Written by Katelyn Walzer
It is easy to enjoy the beauty of nature when you are walking through the woods or watching the sunset on the beach. However, when you are stuck inside (in times like today) it can be troublesome to have that same view. A solution? Houseplants! Houseplants are an affordable and beneficial addition to any room. After working in a greenhouse for multiple years and having a collection of my own leafy friends, here are some suggestions and tips I have learned along the way:
1. No light? No problem. You do not need a room full of windows to have your own houseplants, in fact there are several houseplants that require no sunlight at all! Some of these plants include pothos, spider plants, most sanseviera, philodendron, and bromeliad if you want some color!
2. Brighten your Bedroom. Having houseplants can add to the aesthetic of any room and can benefit you in many ways such as, purifying your air, helping you sleep, or calming a skin irritation. Some great air purifying plants include snake plants, corn plants, English ivy, and Chinese evergreen. If you want better sleep try jasmine, gardenia, or lavender plants. Lastly, aloe vera can purify your air, help you sleep, and if you cut a piece off, you can use the flesh for skin irritation or a moisturizing face mask.
3. Consistency (In Watering) is Key. Watering is the only thing houseplants really require you to do, and it can be easy to mess up if you aren’t cautious. Make sure you know how often your plants need watered and that they have good drainage (especially for bigger pots). Although having a consistent watering schedule is the goal, most plants are more forgiving when they receive too little water opposed to too much. Overwatering and lack of drainage can result in root rot and mold in the soil, which almost always will kill your houseplant. However, most houseplants can be revived after being under-watered. Some forgiving houseplants include African violets, jade plants, air plants, lambs ear, and haworthiopsis succulents.
Can’t remember the last time you watered a plant?
4. Plants & Pets. Be cautious with what houseplants you bring home to your furry friends because some can be toxic to animals. Most of the time your pets won’t bother your plants, but it is something you should keep in mind. Some of these toxic plants include caladium, pothos, and ivy
5. If You Don’t Know, Ask. Google is your best friend when you are trying out anything new and houseplants are no different. There are very helpful websites like Almanac.com, Gardenista.com, and of course YouTube. You can also call your local greenhouse; they are almost always willing to help with any issues or questions you have.
6. Personalize your Pots. Almost all houseplants require a pot of some kind and at times these pots can be more expensive than the plants themselves! To save a couple bucks you can get a plain terracotta pot and paint it yourself to match the room that it is going in. Or even paint the plastic pot your houseplant comes in if you really are pinching pennies.
7. Soil Switcheroo. If you have had a plant for around a year and it is starting to look a little, well, sad, odds are it needs new soil. Regular potting soil usually does the trick and is sold at most convenient stores. If you want to be more specific to your plant, you can look up what soil conditions your plant likes best (like pH and texture) and go to your local greenhouse for soil enhancers. Although most sites recommend that you change the soil every 6 months, I have found that it does no harm to wait about a year.
8. Don’t Give Up. Unfortunately, I have killed many houseplants and I will probably kill many more, and so will you. However just like anything you try, don’t let failure stop you. Each time you mess up you gain information to better yourself for the next plant that comes your way. Eventually you’ll find the perfect balance to keep you and your houseplants happy.
Some of my personal favorite houseplants:
Orchids: if you have a lot of indirect sunlight and like a challenge, these beauties are great!
African Violet: I left my African violet at home when I left for school and my mom forgot to water it for 3 MONTHS. It is happy and healthy now with bright purple blooms.
Wandering Jew Plant: this plant has really neat metallic purple and green striped leaves and loves the indirect sunlight.
I hope you found these tips helpful and you are on your way to turning your room into a jungle like me. I wish you the best of luck and hope that you find as much enjoyment in houseplants as I do!