Do you kill plants like it's your job? Read this..
Plants, plants, and more plants. We love them. It's obvious from our Instagram feed and if you stepped into our respective homes, you could see the obsession up close and personal. We may not have the most space or the best light but we find ways to keep these babies around us in an ever growing assortment. It's almost as bad as our obsession with pillows, in fact, it's probably gotten worse than our fixation on pillows since we started Holistic Habitat.
Most people we chat with about plants say "But, I kill them" and guess what? So do we! We just kill them with less frequency now that we have a few tips. One of the things we love about creating an indoor Urban Greenhouse is that you're always learning and that, dear friends, is a good thing! You learn what works for you, what plants love your light, your care level, and you learn how to stop killing them like it's your 9-5 gig.
In this post, we will rate some plants for you on a scale of one black thumb to five black thumbs. Five being the easiest to care for and one means it's still easy but may need a wee bit more attention (orchids will not fall into any of those categories for me because I still kill them like my 401K depends on it.)
Start with the easy peasy plants and build your confidence from there. Somewhere it's been said that succulents are the easiest plants to keep inside. I found that to be totally UNTRUE. I was killing succulents on the daily until I finally put down my watering can long enough to learn that I needed to stop watering those babies. Root rot is real y'all! So, avoid the frustration of delicate-ish plants if you're a total newbie and get yourself a few of these forgiving lovers:
ZZ-Plant or "Zazzle" plant: Total 5 black thumb rock star. If you can kill this you might be a sociopath so...just stop right here. These guys are like steel. They like medium to bright light but will do just fine in very low light. Great for a windowless bathroom or office. They want very little water and they look cool as hell zig-zagging their way out of some of our favorite pots. They're kind of aloof and want to be left alone. We're totally ok with that because we can have several of them throughout the house and if we forget to water them for a couple of weeks, Eh, no biggie. They store water in the fat part of their lower stems. You can find these locally at your big box stores and at one of our most beloved plant nurseries, Oakdale Greenhouse.
The ZZ plant is back there being all sexy behind the dove sculpture while he takes in some sparkles from the disco ball to his right.
Another 5 black thumber: Snake Plants They can be left for weeks without you so much as looking sideways at them and still maintain their thick glossy green leaves. They will tolerate all kinds of light levels but prefer indirect light and well-draining soil because they can rot if they sit in water. After that, you're done. You can grow them from cuttings very easily too...FREE PLANTS. NASA research has even shown that snake plants are able to help keep the air inside your home clean, removing toxins such as formaldehyde and benzene. Science said it so go buy ya a Snake plant to break in your black thumbs. I pick these guys up whenever I have a new pot that needs to be shown off (which is kind of like a daily thing around here). If you can deal with Walmart, they have them for as little as $5 sometimes. If you want a bigger one, and you're willing to pay a bit more, head on over to another local love Black Hawk Hardware. Go talk to Kebby, "the plant lady" in the downstairs plant room. Be prepared to leave with way more than you came for.
The snake plant pictured above (left in the raised planter) has lived in my house for two years in many many places with low light. He's still as happy as he can be as long as I don't over water him.
Next up, our most favorite low maintenance baby: The Air Plant
This is a Jumbo Xerographica and you can buy them on our site. They are AMAZING and I'm going to give them 4.75 Black Thumbs because there is one little "trick" with them. All these beautiful plants need is some bright indirect light and a bath. Yes, you read that correctly, they need a B.A.T.H. (no bubbles or chardonnay required). Since they have no root system and they live (as the name implies) in the air and without soil, they need to be soaked in a warm bath for about 30 minutes every other week. If it's winter and the air in your space is really dry, you can mist them a little in between soakings. The only "trick" with these beauties is that once they soak, you need to place them on a towel face down so the water runs out of the base of the plant. They can suffer from base rot so you want to be sure she's dry- inside and out- before you put her back in her place of honor.
They will bloom if they're happy so, you can use that bloom as kind of a confirmation of your relationship with this new plant. You can decorate to your heart's content with these lovers. They can hang from the wall or the ceiling. They can top your favorite old candlesticks you're forever forgetting to buy tapers for. They can really live anywhere there is indirect light! Don't place them in a super bright window, that's too much light! Remember, the glass on your windows acts like a magnifying glass!
I mean, C'mon...SO MUCH BETTER than tapers!
Chillin' in a vintage basket and upping your style game exponentially.
For this photo, we repurposed an old wine bottle rack and made it an air plant garden!
Switch them up, move them around. They make fantastic centerpieces since most people have never seen them and they want to know how to grow them. And then suddenly they want to know "when did you become so fascinating that you have rare tropical Air Plants on your table" while we're playing cards against humanity? My mother in law thought they were some kind of creepy sea urchin I was going to make her eat, but she's from rural Pennsylvania so, we'll give her a break.
Containers are important for certain plants and we will discuss those further in our next post. If you're anxious to get started, check out our shop for a huge selection of containers, both new and vintage. If you have any questions for us, you can always reach out to us below in the comments or on Insta. But, for now, try a couple of the plants we wrote about here and see how you do. They aren't expensive and they bring so much life and texture to your home. GROW ON!