indoor plants for how you live

"Buy something that lives the way you live." - Gwenn Fried

If you’re like me and love having real plants in your house but aren’t necessarily the best plant parent, then you might want to keep reading. I’ve compiled a list of the perfect house plants for how you live; whether you’re super busy and tend to forget to feed your plants or you live in a space with little sunlight, I’ve got you covered.

health benefits

While house plants are great for adding an extra pop of color and natural feel to your living space, they also promote healthy living! Plants naturally clean the air around them by filtering dust and contaminants out of it. They also decrease the carbon dioxide levels in the air while increasing the oxygen levels. Another thing plants help with is increasing humidity levels by replenishing moisture that’s been taken out by central air systems

Additionally, house plants reduce noise by acting as sound barriers and absorbing sound waves. House plants also provide a sort of insulation that warms your house in the winter and keeps it cool in the summer. But, the best health benefit that house plants provide is their ability to lift our moods and make us feel calmer and more optimistic. 

plants for negligent plant parents

Cacti and succulents are great for those who tend to forget about their plant children because they don’t require all that much care to keep them alive. Due to their ability to store water in their leaves, stems, or roots they only need to be watered once a week. If their pot doesn’t have good drainage then only water them sparingly to moisten the soil. Also, make sure the soil dries between each watering so their roots don’t rot. Since cacti and succulents are native to warm areas, put them in an area with bright, indirect light like a windowsill, but keep them out of direct sunlight because they are prone to sunburns. When it comes to soil, they like well-aerated and fast-draining soil, so a perlite or pumice mixed soil will work well.

cacti + succulents

plants that require little light

The heart leaf philodendron is a great plant for rooms that don’t get a lot of light because they don’t necessarily need all that much. Also, they’re great for offices because they thrive under fluorescent lights. This beautiful leafy green plant is great in hanging pots or a pot next to a mantel since they love to climb. They’re tolerant of dry air and like an occasional misting on their leaves. It’s really important to keep the leaves clean by wiping them with a damp cloth to keep dust off. Make sure to use room temperature water to keep the soil lightly moist spring through fall and allow the soil to dry in between watering in the winter. 

heart leaf philodendron

plants that love the sun

Jade plants are great house plants because they’re really easy to grow since they’re a kind of succulent. But, if your home tends to get cold then this is not the plant for you because it loves warm sunny weather. Like other succulents, they don’t like sitting in soil that’s constantly wet, so before you water it stick your finger in the soil to see how wet it is. If the top inch or two is dry then it’s ready to be watered, otherwise, let it be. A good rule of thumb is to water it every 2-3 weeks but you should check it regularly. Also, you should use a good potting soil that allows aeration so the roots don’t rot. A great way to encourage new growth is to prune off dead and shriveled branches.

jade plant

plants for colder weather

The cape primrose is a great plant for those who live in cooler climates or enjoy living in a cold house. Naturally, they live on the forest floor, so not only do they enjoy the cold they also like low-light conditions. In fact, they thrive in low-light conditions so place them by a window that gets partial light or in bright shade and they’ll grow beautiful deep green leaves. But if they get too much light their leaves will develop a yellowish-green color. The cape primrose tolerates drier soil and it’s best to allow the potting mix to dry slightly before thoroughly saturating it when you water it. And don’t worry if your cape primrose looks a little wilt-y, it doesn’t harm it. When you water this beautiful flower make sure to put the water directly on the soil and avoid getting water on the leaves, especially cold water, because it will stain them.

cape primrose

plants that like it hot hot hot

If you haven’t caught on by now, succulents are great indoor plants, and they’re also one of my favorites! Aloe is a great choice for two reasons: first, they’re super easy to take care of; and second, their juice can be used for medicinal purposes. It is true that aloe loves warm temperature, but as long as they’re in bright indirect light and are in a warmer part of the house it should do just fine. Like other succulents, aloe is prone to root rot so it’s important to plant them in a shallow container made from a porous material, like terra cotta, and has at least one drainage hole at the bottom. Another way to avoid root rot is to use a potting mix, not soil, that contains perlite, lava rock, and coarse sand. Aloe plants can be watered thoroughly but infrequently, a good rule of thumb is to allow the potting mix to dry 1-2 inches below the surface before watering. Additionally, aloe juice can be applied to scrapes and burns to relieve pain!

