Friday, February 28

My 6 Favorite (Easy!) Houseplants

I loooove a good houseplant. I can hardly walk past the plants at Lowe's without bringing one home.
But, believe it or not, I didn't always feel this way! In fact, a few years ago I killed every plant I touched. You know how greenery is supposed to liven up your home? Well my home was a graveyard for shriveled plant dreams. But somehow, one by one, I've found a few hearty houseplants that even I can't kill. And now I have plants in nearly every corner of my home!

Check out how I propagate those plants to get more plants for free here. 
And how to make a DIY macrame plant hanger here.


So today I want to share my top 6 favorite houseplants that are super easy to care for - and a great place to start if you struggle to find your "green thumb" like I did. I'll also share a few of my favorite tips on caring for and displaying your plants - and hopefully hear some of your favorites, too!

I mixed fake plants in with my house plants on the mantle before I decided to simplify the space. No shame in the fake plant game!

There are a few important things to consider when you're choosing houseplants, but probably the most important detail is how much light the plant needs. You need plants that will do well in your home environment and many rooms don't get a ton of natural light, so you need to choose low-light plants that can thrive there! A full-sun plant in a dim corner just doesn't stand a chance. Luckily, I've got you covered with plants for just about anywhere. 



So here's the list of my tried-and-true houseplants. The top six that I've been able to keep alive - and I've had most of them for years!

  1. Snake Plant
  2. Pothos
  3. Spider Plant
  4. Aloe
  5. Jade Plant
  6. Succulents
Snake Plant

Dramatic, sculptural leaves that require almost no care! Snake plants thrive in low light and are super tough and durable. They are very forgiving if you forget the water now and then. In fact, your biggest danger with these guys is over-watering because they are native to warm, dry climates. Just let the dirt dry out in between waterings (they only need water every couple weeks or so). I have read that they do better in a cactus-mix soil, or with sand mixed in the soil for better drainage (arid climate and what not), but so far I just have mine in regular soil and I don't over-water. I probably under-water.


Pothos

Pothos leaves vine out and drape beautifully, making them perfect for use in hanging pots or on high shelves. This is a newer plant for me, but it has already moved up to my favorites list. Pothos also thrive in low light so they can be used in almost any corner of your home. You have to be a little more careful with the water because they are less forgiving if you let them dry out too much - but they also let you know because they start to get droopy when they are thirsty. But with all that said, I forgot to water this guy for almost four weeks at Christmastime. He looked terrible, but he actually bounced back as soon as I watered him!


Spider Plant

Spider plants start out small, but they'll grow up big and bushy if you let them. They're famous for sprouting baby plants - in fact all the ones I have came from my sister's spider plant! This is another one I love in hanging planters, because the little baby sprouts hang down so cute. Spider plants do great in low light with regular watering (once a week or so, whenever the dirt starts to dry out). They have also been pretty forgiving when I miss a week of watering - which is basically a requirement for plants to survive in this house.


Aloe

Aloe is unique on my list because it not only looks great (love those long, structural arms) but it's also a useful plant to have around. Aloe is a succulent, but while most succulents require full sun this guy actually does well in low light! Plus you get all the benefits of aloe right at your fingertips. I've heard that no mother should be without an aloe plant, and that's probably true! It's more common uses are for burns, sunburns, and scrapes, but you can also use it for all sorts of skin care and hair care. Just snap a small piece off one of the arms and squeeze out the juice.

I know, this guys looking a little lanky. I divided him in half and re-potted him in two planters and he perked up. I've read that spring and summer are the best time for replanting/transplanting, so I try to stick to those times... but I've been know to re-pot in the dead of winter if I get a chance.

Those plants are all easy to care for and do well in low light, but I'm going to switch it up with the last two and share my favorite full-sun houseplants. These two are great if you have a sunny windowsill to liven up!

Succulents

Succulents are probably the most famous plants right now. They're everywhere! And who can blame them? They come in a stunning variety of shapes on sizes, but they're all so small and cute! Succulents thrive in hot, arid climates, so it is really important to have these guys in full-sun and not over-water them. Which basically means the less you care for them, the better... right? But I can't stress this enough - they need sun. They are very forgiving if you under-water, but they really need a south-facing window to thrive. I have some in a west window that are still doing pretty well, but they get "leggy" because it's not as much sun as they want (basically they grow long and stretched out instead of compact and cute). If you have a sunny windowsill (that's not too drafty in the winter) and give them a good drink every couple weeks, they'll probably do great!


Jade Plant

Jade plants are technically a type of succulent, but I thought they deserved their own spot because they look so unique and because they aren't always in the same section with other succulents at the store. Like most other succulents, they need full-sun to thrive. I water them every week or two - which is basically what I do with all my plants - and let the dirt dry out between waterings.


