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.
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 baginda silver dragon
Calathea beauty star
Calathea flame store
Calathea Roseopicta Corona
Calathea white star
Calathea Fasciata or Rotundifolia
Calathea velvet touch
Philodendron Florida Beauty
Philodendron florida ghost
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!
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!
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.