Yes, we said “houseplant consultants”—and are you really surprised? (See: the fiddle-leaf figs, elephant ear plants, and succulents all over your Instagram feed.) With backgrounds in set styling as well as environmental science and horticulture, respectively, Sierra Voss and Molly O’Connell saw a niche and decided to fill it with all things leafy and green by founding Incrementum in 2019. The duo’s services range from in-home or in-office consults—during which they’ll evaluate your space and tell you which plants might thrive where—to custom installations, such as their recent collaboration with local muralist Adam Vicarel on a wall inside the dressing room of RiNo clothing shop Foreign Form. No matter where they’re working, “placement is a big issue, and also variety,” O’Connell says. “People see a really pretty plant in the garden center and bring it home, but it’s not in the right spot—maybe it’s near a drafty window or gets too much or not enough light. All plants need water and light in some form, but they don’t all need the same thing.”
To help you keep your new plant friends healthy, Incrementum leaves you with detailed care instructions—but if your black thumb still prevails, you can request an emergency house call, weekly watering visits, or monthly check-ins for tasks like fertilizing or repotting. In that spirit, we asked Voss and O’Connell to give their prescriptions for tending to some common plant ailments.
Symptom: A bunch of shriveled, dead leaves
Diagnosis: Don’t panic—or give the plant extra water right away. Shedding leaves is a natural process, but discoloration or a large amount of die-off can indicate a variety of water, humidity, or light issues.
Treatment: Trim or remove dead leaves. Make sure not to overgroom your succulents—if leaves appear limp, cut back on watering instead.
Symptom: Wilting, yellowing foliage
Diagnosis: This could be a sign of root rot, which is caused by overwatering.
Treatment: Instead of sticking to a rigid watering schedule, let your plants tell you when they need hydration. Stick a finger into the soil; if it’s dry, give it a drink. If it’s still moist, walk away. Or, play it safe by selecting plants that are on the same watering cycle, such as pothos, bird of paradise, and snake plants.
Symptom: A succulent that’s too “leggy”
Diagnosis: It’s probably searching for light.
Treatment: You can try putting it under a plant lamp from Home Depot for a few hours a day—but remember that even if your succulent doesn’t look perfect, it might be perfectly healthy. Plants go through phases, and sometimes you just have to keep loving them, even through the awkward ones.