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Green thumb growing city’s plant community


Green Thumb Social is Jessica William’s passion project.

The plant lover started the event last year as a way of bringing people who love nature together.

At each social people gather, swap plants and produce and connect.

Jess organises an event every two months and she says the atmosphere is magical.

“We have such a diverse mix of people,” she says.

“People socialise and the buzz is amazing, everyone is just laughing and smiling.

“It makes it really special.

“It’s a community of people who love plants.”

Jess says that plants and nature are very therapeutic for her.

“I was drawn to horticultural studies because I really want to help the environment and care for it,” she says.

“I am worried by the loss of plant and animal species and I don’t like to see anything that is living suffer.

“Plus, they also look beautiful.”

For first-time plant owners Jess has a number of tips.

Tip One: Buy the best soil you can afford. Try and get soil with the red ticks as it’s an indication it’s a premium product.

Tip Two: Stay positive and don’t get disheartened. You may have some plant failures but that’s how you learn. Research what growing conditions your plant needs and stick to that advice as much as possible.

Tip Three: Always use pots with drainage and never overwater your plants! Plants hate wet feet.

green thumb plants

Jess loves all plants, but these are some of her favourites.

1 – Schefflera actinophylla (Umbrella Tree)

This native Australian plant is toxic to pets as it contains calcium oxalate crystals that cause burning and irritation of the mouth, lips and throat. I would keep this plant as a potted specimen indoors or outdoors. Avoid putting it in the ground unless you want a large rainforest tree in your garden. It needs medium to bright indirect light to thrive indoors. To maintain its glossy leaves and prevent pests give it a shower every few weeks.

green thumb plants

2 – Aglaonema (Chinese Evergreen)

This highly decorative plant also contains calcium oxalate crystals and is toxic to pets.

This moisture loving plant is better suited to indoor conditions. It needs to be kept warm and moist. A great plant for the bathroom! It needs high humidity and appreciates misting and being kept away from open windows and drafts. It also has powerful air purifying properties and tolerates low-light spots.

leaves in a pot

3 – Dracaena surculosa (Dracaena Gold Dust)

Dracaena is mildly toxic to pets. It is perfect as an indoor specimen as the gold speckles will add interest and light to any space. It is a low maintenance plant that responds well to a light prune. Prune above the node for a flush of new growth and dense foliage. She loves this plant because it sparkles against plants with all green foliage and seems to put on new growth all the time.

plant in a pot

4 – Stromanthe (Stromanthe triostar)

This plant is safe for pets. My specimen grows outdoors in a protected position and gets filtered morning sun, but it can also be a successful indoor plant. It can be bit of a diva; it needs high humidity to thrive. Increase humidity by adding a pebble tray, misting regularly and huddling your plants. The leaves look like they have been perfectly painted and the pink underside is just stunning.

The next Green Thumb Social event will be in April, go to the Green Thumb Social Facebook page for more. 

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