We tend to forget the importance of plants and often take them for granted, but in fact they are vital for life and our long-term survival. We rely on them for food, water, medicine, the air we breathe and to regulate our climate. As well as being good for the environment, research has shown that plants can benefit our general well-being, including increasing physical health, mental well-being and quality of life.
For years our Supply Chain Manager, Michelle, has enjoyed growing and tending to her own plants, reaping the rewards of horticultural therapy. Up until recently, it had just been a much-loved hobby, but now she’s launched her own business, Little Leaf, alongside her husband, Dave.
We caught up with Michelle to find out more about her business which sells house plants that have been grown in the comfort of her own home.
For many years Dave and I have loved growing our own vegetable and plants. Being novices, we sought help from my Granda, who was the Queens gardener at Balmoral Castle for over 30 years to keep us on the right track!
We started off growing our own vegetables in planters and then slowly progressed to house plants, including small succulents, cacti and geraniums. In the span of one month, we went on to obtain over 100 plants, learning that each leaf and stem has a different story to tell. This is when we realised the true beauty of nature and decided to turn our passion into business – Little Leaf.
Beauty is our only criteria when it comes to our plants, we’re proud to offer a diverse collection of plants that are unique and affordable. From rare specimens to simply stunning greens, we’ve got something for every plant lover out there!
Our range includes a mix of indoor and outdoor plants – Monstera, Alocasia, Philodendron, Syngonium, Begonia, Colocasia, Caladium, Bird of Paradise, Cherry Trees, Palms, Oxalis, Geraniums, Cornflowers, Dahlias, Hosta, Sweet Peas, Pansies, Tradescantia, Cosmos Sensations, Celosia, China Aster, and Streptocarpus to name a few…
There is a lot of care which goes into keeping houseplants happy, it can be a little overwhelming with 100+ plants to attend to! Every morning when I wake up, I open the blinds and curtains to ensure the plants get plenty of light and mist any humidity loving plants.
On a weekly basis, I’ll water, prune and rotate the plants so that they grow out evenly. I will also check for any pests like aphids, mealybugs or spider mites on the undersides of leaves and on the stem – you can easily get rid of them using an insecticidal soap solution.
On a monthly basis, I’ll make sure to dust the leaves using a damp sponge or soft towel to ensure the plants can photosynthesise properly. During the spring and summer months it’s also a good idea to feed the plants (most of us forget!) with a balanced fertiliser to help support their growth. This is not so necessary during the winter when most plants are dormant.
Many of us make the mistake of watering our plants on a set schedule, but that can do more harm than good. Instead, test the soil to know exactly when your plant needs a drink by using this simple trick – pop your finger in the soil, if it is dry to your first knuckle, it needs watering!
Additionally, when it comes to houseplants, having drainage holes is a must. Without them, excess water can cause root rot, so when watering it is best to leave the plant out of its decorative pot until the excess water has drained.
Also, the secret to thriving plants is in choosing the right pot, it can make a huge difference to its growth and health. A pot too large will cause the plant to focus its energy to root growth rather than foliage growth and can also cause the soil to stay wet longer, increasing the risk of root rot. As a rule of thumb when repotting, increase the pot size by one to two inches in diameter for plants that are growing in pots 10 inches in diameter or less. For larger plants, those growing in pots greater than 10 inches in diameter, increase the pot size by two or three inches in diameter.
Oh, this is a difficult one! My favourite changes on a daily basis, one day it will be the velvet leaves of an Alocasia Frydek and the next it will be the newly unfurled leaf of my monstera.
Spring/Summer is my favourite time of year when it comes to plants, I love seeing the new leaves/flowers coming through or nipping out to the garden to get some fruit or veg that we’ve grown for supper!
Support a small business and bring some green into your home with Little Leaf’s house plants – check out their website.