The William Morris Project: 2014 | The Plant Stand

A while back I wrote about looking for a plant stand. I wanted something larger than what I found, and I also wanted something in a dark finish so it would sort-of match the dining table since they’d be in the same room–mere feet from each other, actually. The IKEA one I mentioned in the post was in the right price range, and I liked the glass shelves, but I wanted something sturdier in such a high traffic area. I had visions of glass all over the floor following an attack from an errant soccer ball or light saber.

Plant Stand, 1

I ended up buying this bookshelf on sale at Cost Plus World Market. I wanted solid wood in a dark finish, and this bookshelf meets both requirements. Cons: the shelves are wood, and I wanted something less easy to suffer water damage. Another con (and this is a major one) I can’t display any of my tall plants. The shelves are for books, so that’s expected. Also, our hermit crab takes up a good deal of room and determined how I was going to place the rest of the shelves.

Plant Stand, 2

There is enough room on top for my pothos, and I’m thinking of adding a string of pearls, but I killed my last one. I think the pot and soil were the problem, so I’m willing to try again.

Plant Stand, 4

I finally printed out a picture of Buster. Nico and I cried when I placed it on the shelf. I was in a glum mood for the rest of the day. Mikey just stood there with a stoic look on his face.

Plant Stand, 3

I need to repot my cacti, but I can’t decide If I want to add more.

Plant Stand, 5

The hermit crab tank and my ferns, which are so far doing well in the terrarium. I mist them regularly, but I don’t know what I’m going to do once they outgrow the terrarium. Buy a larger one? No clue what to do. The main point of this picture, though, is to rejoice that I finally have a place to easily access my gardening books. Observation: the best garden books are vintage or at the latest from the 80s. (Which I guess is vintage now. Gah.) Today’s garden books are slick and pretty and, from my experience, rarely of much use. I would love current recommendations that aren’t a waste of money and are for people who actually enjoy and grow house plants. The books I reference most are goofy-looking Sunset publications from the 70s with poorly-styled photos. I’ve used this one since I was a kid. (Wish I was joking.)

Plant Stand 7

I bought my first African violet pot! I’ve resisted for years, and after a disastrous attempt at keeping African violets 14 years ago, I figured they weren’t for our dry area. Aha! All that changed with this short and squat self-watering pot. I’m now a firm believer in the right pot for the right plant. I thought if I babied them enough, I could make anything live. Nope. Wrong. So wrong. I’m now so happy with my violets that I want to start a collection of them.

I posted a similar picture on instagram, and someone mentioned that African violets reminded them (in a good way) of their great grandmother. Sounds right up my alley.

Jules Kendall writes about books, family, and easygoing simplicity.


  1. says

    I love that you love plants and books. I can appreciate how much you care for your leafy friends. That is a lovely plant stand but it is too far away from any windows or light source. Everything you place on those shelves that does not have a light source of its own will not live very long. It won’t die right away. It may lose some leaves and replace them with leaves that can better process the little light they have but they will never thrive. I have been watching this play out on your blog quite a bit, the slow houseplant death scene. Plants need light to make food and many houseplants struggle when they are placed even a foot away from a window. Get a light meter, measure the light in that spot, please check it out yourself ( Growing things is a science, you must understand and practice the science to grow healthy things. Here’s a great link to growing HEALTHy, THRIVING HOUSEPLANTS,
    Please do not but any more houseplants until you get a handle on your growing situation! Erin Frost, Horticulturist for 20 years

    • says

      Hi! Thanks for the tips. I’ll check out the link. The shelf faces a wall of windows–floor to ceiling–that spans 16 feet, and the windows are 8 feet away from the bookshelf. I bought the shelf because I wanted to take advantage of the morning light. There is also a skylight slightly to the left of the bookshelf, so the plants should get plenty of light (morning and afternoon). If not, I’ll move them. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

      • says

        8ft is like a mile to a plant. I am not certain which way the windows face but that makes a pretty big difference. Cactus need full direct light for at least 6 hours a day. Violets might work, and a few other low light plants or things that like indirect light. You could move things to the floor in front of the window, or add a grow light to the shelf. I made the investment in really nice plant stands and pots this year. Plants are important part of home for me. It makes sense to have something I will have for many years, I don’t know why I waited so long. ( We also have huge windows running along both sides of our loft. If that does not appeal to you, c’est la vie, lots of people use house plants like cut flowers and rotate them out when they dwindle. I would know, I make a very good living selling them plants.

  2. says

    My mother used to have a row of African violets on the windowsill above the kitchen sink, and I don’t care how easy she says they are to take care of – I’ve killed every single one I’ve ever owned. :-)

    Glad to hear the terrarium is working out so far!

  3. Alicia says

    My grandmother had African Violets on her kitchen counter and I always loved them! I killed one recently so I’m a little scared to get another one, but maybe I’ll just have to get one of those pots! Where can I find a pot like that?

  4. Elizabeth says

    Jules, I have struggled with maidenhair ferns for years also. We live in a dry climate – western Montana – and that is definitely not a good match for maidenhair ferns. I bought another one last fall or winter and it was showing signs of going downhill too, until I repotted it in what is basically an African violet pot, with the porous inner pot and standing water in the outer pot. Between the constant water from the African violet pot, (almost) daily misting, and a little top water once in a while, I think it has doubled in size! You might try it when yours outgrows the little greenhouse, which is very cute.

  5. says

    I totally agree about contemporary gardening books. Not worth buying. I see you have a comment from a horticulturalist concerned about your plants. Contrary to her advice, my indoor plants have grown better since I took them further away from the windows! I have a room with plenty of windows and light and turns out my plants were getting more than they liked, even though there was very little direct light.

    I will now be growing African Violets based on this post :)

  6. says

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