The Nester has been talking houseplants.
Now she’s asking us to show our plants and I’m taking her up on the challenge because — along with dragging things from the yard into the house — I’ve also been replacing some of the fake/silk/plastic/artificial plants and flowers in my house with real ones.
In other words, I’m trying to have less of this…
…and more of what I’m about to share.
Why Have Real Plants in Your Home
There was a time when I didn’t bother with real plants because I thought they were hard to keep alive and I didn’t exactly enjoy trying to do it. But I’ve since come to appreciate the benefits of keeping live plants in the house:
In fact, NASA studied the effectiveness of plants as interior air cleaners and came up with a top ten list, based on how effective the plants were and how easy they were to maintain. Here’s the list. (Hint: When in doubt, get a palm.)
Plants are beautiful.
Designer Lori Dennis even describes them as art:
“Because they grow and change, live plants are like sculpture that is always new and exciting. Even if you don’t have a lot of money for furniture and accessories, if you have a clean, uncluttered space with a plant or two, it always looks nice and feels like home.” – Lori Dennis
Plants are therapeutic.
Studies show that plants help with concentration and memory, speed up healing, reduce stress, and just generally make people happy.
I can attest to the fact that keeping a plant alive and watching it grow does result in a certain satisfaction that just buying an artificial plant or flower doesn’t.
What I’ve Learned About Plants So Far
While I’ll never be mistaken for a gardening guru, here are a few things I’ve learned since I’ve undertaken the great houseplant switch-out from artificial to authentic.
Consider what you like.
That may seem obvious, but it wasn’t to me at first. I thought a plant was a plant was a plant.
But when it comes to your home, plants are no different than curtains or pillows or artwork You’ll develop a taste for what you like and what you don’t.
I’ve learned that I like plants with small leaves, like this China Doll
and this Weeping Fig.
(We had a close call with the fig plant; I nearly killed it right after I got it. I’m happy to report that it seems to be bouncing back.)
I learned that I don’t like tropical-looking plants, like this one
so I switched it out for Rosemary, because herbs are something I do like.
Buy them small.
Speaking of that Rosemary plant up there, can you tell how small it is?
Plants are so much cheaper when you buy them little. I like to pay for someone to get the plant started for me, but not much beyond that.
I often pick up $1.99 plants at the grocery store. At that price, they’re really, really tiny, but that’s okay. Because watching a plant grow is where that feeling of satisfaction comes in.
So unless you have an area that you need to fill with something ASAP, I would advise starting with itty bitty plants. And if you’re nervous about keeping a plant alive, a small one is less intimidating too.
Keep plants where you are.
I think it’d be great to have at least one live plant in every room of the house, but I’m starting with plants in the rooms we’re in most often. Not only do we enjoy them more, but I tend to notice more quickly when they’re droopy or dry looking.
And if you keep plants near a sink, it’s extra easy to throw them in, water them, and let them drain, all in the sink.
This orchid is in my bathroom and I’ve managed to keep it alive for almost two months now. I’m so proud.
I was crazy intimidated to buy an orchid, but the woman at the nursery advised me to keep it on the dry side and only water it once a week or so.
So far, so good but any other long-term care tips you have would be appreciated.
So there you have most of what I know about going from this…
And here’s a bonus tip straight from me to you: If you need a plant that you are virtually guaranteed to be able to keep alive, choose a Peace Lily.
I know because I’ve kept this Peace Lily — a gift given to us when my son was born — alive for almost 17 years.
Even in it’s obviously neglected state, it just keeps on living and giving. (There’s one of those “As Seen on TV” water globes in the middle of all those leaves. It’s dry, I’m sure.)
So now it’s your turn. Is your thumb green or brown? Do you have a favorite houseplant or a tip for keeping them alive? Tell us about it in the comments.