This plant workshop kept me busy during quarantine—and brightened my home
A green thumb is not required!
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I am, quite literally, obsessed with plants. I love every kind of greenery I can get my hands on, from ZZ Plants to Monsteras. I heard The Sill was running online plant workshops to teach people more about their favorite kinds of plants. Being the plant-lover I am, I knew I had to attend, so I picked a class that I would benefit most from.
I’ll be the first to admit that succulents are a bit nuanced. I have dozens of plants occupying floor and shelf space around my home, but I could count the succulents among them on one hand. Now, they’re known for being easy plants if you just leave them alone. And they tend to grow in funky shapes, colors, and forms. Though they’re cool, I like the leafier plants instead… partly because they show me when they need water and I can diagnose any issues they encounter throughout the year.
So, I attended The Sill’s Succulents 101 Online Workshop as a glorified newbie to hopefully learn some pointers and gain confidence. I’m here to report that the workshop was full of helpful information and fun facts, and if you've always been curious about houseplants, you should sign up ASAP.
What is The Sill?
The Sill is a New-York-City-based plant shop. They're well known for their simple and cute pastel pots and high quality plants. They have an extensive online store where you can mix and match plants and pots and have them delivered to your door step. The Sill also has plenty of open source information for being a plant parent, from light and watering care to seasonal tips for successful growth.
What I loved about The Sill Plant Workshop
In addition to their online content, The Sill has been hosting a series of workshops that are both affordable and informative. Twice a month, a plant expert form The Sill hosts the online workshops that review general plant care, propagation, and succulents. With a few questions in mind, I attended one of their succulents workshops to see what I could learn.
I learned that succulents are so much more than I thought
The first portion of the online workshop was a presentation all about succulents. The host, a Customer Experience Specialist from The Sill, reviewed what makes a plant a succulent and the several main succulent families. She also reassured everyone in attendance that the point of bringing plants into our homes is to find joy; sometimes killing a few plants in the process helps us learn more about them and their caste style. (I’m sure we can all relate.)
I learned that a lot of plants I thought were succulents actually aren’t, like ZZ plants and snake plants. They are succulent-like, though, so some of the care tips and propagation styles are still applicable.
I was so thankful our host discussed burns, scars, and discoloration because I have a few jade plants outside that have all three issues. Thankfully, I learned that discoloration and lesions aren’t harmful. I now know my plants have them because of temperature stress. Even though the jade plants are succulents and can withstand hot summer sun and heat, I didn’t allow them to adjust in some shade after bringing them outside. Oops. Next time I’ll let them warm up before I line my porch railing!
There was an incredibly cool hands-on demo
After the main presentation, our host from The Sill reached onto her windowsill and showed us a plant she had propagated during a workshop earlier this summer. It was a fuzzy little cactus that had a top hat, and he was happy and well-situated in his new home. She then walked us through the step by step process to propagate her kalanchoe plant. It was super helpful to watch someone propagate in real-time. It was easier to follow along than a timelapse video or written instructions.
She also talked about etiolation, which is when parts of your plant get leggy and stretchy. Essentially, the space between nodes increases, and sometimes the nodes don’t produce a new leaf/growth. This is exactly what has been happening with my burro’s tail plant. The etiolation can occur when the plant isn’t getting enough light—like when you’re moving and forget to place it in a proper home like I did. However, the plant is fine! You can let the leggy parts continue to grow on as normal or you can propagate them. Since the leggy parts already have some space for you to sneak your scissors in, I recommend cleaning cutting the section off, removing the lower nodes or leaves and sticking the bottom (where you cut it from the main plant) in some water. I did this with my burro’s tail plant and it seems to be going well!
What I didn't love about the online plant workshop
I could talk about plants all day, as could many of the other attendees on the workshop Zoom call. I loved all the information packed into the one-hour workshop, but I was also a bit overwhelmed. Even though I went into the event with background knowledge, it was a bit difficult to keep up.
The interactive chat feature can get a bit overwhelming
Many succulents are propagated the same way as our host’s plant, so in the Zoom chat people asked about their propagation mishaps and another employee from The Sill provided answers. It was a little overwhelming to read the chat and listen to the host, so next time I’ll wait until the end of the call to review the chat. However, it’s so fun to see what other people on the call are growing (and where)! Plus, you can ask questions there if you’re a little shy.
I want more workshops!
I'm being nit-picky here, but I'd love to see more workshops from The Sill. They have ones for beginners and the succulents workshop I attended, but I'm looking forward to seeing what other topics they introduce. It looks like they have an upcoming Pests and Diseases course and also a workshop focused on Calathea plants.
Should you attend a plant workshop from The Sill?
I highly recommend you sign up for a plant workshop from The Sill if you’re interested in learning more about your favorite plants. The presentation spanned almost 40 minutes, and I was scribbling down notes to review again once I had a broader idea of what I wanted to do with the few true succulents I actually have. The information goes far beyond light and water needs; we covered pots, growing styles, useful repotting tips, soil composition, flowering factors, useful tricks, and an open Q&A portion at the end of the call.
The Sill has several upcoming workshops and I’ve noticed they add more every week or so. You can attend for only $10, which is well worth it. Obviously, the Succulents 101 class is a great pick, but I have no doubt their other classes are just as fun!
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.