So it’s Saturday and maybe time for some light relief!? Rheney Williams has written a guest blog post for us on how you can boost remote productivity by having beautiful home office plants and flowers. Rheney enjoys sharing her DIY craft window ideas with others and writes about her projects for The Home Depot. Rheney has been busy this past year updating her Charleston, S.C., home with all manner of custom lowcountry touches.
When you’re a remote worker, more often than not, you’re working online from a home office. And even if you have the most conducive conditions for working remotely (peace and quiet!), we’ve all experienced that part of the day where you just need a boost. Whether it’s a mental boost because your brain has been working overtime or a creative boost because your imagination’s well has run dry, sometimes all you need is a bright pop of color to push your productivity back into forward motion.
Basically, when you work and write online, it’s important to surround yourself with an environment that fosters free-thinking and a potted ‘office mascot’ may be just the thing you need to cheer you up and spur you on during the day! In addition to the bright burst of color that the blooms provide, plants are notorious workhorses in the air purifying department. And when you’re cooped up inside all day, a little bit of fresher air goes a long way! I’ve been considering candidates for my own home office mascot and I’ve finally narrowed it down to the perfect choice for me: African violets!
I have a casement window that is just begging for a bit of windowsill dressing and the violets are it because although it is a bright window, its placement and direction on my house means it almost never receives direct sunlight. This is important for these little violets as they love bright conditions and indirect sunlight. Even if you don’t have a large, indirectly lit window, violets could still be the perfect choice for you too because they are some of the easiest indoor flowers to grow and don’t require full-on sunshine (or two green thumbs) to keep them alive. Their needs are a bit unique but once you address them from the beginning, the ongoing maintenance for African violets is minimal. Here’s a glimpse into how I planted my home office mascot for my windowsill and a few tips for establishing one of your own.
Purple and blue are two of my favorite colors and two great options in your working area. The rich depth of the purple and the calming brightness of the blue, in pastel shades of lavender and sky, respectively, provide just the right amount of inspiration and creative spark when you need a pick-me-up but they don’t demand attention or scream at you the way other bolder colors seem to do. So I started building my mascot’s ‘home’ by painting a clean terra cotta pot with blue and grey chalkboard paint.
*Tip: For African violets, make sure you use a shallow pot (or one designed specifically for African violets) because the more standard height pots are too deep to provide their optimal growing environment.
After that dried overnight, I gathered everything else together and started adding the colorful details. Using the Frog tape as a guide, I taped off alternating segments around the rim and painted the insides with white craft paint. I removed the tape and painted over the remaining grey strips underneath with lavender craft paint. Finally, I painted a thin line of the grey in between each of the white and lavender stripes.
Allow the rim to dry thoroughly before moving on to planting your flower. Cover the drain hole(s) with a flat stone to allow for the water to enter and exit while keeping the soil in the pot where it belongs. Fill the pot 1/3 or ½ of the way with potting mix. You can use the kind designed for African violets or make your own with an equal parts mixture of peat moss and perlite or vermiculite. Carefully place your plant into the pot and gently scoop soil around the edges, tamping down with your fingers as you go. Continue filling and tamping until the soil is about ½” below the rim and be careful to avoid getting dirt on the leaves and fuzzy stems.
To create the most accurate representation of the African violets’ natural moist, humid habitat, line the bottom of a deep saucer or dish with pebbles for the pot to sit atop. To recreate my natural environment, however, I replaced the pebbles with shells I collected from my native South Carolina coastline!
The goal is to provide a raised bed for the pot that is filled with water to just below the pot’s base so that humidity swirls as the water evaporates below. This is also how you should water your violets ñ from below, never above.
*Tip: If you ever do get water on the leaves or petals, do your best to dry it immediately as this can damage and burn them (if in direct sunlight). Keep an eye on the water level and when it drops, simply refill the base. When you first plant your violets and every couple of weeks, add several drops of African violet food to the water to ensure it receives the proper nutrients.
And that’s all you need for a freshly potted, bright office mascot that’s sure to boost your spirits and your creative productivity in no time. What type of flowers do you want to plant in your remote office?