Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Exotic Succulents

We at Everything Grows handle a lot of succulents as they are very popular for indoor applications.  We are careful about choosing the right location for them -- they need a bright indoor environment to survive. There are a wide variety of succulents to choose from and we found an online post with a collection of photos of some of the more unusual and exotic ones.  See photos below:

1. Faucaria felina are also known as “tiger jaws.”Faucaria felina

2. Haworthia cooperi resembles bunches of tiny watermelons!Haworthia cooperi

3. Fenestraria rhopalophylla or “baby toes.”Fenestraria rhopalophylla

4. Lithops ruschiorum.
Lithops ruschiorum


5. Monilaria obconica or bunny succulents. Aren’t they adorable?Monilaria obconica

6. Crassula umbella or “wine cup.”
Crassula umbella


7. Stapelia gigantea.
Stapelia gigantea


8. Lithops or “living stone.” While the name describes their rock-like appearance, these look a little bit like brains or candy!

Cactus Plaza

9. In fact, “living stone” would better describe this Lapidaria margaretae!Lapidaria margaretae

10. Conophytum calculus, though we prefer to call it an alien apple.

Conophytum calculus

11. Conophytum pageae, the spitting image of kissing lips!Conophytum pageae

12. Crested Senecio vitalis — or a mermaid’s tail.Crested Senecio vitalis

13. Crested Myrtillocactus geometrizans, which look like a billowing cloud of smoke.
Crested Myrtillocactus geometrizans

14. Greenovia dodrantalis, the succulent that decided to be a rose instead.Greenovia dodrantalis

15. Trachyandra tortilis, which could definitely pass as several crazy straws.Trachyandra tortilis

16. Euphorbia globosa, which looks like it’s waving!Euphorbia globosa

17. Haworthia truncata or “horse’s teeth.”
Haworthia truncata


18. Ceropegia bosseri. As one Reddit user aptly said, “It looks like someone planted the tail vertebrae of a cat.”
Ceropegia bosseri


19. Albuca concordiana. Could its curls be any cuter?Albuca concordiana

20. Gasteria glomerata has nothing to do with flamingos, but it sure looks like them!
Gasteria glomerata

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Spotlight: ZZ Plant

Zamioculea zamiifolia, also known as the ZZ plant, is one of the best low maintenance houseplants around because it requires very little water or light to thrive. It also has a great shape and lends itself well to a range of designs spanning modern to classical.  Everything Grows provides ZZ plants and care to our commercial customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.  Designers and architects are big fans of ZZ plants because of their geometric leaf structure.


The ZZ plant is a tropical perennial plant that is native to Eastern Africa from Southern Kenya to Northeastern South Africa. Zamioculca is a genus of flowering plants in the family Araceae, containing a single species, Zamioculcas Zamiifolia. Dutch nurseries started wide-scale propagation of the plant in the mid 1990s and it wasn't well known before that.

ZZ plants are used medically in the Mulanje district o Malawi and the East Usambara mountains of Tanzania where the juice from the leaves is used to treat earaches. Roots from the ZZ plants are often used as a local application to treat ulceration by the Sukuma people in North-western Tanzania.

The ZZ Plant

The ZZ plant can get about 3' tall and about 3-4' wide, but usually it is only about 20-24" tall. It is in the same family as Dieffenbachia, Caladium, and Spathiphyllum. The ZZ plant does produce a flower, though it is considered insignificant. The flower is a greenish or brownish spathe and half hidden in the leaves. The plant usually flowers from mid-Summer to Autumn. Usually ZZ plants are not grown for their flowers, but for their toughness and beautiful leaves. ZZ plants are normally evergreen but become deciduous during drought periods. They survive through their rhizomes that store water.

The ZZ plant grows about 17-25" tall from a stout underground succulent rhizome. The leaves are pinnate, 16-24" long with 6-8 pairs of leaflets which are 3-5" long. The stems of those pinnate leaves are thickened at the bottom. Each leaf on the ZZ plant contain an unusually high-water content of around 91%. And each leaf will last up to 6 months, so each plant is very hardy. The ZZ plant survives periods of drought in its native Africa, so it makes a great houseplant and can withstand neglect.