Those are my tried-and-true favorites, but last year I asked for asked for your favorite low-light house plants on Instagram and you guys did not disappoint! So thanks for the feedback!! I already had several snake plants, but I had no idea it could tolerate low light until so many of you mentioned it! I also got a tip to search "plants for bathrooms" to get more low-light options, which led me to a great list on the Magnolia blog. I can't wait to try out a few of their suggestions!

https://magnolia.com/best-houseplants-for-your-bathroom/

But what can you do if you have a room with no natural light? Like an interior bathroom or dining room? Go with fake. Seriously, guys, there is no shame in that fake plant game and sometimes they really are the best option for spaces where live plants just can't make it. 

But for most spaces, something on this list is sure to do the trick.

Plant Care



Now let's talk about a few basic plant care tips:
  1. Sunshine - of utmost importance. But we've basically covered that for each plant. But if you have any type plant that is struggling, try moving it to a sunny south window and see if it perks up! The top cause of houseplant death is a lack of natural light, which can also be remedied by choosing low-light plants like the first four on my list.
  2. Water - second most important and second most common cause of plant graveyards. We've also covered this for these specific plants, but the great thing about all of these is that they are pretty forgiving which is what makes them so easy to care for. Some types of plants have super specific water requirements, but I am not a careful water-er and these guys are all still hanging around. If you have another type of plant that struggling, research it's water requirements to see if you might be over- or under-watering. I'm more likely to forget about watering, so I do better with arid plants that need less water.
  3. Drainage - something we have not talked about, but that is so important for plant health (especially if you tend to over-water). Your plants need good drainage for the soil, because if they are sitting in soaked soil most plants will develop root-rot which can be really difficult to recover from. That's why many pots have holes in the bottom for excess water to drain out (make sure you have a tray underneath to catch that water!). If you have a pot without drainage holes, you can add a couple inches of gravel in the bottom of the pot before the dirt so the water still has somewhere to drain, but you'll still need to be more careful with your watering that with a pot that has drainage holes.
See the clear plastic tray under the black pot?

I actually like to keep my larger plants in their original pots (or re-pot them into the same kind of cheap pot as they grow) and use a plastic tray underneath. It makes them super easy to water without over-watering, plus they are affordable to re-pot.

Cheap black pot + clear plastic tray hidden in a cute basket.


But those cheap-o plastic pots aren't super cute, so I'll sometimes stick the whole set-up into a basket so that it looks cute but is still super easy to care for. Baskets like these and these are large and flexible enough that I can still fit bigger pots when I re-pot!


So my bigger plants are typically in baskets, but my smaller plants are in cheap ceramic pots. Ikea has some really affordable pot options and that's where almost all of my small pots are from. I'll put those little guys just about anywhere - lined up on window sills, on shelves or end tables, or in hanging planters.


That's pretty much it for my potting secrets. I keep it pretty simple/cheap for the most part. But I have toyed with the idea of putting a rod over our window seat for hanging more plants. What do you think? Too much? Is there such a thing as too many plants?
I'll give a final houseplant shout-out to my beloved fiddle leaf fig. It didn't make my list because I guess they can be a little finicky to care for, but I've had great success with this guy thanks to a few tips from Lavender's Longshot:
  1. They need lots of filtered sunlight. Apparently direct sun can be too much for them and burn the leaves, but they still need lots of bright light. So a sunny south-facing room is ideal. But with that said, I have this one smack dab in a south window and it's thriving so far (I'm about to move Fiddle Jr. to a west window so I'll let you know how it fares - I've read that east windows are best for them). I rotate it about once a month to keep it from leaning too much toward the light.
  2. Water from the bottom. It means you set the whole pot (a pot with holes in the bottom for drainage) into water and let it soak up whatever it needs through the holes. Leanne likes to put hers in a sink or tub filled with a few inches of water and let it soak for a few hours. I just get these deep plant trays to put under the pots and pour water directly into the tray. It soaks it all up pretty quick, and I don't have to move my plant!
So if you've ever wanted to try a fiddle leaf, start there!


Also I would love to try an indoor citrus tree. If you have any tips or experience with these let me know!


Ok, ok, I'll stop. But I'd love to hear your favorite houseplants (or your favorites tips and tricks)! Let me know in the comments!

5 comments:

  1. I have a terrible black thumb, mostly because I forget to water things but I love these ideas. I might even have to take a trip to the nursery to look for more. Do you have a favorite place to buy them in Indy?

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    1. Honestly most of mine have come from Lowe's. But I'm planning to check out Eagle Creek Nursery this spring!

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  2. I have lots of cacti and succulents, which have now had to be moved to an upstairs bedroom I can close off thanks to my new kittens who dug a couple of them up and broke my flower pots :(

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  3. Thank you so much for this! This was exactly what I have been looking for. I haven't ventured into taking care of plants inside yet - but am determined to get some green in our home this spring. I will keep all your tips and tricks in mind as spring ramps up!

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  4. I'm in the fake plant game, ha! But I have successfully made a succulent survive for a year now (woo hoo!) Thanks for the tips!

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