aloe

plants that aren't that thirsty

This slow-growing low maintenance plant has over 1,000 species; its leaves can be smooth or textured, red, green, gray, or purple; variegated, marbled, or solid; and have large, heart-shaped, or tiny leaves. Their thick fleshy leaves keep them from getting thirsty quickly so you won’t have to water them too frequently and it’s better to leave them on the dry side. While they don’t need a lot of water, they do need a medium to bright light or 12-16 hours of artificial light. These lush green plants are epiphytes in the wild so their soil should mimic slightly decaying bark (chunky, loose, acidic). Additionally, they like warm steamy conditions, so if you have a decently bright bathroom window, the peperomia would certainly do well there.

peperomia

plants that are thirsty

Like the peperomia, air plants are naturally epiphytes, but unlike peperomia, they don’t require to be planted in soil. Although these little plants are quite adorable and don’t take up a lot of space, they do require more TLC than other plants. One way to describe these plants is spoiled because they love a good morning soak. When your air plant is just starting it’s a good idea to soak them everyone 1-2 weeks for 5-10 minutes in room temperature water. After their soak, gently shake them dry and let them completely dry upside down on a towel in a bright space. In addition to their weekly soak, you should also mist it thoroughly once a week and more frequently if it gets a lot of sun. Don’t over mist though because it will rot if it sits in water. These cute plants are also great for bright bathroom windows!

air plant

plants that like attention

While the African violet is a little higher maintenance, if you take good care of it it will last a long time. I have one in my house that was my great grandmother’s and it’s still blooming! These small plants can have clusters of white, blue, or purple flowers over fuzzy leaves. African violets will bloom in lower light conditions, but it’s better to keep them in medium to bright indirect light. If their leaves are thin and dark green than they’re not getting enough light and if their leaves are light green and bleached out then they’re getting too much; like I said they’re fussy. Their soil should be loose and well-draining and should be kept lightly moist. It also wouldn’t hurt to fertilize them every 2 weeks with high phosphorous plant food during their growing season, but I’ve never fertilized mine and it’s still kicking.

african violet

plants that are small but mighty

These cute little plants got their name because frankly, they look like a little baby’s toes. Not only are they cute and fun to look at, but they’re also small and fit perfectly on a bright windowsill! Their stems can be mottled, grayish-green, or fully gray or brown. Baby toes like well-draining soil and a moderate amount of water.  An easy way to know when it’s time to water your baby toes is when their clear tops are soft and wrinkly. To water, gently pour water over and around the baby toes and continue to soak the soil until you get runoff in the bottom of the pot. Once you see runoff, place the pot back on a dry saucer and let it dry out completely before you water it again.

baby toes

plants that will fill your home with fragrance

I love lavender and not just because it fills the house with its beautiful fragrance, but also because its fragrance calms and relaxes you and you can use it in desserts and cocktails! These lovely flowers are native to Europe and the Mediterranean and thus require hot bright light to grow their foliage and scented blossoms. The most important thing to successfully grow lavender in your home to give it as much sunlight as you can. Lavender should be planted in a pot that drains quickly in rocky soil or well-draining soil. To increase your chance of success, add alkaline to its soil by putting crushed up eggshells on the top of the mix once a month. When watering your lavender, pour the water directly on the soil. Additionally, lavender is toxic to cats and dogs so make sure to put your plant in a place where they can’t get to it.

lavender

closing thoughts

I hope this information has been helpful and I hope you enjoyed reading about some of the many options you can choose from to decorate your house. The most important take away is that no two plants need the same kind of care, so as long as you choose one that lives the way you live you should have no problem successfully growing plants in your home!

Your personal botanist,
Taylor Connell

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