Your Realistic Houseplant Guide

March 11 2021

Don’t worry. You can do this. You won’t kill them if you’re as diligent with them as you are with cleaning your makeup brushes or plugging in your phone at night. Are we level again? Great!
So you’ve seen those posts on Instagram that seem so effortless and cool? Beautiful, full length, brushed-gold mirror, perfectly curated nightstand/coffee table, and that classic Snake plant in a gold planter or woven basket? You’ve seen it, I’ve seen it, insta has seen it 10,000 times. I’m here to tell you that… I am also one of those house plant people and yes, they all have names. So, here is my guide on the house plants I have, plus their upkeep and personalities.

(Note: most of the plants below are poisonous to cats and/or dogs! If you have a curious critter at home that you anticipate will want to chew leaves or roots, consider adding some greenery to your office with these, or research plants that are safe for your specific pet situation)
If you think you kill every plant you touch, you’re in luck that one of the most trendy and photogenic plants around is basically indestructible. Meet your BFF- the Snake Plant aka Dracaena trifasciata. Or, more hilariously know as the “Mother’s Tongue” or “Mother-in-Law’s Tongue” because they’re known for their sharpness… This plant thrives on neglect- and yes, that can be your next finsta caption. This plant just wants a cute pot for your insta posts and some water once a month. That’s it! Even better, you can also be the cool one in the office with a plant on your desk because these bad boys can grow in fluorescent light. Plus, they won’t die when you take 5 days of PTO, and Mark on your team forgets to water it; they’re perfect!
The mother of all insta-worthy plants… the Monstera deliciosa casually known as a Swiss Cheese Plant for its iconic split leaves. Like the Snake Plant, you can grab this baby in a variety of sizes and styles. Its maintenance is easy! It likes a sunny spot and some water weekly (don’t drown it though!) and the splits in the leaves will vary depending on the temperature and water situation it’s living in. On a large plant, you can expect new leaves in the Spring and Summer but our viney-guy gives us new leaves almost weekly!
I searched for this guy for months. I was scared because I heard they are temperamental, but I’m going for it- Meet the gorgeous Begonia Maculata! Those polka-dot leaves are natural, can you believe it?! The guy needs soil that will dry so he doesn’t get soaked, and likes a spot in a bright but indirect spot. If you need a showstopper, this is your go-to. Don’t take it personally if this one doesn’t make it, it happens to the best of us.
I mean, you can’t get much cuter than a Pilea… Pilea peperomioides, with an array of nicknames, is a houseplant favorite! This little guy self propagates and your healthy plant will have little babies growing out of the soil around the large one. This plant is known as the sharing plant because you can easily separate the baby plants from your main one and spread the plant-lady love to your friends with them! No direct sunlight and don’t soak it and you’re set with this one! If your leaves droop, it’s time to be watered and don’t be afraid to prune dying leaves. Also, this one won’t upset Fido- it’s pet friendly!
New to my family is the Alocasia Polly! This gorgeous plant with dark green leaves, purple undersides, and almost silver veins is striking and satisfying! This is a tropical plant so it won’t complain if you can keep it somewhere humid and bright like your kitchen or bathroom window. Pro tip, spend a couple bucks online and grab a misting bottle to keep this one happy!
You know it, you love it, you see it in every trendy office or salon lobby these days… It’s the ruler of all greenery scenes… it’s the Fiddle Leaf Fig aka Ficus lyrata. When they used the F-word Fiddle, they should have been more clear and named it “Finicky Leaf Fig”. Every story you hear about these dying is true. Too sunny? Too Shady? Too much water? Too little water? Too dry? How about all of the above. This plant is a beautiful addition to your home, but be prepared to watch and learn from it. Keep an out out for dropping leaves and discoloration to see how happy your plant is. Most people kill this plant by overwatering it- don’t drown him. I water my tree lightly once a week in the Summer and every two weeks in Winter. These are available as trees or plants so pick the size that’s best for you!
Peace Lily, or Spathiphyllum, is a beautiful, low-maintenance addition to a corner in your home. With no need to be directly in a window, this is an easy addition to a first-time plant owner! Not only will this plant give you large, dark leaves, but it is one of the best air-purifying plants you can add to your home! So, breathe easy knowing this guy is resilient and doing some good in your home.
Go forth and conquer! But where and how? Well, I get my plants any and everywhere! I love to support my local nurseries and my favorites are Greenstreet Gardens and Merrifield Garden Center. I’ve also grabbed some cheap additions from Ikea that are in great condition and Wegmans!
When you need pots, check out Homegoods, World Market, and Home Depot for cheap and trendy ones. You’ll do yourself a favor if you find pots with drainage holes in the bottom, or plan to use a little plastic planter inside of your fancy pot so it can be removed and watered. If you check out my Crawling Vines or Medium Snake plant above, those plants are in plastic containers set inside a trendy planter, so I can put them in the sink to water them and drain and then put them back inside their cutesy home!

Tagged: Home Decor, Home Goods, Plants


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