recent trip to Gethsemane Garden Center in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood for some good-old-fashioned advice. We found a helpful expert and simply explained the quantity and frequency of natural light that our living room receives. We were then pointed in the direction of a few plants that would work for us. We settled on three Sansevieria plants, were given a care sheet that outlined how we could keep them from croaking, and were on our merry way.

The most important instructions on the care sheet were: 1) Avoid prolonged direct sunlight and 2)  Allow soil to dry completely between waterings. We had already purchased three 6″ Mandel clay pots from Ikea, but the little plastic pots that the plants came in were no more than 4 inches in diameter, and a measly 4.5 inches tall. The happy little plants would surely be dwarfed by our existing pots, which also lack the necessary drainage holes to avoid soggy roots. After a minute of brainstorming, I came up with this little idea here:


I simply drilled a couple of strategic pilot holes into the bottoms of the hard plastic pots, then inserted the screws until they reached the perfect height to tuck nicely into the clay pots. By keeping the bottom of the plastic pots elevated above the inside bottom of the Ikea pots, we’re able to water the plants without the worry of retaining any unhealthy moisture. Here’s how they turned out, one pot inside the other:


Our new little housemates have already grown an inch or so since we brought them home, and one is even sprouting a new off-shoot right up the center. Looks like the combination of some solid advice and the right plants for our surroundings were all it took to keep us from continuing our Bonnie and Clyde-like houseplant killing spree! We’ll ask for advice from here on out. Promise!

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  • Danielle12.14.09 - 10:14 AM

    Aren’t these called Snake plants also? If they are, I hear they help with the air in your home also.ReplyCancel

  • Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog12.14.09 - 12:16 PM

    What a clever little trick! I’ll have to keep it in mind if I ever decide not to kill my plants ;).ReplyCancel

  • Scott12.14.09 - 3:32 PM

    Thanks Kasey! Good luck keeping them alive.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda12.14.09 - 6:59 PM

    Thanks for the tips! The only plants I have right now in our house are fake ones, and they’re looking great as always. ;)ReplyCancel

  • Scott12.14.09 - 9:57 PM

    Danielle- Looks like you’re right. These are also known as Snake Plants. Their other alias is Mother-in-Law’s tongue apparently… I’m not touching that one!ReplyCancel

  • KC12.15.09 - 10:48 AM

    This plant is also called mother-in-laws tongue. Can you show a picture from the front after it is in the new pots?ReplyCancel

  • Scott12.15.09 - 2:42 PM

    KC- if you look closely at the first picture (top left), you can see two potted plants in the background. I’ll see if Kim can post another shot!ReplyCancel

  • micah12.16.09 - 2:15 PM

    I cannot keep a plant alive to safe my life! Very clever to put screws in the bottom. Good luck with the new “housemates”!ReplyCancel

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We’re Kim + Scott, Chicago based content creators behind the Home + Lifestyle brand Yellow Brick Home.

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