The ZZ plant likes to be in a bright and warm location for the best growth, however it will also thrive in a darker place. ZZ plants are happy in almost any type of light. They tolerate low, medium or bright light; but they don't want direct sun. When the ZZ plant has less light, the plant tends to be a darker green and a lighter green in a brighter area. ZZ plants should be grown in temperatures of at least 60 degrees F. They thrive in temperatures from 65-79 degrees F. During the Winter, the ZZ plant does better in a situation with higher humidity which also helps to prevent insect pests.

The best soil for a ZZ plant is one that is fertile but fast draining. It should be slightly acidic with a PH of 6.5. It should contain sand or clay to help enhance drainage. ZZ plants don't want to be water-logged. A good potting soil for indoor ZZ plants would be 1/3 cactus soil and 2/3 regular potting soil. This mix would provide ample nutrition and ample drainage for the plant.

The best time to repot a ZZ plant is after the Winter rest period and after the first shoot-up growth during March or April. Most ZZ plants only need repotting every 2-3 years. If the ZZ plant has optimal conditions and is growing quickly, it might need repotting every year. When choosing a pot, make sure to choose one with a drainage hole. The ZZ plant needs to be able to have excess water draining away from the plant. If you use a saucer under the plant, be sure and empty in after 15 minutes. It is difficult to say how often a ZZ plant will need to be watered, but usually once every 2-4 weeks is sufficient. ZZ plants do best if they are too dry rather than too wet. This is due to the fact that the rhizomes store water and use it when no moisture can be drawn from the soil. During the Winter, the water requirement is reduced, but the ZZ plant will benefit from occasional water and misting. The best water for ZZ plants is soft water with few minerals - rainwater or distilled water are good for them.

ZZ plants don't typically need a lot of fertilizer. They do best when fertilized about once a month during the growing season of March to October. Any liquid fertilizer that is suitable for houseplants is fine for ZZ plants.

Pests and Disorders

The main pests for ZZ plants are spider mites and scale. These can be hosed off with a stream of water if the infestation isn't too bad. You need to protect the pot and soil before you do this by wrapping them up in a plastic bag. If plant is really infested with insect pests, you can use insecticidal soap or neem oil to contain the pests. Try to avoid putting the ZZ plants near radiators or heaters because they tend to dry out the air around the plants. This tropical plant needs moisture and will be subject to more pests without it. If the ZZ plant turns yellow, its usually due to excess water. Overwatering also results in leaves losing their firmness and becoming soft.

ZZ plants are poisonous to both humans and pets. They can cause skin and eye irritation with direct contact, and can cause stomachache, vomiting, and diarrhea if ingested. ZZ plants are in the Araceae family and they produce Calcium Oxalate. This substance is what causes skin irritation on contact with the sap and can cause irritation of the internal tissues if ingested.

If a child or pet eats part of a ZZ plant, they will experience discomfort but will be fine in the end. You can expect them to have a stomachache and a bad case of diarrhea. They may also have vomiting. To keep pets away, you can sprinkle orange peel or coffee grounds onto the soil around the ZZ plant. Cats and dogs tend to dislike the strong odors produced and will often stay away from the ZZ plants. You can also spray the ZZ plants with a very dilute vinegar solution and this will deter most animals.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Offices Revamp to Keep Germs At Bay

This article was published in the May 12th Wall Street Journal: Reopening the Coronavirus-Era Office: One-Person Elevators, No Cafeterias Link to Article.

The article discusses how the open office format is obsolete in the post covid world and points out things that need to be updated to allow for safer employee interaction.  See complete article below. 

Everything Grows is excited to help with these changes and redesigns and offer some fantastic modular plant wall products to help partition work space and direct traffic. 

Plant walls with casters are great on hard floors

Plant walls are easy to reconfigure

These plant walls create a walkway, separating the work area

Offices Revamp to Keep Germs At Bay Once Work Can Resume

Welcome back to work. The corporate cafeteria is closed. The coffee makers are unplugged. And the desks are separated by plastic.

Every part of office life is being re-examined in the era of Covid-19. When employees file back into American workplaces— some wearing masks— many will find the office transformed, human-resources and real-estate executives say.

Elevators may only take one person at a time. Desks, once tightly packed in open floor plans, will be spread apart, with some covered by plastic shields and chairs atop disposable pads to catch germs. The beer taps, snack containers, coffee bars and elaborate gyms and showers that once set high-dollar, white-collar environments apart will likely remain closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Many changes won’t go away until the virus does.

