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Plant Wish List

I already have a fair bit of plants. To date, I have about 65 or 66 different species of plants. That number doesn’t include the number of physical plants I have. I have a ton of propagates going currently.

My plant babies. Though, I have a few more in my living room. This is the majority of them. (Also an older picture)

That number doesn’t stop me from wanting more though!

Here’s a list of my wishlist plants in no particular order, except alphabetical (kind of)!

  • Aglaonema pictum tricolor 
  • Alocasia cuprea
  • Alocasia baginda silver dragon 
  • Anthurium chamberlainii
  • Anthurium clarinvervium 
  • Anthurium crystalline
  • Brassavola nodosa
  • Calathea beauty star
  • Calathea flame store
  • Calathea Roseopicta Corona
  • Calathea white star
  • Calathea Fasciata or Rotundifolia
  • Calathea medallion 
  • Calathea velvet touch
  • Ctenanthe setosa 
  • Hoya affinis 
  • Hoya callistophylla
  • Hoya Eskimo 
  • Hoya calycina 
  • Hoya curtsii 
  • Hoya platycaulis
  • Hoya undulata 
  • Hoya krohniana 
  • Hoya lockii 
  • Hoya merrillii
  • Licuala Cordata 
  • Monstera siltepacana
  • Monstera dubai
  • Pinguicula reticulata 
  • Pinguicula weser 
  • Pinguicula Tina
  • Pinguicula sethos 
  • Philodendron Florida Beauty
  • Philodendron florida ghost
  • Pothos beccarianus
  • Rhaphidophora Cryptantha
  • Stromanthe triostar 

As you can see, I have a lot of plants I want. What can I say, I am a full blown plant dad. I feel like I won’t be able to get any of these plants until I get my own home, where I can make sure I have the space necessary for them. Can’t wait for that day to come!

What are some of your wishlist plants?


Water is incredibly important for life.

Without water, nothing will be able to survive.

This is especially true for plants.

Water helps transport nutrients up and down a plant due to the differences in pressure within the plant.

The biggest thing issue people have with water is the overuse of it. People tend to think that all plants require water every single day. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Most plants will drown.

Yes, you read that correctly. Drown.

Most plant roots will not be able to withstand staying in water, unless they are grown within water. Water restricts gas exchange within the roots, essentially drowning the plant slowly.

In general, water your plants less. Think about how the plant would survive in nature. The plant itself doesn’t get watered on a regular schedule. They are subjected to the weather patterns of the area they are growing in. That means they can go for weeks without water and have evolved ways to store as much water as possible.

Considering we have these plants in enclosed pots of various materials, if we constantly keep water in their pots, the water won’t be able to go anywhere and it will just sit in the pot. At this point, the roots of the plant will suffer from root, effectively killing your plant. Some plants do like sitting in water, or prefer wetter soils. Properly do your research on the plant you are purchasing to find out what kind of environment in naturally lives in.

Something to consider is humidity as well. Most of our indoor houseplants are tropical plants, meaning that the air is usually a lot more moist than our traditional indoor homes, especially once air condition and heat are introduced.

When in doubt, water less. Let your plant dry out, and water when the soil is about 1 inch dry from the surface. Buy a humidifier for an increase in humidity in the air.



Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about light!

Out of the factors that plants need to survive, light might be one of the most important, as well as the trickiest to get right.

Once you understand how your plant works, you can see if they’re not getting watered enough, especially with plants that are expressive with watering, like the Spathiphyllum, or Peace Lilies.

When in doubt, bright indirect light is the best for indoor foliage plants. Start with that. Most indoor plants we have are tropical plants that live in the understory. That means they never get direct sunlight. They’ll usually get dappled light that’s mostly blocked by trees.

The best kind of light that some people have been saying is a Northeastern light. If you have a window that’s facing the Northeast, more Eastern than north I think, you’re golden. If you have a room that might be North facing, but you can easily read a book in that room without needing an extra light source, plants can survive in that room. Note that I said survive. If you can, place your plants right next to the window to get the most light they can get.

