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Considering a Houseplant? Consider Who You Are, First.

Considering A Houseplant? Consider Who You Are, First.

No doubt–houseplants are trending in the age of Pinterest boards and ‘Boho Chic’ Instagram pages. They’re beautiful, stylish, and even help purify the air in your space, so why not add your own? Hold up–you need to know a bit about yourself, your lifestyle, and your realistic commitment to caring for them first–or you might set yourself up for disappointment. If you’re determined to ‘green up’ your area, use these handy guidelines to find the perfect botanical companion and ensure your horticultural happiness:

You’re the ‘Lazy Susan’: You’re busy–elsewhere. Now isn’t a time to bring high-maintenance relationships into your life, plant or otherwise. You need a ‘no drama’ plant buddy, and you need it to be able to thrive without much care and input. Sound familiar? Try these:

Sansevieria superba
  •  Sansevieria–forget the unfortunate common names, this sculptural plant is the ‘it’ mid-mod decor plant, and the lazy plant lover’s dream. Various types have physical forms ranging from undulating, spear-like leaves to smooth, rounded spears that form a fan. Ensure bright light, excellent drainage, and….that’s pretty much it.
‘Sticks of Fire’, Euphorbia tirucalli
  •  Euphorbias–Poinsettias aside (yes, they’re related) the succulent Euphorbias can be xeric little nubs or spiny and leafy. Euphorbias want to be kept on the dry side, and appreciate sandy, gravelly soil and excellent drainage. Bright light is key, and they don’t mind some sun on them through that window. Otherwise, enjoy–you don’t need a plant sitter during summer vacation with these.

You’re the ‘Helicopter Mom’: OMG! You love your plants! You must be near them at all times–checking water, misting frequently (with the rainwater you harvest to ensure purity)–lifting to ensure the soil drains just so, with a snip, pinch and spritz every time you pass by. You’re armed with your moisture meter, you know the daily patterns of sunlight through your windows, and you’ve probably measured the ambient humidity in every room you have. You’re here to parent your plants, and you’re not afraid of maintenance. Is this you? Try these:

Maidenhair Fern, Adiantum spp.
  • Maidenhair fern: the delicate, ebony-black stems and lacy foliage are enticing, but these are some of the most challenging ferns to succeed with indoors. They’re intolerant of drying out, and they’ll be happiest if you water them with rainwater. Fertilizer isn’t absolutely key, but they’ll be nicer to you if you feed them–preferably with ‘Hasta-Gro’ or Espoma brand organic. They want good light, but burn easily, so no direct sunlight should hit them. And again–they must be moist (not too wet!) so frequent misting is a good idea, too.
‘Fiddleleaf Fig’, Ficus lyrata
  • Fiddle Leaf Fig: They may be the haute plant in the magazines right now, but these divas have a list of demands–primarily centered on water.Too much, and they’ll turn brown (same if too little). They also don’t appreciate the minerals in tap water, so start collecting rain water now if you plan to invest in one. They won’t take sitting in water, so you’ll have to lift them out of that fabulous decorative pot you got to hold them (and not put back until the pot has drained completely). Oh, and they’re a sprawling tree by nature, so be prepared to offer space. No direct sunlight, either: those big, beautiful leaves are simply too sensitive.

You’re the ‘Zen Master’: You love your plants, but you’ve got things to do outside these walls. You’re balanced, not afraid of putting in some effort, but not quite ready to man your own domestic botanical garden, either. You crave the beauty and health benefits of indoor plants, and you’re prepared to invest–but you don’t want to be married to them, either. Find yourself in the middle? Try these:

Guzmania bromeliads
  • Bromeliads: start with common varieties such as Guzmania and Vriesia to enjoy brilliantly colored, plume-like spikes that last for months. Ensure bright, indirect light, keep them reasonably moist and allow water  to collect in their leaf bracts, and enjoy the show. Colorful spike fading away? Not to worry! The ‘mother’ plant will be putting off ‘pups’ or offset plants, so you can keep the show going.
Calathea ornata
  • Calatheas: the dazzlingly exotic foliage steals the show, and that’s for the best: they’ll look better if you keep the humble flowers removed. Tolerant of lower light, they still want ample indirect light, so a bright spot is welcome. They want to stay moist, but not wet–and they’ll appreciate purified water instead of tap.

The takeaway? Houseplants, as with all plants, are totally worth the effort of keeping them. Just be sure you have an honest dialogue with yourself to be sure you’re getting in the sort of botanical relationship that suits your lifestyle best–you’ll both be happier. And year-round, our tropical greenhouse is packed with every option you need to find the perfect plant companion.

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