Nik Southern, Grace & Thorn Founder And Houseplant Queen Tells Us Where We’ve Been Going Wrong

We got an expert to give us a lesson in actually keeping our plants alive

Nik Southern, Grace & Thorn Founder And Houseplant Queen Tells Us Where We've Been Going Wrong

by Jazmin Kopotsha |

It sometimes feels like we just can’t win with houseplants. Sure, we’re all for having them around, but they often don’t last very long now, do they? Arguably though, the easiest and most hassle free of indoor plant situations has got to be the good o’ terrarium. It helps that they’re super trendy at the moment and, much to my surprise, are pretty straight forward to make.

We paid a visit to Nik, founder of brilliant London-based plant stores Grace & Thorn to learn how to put one together ourselves (and how to correctly pronounce the word terrarium) and WTF to do with our various (dying) plants at home.

Watch what happened when The Debrief met Nik below:

When you’re having a go at a terrarium, Nik explained that one of the best types of plants to start with are succulents aka dessert plants that store all of their water in their leaves, such as cacti and aloe vera. The biggest mistake you can make is overwatering them, but the thing to remember is to take plants back to their roots. ‘These are from the desert so they like bright light and not a lot of water’. Makes a lot of sense when you think about it really. And yes, I felt silly for not thinking about it like that too.

Nik was kind enough to answer some of our other crucial houseplant questions, here’s what we found out.

How often should you water your cactus?

Once a month.

How important is it to use specific soil?

Your plants won’t die if you use generic stuff, but they’ll definitely benefit for the right kind of soil.

What sort of plants should you put in a terrarium?

Any! Although Nik would advise using smaller ones - that way you can put a few in.

Do I need to re-plant my potted plants?

Definitely, yes. When it's been sat around in the same pot with the same soil it won't be getting very many nutrients to help it grow. You need a bigger pot, more soil, drainage at the bottom (pots with a hole at the bottom or pop some l gravel in the bottom if you want DIY drainage).

What plants are best for if you don't have lots of natural light?

You want to go for rainforest plants such as cheese plants, ferns and the indestructible devil's ivy.

Why do I keep killing my cacti?

Find the biggest, sunniest windowsill in your house and put it there. It needs all the light.

How do I know how much to water my plant?

It's as simple as testing the soil. If when you touch it, it's dry, water it. If it's not, don't. And when you do water it, let it settle down. If you can see pools forming, that's way too much.

Where's the best place to keep a terrarium?

Anywhere in the house with bright light but not in direct light because it will frazzle and you don't want that.

Like this? You might also be interested in…

Your Complete Guide On How To Stop Killing All Your House

How To Make A Terrarium For Under A Tenner

How To DIY Yourself A Houseplant (That You Absolutely Can’t Kill)

Follow Jazmin on Instagram @JazKopotsha

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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