Plant Care

Pony Tail PalmLight: this is the condition you must meet for success. I will have information at the shop you can use to decide what will work for you and not. The plants will also be coded and include instructions.

Water: is the other critical element. Too much can kill—so can too little. I’ll have information at the shop to help, and you can always ask me.

That’s really it. Oh sure, after a couple years a plant needs new soil. Some plants need frequent fertilizing—others don’t want any! Some will need bigger pots and some just won’t—ever. But if you give them the right light and the right amount of water, you can create legacy plants to hand down to your children when they are adults. I have one of my mother’s.

Scroll down for information beyond basic plant care.

My goal is to make it very easy for you. I am available for frequently asked questions, helpful hints and have detailed directions about each plant I sell. You can even text photos and questions about your particular issues.

lighting guidelines

Plant Rx

Dealing with pestsSadly, plants do get sick sometimes. Pests and diseases find the way to them. I work diligently to ensure that my plants are healthy—but sometimes things go awry. If you find something suspicious on your plant, isolate it immediately…and contact me if you need help. Here is some basic information that might help you identify your plant’s problem.


  • White flies will fly whenever you touch the plant.
  • Leaves start to look mottled or pale and you feel sticky sap—spider mites.
  • If you see a cottony mass on the stems or under leaves—mealy bugs.
  • Poor growth, leaf drop, little specks on leaves—aphids
  • Small black specks that look like dirt—thrips. I really hate these. They really stick on the leaves and stems and are near impossible to beat.

I only use Neem oil, organic insecticidal soap or a mix of ivory soap/alcohol and water to spray for insects. If the plant is really valuable to me, I will make an effort to cure it. If not, frankly I throw them away. I figure the plant lasted longer than any bouquet of fresh flowers and I don’t balk at tossing them out. Plants are to bring pleasure and make us happy.

Various succulents in potsSucculents

Succulents have thick leaves that store water. Some even have a layer of a waxy like substance on them that keep the water in the leaves longer. They don’t need a lot of water applied to their roots as a result. View information on caring for succulents.

Remember this … succulent roots grow when the soil is dry. Not when it’s damp or moist.

  • So you need the right soil—all the plants I sell will be in the appropriate soil.
  • If the pot has drainage, water should flow right out the hole. Run water through enough to dampen the soil.
  • If the plants are in a closed container, there should be layers of stone and moss to separate the water from the soil so that the soil can dry out. Mine will be.
  • Once soil dries, wait another three or four days before watering again.

There are thousands of varieties of succulents and cacti. I can only identify the most common…but I am learning them one by one. Different plants are native all over the world, on mountains and in deserts. And surprisingly to me—there are many that are winter hardy here for outdoor gardens. I will carry those plants, too.

View some examples of succulents.

Terrarium plants

terrarium careGood for covered terrariums where the humidity and soil moisture can be maintained. The lid should be removed daily for a little while. If moisture builds up on the glass inside the container, remove lid. It is in essence “raining” in the terrarium.

Water: Soil should be damp/moist but not wet. Because there is no drainage, excess water can build up in the bottom rock layer. If the soil and roots sit in water, they will wick-up the moisture and rot.

If plants become too big, they can be pruned (leaves and roots) or replaced.

Maybe you already know that plants improve the air in your house and you want to add them to different corners, but you don’t get much light there and think there’s no option.


Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources

Plant Something MA

A Visual Compendium of Succulents


Mary's Indoor Gardens and Plants