Like all great inventions, The Sill was born out of necessity, passion, and a window of opportunity. A fan of plants but not the market they existed in, Eliza Blank and a few other plant-savvy individuals came together to create a user-friendly experience for the modern green thumb. The goal was simple: to inspire people to bring more plants into their home. The result? A practical, colorful, and totally attainable brand that brings the idea of the houseplant back to its roots.
We stopped by the Lower East Side store front to talk with Eliza, get our hands a little dirty, and learn about which plant to chose for any and every occasion.
Can you tell us a little about what The Sill does?
The Sill aims to put a plant on every windowsill. We have an online shop that ships nationally, a storefront in the Lower East Side of New York City, and we offer plant design and maintenance services to companies – think offices, retail spaces, restaurants – here in NYC and in LA.
How was the idea of The Sill conceived?
I always loved plants but thought they were difficult – a story we hear often from many of our customers. I had a lot of misconceptions about houseplants and how to care for them. I wanted to start a brand that offered a real solution to incorporating plants into our lives. As it turned out, so did a few other fine folks. I synced up with business partner Andrew Erdle, and The Sill’s head of marketing, Erin Marino, and The Sill was born.
I really want to incorporate plants into my apartment. What is the best starting point?
The best place to start is to first determine where you want to put plants. Then, what amount of natural sunlight that spot gets. Finally, you have to ask yourself how much work you’re willing to put in to caring for your new plants. Once you have those to answers, you’re ready to get started. We suggest starting small – in one or two key areas – with a plant well-suited for the light available, and well-suited to your lifestyle (no ferns for frequent travelers!)
How do you successfully pot a plant? Can’t say I’ve ever succeeded in that department.
Potting, and re-potting, your plant is easier than you think! We recommend choosing a planter that is no more than 2″ larger than the plant’s plastic grow pot (for tabletop plants). A plant should never be swimming in soil in an over-sized pot – which tends to lend itself to overwatering and eventually root rot.
Look for well-draining soil that’s meant for indoor container gardening; pick a sturdy planter with a drainage hole and saucer (or create your own makeshift drainage by lining the bottom of your planter with rocks to create crevices); and keep a newly potted plant out of harsh direct light as it acclimates to its new home.
And it’s a common misconception that repotting a plant means simply replacing it’s planter. Instead, the big benefit of repotting is fresh new potting soil, which provides your plant with new nutrients. Plants typically need to be repotted every 18 months.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about owning and caring for plants?
That they’re difficult! Most people actually kill their plants by attending to them too frequently. We see a lot of well-intentioned overwatering. A lot of plants really like to be neglected!
A Plant for Every Scenario
1. I have no windows in my room: a ZiZi plant
2. I have extremely high windows that let in A LOT of light: Succulents
3. I want my shower to resemble a jungle: Ferns!
4. I have a cat that likes to play with hanging things: Peperomia
5. I have a kitchen that needs some sprucing up: Air plants
6. I can never remember to water anything: Cactus
7. I get emotionally invested and accidentally over water: Fittonia or Begonia
8. I am going through a breakup and need my spirits lifted: Philodendron Hope
9. I want to buy a plant for the person I love most: A Jade – they can live for 100 years+
10. I want my friends to think I’m a plant expert: a Fiddle Leaf Fig tree