When Alexis Sims launched the plant delivery service LeafMe in 2020, her goal was to provide others with the same sense of purpose that owning house plants had given her. “I was living in a fixer-upper, I had just had a baby, and I was feeling really upset that my home wasn’t fully renovated by the time I brought my child home,” Sims recalls.
Her mother brought over some of her own house plants to help Sims create a cozier, more nurturing environment. “Plants did three things for me,” she shares. “They gave me something to control when my life felt out of control, they grounded me in a high-stress situation, and [they showed] an appreciation for the care and commitment I put into them.”
Sims’ love for plants led her to found LeafMe. She opened a retail space in Hamtramck in June of 2021, and the business has continued to flourish. Along with offering dozens of plant varieties — including ferns, cacti, prayer plants, and figs — LeafMe prides itself on educating its customers. Its website shares important information for plant parents, and the business also offers consultations and care appointments.
We connected with Sims to get some insight into what she’s learned since starting her own plant journey. Below, she offers her top tips for caring for your house plants as the weather gets cooler.
Fun without the sun
With summer’s bright sun retiring for the fall, Sims urges plant owners not to worry. “While there are some really affordable options for artificial light, it’s not always necessary,” she says. “Plants can adapt to lower light levels, as long as it’s not a drastic change.” Allowing plants to soak up the natural light on a rare sunny day in the fall or winter can be beneficial for the plant’s growth, but because of their adaptive nature, you won’t see too much damage without it.
No growth, no problem
Because summer is the “growing season” for plants, it’s normal to notice dormancy for a few cold months. “The more light a plant gets, the more it will grow. They’re focused on staying alive and fighting off pests as opposed to using their energy to put out new leaves or blooms,” Sims says. This survival mode shouldn’t scare plant owners, as it’s a natural part of the plant’s growth cycle.
Sims encourages cutting your watering down massively in the fall and winter. “Water works alongside sunlight. The more light a plant is getting, the more water it needs,” she says. “I would reduce watering by half. If you water your plants once a month, do it every other month, if you water twice a month, do it once a month.” Sims does, however, encourage cleaning the plant regularly. “Make sure to clean the plant’s leaves in the winter. Any dust accumulating on the plant will prevent the minimal sun from penetrating the plant.”
Hot or not
“I would avoid placing your planets near any drafts or vents,” Sims says. “If you have plants near windows or doors, it’s a good time to find a new spot for them.” She recommends shopping for plants like Snake Plants or ZZ Plants in the winter because they are drought and lowlight friendly. As a bonus, Snake Plants are pet-friendly. “I call these the most grateful plants. They don’t need a lot of water or a lot of sun, and you’ll still see gratitude from them.”
Feed your plant friends
LeafMe sells a liquid, vegan fertilizer called The Growth Elixir. Sims recommends adding a pump or two into your watering can on watering days once a month. Rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, the fertilizer will support plant growth, the plant’s immune system, and leaf strength. “It’s vegan, so it doesn’t contain any animal waste. This is something natural and you want to be giving your plant something you wouldn’t be afraid to put in your own body.”
For more information on plant care or to purchase a house plant, visit leafme.co.