Western and Southern facing windows offer some great light, however, can be too harsh for a lot of plants if they are placed in direct light. In those instances, place your plants along the walls that don’t get light, or will get light for an hour or two. This will keep them from getting burnt.

I personally have a North facing window. It gets bright enough in my room, however, not bright enough for a lot of the plants I wanted to grow. I decided to supplement my light with a grow light. We can talk more about grow lights in a later post.

There are a ton of resources out there for you if you ever have questions. People in the plant community are quite happy to help and talk about plants, so reach out! If you have any further questions on light, please, don’t hesitate to ask!

Plants to Start With

So, you’ve decided to get a houseplant and you have no idea which one to get.

Don’t worry, that’s normal. There are hundreds, if not, thousands of plants to choose from, all in varying sizes, shapes, colors, and of course, difficulties.

Lucky for you, here’s a list of really easy plants to start with. I chose these specific plants because they can go a period of time without water and they can survive in low light conditions. This is by no means a definitive list. This is a list of plants that has worked well for me, as well as other people.

I also live in Central New York, which can be difficult for a lot of plants. I do, however, have a grow light that is set at 12 hours, and also have a heater set at around 65°F with a daily misting of water, so my conditions are closer to an ideal situation, but still not the most ideal. There are improvements I can make of course, but I’ve found that my plants do really well because of the amendments I have made.

Now, to the plants!

ZZ Plant (Zamiocolcus zamiifolia)

This lovely plant is one of the most indestructible plants you can own. It grows upright with a dark green foliage. The good ol’ ZZ plant can survive more than a month without water and will survive in pretty low light conditions. If you can give this particular plant a few hours of light a week, you can leave it in a bathroom with no windows and it will survive. Don’t overwater this plant. It has large tubers in its root system and will easily rot out if you water it too much. Nick Pileggi, phillyfoliage on instagram and Nick Pileggi on YouTube, likes to say that you shouldn’t water this plant more than you pay your rent.

Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

Golden Pothos, also called Devil’s Ivy, is a fast growing plant that does well in similar conditions as the ZZ plant. It can tolerate low light, and you don’t have to water them that frequently. The nice thing about the Pothos is that you can grow it as a hanging plant and let it cascade down, or put a pole or trellis in the pot and let it climb. It’s a fast growing plant and you can propagate this plant incredibly easy. If you look along the vine, you’ll see little bumps, which are the aerial roots. If you cut above and below that, you can use these nodes to propagate. Then, you can have a ton of plants!

Snake Plants (Sansevieria)

Snake plants are an amazingly easy plant to grow. It’s very succulent and prefers drier conditions. These plants can also survive in low light conditions and infrequent watering. They grow pretty straight up, which can give you nice vertical lines to break up a space. There’s quite a few different types that you can choose from so you can pick your favorite type and enjoy countless years with this plant.

Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera deliciosa)

If you want a plant that can potentially grow into a humongous plant, this is the plant for you. The beautiful Swiss Cheese plant, or Monstera deliciosa (most people will just call it Monstera) is quite an easy plant to grow. As it gets older, the fenestrated leaves (the holes and splits within the leaves) will get much bigger. These plants will take regular watering and bright indirect light. These plants will sprout tons of aerial roots as it matures so you’ll be able to propagate this plant pretty easily!

These four are easy plants. Now, when I say low light, I still mean light enough where you can read a book without an extra light. Any light lower than that most, if not all, plants won’t be able to survive for very long. Also, when I say “survive in low light” I mean survive. Plants will always need light in order to live. There won’t be any plants that can survive in no light. If you truly want a plant to thrive bright indirect light will be best. Try not to give any plants direct light or they may burn. Unless it’s a cactus. Those like direct light.

My advice, if you want to get started with a houseplant, is to go to your local nursery or greenhouse (not a big box store that has a plant section) and talk to the people that work there. They are there for you and will help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

Other than that, take your time and observe. Growing plants is a science and an art. Really observe how your plants react to certain situations and get in tune with your plants. If you love your plant your plant will love you too.

