Houseplants are beginning to be a casual obsession of mine. Perhaps especially now that we're spending so much time at home. Seeing greenery around the house and checking on my plants are simple sources of joy. I love learning about how to best grow a new type of plant and keeping mental notes on what's working or not. Plus it's not a terribly expensive habit and is relatively low risk: if a plant dies it's a bummer but certainly not the end of the world.
Now that the boys are old enough to leave plants (mostly) alone I've been wanting to bring more into our house. (Of course just in time to add a new little one who might terrorize my plants. Oh well, we'll cross that bridge when we get there!) We have pretty good natural light in most of our house so I can see potential for many more plant friends to join us. I've added quite a few plants over the past couple of months mostly because Trader Joe's has had such great houseplants and I just haven't been able to resist. Once we're able to get out and about more I'm looking forward to browsing houseplants at local nurseries.
I still feel like a beginner as I figure out how to keep my plants thriving but I thought it would be fun to give you a tour of my houseplants and share what's working or not...
From: On sale at Lowe's about a year ago
Care notes: I had this in our great room until recently when I noticed it didn't seem as happy. It had suffered some damage from a certain little boy (ahem), had lost two leaves, and was getting brown spots. I wondered if its usual spot didn't get enough light in the wintertime. So I moved it next to the window in our room and got a few tips from a houseplant-loving friend. She said to wipe the leaves down since plants breathe through their leaves (which I had heard and was doing somewhat regularly) and to also rub the leaves with coconut oil! She also recommended sprinkling crushed eggshell on top of the soil. I did both of these things, plus added some fertilizer spikes. Who knows what did the trick but this week I noticed a new leaf shoot developing! This plant should be watered once per week to every 10 days which I haven't been great about, whoops!
From: Trader Joe's
Care notes: I haven't had this one for long and so far it's happy on our dresser where it gets fairly bright light during the day. When it starts getting a bit dry I water it in the sink and let it drain.
From: The cute tiny one was a gift from my mother-in-law. The mixed pot I planted with small succulents purchased at Lowe's.
Care notes: I've read that succulents do not have to be in pots that drain and neither of mine are. However, that means being careful not to over water and causing the roots to rot. So far my succulents like to be in bright areas and I let the soil get dry to the touch before watering.
From: Trader Joe's
Care notes: My favorite recent plant purchase! It's so happy on our bathroom counter where it gets bright light all day. Since coming home with me three weeks ago it's already popped out several new leaves so it seems pretty easy going. When the soil starts to get a little dry I water it in the sink and make sure to let it drain before returning it back to its pot.
From: Trader Joe's. I was leaving the store with my cart full of purchased groceries (back when things were in stock...) when I saw several snake plants near the door. I couldn't stop thinking about them so I unloaded my groceries into the car and went back in to purchase this one. I think that qualifies me for a houseplant obsession – ?
Care notes: My cousin shared some great tips about snake plants that she got from a local nursery: Water once per month with an amount of water that is one third the volume of the pot the plant is in. Also, only water around the perimeter of the plant – don't pour water into the middle of the leaves! Water can get trapped and rot the leaves which will cause them to droop. I have our snake plant in the nursery next to the dresser where it gets pretty low light but this plant supposedly does well with low light.
From: Trader Joe's
Care notes: I don't think I've figured out exactly what this plant needs. It looks pretty healthy but does have some brown leaves. I know that ferns like to be in moist soil (just imagine how they grow naturally on forest floors where conditions are damp and not super bright) so I try not to let the soil dry out between waterings. I'm also reading that they like humid conditions (they live in rainforests after all) and our Arizona air is certainly not humid. So I'm going to add regular misting to this plant's care and see how it does.
From: A cutting from a plant that was originally my grandmother's (my dad's mom) which makes this a very special plant to me
Care notes: I've had this plant for a few years and it's very low maintenance. I water it when I eventually notice that the soil is dry and occasionally wipe down the leaves although it's a little tricky to do because they can break off. What stumps me about this plant is that I can't get it to bloom! It should bloom around Christmastime each year and my aunt, who has the original plant, says that hers blooms. I'm not sure if it's our Arizona climate (the original plant lives in Tennessee), the light it gets, or something else I'm not doing. But even without blooms I love the look of it. Any tips to get Christmas cacti to bloom?
A few other notes on houseplants
On remembering to water. Set a calendar reminder! This is another great tip from my cousin. I'm setting a monthly one for my snake plant. For my fiddle leaf fig I should pick a day, like Sundays, and set a weekly reminder to water it.
Buy from local nurseries. Some local nurseries even specialize in houseplants and might have a more interesting selection than the big box stores.
Any tips for houseplants? Or favorite varieties?