When it comes to plants, we turn to the experts to get the lowdown on all things green. Enter Emma Terrell, founder of The Urban Botanist! She’s the ultimate plant guru who knows a thing or two on how to get keep your house plants alive, thriving and healthy in your home.

What are the three most important things you should do to keep your house plants alive?
1) KNOW YOUR PLANTS! Understanding what species your plant is and what its light and watering requirements are is absolutely essential. Stop guessing and start googling, figure out what your plant actually is before you start trying to care for it. If you know your plant already, make sure that you’re following the care instructions correctly. Always be careful to not over water your plants, that is probably the number one killer of all house plants, overwatering!
2) Already have a good watering routine down? Fantastic! Another key point to keeping your plants happy is to check in on them everyday if you can, remove any dead plant debris, prune as necessary and ALWAYS check for pesky pests that can be hiding in the ridges of your leaves. Checking for pests is an essential preventative measure you can take to avoid outbreaks that can devastate your indoor plant family.
3) Talk to your plants 😊 Yes – I know it sounds crazy! But believe me, your plants can hear you. They feed off of your energy, and always give you energy back. Singing, touching, talking to your plants is a great way to relax and revitalize, to get back in touch with nature and to slow down your day even for a short while. Your plants will appreciate it more than you know.
Pets and plants. Some pets can kill house plants by chewing them or digging around in their pots and some plants can be poisonous to pets, how do you find a balance to keeping both alive in your home?
Some plants can be extremely poisonous to your fur babies, so if you have curious pets that like to chew on your plants make sure that you aren’t bringing home any potential toxic plants! Try using wall mounted planters like WallyGro or hanging baskets to keep your plants out of reach.
What are some of the big misconceptions about plant upkeep? Are they a lot of work?

I think that the reason why some people have trouble with their plants is a simple lack of understanding for them, or incorrect information being provided upon purchase. Plants that are being placed in the wrong growing conditions will always give you trouble, for example inadequate sunlight, high humidity or if you are over/underwatering your plants. I do not believe in black thumbs! Plants are easy to care for and will reward you graciously when their growing conditions are adhered to.

For a house plant rookie, what are some hearty plant options for starting out?
Some great starter plants for first timers would be some of the low maintenance plants, like Snake Plants or Peace Lillies, Dieffenbachia or ZZ Plants! These are all relatively easy to find and hard to kill! 
You hear of many home openers arranging plant sitters to keep their green loves alive when away. How long can you really leave a house plant alone?
Plant sitters are a great idea, I love that people are taking the extra steps to care for their green babies. There is nothing worse than coming home from a vacation to a house full of dead plants. Apart from hiring plant sitters, I would suggest giving your plant babies a good watering before taking off, a week should be fine in the winter as plants need less water during their dormant winter months. Some house plants can be left alone for weeks at a time, so if you are the type of person who is always on the road, you might want to look into keeping low maintenance plants like succulents, cacti, snake plants or zz’s which need little watering and attention!


There’s a growing trend to bring the greenery inside your home or office outside of the traditional potted house plants. What are some non-traditional options for homeowners?

Terrariums! A non-traditional but exceptional way to bring the outdoors inside. A terrarium is a snapshot of an ecosystem captured inside of a vessel. A living, growing, breathing mini environment that you can have on your coffee table. These are such a neat and beautiful way to interact and engage with nature in an urban setting, and we even offer workshops on how to make your own. Another non-traditional method that is becoming more on trend is green walls. We offer moss walls and live walls for commercial and residential spaces – if you really want to greenify your home – these options will not disappoint! 

See Emma, The Urban Botanist at the Ottawa Home and Remodelling Show. The Urban Botanist will be offering FREE air plant terrarium workshops throughout the show. She will also be hitting the HGTV Canada Main Stage on Thursday at 6:30pm and Saturday at 5:30pm.

Jan 14, 2020, 16:09 PM