It always amazes me that pretty much none of my friends keep live plants in their homes (yeah, I’m calling you all out). This time of year, I just can’t live without them. With everything looking so dead and gross outside, I crave greenery in my living space. As an added plus, plants help clean the air, removing VOCs and other harmful compounds.
Plants are a decor element that I rely on so heavily in my own home that I can’t imagine a reason not to have them. Do people think they’re hard to maintain? Messy? Ugly? Expensive?
I decided to query a few friends via text, because I’m too lazy to actually call them. Here are the responses I got….
“I wouldn’t even know where to buy an indoor plant”
“Someone sent me a plant once when I was sick but I killed it, so just assumed I didn’t have a green thumb and never tried again”
“I can barely handle my own children, let alone plants that need to be watered and cared for.”
“Why are you texting me about houseplants? Weirdo.” (True story)
Here’s the skinny on houseplants. Those of you who already own and maintain healthy, live plants can go ahead and skip this post, as it’s not for you.
- Where do I buy them? Lowe’s, Home Depot, Trader Joe’s, local nurseries, farmer’s markets. Grocery stores and flower shops also sell them (although you’ll pay more there). In Charlotte, my favorite nursery is Pike Nursery but Trader Joe’s is always a solid and economical choice, they just don’t have a lot of selection.
- Aren’t they expensive? No, not really. Sure, if you’re buying a rare or large orchid, you should expect to shell out a good amount. But most plants aren’t expensive at all ($5-25) and last a really long time.
- I don’t have a lot of extra time on my hands. Aren’t they hard to take care of? No, not if you learn the basics, plus a few tricks specific to the species that you’re caring for. (More on that later)
- Plants are messy, aren’t they? Ha! I suppose this one is all relative. I have a tornado of a son who can destroy an entire floor of our home in 90 seconds flat. So, no, I don’t find plants to be messy. Most aren’t messy at all. Ferns can maybe be a little messy, but as long as you sweep up the dried leaves every week or two, it’s totally manageable.
To get you started, here are a few good looking, low maintenance plants that I recommend:
Ivy. No, not your mother’s ivy that she had strewn on the top of her kitchen cabinets (or, worse, stenciled on her walls). Ivy can look pretty awesome if it’s planted in the right kind of container.
Ivy Care Tips: Some sun and water regularly (frequency depends on the size of your container). In my experience, once a week usually works. Maybe a little more in the winter when the air is crazy dry. Another cool thing about ivy…it’s easy to propagate (e.g. make more of). Take an ivy cutting off your plant and place it in a cup of water. Wait a week or so and it will develop roots. Plant in dirt. Voila – new ivy plant!
Ferns. One of my favorites right now. Great bang for your buck. Take a look at this large fern that I have on the console table behind our sofa. I think I paid maybe $12 for it at Trader Joe’s last fall. Any other decorative accessory of this scale would have cost a ton more money.
Fern Care Tips: Some sun is ok, water them regularly and, ideally, spritz with a spray bottle a couple times a week to mimic the humidity that they thrive on in their outdoor environment. The leaves will occasionally brown; just cut those off.
Anita Dracaena. I like this one for its scale. The one pictured above is actually kind of small compared to others available.
Anita Dracaena Care Tips: Sun is good, but can tolerate low sun as well. Water regularly. Anita Dracaenas are tropical, so, like the fern, they benefit from being spritzed a couple times a week (to mimic humidity).
Succulents. Probably the lowest maintenance of all … I almost find them dangerously low maintenance because they can go so long without watering/care that they tend to fall off my radar. Succulents have seen increasing popularity in the past few years, and for good reason. They add a unique texture that lends itself to a lot of different decor styles.
Succulent Care Tips: Succulents love sun, 6-8 hours a day is ideal. You’ll need to let the soil dry completely between waterings. Water infrequently – maybe every 2-3 weeks, depending on how dry your house is.