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July 05, 2021
Have you ever found yourself going down the content rabbit hole, staring at gorgeous spaces brimming with vibrant greenery, and growing more and more despondent because you just weren’t born with a green thumb? You’re not alone. When I first moved into my own apartment, I bought plant after plant after plant - succulents, herbs, potted flowers, hanging vines - and without fail, each perished miserably. How do folks do it - choose the perfect plant for your space, maintain it properly, help it thrive?
We’re going to solve some of those problems today - let’s walk through some of the best low-maintenance indoor and outdoor plants for your home and give you some tips on how to keep them growing and healthy. We’ll also give you some pointers for special circumstances - especially small space? Low light? Got pets to keep safe? We’ve got you! And, of course, we’ll walk you through some decor options on how to show off your green friends AND your space.
Whatever shade of green - or not - your thumb may be, there are plants out there for you, perfect for transforming your living room into a jungle or your yard into the garden wonderland of your dreams.
Your impulse might be to go on over to your local nursery and pick out the plants that call out to you, and then make it work once you get home. Unfortunately for our spontaneous types out there, this is probably why your past attempts with plants have been flops. Before buying plants, consider a few things:
1. Your space: consider the room and its conditions.
2. The climate: different specimens will be more successful in different climates.
3. Specifics: pets? Looking for air purification? Consider your circumstances/needs.
4. Appearance: your choices will vary whether you’re looking for uniformity or variety.
Considering these points will let you make an educated choice and set your plants up for a good, long, happy, green life!
Here’s a run-down of some of our favorite beginner-friendly, low-maintenance plants for indoor spaces.
- low maintenance
- vines can grow to 10ft+
- good for newbies/forgetful types
- can handle underwatering
- needs bright light and space
- removes carbon dioxide
- not pet friendly
- like a lot of sunlight
- likes soil to be very dry before watering
- lots of benefits: air purification, juice has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties
- not pet friendly
BIRD'S NEST FERN- partial to full shade
- likes moist, well-drained soil
- likes humidity
- don’t touch baby leaves, it could harm them!
- pet friendly!
Gardening isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but potted and hanging plants are a great way to bring some bloom to your patio or your front entrance without having to commit to keeping a whole garden in check. These are also great options for apartments or condos that are tended to by management - you might not have much control over the landscaping, but you sure can add a planter or two to your front door or patio. Read on for a few of our favorite low-maintenance potted and hanging plants to spruce up your outdoor space!
- full sun in cooler areas (no higher than 80F), partial in warmer
- no need to deadhead
- moist soil
- partial to full sun
- moist soil
- good drainage
- can live inside during the winter
- super heat-tolerant
- no need to deadhead (remove dead blooms)
- variety of colors
Between pets, not-so-bright light conditions and itty-bitty spaces, it’s easy to feel like your space just isn’t conducive to plants. But that’s where you’re wrong - whatever your circumstances are you, can find plants that make sense for you. We’ve done the legwork to find some plants that will work for your space, no matter what your circumstances are.
We love our furry friends, and will do absolutely anything to keep them safe, including sacrificing our love for greenery. Lots of plants are unfortunately not pet-friendly - this isn’t something to take lightly, since a lot plants can be life-threatening to pets if ingested. Lucky for aspiring green thumbs, there are a lot of safe options - here are a few of our favorites.
- avoid petals when watering
- super hardy!
- full to partial sunlight
Sunlight is plant food, plain and simple, but some plants are super economical with their consumption and can survive - even thrive - on very little. We can’t all get lucky with big, beautiful windows, but that shouldn’t stop us from partaking in plant joy. Read on for some low-light plant options.
- so versatile - potted or hanging
- very hardy (tolerates neglect!)
- low light
I’ve heard a lot of pals refer to their plants as their green babies. They want them to thrive, they want them to be happy and have everything they need. But a lot of plants are like dogs and need space to spread their wings - I mean, leaves - which can be kind of limiting if you live in a small space. Have no fear, small-space plant options are here!
