SERIES: Things we get asked.....all the time; HOW DO I TAKE CARE OF THIS?

So today starts a new series here on the ol' Oliver and Rust blog.

THINGS WE GET ASKED.......all the time.

There is a steady stream of questions that happen more than a couple times daily in the shop so we decided to turn this into a blog series for fun and some information.

Simple questions like how long have you been here [almost 4 years], are all the plants real? [why yes they are]

and today's question



With the plethora of plants that are in the store and our spreading reputation for being green thumbs, people want to know how to take care of the plants in their house and make sure that they thrive.

I have been stopped in the grocery store and been called the plant lady, the encyclopedia of plants, the green woman.....the list goes on.

There are worse things to be called and if our reputation is that we send you home to have success with a plant then I can't complain about that. Makes me proud to be training some green thumbs.


So today's plant care tips involve two of the plants of the season.

Cypress trees, and myrtle topiaries.

 The above is our massive crazy myrtle in the back of the shop.

This is a very old plant that has had a lot of time to grow.


Let's get started:


Bright light. This means that your plant needs to be able to see the sky from it's position in your house. If you pretend you are your plant (I know, how nuts can we get about plant care) and stand in the same spot-ish as you plan to put your plant can you see the sky? A room with no windows, or 10 feet from the nearest light source will not yielf bright NATURAL light.

Generally bright light means your plants needs at least 6-8 hours of good bright light but not direct blasting sun.



Winter plants like to be kept moist. Drying out is the grim reaper of death with winter plants. This includes frosty ferns, lemon cypress, european cypress, myrtles, snowberries. These plants have a heavy root system and therefore are actively growing at this time of year.


Watering will also change with the conditions of your home. Is your home warm, dry, cool, humid? All of these things will cause your plants to grow and/or dry out differently.

If you have a static bomb every time you empty the dryer or can never put enough lotion on your skin you likely have a very dry home.


If you leave your plants in the plastic pot that you purchased it in, you can just give them a good drowning a couple times a week. Let all the water drip through and replace the plant in your fancy pot.

If your plants are placed into an arrangement like above, your finger is now going to be put into play. Test the top inch of the soil with your finger prior to watering.

If the soil still feels wet, hold off on additional water, if you are noticing a decidedly dry feel, time to give them their water.

Plants like these prefer moist but,  like all plants do not want to be sitting in an inch of water or root rot WILL happen.

Most house planters (6-8" diameter) will be 1/2 cup to 1 cup of water.


 photo above source


Lemon cypress trees and myrtles love humidity. If you are keeping them indoors they would love to have a light misting once or twice a week.

Myrtle topiaries are humidity whores. There is just no other way to put it. They need the mist. If your home is dry, expect to mist these guys 2-3 times per week.

If you are successful at keeping them growing all winter they make excellent pops of green come spring [that seems a little far off right now doesn't it?] and will thrive and flourish outside in the summer like the ones shown in the photo above. The cypress above are underplanted with scotch moss in modern concrete bowls which would look great on a summer patio.


above photo source


Do you have to trim? NO you don't. You can allow your plant to go all crazy and wild like our big guy in the first photo.  Trimming myrtle topiaries specifically during their active growing season helps keep the ball of the plant compact and full though. Something to keep in mind.

You can also trim cypress trees to help them keep their slender shape if you wish.


 The most fun about these great plants is picking the fantastic pot to put them in. Whether it be new, or vintage you can decorate to your hearts content. Just make sure it's getting enough light.

Another tip just to add to your roladex is turning.

If your plant is facing a window and getting the light it requires on one side you may consider giving it a half turn every week or so, that way the plant see thes sun evenly and therefore grows evenly.


 photo above source 


I mean who wouldn't love to walk into a myrtle farm like this with everything planted in aged terracotta.


Now I am adding the statement I add to all my planting posts.

Plants are a learning curve. My plant lady green thumb self still doesn't have success with every plant I touch. The important thing to remember is almost like a kindergarten lesson. If you fail the first time, throw it out and try again.


I am not trying to promote wastefulness but at the same time, your plant came into your home green and made you smile for the time it was alive. You tried your best or maybe you forgot about it. Either way it lasted longer than cut flowers (which I also love but tend to buy plants more), cost less than your coffee, entertainment habits likely and is completely compostable.


Don't be frustrated or give up. Learning and trying is half the fun if you let it.


Have a great weekend everyone,


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