The office adaptations reverse a decadeslong push in American corporations to cram workers into tighter spaces, with few separations between colleagues. Companies once spent millions of dollars retrofitting spaces to create rows of open desks, intimate conference rooms and elaborate communal gathering areas. Those designs are now problematic, executives say. “All our agencies are open floor plans and that was a great idea in the past, but it now works against us,” says Harris Diamond, chief executive and chairman of advertising giant McCann Worldgroup.

Redesigned open office with 6' social distancing, barriers, and room dividers  Note the importance of live plants
Modifying offices to safely allow some workers to return is even more challenging than sending people home, and varying local guidelines complicate the picture. Some places, like New York, mandate masks must be worn in public, while others, like Texas, have overruled city ordinances that require people to wear face coverings when they cannot socially distance. Infor, a New York-based business cloud software company with roughly 17,000 employees, plans to ask all employees to wear a mask while working and isn’t rushing to reopen its offices, even if state and local officials give clearance to return, a spokeswoman said.

At its headquarters in Riverwoods, Ill., near Chicago, Discover Financial Services is leaning toward reseating employees at every other workstation. “We’ll essentially put X’s on desks and chairs” not to be used, said Andy Eichfeld, Discover’s chief human-resources officer.

Some hallways and stairwells will become one-way, and many conference rooms will stay shut. If the company opts to check the temperature of every arriving employee, Mr. Eichfeld’s team is considering how to stagger arrival times to avoid people congregating in building lobbies, awaiting the test.

Co-working giant WeWork once prized density, making corridors narrow on purpose so that people were more likely to bump into each other and chat. It rented out access to its “hot desks”—large, shared tables with no assigned seating—at many of its more than 700 global locations for between $300 and more than $600 a month in New York City. To socially distance hot desks, half the chairs are being subtracted, and WeWork is removing 30,000 conference-room chairs around the world to keep people from congregating, said Hamid Hashemi, WeWork’s chief product and experience officer.

McCann Worldgroup, one of Interpublic Group’s largest ad agencies, is considering assigning different letters to people in many of its U.S. offices, allowing each group to come into the office on different days of the week. Open-floor-plan layouts are under review.

McCann’s New York office will close its bar and cafeteria for the rest of 2020. Instead, the company has ordered dozens of microwaves and refrigerators so people can bring in their lunch. The appliances will go in enlarged kitchen areas being erected on every floor. Everyone will be expected to use the cleaning supplies stationed nearby to wipe down communal buttons and door handles.

Another ad agency, FCB, is getting rid of disposable cups, utensils and condiments. The agency is enlarging its conference rooms and installing more video screens, so people will be able to maintain social distancing while attending meetings.

Interpublic is also working with building managers where it leases office space to ensure worker safety. One suggestion: putting tape on the floor of elevators to outline boxes. If there isn’t an empty block, a passenger cannot ride.

“It’s like musical chairs,” said Casey Tinnesz, Interpublic’s senior director of crisis management.

At one of Interpublic’s agencies, if only two or three staffers ride an elevator at one time, it is estimated it would take two to three hours to get staffers to their floors, which requires staggered work start and end times to avoid congestion.

Squarespace Inc. says some of its offices will only be able to take one person per elevator ride. To avoid a lobby pileup, Qualtrics, a unit of German software giant SAP SE, will invite some workers to commit to taking the stairs.

When HP Inc. reopened its offices in Wuhan, China, a few weeks ago, allowing a limited number of employees to return, the computer and printer maker gave everybody a welcome back kit with three new office essentials: masks, gloves and a bottle of hand sanitizer.

U.S. office workers can expect the same, said Tracy Keogh, HP’s chief human-resources officer.

BY CHIP CUTTER AND SUZANNE VRANICA—Konrad Putzier contributed to this article.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Cooped Up Indoors?

This Article in the New York Times talks about the importance of live plants indoors.  The article has some great ideas for placing plants and other natural elements indoors to help reduce stress, improve cognitive performance, and elevate mood.

Everything Grows specializes in placing live beautiful plants in commercial spaces.  Contact us for a complimentary proposal for your workspace. We can work remotely with photos and floor plans to help you start planning your project today.