How to Keep a Plant: The Basics

So you’ve decided to keep a plant.

You’ve figured out the environment you have and what kind of plant you can get, and went off and got your first plant.

First, congratulations! Growing plants indoors is such a rewarding activity, especially if you live in the north like I do. Winters can be brutal with no greenery and no sun. Having houseplants is a great way to stave off the seasonal depression that most of us will feel.

Now, you’ve brought your plant home and put them in a nice spot that you’ve specifically picked out for them. Now what do you do?

First thing I do is check the soil. If the soil is dry I’ll give the plant a good water. If it’s moist, I’ll leave it alone. If the soil is soggy, however, especially in a plastic nursery pot, I’ll repot it immediately.

Most plants do not like sitting in sopping wet soil. It will lead to root rot and your plant will die a slow death. People usually kill their plants because they are overwatered.

Second, I’ll make sure that the plant is happy where it is!

This particular step will take some time, a few weeks honestly. A plant may be unhappy in a certain location that you thought would be perfect for it. The only way to know is if you keep an eye on it and see how it’s growing. If your watering is consistent and you’re making sure it’s getting the appropriate amount at the appropriate times and it’s yellowing or dropping leaves, it could be a light issue.

Third, get to know your plants.

Figure out how it tells you it needs something. Some plants will curl their leaves, like Scindapsus pictus, others will droop altogether and look like it died, like Fittonias. Get to know your plant and see how it reacts to certain situations. You’ll find that plants are quite adaptable and quite resilient.

You are dealing with a life when you take care of plants, much like taking care of animals and other people. The only difference is that you don’t get to see right way if the plant needs something. It’s a relationship that takes time and cultivation.

One of the most rewarding times is when you see your plant sporting new growth. That’s what gets you hooked. You’ll end up living in a jungle in no time.

Where Do I Start?

Carol Watson Greenhouse in Lafayette, NY

If you’re like most people who want to start having indoor plants, you have no idea where to start.

Walking into a greenhouse is incredibly exhilarating, and intimidating. Everywhere you look, you see plants and it can be incredibly overwhelming.

First step: figure out your situation

By this I mean find out what kind of light you have in your home, what your schedule is like, and the overall environment your plants would be in.

Is there high traffic? Is the humidity super low? Do you have really bright light throughout the day? These are a few questions you’ll want answered before going to a greenhouse to pick up a new plant baby.

Second step: talk to someone

The best thing about greenhouses are the people that work there. The staff are knowledgeable, friendly, and ready to talk to people about plants. They are there to help you gain knowledge and become the best plant parent you can be.

Third step: choose a plant

So the staff person would probably have given you recommendations on plants based on the questions you answered. Now, it’s up to you to choose! Here’s a few plants that I believe are relatively easy to maintain for most people.

Mind you, I’m not a professional, but I do have some experience with house plants. Just a disclaimer, when I say low light, it doesn’t mean no light. All plants prefer bright indirect light. Some of these plants will survive in low light, but they won’t necessarily thrive.

  • Pothos
    • Epipremnum sp. or Pothos plants are really easy to take care of. They can do ok in low light, and can be left alone for a while, so they can survive pretty dry conditions. Ideally, you’d want some bright indirect light, and regular watering when the soil dries up. But pothos do pretty well in low light. These guys will vine and cascade down and can be incredibly beautiful.
  • Philodendron species
    • Philodendron species are much similar to pothos in that they can work really well in low light and dry conditions. This one is a bit harder because some Philodendrons require more humid areas, or more light, while others don’t need as much. Definitely do your research and ask before you purchasing a Philodendron. Some Philodendrons vine and others don’t. They do like bright indirect light, but they can survive in lower light. These guys can either vine or grow upright, depending on the species.
  • ZZ plant
    • Zamioculcus zamifolii, or the ZZ plant is damn near indestructible. They can survive extremely long between waterings, due to their thick rhizomes that help store water, and is the plant that’s furthest away from my north facing window and is doing fine. Unlike Pothos or some Philodendrons, they grow more erect and have a more rigid appearance.
  • Snake Plants
    • Sansevieria, or snake plants, or mother in law’s tongue, grow tall and erect, and almost look like a blade in some species. Sansevieria don’t need as much water as other plants (they are very succulent) and can survive in low light conditions.

