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Greenery in Mérida: The ideal vegetation for those with a “black thumb”

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Greenery in Mérida: The ideal vegetation for those with a “black thumb”

House plants are a natural roommate to grow fond of, and in order to improve this relationship, one must keep them alive. The weather in Yucatán is particularly hot and humid, which means that we first have to think about what will survive.

Garden crotons at Xux Vivero. Photo: Verónica Garibay.

Buying locally grown plants is the best way of tilting the odds in your favor, and local viveros are all over town. One of our favorites is the plant nursery Xux. 

They have been working in Yucatán for over 20 years, initially focusing on growing and selling orchids, the plant that they now carry as their logo.

The entrance to Xux Garden. Photo: Verónica Garibay.

“We realized what a complicated and expensive process it is.” says Irma Bolio, one of the owners of the vivero. “We started growing different types of plants, learning slowly, and we’ve now grown into our own production”.

Xux Vivero. Photo: Verónica Garibay.

Nowadays, they sell all different kinds of plants, some nationally sourced but many locally grown, which is the key to making sure a plant will adapt to Yucatán’s weather.

“We were initially bringing in many plants from out of state, but soon realized that plants that do very well in the sun in other regions are often scorched under Yucatán’s intense sun. The best way of making sure a plant will survive is growing it locally”.

The entrance to Xux Vivero. Photo: Verónica Garibay.

Their production is based in Chocholá at a plant nursery, but their shop is just a few blocks away from the Chuburná market.

Indoor house plants for Mérida

Irma says house plants have grown particularly popular in Mérida with the constant development of apartments and townhouses.

“These spaces don’t tend to have gardens in them, mostly have common areas with some greenery, but people want to bring life into their homes”.

Helechos are another low maintenance option. Photo: Verónica Garibay.

She says that cacti and succulents are all the rage, but contrary to popular belief, they are not the easiest plants to care for.

“They will survive for a good while as long as they’re close to a window and are not heavily watered, but if they’re missing sun they will weaken and wither.”

She recommends leafy plants, which are fairly popular since they only need minimal care.

Xux Vivero. Photo: Verónica Garibay.

“Philodendrons, palms, aglaonemas, elephant leaf, tiger claw, ferns. These are just some examples of jungle leaves that grow in our humid climate and do not require much sunlight. They are well adapted to both soil and water, and grow naturally without any problem.”

Outdoor plants for Mérida

As for outdoor plants, Irma has some helpful suggestions that are beautiful and easy to maintain.

For bigger plants, she highlights the need for a large garden, as roots tend to grow and expand. You wouldn’t want to seed a Ceiba in Fraccionamiento Las Américas. “Flor de mayo”, “lluvia de oro”, orchids and maculís are among some of her suggestions.

Outdoor plants at Xux Vivero. Photo: Verónica Garibay.

For smaller plants, Irma says the summer comes with lots of flowers. Any tropical-weather flower, like heliconias, hawaiian flowers, rain lilies, etc., will bring a beautiful touch of color.

Flowers at Xux Vivero. Photo: Verónica Garibay.

General upkeep for plants in Mérida

In order to keep our plants healthy we must identify the specific care it needs, but Irma says there are some general steps we can take when caring for our gardens.

“We usually recommend black or tobacco-colored soil instead of red soil, which is too hard and mud-like, and prevents the roots from growing properly.”

Xux Vivero. Photo: Verónica Garibay.

In Mérida, sunlight and humidity are key.

“Find out the humidity of the plant to avoid overwatering or underwatering, and do some research on how much sun it needs before choosing its place.”

Lastly, Irma says no matter how hard we try, there will be some casualties.

Laceleaf in Vivero.
Laceleaf in Xux Vivero. Photo: Verónica Garibay.

“We will never stop saying that we all kill plants,” jokes Irma. “There is no way not to do it, that’s how you learn. Often we don’t understand why they die, but it is important to try and take good care of them. And to have faith! Many times there are remedies.”