By Sarah Cottrell
This year may go down in history as the time that houseplants finally got the glow-up they deserve. In pre-pandemic days, houseplants were akin to a decor garnish, but in 2020 when many Americans were tallying the days they spent in lockdown, houseplant sales exploded. Consumers purchased $8.5 billion more houseplants in 2020 than they did in 2019, and it looks as though the trend is not slowing down any time soon.
The hyped-up houseplant market has many folks asking themselves how to get started with indoor gardening and which plant should you choose? We’ve taken the guesswork out by creating this quick start guide on the best houseplants to test out your green thumbs.
Golden Pathos Vine
This plant is hard to kill and incredibly easy to grow. Pathos vines do well growing from a hanging basket and can make a lovely cascading decoration down the sides of bookcases or walls. These sturdy plants can handle low light, however, they do best with medium or bright, indirect light. Make sure to add some fertilizer at least once a month to keep your pathos happy.
These tall, dramatic plants with their sword-like leaves are beautiful statement plants that can add class and drama to any space. Like the pathos vine, they can handle low light but prefer moderate to bright, sunny rooms. One notable advantage for beginner gardeners is that it isn’t exceptionally thirsty and won’t die if you forget to water it. Snake plants don’t like to be over-watered, though, so be careful to keep the soil from getting too saturated.
If you have a bathroom that tends to get steamy when you shower, then you might love the Asparagus fern. These delightful plants might look wispy with their lace-like branches that can reach as long as six feet, but they are also rugged air purifiers that were once used in NASA experiments on how to clean the air with plants. Try planting these in hanging baskets or set them up high where pets and small children can’t get poked from the hidden thorns.
Weeping Fig Tree
If you have the kind of living space that doesn’t have turbulent temperature changes, then you might love the weeping fig tree. These lovely trees can fill up an empty corner and are super easy to care for — just remember to give them some light, plant food and water, and you’re good to go. One fun aspect of having a fig tree is that they are sturdy enough to decorate with string lights or lightweight ornaments during the holidays.
Succulents are hugely popular right now. Just one search on Etsy alone garnered 340,000 results. These are possibly the most beginner-friendly plants, and for a good reason — they are nearly impossible to kill. If you have a sunny window that sees direct sunlight, you can fill that sill with bright and colorful pots of succulents. One beautiful variety, String of Pearls, does well in a hanging plant; with the proper care, you can end up with long, pearly tendrils of green cascading down the side of a window frame.
Venus Fly Trap
If you have kids, this is a super fun plant to keep in a sunny window. The Venus Fly Trap is a carnivorous plant that eats small bugs like mosquitoes and houseflies. With one gentle brush against the teeth-like spikes on the edges of the mouth, the trap will snap shut, capturing its prey. But don’t worry, it won’t hurt your fingers.
Window Herb Garden
If you love to cook, consider growing herbs indoors. Not only are herbs easy to grow, especially in bright light and with regular watering, but they are fragrant and beautiful. When you live in Maine, there is nothing better than fresh herbs in the dead of winter to add magic to your dinner.
See this Section as it appeared in print here