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Required Reading: Plantopia by Camille Soulayrol

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Required Reading: Plantopia by Camille Soulayrol

March 27, 2019

You only need to scroll through Instagram or Pinterest—or visit any number of suddenly stylish plant shops from Los Angeles to London to Paris—to see that the houseplant scene shows no signs of slowing down. Each month brings another tome dedicated to the specific care regimes of our favorite indoor greenery. The craze for everything from fiddle-leaf fig trees to trailing philodendrons has also had a knock-on effect on our homes, as botanical references are now woven through everything from cushion covers to vintage prints.

Author, stylist and co-editor of Marie-Claire Idées, Camille Soulayrol has honed in on this greening trend with Plantopia ($16.48 on Amazon), which shows how you can tap into the houseplant craze, sometimes without actually having to nurture a single living thing.

Photography by Frédéric Baron-Morin from Plantopia (Flammarion, 2019).

 There are plenty of vogue-ish ideas here – how to make wreaths, terrariums, delicate himmeli, and chunky macramé planters, as well as a functional section on plant-based beauty products, including lip balms, body oils, and infusions which you can make at home too.
Above: There are plenty of vogue-ish ideas here – how to make wreaths, terrariums, delicate himmeli, and chunky macramé planters, as well as a functional section on plant-based beauty products, including lip balms, body oils, and infusions which you can make at home too.

There are even step-by-step guides on making your own plant-based dyes (who knew that rosemary created the most beautiful dusty pinks and terra cotta shades?).

 Unsurprisingly, Soulayrol has great styling tips too—such as adorning your walls with vintage botanical prints or engravings in a makeshift wall paper, or hanging them individually from twine.
Above: Unsurprisingly, Soulayrol has great styling tips too—such as adorning your walls with vintage botanical prints or engravings in a makeshift wall paper, or hanging them individually from twine.
 The book also shows us how to capture some of spring and summer’s color-rich flowers to enjoy year round by hanging small bunches onto a simple wooden rod as a wall hanging.
Above: The book also shows us how to capture some of spring and summer’s color-rich flowers to enjoy year round by hanging small bunches onto a simple wooden rod as a wall hanging.

Pressing flowers is a time-honored childhood pastime which is just as rewarding when you’re grown up. Soulayrol suggests pressing cuttings—of flowers and leaves—and then displaying them in simple glass frames or on old pages of vintage books or sheets of textural plain paper. Firstly press the leaves in newspaper to absorb any moisture, making sure any cuttings are dry before you start. Place into a book and weigh down with more books. In a few weeks they should be dry enough to display.

 For those who do want to add live plants into the mix there are care tips on watering, light, and repotting for twenty of our best loved houseplants from calathea to pilea from Caroline Ciepielwski, owner of Mama Petula in Paris’ Les Grands Voisins complex. Ciepielwski also takes us through the propagation methods for two favorite houseplants.
Above: For those who do want to add live plants into the mix there are care tips on watering, light, and repotting for twenty of our best loved houseplants from calathea to pilea from Caroline Ciepielwski, owner of Mama Petula in Paris’ Les Grands Voisins complex. Ciepielwski also takes us through the propagation methods for two favorite houseplants.
 The glossy-leafed Monstera deliciosa is a vigorous plant that will grow rapidly almost anywhere; as such it needs nutrients, regular watering and lots of light.
Above: The glossy-leafed Monstera deliciosa is a vigorous plant that will grow rapidly almost anywhere; as such it needs nutrients, regular watering and lots of light.
  To make more monstera plants, find a branch with a short aerial root growing from it. Cut it above a node on the mother plant and put the cutting into a vase of clean water. When the roots are from 3 to 5 centimeters long, you can pot the cutting or simply leave it in water where the roots will continue to grow. Cuttings will strike best when they are taken in the growing season.
Above:  To make more monstera plants, find a branch with a short aerial root growing from it. Cut it above a node on the mother plant and put the cutting into a vase of clean water. When the roots are from 3 to 5 centimeters long, you can pot the cutting or simply leave it in water where the roots will continue to grow. Cuttings will strike best when they are taken in the growing season.
 Ciepielwski also suggests making additional pilea plants too. You can simply remove smaller plantlets from the rootball of a mother plant.
Above: Ciepielwski also suggests making additional pilea plants too. You can simply remove smaller plantlets from the rootball of a mother plant.

Pull away the plantlet and then cut it with a clean, sharp knife at the roots, ensuring that you include several of the offshoot’s roots. Then repot and water in a free-draining pot.

Upside down, terra cotta pots with flowers create a charming, unexpected scene.
Above: Upside down, terra cotta pots with flowers create a charming, unexpected scene.

See more growing tips in our curated guides to Houseplants 101 in our Garden Design 101 section. Read more:

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