HAPPY HOUSEPLANTS / HAPPY HUMANS
I remember the day I set out to buy some of my first house plants. After having worked at Sparrows Coffee Tea & Newsstand for awhile, I decided that I too wanted a plant ladder with precious little cacti and succulents like the one in the shop. I looked around thrift stores to find the perfect ladder with character, but had no luck finding what I hoped for, until one day my partner brought home the coolest antique wooden ladder from work. He said he had rescued it from being thrown away. I was thrilled when I realized that I could put a few wooden boards connecting the backside of the ladder to the steps to create shelves; now, the only thing missing was plants. We were far from experts in terms of plant knowledge, and the tags sticking out of the plants in the grocery store felt overwhelming and didn’t exactly explain whether or not the plants would be happy in our living room. So we took risks in choosing what we felt looked interesting and learned how to manage caring for them over time mostly through trial and error. We lost a few to overwatering or the cat knocking them over, but I started establishing a relationship with the plants.
I never could have imagined myself merely four years later nurturing the growth of over 75 healthy houseplants! In addition to being wonderful air purifiers, I believe plants also have a strong ability to promote happiness by significantly impacting our mood and state of well-being. On these winter mornings I find myself cozying up under a blanket, drinking coffee in my living room, and I look around at all of my plants admiring their ability to be resilient and strong during this this cold and dark season. I particularly love noticing new growth, reminding me to focus on the little things in life. While I don’t have any plants displayed on a ladder anymore,, it’s still an essential part of my day to day ritual to tend to them and sometimes talk to them, offering words of encouragement.
I wanted to write this blog post for all the other plant nerds out there and also to express that you don’t have to be an expert to grow something- you just have to be curious, patient and passionate about what you’re bringing into your space. Below, I’ve listed 5 eye-catching favorite plants of mine that I believe to be relatively easy to care for, even if you don’t have a green thumb!
T H I N G S T O K E E P I N M I N D B E F O R E P L A N T S H O P P I N G
Where will the plant go? Shop for a plant that will respond well to the light source you have in your home / office. It always helps to consider the lighting you have available for a plant.
What are your watering habits? Would you like to nurture a plant or have a plant that thrives off a little neglect? (Like going on vacation often, traveling for work or just battling forgetfulness).
Snake Plant (Sansevieria Trifasciata)
I just love the height that a snake plant offers to a space, and the variegation of the foliage is always mesmerizing. One thing to keep in mind is that they really prefer to have dry soil between waterings, meaning they much prefer being watered thoroughly once in awhile in a planter that has good drainage, rather than a little bit all the time. This makes them a perfect match for people who travel or prefer a lower maintenance plant. Another reason that snake plants are a great choice for beginners is that they will grow in hot indirect sunlight or without much sun at all making them easy to place in a variety of spaces. Amongst other things, the sansevieria plant also has some of the most powerful air purifying attributes of any common houseplant.
1. Prayer Plant (Maranta Leuconeura)
Oh, how I love to watch these plants thrive when it’s humid or after they are watered! The underside of the leaves are a striking deep purple hue and the way they unfurl when there is new growth holds the attention in any room. This plant is generally easy to care for but does require fairly specific care. The prayer plant thrives being placed in bright indirect sunlight and can tolerate moderate shade as well. It also responds wonderfully to high humidity levels and moisture, enjoying being watered with slightly warm or room temperature water keeping the soil moist (not soggy) to the touch. If you have other house plants, nestling this one amongst them will help lock in some of the moisture in the air nearby. It’s known by many as the prayer plant due to the fact that when it needs to be watered the leaves bow down as if kneeling in prayer.
2. ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia)
If you generally tend to neglect your plants, the ZZ plant would certainly be forgiving. Like the snake plant, the ZZ plant enjoys being dry between waterings, they don’t need a ton of moisture to thrive. They are low maintenance and versatile in the sense that they can handle strong direct lighting and indirect lighting as well. This is a vigorous grower that would benefit from being repotted yearly.
3. Golden Pothos (Epipremnum Aureum)
One of the fun things about pothos is that they can comfortably live in water as well as soil. You don’t have to be a plant genius to propagate the pothos. You simply break the leaf off at the node (base of the leaf stem) and place it in water. You’ll notice it root in a short amount of time and if you chose to repot them, it’s very simple. Pothos foliage comes in many varieties such as: marble queen, tricolor, lime, and golden. They tend to grow in a very leggy and cascading fashion, perfect for a macrame hanging pot or ledge. This plant tolerates indirect lighting to light shade, can withstand erratic watering habits, and benefits from careful pruning every now and then. Picking away the yellowing and dead foliage will allow it to continue living its happiest and healthiest life.
4. Succulents + Cacti
The words succulents and cacti are very general terms and many varieties require a corresponding method of care. Be mindful if you have southern exposure or an area in your space that offers a significant amount of light then your succulents and cacti will be most likely to thrive. Sometimes when they don’t get enough light they grow in a sporadic and leggy fashion that doesn’t showcase their most beautiful form. They require very little water and would prefer to dry thoroughly between waterings.
Thanks so much for reading.
Happy plant growing!