Indoor Plants – the Olive Tree

If I could pick the number one thing that I have learned in the past several years while decorating our home, it would be that no matter how good your taste is… how much you accessorize a table, or bookshelf, or how lovely all your furniture is, a room never feels truly complete, or alive, or even as beautiful as it possibly could, without a plant.
Not even kidding.  As soon as I brought our first live plant home, and saw how the added greenery changed that room, I’ve made a conscious effort to bring more plants home.  Not cut flowers – which I do love – I’m talking about a live plant.
For the past several years, I’ve been ALL ABOUT the fiddle leaf fig.  Totally drank the cool-aid, and as much as I still do love them, I’ve been on the hunt for equally beautiful, dramatic indoor plants to bring home, and guess what my friends??  I think I’ve found it…
The Olive Tree.
I love that the dwarf olive tree is a little like a topiary with the round leafy top, and the tall spindly trunk.  The grey-green leaves are more subtle, and earthy, and I just love how they look in these clean, minimalist spaces.
The above picture is one of my favorite images of all time. It was the background on my phone to remind me to simplify, and to remind me how lovely a clean slate can look.
I really like how the rustic look of these mini trees are still elegant while being a little wild.
Can’t you also imagine these flanking a fireplace, or being dolled up for the holidays?

I did a little research already, and apparently they can do well indoors in a pot – they can’t sit in very wet soil, so be careful when potting originally to use a more arid soil that will drain… they also like to be rotated in direct sunlight, but overall, they seem like they could be a real contender for an indoor plant.

Anyone have any expertise on the subject here??  This notorious plant killer novice plant care-taker would love to know!!!

Succulent Terrarium DIY

Happy Monday!  Hope you all had a lovely weekend.

It’s been hot here, so I spent my weekend outside – we had a full beach day on Saturday, and spent yesterday picnicking and watching the America’s Cup races.

In between all of that, I also worked on a small succulent terrarium…

Considering, I have the brownest of brown thumbs, I think I did ok!

I read up a bit on how to plant these out, and it turns out, it’s quite simple.  You will need:
  – Assorted rocks and pebbles
  – Soil with smaller pebbles and sand mixed in
  – A planter
  – An array of succulent plants
  – A flat counter space that you don’t mind getting a lot a bit dirty

A misconception of mine… succulents don’t like water.  They are desert plants, and like to be dry.


No wonder I’ve killed so many already.

It’s not that they don’t like to be watered… they just don’t like to sit in water… thus the pebbles, rocks, and sandy soil.  This all helps with drainage, and will be key to prevent me from killing these plants.

See the rocks down at the bottom??  I spread a solid foundation of rocks and pebbles before planting the succulents, so that when I do lightly water them, the water is able to drain to the bottom, preventing the roots from being boggy and wet.

This also will allow me to water them pretty in-frequently.  Amen to that!

Want to hear something crazy??  West Elm sells similar terrariums for $99 EACH!

This project was nowhere near that much – the glass bowl was from Ikea, ~$10.  The succulents were from Trader Joes, $2.50 each, and I bought about 5.  I’ve had the rocks for years, but they were from Michael’s, and were about $5 for a big bag of them.  In total, this cost me, about $20.

Pretty good, right?!

I had a lot of issues keeping the dirt off the plants when I was adding soil around them, and unfortunately for me, their waxy texture is holding onto that dirt as though it’s life depended on it.  Ugh.

I tried wiping it off, using a duster… I’m hoping that over time, it will go away on it’s own??

I’m pretty pleased with how it all turned out.  Look how pretty and bright green they are!!  I’m doing my best not to kill them this time, although I’m not entirely sure how long they will last.

Wish me luck!

I Have a Dream… of a Fiddle Leaf Fig

Here’s a riddle for you… what is alive (but doesn’t move on it’s own), has gorgeous green waxy leaves, is ridiculously expensive and favored by every contemporary interior designer who ever lived???

If you guessed the fiddle leaf fig, then you’d be correct!

I mean look how pretty they are!!

Enough with the inspiration photos you say??  You totally get how amazingly gorgeous these plants are???  And you understand why I am completely obsessed with them????  And you are wondering where I am going with this?????

Well, ok.  Let me tell you my little fiddle leaf fig story…

I’ve wanted one of these graphic, big-leafed beauties for going on three years now, but I have discovered that they are pricey.  REALLY pricey in fact.  A 5′ fiddle leaf fig can easily run four-hundred plus dollars… I know… I KNOW… that is ridiculously expensive!!  I have a notoriously brown thumb, so I was not about to shell out several hundred bucks for a plant that I would be likely to kill in record time.

I had heard rumors that Ikea was known to sell these plants, but I’d stalked the Ikea plant section for years without seeing so much as a bit of evidence to show that the fiddle leaf fig was ever actually sold there… I was convinced that this was a total urban myth… or was it???

Fast forward to this past weekend while I wandered the aisles of Ikea, dodging every idiot and their huge cart picking up shelves, brackets, and some of their lovely Ribba square frames… when lo and behold, what did I see??

You got it – a lovely, lonely, (smallish) fiddle leaf fig, nestled among the cheap-y palm fronds and money trees (not to hate on the money tree… I actually kind of like them).  As the Ikea patrons were examining the medium sized palm plants, I deserted my cart, and dashed over to the lone fiddle leaf fig, possibly trampling a few small children on my way.  Um, it was the holy grail – and for $12.99


Here she is –

Go on… just look at those lush pretty leaves…
And let’s not forget about the basket I found to house it!!  It does NOT look like it came from Ikea.  It’s big and sturdy, but it was still under $30!!  And that’s not it (I feel like an infomercial)… it also has a plastic insert to catch any water that leaks out from watering – keeping your floors dry, and preventing any rot in the pretty basket. It doesn’t get better than that folks.
Plus, look at the nice handles and black detail around the rim – House Beautiful has started to feature decorating advice from the experts in every issue, and last month one of them was “always be sure to include black in every room – it grounds the space”.  Thanks House Beautiful!  Don’t mind if I do!

And a final “beauty shot” of my little fiddle leaf fig… the mirror reflects the rest of the room, so you can kind of see how the rest of the space is evolving in this last photo…

Now I just need to figure out how to keep this little plant alive, and then I can call it a success!!