2.15.2013

Painted Planter + Lemon Tree Tutorial

Hello and Happy Friday! 
This little lemon tree project I tackled last weekend has me so happy I had to share. I've never been a huge fan of house plants. I associated them with ugly planters, water stained hardwood, fruit flies and thankless maintenance. I did have a massive fiddle leaf fig when I lived in Toronto. I'd planted it in a patio container that was a classic urn and did NOT leak. I loved it, but when we moved to Calgary I couldn't bring it. About a year a go I bought another very small FLF. It's stayed alive this long so I figured maybe it was time to try something a little more exciting like a Lemon tree and a Gardenia, so I bought myself both last Saturday.  
Here's the after first (to entice you):
1. Start with a resin or plastic planter- they are lighter in weight and therefore easier to move if need be. This one was from Home Depot from their last season and was 50% off. 
Brush off any dirt or dust in preparation for spray paint.  
2. Apply spray in slow, even coats. It's better to do many thin coats to avoid drips, rather than a couple of lumpy thick coats. I always want this step to go fast, but trust me, it's better to take your time because you end up with a smooth lacquer like finish.
3. Next I placed some broken up styrofoam in the bottom of the planter. This served as a way to reduce the amount of soil so that my planter didn't end up weighing 500lbs. It's pretty tall. 
4. I met a lovely woman named Kathy at Home Depot's nursery dept when picking out my new plants. She works in another nursery herself and was so helpful and informative with regards to planting and watering instructions. She told me that fruit fly eggs hatch in the surface soil when it's wet for too long. She said that plants prefer to be watered from the bottom. I had the idea to buy a bottle of pop in the Home Depot check out, take it home, cut the bottom off (I think it was 750ml) and insert in the corner upside down. This way I can pour water right in to the roots and avoid fruit flies. (Thank You Kathy!)
5. Next the soil. Pour a bit in the bottom. I pre measured with a chalk line to the bottom of the root ball when the top of the plant was flush with the planter. This gave me a guideline of how much soil to dump in. 
6. Then the planting of the tree. If you look closely at the back left corner you will see the concealed pop bottle hiding in the soil. You can see I made a mess of dirt everywhere too. 
7. Final result... happy lemon tree in my office. With one little plump lemon (by the bottom corner of the painting) just waiting to turn yellow. 
all images Erica Cook Moth Design

What do you think of house plants? Have you had much luck keeping them? Happy Friday! xo

23 comments:

Chic Coastal Living said...

Love it! There's something about lemon trees that make me soooo happy! great DIY!

Anonymous said...

Hi Erica! Question: what about drainage for the roots? Have you found this to be an issue?

Andrea {lifelovelarson} said...

I want a lemon or lime tree for my house! I love a house plant, but the fruit flys are my nemisis. Thanks for the pop bottle tip. Also, my Home Depot does not carry these type of trees. I have seen other people blog or instagram about FLF from Home Depot. Mine only carries ugly, generic tropicals. Love the yellow too!

Steph Sterjovski said...

I ABSOLUTELY love this!! It makes the house feel so fresh and bright with the pop of yellow :)

Erica said...

Thanks everyone! xo

Andrea, I know what you mean. Mine used to carry ugly generics too. Maybe ask the head nursery person at your closest HD to order one in for you. :)

Anonymous- I've only had this planted for a week tomorrow. However, I think the drainage should be fine given that I stuffed styrofoam in the bottom.

Mallory | Confetti and Stripes said...

It's so cute and fun! Do you have any tips for maintenance of a FLF? I have always wanted one, yet didn't have the space for a large one. I was so excited to find a little one last week and snatched it up!

Erica said...

Hi Mallory- I have kept mine in a North-East corner window in the house. I don't touch it other than rotate every month or so. I water maybe once every 10-20 days. I've been pretty negligent, so I'm surprised it's still hanging on. Good luck with yours. xo

Clementine & Olive said...

I love this tutorial. I have some pots laying around that I don't really want or need but, for some reason haven't the heart to get rid of. I think I'll try this to them!

Yana Puaca said...

I love this- We have a 9 foot fiddle fig tree that just brings the outdoors in but I am loving the idea of a fruit tree (lemon or orange for that matter). Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I've never commented but I love your blog and look forward to posts. You're killing it lately. Love this. My dumbass HD will probably have generic trops too but I'm going to give it a try.

Karen said...

Your lemon tree is so cheery looking...I love it! What a great idea for watering too! Fantastic.

Anonymous said...

Can I say, the lemon tree and planter are great but what I really love is that neon nail.

Amber said...

Brilliant idea!

Catherine Alison Interiors said...

I second the comment "You're killing it lately". I am inspired by EVERYTHING you are doing!

Erica said...

Thanks for all the lovely comments everyone, they have me smiling again from ear to ear. xoxo

A Lifestyle Thing said...

Erica, so glad to have found you! I am loving your mighty fresh, classic style and insightful stories. Btw, THIS lemon tree is the cheeriest/chicest thing I've seen in a long while. Have a great weekend! I'm off to catch up on more of your blog posts.
xxxx
sharon

Tracey Ayton Photography said...

I must say girlfriend, that you have great taste in house plants .... er trees. I am not a big fan either but all of the above appeal to me. I have been looking for a fiddle leaf fig tree for months. Sure, I can find the smaller ones but I'm holding out for a big one. I would totally get a gardenia and lemon tree... oh so cheerful. Can't wait to meet them both.

See said...

I love this - and love that how the planter looks - i can't wait to see how many lemons you'll be able to harvest!

Did your friendly guru at the nursery inform you if you'll have lemons growing year round?

Thanks!

See/@tajandtal

emily said...

this is SO cute, and it's crazy how simple it is! can we also talk about your nail polish? spill the deets, im in love! x

Jordana @ White Cabana said...

I want, I want, I want a lemon tree! Are they easy to find?
J
p.s. I bought the Hello sweatshirt after seeing yours. Arrived yesterday and I can't stop wearing it! I need to shrink it a bit though. Should have ordered a smaller size. But it's oh so soft so I'm pretty pleased!

{Hi Sugarplum!} said...

I love houseplants...my house is practically a jungle...but it never occurred to me to plant a fruit tree!! Love this!!

Designwali said...

thanks for that fruit fly tip! looks great!

Shavonda said...

I have 2 lemen trees and a lime tree all outdoors though. I may have to plant one for the inside now too. I love the soda bottle watering idea! Thanks so much for sharing!

 
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