ASK THE BOTANIST
As a trained environmental educator, with a specialty in marine biology, I find BOTANY - or the study of plants - to be an exciting yet at times unfamiliar endeavor for me. So when I have plant related questions (which is often) I have one friend I turn to most, the knowledgeable ZOEY MANSON!
Zoey and I often collaborate on botanical styling, art and plant care, and now I am thrilled to share her wisdom with you all! Every month we will feature a Plant of the Month that we will discuss in more depth. Scroll Down to see the this month's featured Plant of the Month!
We hope you find this page a helpful place to ask your plant related questions, request how-to tutorials, as well as, your favorite plants to feature. Zoey and I are excited to be offering this service to you all, sharing our love for plants and plant wisdoms!
ask us anything!
I began working with plants at Briggs Trees Company, in San Marcos, CA, where I was fully immersed in plant identification authenticating their entire inventory database. From there, I threw myself into planted art, landscape design and customer service working at the beautiful Barrels and Branches nursery in Encinitas, Ca. I am now studying and working full time as an ethnobotanist (someone who studies how people from different cultures use plants) at Mira Costa College in Oceanside, Ca.
PLANT OF THE MONTH:
focus on Jade
The Crassula family of succulents will always hold a special place in my heart. The first plant I ever truly remember loving and interacting with was a big beautiful Jade plant (crassula ovata) that belonged to my grandmother.
Jade in itself comes in all forms of of different varieties including: gollum and hobbit jades, trailing jades, stacked jades, campfire jades and variegated or tricolor jades
Most Jade varieties make great houseplants for the following reasons:
1. They can thrive in low sunlight (along with bright sunlight!) and will keep a dark glossy green color in lower light conditions
2. They grow fast!
3. They are easy to care for and prefer to go completely bone dry in between waterings.
4. They propagate easily.
5. They have a super appealing look with thick branching “trunks” and round glossy green leaves.
The CRASSULA Family of succulents encompasses a large variety of different plants including all the jades (crassula ovata), watch chains, stacked jades and the crassula perforata or “string of buttons”.
Crassula are able to survive harsh conditions through the utilization of an interesting form of photosynthesis known as CAM - Crassulacean Acid Metabolism. In CAM photosynthesis, plants absorb CO2 (carbon dioxide) at night, to avoid water loss during the hot and often dry daytime of their native locales. Instead of opening their pores (stomata) during the day in order to absorb CO2, these plants absorb CO2 at night and convert it into a organic acid called malate. Then during the daylight hours they convert the malate back into CO2 and they can photosynthesize to their hearts’ content while the sun is out, without losing valuable water!
LIGHT: Can vary - some prefer or can tolerate bright and direct sunlight, while other prefer more indirect sunlight. All do best in more bright indirect light, but many types of crassula ovata can do well in indoor and low-light conditions as well.
WATER: These plants are hardy and can often tolerate many different situations and care techniques. They do not do well with frequent overwatering. Best to water thoroughly only when soil feels dry.