These were a few of my first plants, and I think they are the perfect plants to get you started. If you love them properly, they will love you right back.

Fourth step: Enjoy your plant!

Now, it’s time to just love your plants! There’s something so calming about tending plants and just being around them as well. I mean, look at this place.

Carol Watson Greenhouse, Lafayette NY

Who wouldn’t love to sit there and have breakfast, or do some work?

Plants can provide inspiration, creativity, mental and emotional well being, and a sense of fulfillment. Even having one or two can benefit you.

If you have any questions, please, don’t hesitate to ask! I would love to help you on your journey to becoming the best plant parent you can be!

Why Should we Keep Plants?

Within the past decade, indoor plants have seen a huge rise in popularity. From having a small succulent on your night stand to having dozens of plants all around your home, more and more people are interested in indoor plants

Let’s be real, plants are amazing.

I personally have about 14 plants of my own, and I plan on getting more as soon as I see ones I want to have. Like I wrote last week, plants have been a huge part of my life, so it was natural for me to collect more plants.

But is there a reason why more and more people are starting to collect more plants?

They’re pretty

Plants are pretty. Have you ever sat in a dull room day in and day out? You usually feel crumby. Even during winter, we get that anxious feeling of sitting around indoors all day and have a need to go out. According to Texas A&M University, indoor plants help with concentration and memory, overall happiness, accelerate the healing process, improves relationship and compassion, improves human performance and energy, perceived quality of life, reduce stress, and the list goes on. All of this just by looking and being around plants. Their physical nature is pleasing, and it gives us a whole ton of benefits.

They help improve air quality

We as humans need oxygen to survive. Luckily, the waste product of plants is oxygen! They help oxygenate our surroundings, which helps us. Not only that, they also help purify the air. According to a study done by NASA, low light requiring plants show the potential to remove harmful toxins in the air that can cause sick building syndrome, mainly formaldehyde, trichlorethylene, and benzene, which are volatile organic compounds that are carcinogenic. Click here to see the list of plants that NASA believes help purify the air.

They help improve your quality of sleep

This is sort of my own personal experience. Ever since getting my little jungle in my room, I’ve found that I have been falling asleep faster, and entering a deeper sleep faster too. I may only sleep five hours one night, but it’s the best five hours I can get and I still feel completely energized for the next day. The humidity in my room has also increased, which, according to the National Sleep Foundation is a good thing. It keeps your skin and mucous membranes from drying out, which makes bacteria less likely to enter the body. Now, too much humidity can lead to less desired effects, however, the plants in your room will utilize the humidity as well, helping keep a nice balance.

So this is why I personally keep plants. They’re amazing, beautiful, and do so much for your mental, emotional, and physical health.

Do you keep any plants? If so, what kind?


Hello, and welcome to The Plant Shelf!

My name is Armando and I am excited to be here with you today!

A little about me, I am an environmental educator and scientist with a penchant for plants, particularly, house plants. I also am a singer, singing in classical style and barbershop.

In this blog, we will shed some light (or leaves) on the fascinating world of plants.

We’ll talk about the biology of plants and how they function

I’ll take you on a tour of my own plant collection, showing you all my plant babies.

I’ll show you new plants I get, and even do a plant of the month where I talk about a specific plant and talk about how they look, how they grow, and how they behave. 

I’ll post every Friday around 12pm EST. 

If you have a plant question, please let me know! I’d love to talk plants.

I look forward to getting to know you and discovering the world of plants together!