Professional Houseplant Coaching
for the enthusiastic black thumb

Before we get started, let me tell you a little bit about me.  My name is Ailsa Francis and I come about plants honestly :c)

I received my diploma in Horticulture in 1995 from Algonquin College in Ottawa and have been making my own way in the world of plants and gardens ever since. Before that I studied the Visual Arts at the University of Ottawa and then obtained a Masters Degree in the History of Art from the University of Toronto.

In 1997 I opened what became a very popular gardening store here in Ottawa called Hortus Urbanus. I had great pleasure running the store for ten years during which time I must have sold thousands of plants (and garden accessories) to happy customers. I was attracted to the beautiful and unusual but was also motivated to carry indoor plants that were considered “bullet-proof” so that even customers who had “black thumbs” would succeed. I never sold a plant to someone who I knew couldn’t keep it alive! I even had one customer admit that she came back when I wasn’t working, bought the plant she wanted but that I told her she couldn’t have as her conditions weren’t right. She returned to the store a few weeks later after (as I would have predicted) it had died. We had a good laugh and I put a better plant in her hands to take home.

From 2009 to 2016 I was the bi-weekly gardening columnist for the Ottawa Citizen newspaper and at the same time ran my own gardening business. I still do the latter and most (if not all!) of my clients have been with me from the very beginning. Like our gardens, our indoor plant collections morph and change depending on our tastes, our dedication, our growing experience and our sense of adventure. It is never the same plants for everyone - and that's what makes it so interesting.

Let me introduce you to the houseplants that best suit you and your indoor space and give you instructions so that you can best manage their care and see them thrive! And make your indoor spaces green and beautiful.


With my assistance you’ll: • get a list of plants that best suit your indoor conditions and level of expertise; • obtain the names of retailers that carry the best selection of plants; • know what to look for when choosing the best specimens and what to avoid; • get an idea of the fussiest plants out there and whether you should wait until you’re a ‘plant pro’ before attempting to grow them on at your house, despite the attraction; • receive direction as how to best care for these new plants, including watering advice, potting or re-potting, day to day care, fertilizing, pest and disease control and general maintenance tips and tricks to ensure their good health; • receive a list of plants that may be toxic to pets and children as well as gaining an understanding of what that means, what to look out for, and how to still incorporate these plants into your life; • get advice on where to find the most attractive and interesting pots locally; • be able to design your own collection of plants in beautiful pots, called a “pot scape”, no matter your conditions and level of skill; • get follow-up advice via email or phone for a month, or add on for more supplemental advice; • have the opportunity to have me shop with you, or on your behalf, for an added cost; • choose to show off your newly acquired skill of keeping beautiful houseplants when I showcase, with your permission of course, the pictures you send me on the PLANT YOUR HOUSE Facebook page!

  • Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • Serving the Ottawa area and beyond


  • Comprehensive information package + one month of follow-up coaching


  • Basic + an extra 6 months (7 months total) of coaching