- these DON'T NEED SOIL!
- very long-living
- lots of sunlight
If you’re anything like me, you’ve killed enough plants to be sure that you just don’t have the knack. HOWEVER - you might just be making some pretty basic mistakes.
First thing’s first - do your due diligence. Make sure the plants you’ve brought home are going to agree with their new space. Next, be honest with yourself - how much time and effort are you willing to put into your new green babies? If you’ve got a job that keeps you away from home for longer periods of time, or if you just don’t have the bandwidth for having to pay too much attention, don’t pick a plant that will require a whole lotta love.
Once you’ve picked your new green friend and brought it home, pamper it and then isolate it. You’re going to want to re-pot it into a pot that is an inch or two bigger than its previous home, and also spray it down well with insecticide so it’s real nice and clean. Before you introduce it to other plants, you’ll want to quarantine it, just for a couple of days, to make sure it’s totally helpful and doesn’t pass any kind of fungus or disease onto any other plants you’ve got at home.
Most importantly: light and water. All plants like light, there’s no if’s, and’s or but’s. Depending on the region they’re from, they’ll like direct or indirect light. Be aware of what kind of light your plant likes, and pay attention to whether it seems to be working for them. There’s no shame in shuffling your plants and seeing where they might thrive the best. And: as a plant gets bigger (which means you’ve been doing your job!) it might want more light, so - feed your green baby!
When it comes to water, you might have suffered from the same misinformation as I did, that there’s a certain amount of days between waterings. WRONG! You want to water your plant when the soil is dry. This interval will depend on the plant, so pay attention to what works and (again) do your research, but it boils down to that: WATER WHEN DRY! Use warm water, focus on the base of the plant, and go slow, a little at a time, letting the water soak in before pouring more. Stop when the soil is saturated.
There’s no more lively decor element than plants. They can make a space look wild or mystical, they can add drama, color, coziness - plants are as versatile and distinct as textiles or artwork.
Potted plants: tried and true. Whether they’re small or large, on a shelf, stand or table or large enough to stand on the floor, an attractive pot or planter is a great and simple home for a plant.
Smaller pots can be displayed on shelves, between books and knick-knacks to bring some variety, or taking over a whole shelf (if you want to show off.) Corner shelves can be especially effective. (Pots can also be found in the most unexpected of places - mugs and tea cups for low-drainage plants are a big yes from me.)
Hanging plants aren’t only good for outdoors - vines can be especially successful indoors, since they can grow to impressive lengths and can be wound around shelves and fixtures. Start with your plant up high - on a top shelf, or hanging from your kitchen window - and use your imagination!
Want to go bigger? How about a plant wall - it’ll work double duty as a home for your plants and an impressive art installation. It may seem daunting, but there are so many methods of execution. Fill floating shelves to the brim with succulents and other small pots, with some vines for effect. Use a pegboard or a wire grid to hold up pots and create a more seamless look. Bring a trellis indoors and train your hanging plant to grow on it. Lots of succulents can thrive on a vertical plane: create a succulent piece and hang it above your couch for a real conversation starter.
Introducing plants into your space can seem daunting, and after you’ve killed a few (they said cacti would be so hardy!) it can be discouraging. But by taking account of your home and climate and matching the plants to that (instead of just going off what looks cute) and then following some easy protocols to keep them happily fed and watered, your space can get a breezy green refresh. Plants in the home have proven mood-boosting and air-purifying qualities that can make a huge change - and couldn’t we all use a little boost?
Do you have favorite plants that we didn’t mention here? Any tips and tricks for keeping them lush and lovely? We’re dreaming about which plants to pair with our Refuge Recycled Paints - a deep dramatic jungle look with an accent wall in Malachite, or a bright, breezy look with soft sky-blue Angelite? Let us know in the comments!
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