Houseplants: Tips, Types, & Favorites

Let me start this off by saying that I am in no way a plant expert. I’ve had several rounds of succulents that just couldn’t seem to make it no matter what I tried to do to take care of them. I’ve now had a few for quite some time that (fingers crossed) I think are going to last me a while! That being said, coming from a non-plant expert, I’ve done some research and wanted to share some thoughts on tips, types, and NFDCo’s favorites for when it comes to using houseplants for styling. (May or may not also be using this as a guide for myself for my own future plant endeavors 🙂 ).

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Umbrella tree & succulents in our “Sigsbee Road Project” Dining area.

There’s no universal formula to keep every plant alive and thriving & different types of plants have different needs; whether it’s high sun exposure or filtered indirect lighting, cool, dry conditions or warm & humid temperatures, in the bathroom or in the kitchen. All are factors to consider when trying to keep your plants alive and well. We’ve rounded up some of the different types of plant situations and what works best where and why–and some of them may overlap from one category to the next. Here are some of our thoughts!

Beginners. If you’re just starting to incorporate houseplants into your home, it’s best to go for plants that grow easily and can withstand sporadic watering, inconsistent temperatures, and uneven light. AKA, the plants that can put up with anything, no matter your green thumb (or lack thereof). Some of our favorite plants for beginners that are almost sure to stay alive include pothos, spider plants, snake plants, and certain varieties of succulents and cacti (although, some types of succulents are actually very difficult to care for properly, that fact I am an expert on and know from personal experience!)

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Spider plant at our “Turner Hill Project” stairway. 

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Pothos in our “Shelter Island Home Project” kitchen. 

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Snake plant in our “South End Reno Project” living room.

Green Thumbers. Maybe you’ve got your plant care down to a science and have the ability to take care of some of the more difficult plants that are picky about their watering, amount of sunlight, temperature, etc. In that case, some of the most difficult plants to keep alive in your home are fiddle leaf figs, Boston ferns, orchids, zebra plants, and banana plants.

Fiddle leaf figs are among the most sought after & trending plant to want to keep in the house, but they are very temperamental when it comes to getting just the right amount of sunlight–not too much and not too little–and also don’t do well with changing it’s environment should you decide to move it from one room to another. (Fun fact: we have a fiddle leaf fig in the office and he’s thriving! We think the secret may be dumping our leftover tea & coffee into his soil but we’re not entirely sure!)

Boston ferns provide lush greenery but are also very needy. They will crisp if exposed to too much sunlight (same though) and prefer indirect light, the soil needs to be kept damp at all times and can’t bear temperatures that are too hot or too cold.

Orchids are beautiful and add a pop of vibrant color but have extremely particular needs for sunlight and watering. The Royal Horticultural Society states that orchids should be placed “in indirect light near a north or east facing window” and they need to be “watered once a week but not so much that their roots would become waterlogged.” How’s that for needy?

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Orchid in our “Turner Hill Project” living room. 

The funky contrast of the leaves on a zebra plant certainly adds interest when incorporated into the home, however must be kept at around 70 degrees Fahrenheit all year round, and also are a tropical plant that require 60%-70% humidity.

Speaking of tropical, banana leafs are used for playing up a tropical look within a home, but they also require 12 hours of light per day as well as a fertilizer mixture every month, and just the right amount of watering for the soil to be kept moist.

Bathrooms & showers. Plants that can endure (and thrive!) in low light, high humidity, and temperature swings are best for bathrooms and showers. Certain plants in the bathroom help to purify the air and keep the space feeling clean and fresh. Some of the best plants to keep in bathrooms are aloe, eucalyptus, (extremely beneficial to your health when hung in the shower!) bamboo, spider plants, Boston ferns, cast iron plants, and peace lily.

Bedrooms. There are several plants that are beneficial to have in the bedroom due to them promoting better sleep, improve air quality, boost your mood, and reduce stress (yes please to all of these!). Snake plants, pothos, philodendron, rubber plant, (yes, this is an actual type of plant, not fake!) lavender, aloe, and peace lily are among some of the best roommates in terms of plants to keep in your bedroom.

 

Kitchen. Of course in the each of the different rooms in the house, the amount of light exposure, temperature, etc. all have to be considered and the kitchen is no exception. When it comes to keeping plants in the kitchen, English Ivy is great for air purification (but toxic to pets!). Aloe is great to keep near the stove, in case an accidental burn occurs you have easy access to instant cooling relief! Spider plants help to remove odor and pollutants in the air. Jasmine offers a fresh smell and will leave your kitchen with a sweet, clean scent. And, we’re always a fan of home-grown herbs hung in a sunny kitchen window or growing in pots on your counter tops!

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Aloe & herbs in our “Pine Neck Project” kitchen.

Pets. If you have pets in your home, it’s definitely important to be mindful of plants that may be harmful or toxic to them. You can still breathe fresh life into your home while keeping your pets & kids safe by choosing Boston Ferns, Blue Echeveria (type of succulent), baby rubber plant (*only the American or Baby rubber plant is non-toxic. The other rubber plant mentioned earlier is actually poisonous to pets!), Swedish Ivy, Parlour palms, spider plants, cast iron plants, Haworthia (a succulent that looks like aloe–aloe IS toxic to pets and children), and basil (one of the only herbs that isn’t toxic to pets!), just to name a few! There are plenty of pet-friendly plants to choose from to make sure your four legged friend won’t be harmed, just be sure to do your research before purchasing or having plants in an area where pets could reach and nibble on.

There so many plants out there that will enhance your home, but many different requirements for all the different types. Any research you can do for proper plant care will help to improve the longevity of your plants’ lives! From one non-expert to the next, hope this helps in selecting and taking care of your next houseplants!

 

 

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