Plant Care: Q&A with Kelly from Malone's Greenhouse

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It’s no secret that House of Nomad is CRAZY about plants! Last weekend we hosted our first ever Potting Party and collaborated with our friends at Malone’s Greenhouse to create a plant care guide that gives the tricks of the trade for plants from low to high maintenance, with tips on how often to water, what kind of light each plant needs and more. Click here for the FREE, printable guide!

For those wanting to take an even deeper dive into plants, check out this Q&A with Kelly from Malone’s. We’ve been longtime fans of Malone’s and not only did she teach our Potting Party — but you can often find a member of our team scouring their rows of gorgeous plants for clients! Here’s the inside look on our talk with Kelly — and her fantastic knowledge of plant care.

Q: Do you put your plants in the shower to water them?

A: “If you come up to me and say I’m thirsty and I throw a cup of water at you, it wouldn’t really fix the situation. That’s what it is like when you just pour water on a plant. I like to put my plants in the shower and set them down in water and gently mist them. It cleans off the dust and gives them a good drink of water.”


Q: What’s your go-to house plant recommendation?

A: “If you are looking for an easy plant to start with — snake plants and aloe are wonderful, both low light and low water and both purify the air.”


Q: What plant requires the least water?

A: “The snake plant is the lowest water requiring plant, that’s why they are really easy! For a 4” pot, you can water every couple weeks or for a 6-8” pot — just once a month. The bigger the pot, the longer it takes to dry out. One tip, snakes don’t like cold or moisture on leaves so don’t mist them. They’re also great because they naturally purify the air!”

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Q: How do you care for a fiddle leaf fig?

A: “Let it get completely dry before you water it, but when you do water you want to soak it. They need bright light, and can handle a bit of morning sun or late evening sun but no middle of the day (11 to to 3 p.m.). Try a south or west facing window, which are the brightest and warmest.


Q: Any tips on troubleshooting the right amount of water for fiddle leaf figs?

A: “Fiddles tell you if they are over or under watered! If the very edges of leaves turn brown — it is too dry. It means they are pulling moisture from ends of tips of plants. But if it get black splotches on the leaves, that means too much water. Try a moisture reader to maintain proper moisture.”

Q: How do you help your cactus to thrive?

A: “Make sure to not overwater, especially if they are not in bright sun. For a 2” to 4” pot, water once a week; for a 6” to 8” pot, water every couple weeks; for 10” pot, water once a month. Also, they do best in full sun (kept right in the windowsills), they can handle bright light instead.”


Q: Do cacti really have a winter season?

A: “Yes! In the wintertime, you will only water only once or twice! This is where many people go wrong, continuing on in their regular watering schedule and their succulents rot during colder months.”


Q: How do you know when to repot a cactus?

A: “For cacti, you don’t have to repot until they are so large they are outgrowing the container. As a general rule, once you pot a cactus it can stay in the same pot for several years.”

Q: How can you tell if a plant is still alive?

A: “If you ever have a plant and wonder if it is salvageable or not, use your fingernail to scrape the bark and see if it’s green inside.”

Q: What plants purify the air?

A: “Someone told me their husband was snoring and the doctor told them to buy a snake plant and put it in their room! It adds oxygen to the air and helps them to sleep better. Another great plant to purify the air is a spider plant.”


Q: What’s the story behind the flying saucer plant?

A: “The Chinese Penny Plant has become so popular — it’s also called a flyer saucer plant because it looks like a saucer flying in the sky. Penny plants do not like the cold. The first year we had that one, we were afraid to put it in the sun and leaves turned yellow because they got too much water. We moved them to a warmer, sunnier spot and they jumped and started growing. They need a bright, warm and sunny spot. Let them get dry before you water them."


Q: How should you pot ferns?

A: “Plant ferns in a pot without a drain hole in the bottom. While most plants need a hole to drain, ferns need to stay really moist. You can even plant perennial maidenhair ferns outside in Charlotte! They do well outside.”

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Q: Do you have any go-to house plants specific to the spring and summer?

A: “A hanging pitcher plant helps with the fruit flies in the summer! Place one in your kitchen or near a trashcan and within a couple of days, the plant takes care of the pesky problems!”

Thanks to Kelly for her plant advice and all the life her plant babies have added to our designs — and for teaching on last weekend’s Potting Party at our Studio!

For daily plant design inspo, follow along with Malone’s Greenhouse!

And don’t forget to check out the FREE Plant Care Guide we created with Malone’s, just download and print!

Fresh Floral Designs: Nectar's DIY Tips

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It’s inspiration, fun and literal LIFE that House of Nomad tries to bring into every space we design. This means plants, flowers — and greenery of all kinds. For every install, potted plants come through the door (worked into the original design!) and for every photo shoot that follows, fresh flowers always make the cut. Greenery and plants are not just finishing touches but game changers for a space, incorporating texture and layers of beauty and life. 

But fresh flowers can be tricky. Turns out floral design is not as simple as it looks. Our friends at Nectar sat down with HON this week, answering a plethora of beginner’s questions on how to start out creating simple arrangements. From what flowers to reach for in the first place and what vase to use to four techniques to follow, Nectar’s owner, Karisa Pennell has us covered. Here’s a glimpse into HON’s chat with Karisa — and photos of our communications manager tackling the tricks she learned while styling a HON kitchen design!

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Q: Are there any flowers should you stay away from as a beginner?

A: “Flowers that are hard to use as a novice are Gerbera daisy and sunflowers -- anything that has a flat head to it is hard to design with.”

