People used to think you needed to be a gardener to grow plants. Someone who had gardened their whole life and spent hours watering and caring for their plants, with perfect little tools to plant, water and trim. Not so fast! We are all growers, tools not required. And we all reap the rewards of having a little more green in our homes.
Even if you’re a beginner, someone who travels a lot or a self-professed plant killer, the right plant can change your mind…and your mood.
Scientific studies show that having houseplants reduces stress and anxiety, and planting and caring for them can actually improve your mood. According to an article on Forbes.com, “…soil contains microbes dubbed ‘outdoorphins’ (M. vaccae) which work as natural antidepressants. ‘It boosts your mood by releasing cytokines, which then leads your brain to produce more serotonin. So, just by being around soil, these outdoorphins flood your body and boost your mood,’ writes Joey Doherty, a Certified Wellness Counselor.”
It’s also widely known that plants clean the air we breathe. Each has their own individual benefits, but they all help boost oxygen levels and remove pollutants and toxins from the air (nasties like formaldehyde, toluene and xylene).
THE PLANT FOR YOU
Let’s take a look at these 12 trendy and tried-and-true favorites and see what you think:
Ethereal and impressive, orchids aren’t the needy drama queens people sometimes make them out to be. In fact, they like the temperatures and light we like, comfortable/warm but not hot and a ‘bright shade,’ or filtered sunlight. Water about once a week, preferably in a sink or shallow bin. Because of the bulky soil mix, water will run through quickly. Water slow and sparingly.
Most of all, sit back and enjoy the beautiful blooms and admiring glances from guests.
Especially for the forgetful among us. ZZs grow best with little human intervention. The glossy, feather-shaped leaves sit on wand-like stems and are so perfect they almost look fake.
The best part? The ZZ will thrive in everything from low to high light, which makes it perfect for a dim corner or a bright room. Treat it like a cactus and less is more when it comes to watering.
Textured and pretty, the Maindenhair fern looks like an exotic cousin to the common Boston fern we’re used to seeing in hanging baskets. Which is one of the reasons we love it. Yours will stay lush and full if you keep it watered, as in perpetually and fully moist. We water almost every time we pass ours and it doesn’t seem high maintenance. Leave a small pitcher or cup nearby to remind you. Yours might be super happy in a bright, humid bathroom, and in other areas of the house it will help restore moisture to the air you breathe.
Easy to grow and really interesting, with perfect little Swiss-Cheese holes or perforations developing in the heart-shaped leaves over time. These graphic guys grow native in jungles and tropical forests, so they prefer high humidity (think bathroom or kitchen, or misting regularly).
Because of the wide, large leaves, the Monstera is believed to be one of the best air-purifying plant varieties. One stem and showy leaf also looks fantastic in a vase.
Doesn’t exactly sound relaxing, we know, but Snake Plant’s spear-like, slender stalks have been associated with healthful benefits like headache reduction (give it a try!). It also releases oxygen at night, so we love them on a nightstand for a better night’s sleep.
Calling all newbies: the snake plant, or Mother-in-law’s Tongue is one of the most tolerant houseplants around, known to be incredibly hardy and forgiving.
If low maintenance is the name of the game, the Pothos is for you. I mean, check out this headline: ‘The Perfect Houseplant for People Who Kill.’ Funny, but true. You’ve probably seen them in office cubicles because they are low maintenance and we already have enough work to do, right? Plus, they can grow in high, low, even artificial office light. Just water normally taking care not to leave soil feeling swampy.
Feng Shui experts believe that the Money Tree reduces stress and anxiety, and even helps prevent arguments and sleep disorders.
But even if you don’t subscribe to Feng Shui wisdom, its braided trunk is a really fun, architectural addition to your space. These guys like steam and humidity, so of course a bright bathroom is the perfect place. If you’d like yours in another bright space, place yours on a tray filled with pebbles and a bit of water, this will add moisture and humidity without overwatering.
A very forgiving succulent that requires little care and watering. In herbal medicine, Aloe is associated with health and healing, and is known as an excellent air purifier, removing formaldehyde and benzene from the air (common chemicals found in cleaning products).
You probably know it for its healing properties, used on everything from minor cuts to burns and dry skin. Just snap off a leaf and rub the sap-like gel on the affected area for soothing relief.
A designer favorite, Fiddle Leafs are great floor plants perched inside chunky baskets and pottery. The leaves are large and showy, and if you’ve been looking to add a little height to a room, the FLF is your go-to.
They like bright light, so save a spot near a window, as long as they aren’t baking in the hottest afternoon sun. Let the top inch of soil dry out before watering.
We have a crush on this modern Seuss-like houseplant. Its pancake-flat or coin-shaped leaves perch atop long slender stems for a really whimsical look. Like mini lily pads.
Plus, the Pilea is super easy to care for. A win/win. Give yours bright indirect (even some direct) sunlight and rotate yours every time you water so the plant doesn’t lean too strongly in one direction (i.e. toward the light source). Allow your Pilea’s soil to dry almost completely before watering.
Rich colors and texture have earned the Croton its own fan club. To keep this color, think humidity, either bright bathroom or kitchen placement or a humidity tray in any room that’s away from cold drafts. The Croton doesn’t like direct sunlight, but it will thrive in dappled or indirect light. Easy, right? We promise, this gentleman is worth a little work.
We like our Peace Lily in the bathroom, kitchen or laundry room because these flowering friends are as tough as they are pretty—excellent at waging war against household chemicals in the air we breathe.
Very tolerant to low light, even fluorescent light, and its leaves will signal too much sunlight by turning yellow or brown. Your lily will also sag just a little when it needs a healthy drink (water, please) about once a week.
YOUR PERFECT PLANT COMPANION
It’s tempting to grab a plant you think is cute or interesting, just keep in mind its light and watering needs for the best possible results. Some plants make it easier than others, but they all add a healthy pop of green goodness to your life.
If you’re still not sure which houseplant is right for you or a friend, stop into the garden center for a full selection, as well as friendly advice on growing yours with confidence. We’d love to help.