If you've convinced yourself that you're a perilous threat to all floral life and so are destined for a plant-less existence...we have good news.
Having a home full of plants can be wonderfully fulfilling (and science says plants are really good for your mental health, in addition to all that clean-air stuff), but looking after plants can be pretty tricky--especially if their needs vary by season. If you’ve clicked on this article, chances are you’re someone who struggles with keeping plants alive and you’re looking for a few tips.
You’ve come to the right place!
In this article, we’re going to be taking a look at easygoing plants (and where to buy them), plus tips and tricks for keeping plants alive in any season.
Off we go!
Look For Easygoing Plants
There are certain houseplants and flowers that are easier to look after than others. Here’s some prime plant-picking inspo (plantspo?) from some of our favorite Shopify sellers:
Money trees are perfect for beginners due to their resilience. (Resilient meaning they’ll be quick to forgive you if you fall behind on their care.) As their name infers, they’re also associated with bringing prosperity and good fortune. Can’t say no to that!
Weeping Fig plants are visually stunning, and their super low-maintenance watering regimen is perfect for plant parents with an on-the-go lifestyle.
Just one thing to keep in mind: as with several other plants on this list, Weeping Figs are toxic for pets, so keep them away from your furry friends.
White Stripe Dragon Tree
This is arguably one of the easiest plants to look after. It’s amenable to a variety of environments and it’s gorgeous to look at, too!
Yucca plants are striking, and their larger size makes them a great “statement piece.”
Caring for Yucca plants is very simple, as long as they’re in a well lit place, so if you’re...ahem...the forgetful type, opt for this one.
With its sprouty, unkempt leaves, remarkable striations, and easy-going approach to life, this guy is one of our favorites on the list. Spider plants bring a fun, relaxed vibe to any space, making them perfect home office companions. (We all need a little reminder to chill during the work day, right?)
English Ivy’s bushy, waterfall structure and Velcro-like rootlets make it a whimsical addition to any partial-shade patio or medium-light area of the home. They’re also great hanging plants; suspend them from high ceilings for extra drama!
Bird of Paradise
Birds of Paradise are symbolic of freedom and joy. They can be equally happy indoors or out and have low water requirements, but be aware: they do require lots of sunshine.
The Calathea Roseopicta, or Peacock Plant, is brilliantly colored with green and red, and requires just a small amount of extra love--so it’s great for plant parents looking for a (very little) challenge.
Their sunlight and watering requirements are low-maintenance, but they love humidity, so an occasional spritz will put the most perk in their leaves. Bonus points: they’re pet-friendly!
With its compact, precious appearance and bright, long-lasting blooms, the Kalanchoe is a sunny addition to any room; just make sure it gets plenty of light!
The Pothos Plant is known for being basically impossible to kill. It tolerates drought (read: abject neglect) well and thrives in low and/or indirect light. Its vines can grow up to 5 feet long or high (depending on how you decide to grow it), making it a spunky addition to bookcases or dressers.
Tips for Plant Care
Now that you have a better idea of what plants may be best suited for your home and lifestyle, let’s take a quick look at some general tips for keeping your leafy friends in good condition.
Make Sure To Read The Care Instructions
Okay, like, obviously...but still! It’s tempting to just throw the care info away when you bring a new green friend home because “Oh, I’ll remember!”
Right up until you do not.
Wherever you get your plants, you’ll typically be provided with care instructions in some shape or form. Lively Root, for example, includes a convenient care card that summarizes all of your new plant’s preferences, right in the box! If you purchase your plants from a local nursery, don’t be shy about tapping one of the employees for tips and tricks.
There are several different methods for watering plants, and it might take a bit of trial and error to find out what your guy or gal wants.
First, there’s the obvious top-down method of using a watering can. While perhaps the most recognized method, the top-down approach means that sometimes water doesn’t make it down to the roots at the bottom of the pot. If the soil is especially dry the water can run right through, without giving the soil a change to truly absorb it.
Then there’s the bottom-up approach of using a small dish or plate. Place your plant (in its grower’s pot, where the roots and soil have access through small holes) onto the dish, and pour water around it until it reaches about ⅛” up the side of the pot. Let him chill out on the counter, and over the span of an hour or two you’ll see the water recede and then disappear. The roots are absorbing the water at their own pace from the bottom up, leading to a more even distribution of moisture throughout the soil.
If you don’t have the space or dish(es) to use this method, you can always try the ice cube method. Popularized by orchid growers, the ice cube method is a relatively decent combination of both top and bottom. By placing ice cubes at the top of the soil, you benefit from the speed and ease of the top-down method. Because they take some time to melt, however, the soil and roots have more of a chance to actually absorb the moisture they need. Win-win!
Temperature + Placement
Many of the plants we’ve recommended here are relatively receptive to variable temperatures, but cranking up the heat in winter or the air conditioning in summer can take a toll on some houseplants. Be sure to get familiar with your plant’s preferred climate and keep it in spaces where it’ll thrive. Often this means keeping it away from drafts -- so steer clear of A/C or heating vent paths.
Another note on placement: for plant parents with pets or human children, it’s important to keep plants (especially the toxic ones) out of reach. Cats in particular seem to love gnawing on nearby houseplants (who are, PAWBLO, just trying to live their best life LIKE YOU), which could easily cause an unwanted vet visit.
Even for non-toxic plants it can be difficult to recover from a toppling; plus, how annoying is it to have to clean up all that soil?
Adjust Plant Care for the Season
Especially for outdoor plants, the care routine you follow in summer won’t always translate seamlessly to colder months. In most cases, plants slow down their growth, so you’ll need to cut back on watering to avoid the soil becoming waterlogged. Conversely, indoor plants may need a little more water (or at least misting) if the air is being dried out by heaters.
Unless otherwise stated in the care instructions, you’ll want to cut back on fertilizing during these dormant winter months, too.
There is hope for you, as a plant owner, even if you weren’t born with a green thumb! We hope our plant recs and tips have empowered you to take on the wonderful world of plant parenting. It’s worth a try! (And if you fail, don’t give up. Try again with an easier plant, and over time you’ll get the practice you need.)
Looking for more news and tips in home care, interior design, and general maintenance? We’ve got it!