Houseplants: Take Care of Them, They'll Take Care of You

Amanda Harper

 

Don’t call it a comeback. Houseplants are the throwback trend that never really went away. While Pinterest and Instagram may have popularized #plantmomlife, it’s a timeless art… literally. From Chinese penjing to Roman courtyards, ancient cultures pioneered creative ways to bring nature into their homes. And whether it was the groovy macrame planters hanging between beaded curtains or posh conservatories of Victorian Britain, we’ve carried on the tradition in big ways.

The benefits of keeping houseplants are well-documented. The presence of houseplants can boost your mood, productivity, mental well-being and even natural healing ability.

As Scandi, mid-century and 70s furniture became trendy in recent years, so did houseplants. Succulents were the first major trend, serving as the perfect little touch for both the rustic/boho vibe and modern spaces. Those minimalist decorators began to add fiddle leaf figs in rope baskets for a hygge vibe; while the look was almost universally loved, the care required was more than most people could take on. So trendsetters and influencers began trying out other houseplants. It led to full-on plant maximalism, a clear throwback to the Age of Aquarius.

And who can argue? The benefits of keeping houseplants are well-documented. The presence of houseplants can boost your mood, productivity, mental well-being and even natural healing ability, according to Prevention Magazine. They can also help your overall quality of life through a sense of accomplishment and reduced stress. They can even offer actual therapy! According to the American Horticultural Therapy Association, house plants can be used within a more organized recovery and wellness treatment plan as a tool for overcoming a host of obstacles.

Of course, to get those great benefits, you actually have to keep your potted friends alive. You must choose the right plant for your unique situation. In order to find the plant that fits you best, you should evaluate a few key points:

Light - Your lighting situation is the most important factor in determining what plant is best. Take note of what direction the window faces and how much light comes in. Is there any direct sunlight? Some plants soak up the sun while others can’t tolerate any direct rays.

Air Conditions - Is your space unusually warm or cold? How’s the humidity? Does the air move, or is it pretty still? Some houseplants are very picky about their environment. Take into consideration how the air will change in the winter (usually low humidity) versus summer (cold A/C can mess with some plants).

The Care You Can Give - Be honest with yourself about your skill level. If you’re busy or forgetful, it’s important to choose a plant that can tolerate a few missed waterings. On the flip side, if you’re a bit of a worrywart, you may need a plant that can stand being fussed over.

Your Pets and Household - Many houseplants are poisonous to pets – and anyone else who might ingest them. Some houseplants do produce pollen, so allergy sufferers should steer clear of those varieties.

The best way to discover the right plant for you is to talk to a houseplant professional. Come prepared with this information and they can suggest some great plants that might pique your interest. Learn to care for your houseplant and it will have a lot to give you in return! •

 


 

5 Chill Houseplants for Beginners

Pothos - these vines are basically Plant 101.

ZZ Plant - can survive low light and only needs to be watered every 2-3 weeks!

Snake Plant - these can tolerate just about any lighting.

Air Plant - these don’t even need soil! Just soak them in water for 5 minutes every one or two weeks.

Spider Plant - this retro friend just keeps on goin’.