Q: What type of flowers are go-to’s when learning to design arrangements? 

A: “When you go to shop for flowers, how do you chose? What goes with what and what complements? If you can go by color palette versus flower type that helps. That way, you are not overthinking it. For example, maybe go with all whites or all yellows.” 

Q: What’s the best vase to work with?

A: “I personally like a square shape vase, I feel like the corners help in the design. Anything that has a v-opening is really hard to design in, because the stems start to rise up and out of water and arrangement tends to splay open.”

Q: What size vase do you recommend?

A: “Anything bigger than a 5" opening takes a lot of flowers and is hard to work with. Start with a simpler container, anything 3” to 5” is perfect.”

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Q: Once you’re flowers are set, where do you start?

A: “The techniques for how to build an arrangement smartly are broken down into four main points of design: form, lines, color and texture.”

Q: How do you build your form?

A: “The first thing we teach is how to build your form or the base of your arrangement. Think first, what is going to hold everything together? You will want something that will create that base naturally like greenery or hydrangeas, gibing you a tight grid to add stems to. Start to build a structure by putting your stems in a concentric fashion — building your grid in a round shape. Build the first layer and then continue to add more in a clockwise fashion.”

Q: Any tricks of the trade when tackling this first step?

A: “Clear, floral tape is a trick! You put that on your vase in a tic-tac-toe shape and secure it with a piece tape all around the lip. This creates different sections so your stems then are not weighing each other down. Floral netting is also good (better than floral foam) and you can reuse it. In a pinch -- purchase from flower shop you can reuse!”

Q: How do you think about color as a floral designer?

A: “The color wheel may seem really old school but lots of bold colors can really fragment your arrangement. If you don’t want to do all one color, stay in a monochromatic tone — that is the way to go.”

Q: Let’s talk a bit about texture.

A: “As far as texture, I think about contrast. Put textured thistle with soft ranunculus to give it contrast. Or, if you want something really sweet and simple -- then go all soft. Try hydrangeas and dusty miller.” 

Q: Do you have an insider’s floral tips?

A: “A good way to design is to pull your container almost to the edge of your table and then you can gauge your stem length. You can always cut your stems shorter but air on conservative side; cut it down as you need to and not all at once. Another trick is with line flowers, like snap dragons for example, you will want staggering heights. Take three stems in your hand and arrange them, then cut all three of the stems at once! Naturally, you will have them at three different lengths.”

For more information on Karisa and Nectar, visit their studio in Elizabeth, follow along with their designs on Instagram @nectarfloralboutique or visit www.nectarfloraldesigns.com

Or! Come to the Plaza Midwood Home Tour this weekend — check out the home HON designed and see a floral design by Nectar featured in the dining room. Have a Birdsong Brewery beer with us and chat design — home and floral. We hope to see you soon!

Let's Winterize Your Home

With the sparkling lights down and holiday decor stored away — your home might feel like a refreshing and minimal slate, but also a bit stark. As the temps drop and the days are wintry and gray (and while we’re dreaming of sunshine and warmth!), you can craft an indoor and wintry oasis. Here’s our guide to doing so!

1. Layer Up!

Whether it’s your bedroom, living room or a favorite reading nook, winter is the perfect time to grab a new throw pillow or two — and think TEXTURE. Sheepskins add a pop of white (or pink), add some texture and are big on the warmth. Whether you go for a faux sheepskin — or real, you can throw them over the edge of a chair, piano bench, arm of the sofa and they add big style impact. We love the playful texture this pink pillow adds to this nook in a girl’s room we designed this year (check out our website for more from her space!).

Grab a basket and pull out your favorite blankets. Keep them stored next to the couch, fold them on the end of your bed or a guest bed.

2. Buy Some Plants

Live plants not only purify your air, promoting wellness in your wintry home but greenery has this incredible power in design we weave into every project. It’s hard to emphasize enough the massive impact of live plants!

If you’re nervous about trying to care for your plants and keep them alive, start with a snake plant or some cacti. They’re easy to care for (rarely even need water!) and hard to kill! If in the Charlotte area, check out our friends at Malones Greenhouse of Suculent Plants — you can’t beat their prices, they are willing to pot the plants for you and provide all the information you need to keep your plants thriving.

3. Create an Indoor Garden

Every week or two, grab some fresh flowers (Trader Joe’s is our go-to spot!) and a couple bunches of greenery. It’s amazing what some fresh blooms can do for a space. We’ve been drawn to tulips lately and never leave without some eucalyptus! Check out this Domino Mag article on the go-to flowers to grab in the winter!

4. String Up Some Lights

Plan ahead for spring and grab two or three strings of patio lights — and set them up inside! Set them on a timer so they come on before the winter blues set in for the day. They provide a sense of wintry festivity, cozy ambience for nights-in and are just plain fun. We’re always up for fun in our designs!

5. Buy a new piece of art — and a candle.

Pick one small house project to accomplish thiw winter. Whether it’s picking a paint color and tackling that space — or buying a new piece of art, it’s refreshing to see some traction inside your home these first few weeks of the new year. We love this organic collection of art — and we’re also loving work by Angie the Rose these days, a Greensboro artist who plays beutifully with color. Check her out!

Candles are another way to add ambiance and cozy-up a room. One of our current favorites are Sunday Morning (available at the charming Elisabeth Rose shop in Davidson) and Anthropologie’s Baltic Amber.

Here’s to enjoying every wintry day until spring! Cheers!