Why plant people need potting benches
A while ago Palmer told me she brought several new plants and a few old plants up to the shop for potting and repotting. We have the plant bar where we plant the succulents we sell for our customers, and it seemed EASIER to Palmer to put her plants in her car, drive them to Retro Den, unload them, carry them to the front of our shop, care for them, and bring them back home, than it would be to pot and repot her plants at home. Why?
Because the shop has a dedicated planting spot with all the tools and supplies we need to make it easy. Enter making our own planting stations at home. If we are going to keep acquiring more plants, we need a convenient place to care for them. I think I have said this before, but I didn't realize plants needed to be continually cared for beyond watering them. Ha! No wonder college me killed all the house plants my husband (then suitor) gave me. You have to check on your plants, give them fresh dirt, bigger pots, feed them, clip them back–if you want to have a long term relationship with them. Who knew?
Well, now that we know caring for plants is part of owning plants, us Ashleys are excited to add potting stations to our homes this summer. As with any hobby or pursuit, you have to make it pleasant for yourself for you to do it. And you know we think it should also be attractive, because potting plants on a beautifully styled background sounds wildly earthy, indulgent, and good for the soul. Imagine! What stupendous self-care! But really it's not selfish at all, it's all for the plants and their health.
Placement for plant stations:
We both put together places at our homes where we can enjoy caring for our plants. Palmer put hers around the side of her house, out of sight, and where it is easier for her to keep the dirt swept. She thought it would be more appealing and functional for her, if it wasn't around her patio sitting areas because she'd always be wanting to sweep. I am decidedly not like that, and placed my potting station on my front porch. I will say that my porch is much easier to sweep off than her patio. When I make a mess around my potting bench, all I have to do is sweep the dirt into my front flower bed. Easy.
I like that Palms put her table on some concrete squares she had laying around. This raised the table up, gave it stability on the ground, and will keep it from wearing as quickly because it's not in direct contact with her lawn. I'm keeping my eye out for a slightly taller table (or maybe a way to raise this one up, but I can't picture a way I'd be happy with yet.).
Our home potting stations were clearly a genius idea as Palmer no longer thinks it's easier to drive her plants to the shop for maintenance. Good job, us.
Tips for potting stations:
Here is what we recommend for your very own potting space:
- A table with plenty of patina or that you don't mind getting dirty and beat up (One tall enough to not hurt your back...think changing table height!)
- Some lidded containers for soil and gravel
- Mega high quality soil, because only the best for your plants, and it really does make a difference
- Gravel/rocks for succulents especially (see our succulent planting guide here), but also for drainage with other plants
- Plant food (Plants will suck all the nutrients out of their dirt eventually, so keep adding them back in! And follow the directions on the packaging!)
- Gloves if you're going to be handling cacti (or don't like scrubbing your nails like crazy before supper)
- Watering can
- Extra pots
- Shelf (I like keeping my plant propagating experiments outside during the summer, and it's nice to have them on display.)