Don’t have a green thumb? Plant experts promise you can take care of these houseplants and share easy tips to keep them alive.
By Alana Blumenstein
Featured photo by Michelle Gerard
1. Succulents and Cacti
Farah and Oula, designers and owners of Maison Farola
Why these are great houseplants: They are just beautiful and there is a great variety of them. They can be planted in small pots or combined to form a beautiful tabletop centerpiece or even a standalone pot.
How to take care of them: You can be really creative with these plants. Using the correct pot to achieve the look you’re going for is important. Succulents need to be watered about once a week, and cacti need to be watered once a month. They both need some sun lights. Last but not least, they work with any home design.
2. Fiddle Leaf Fig
Kazmira Eldaly, founder of Sol and Seed & Common Flower Gatherings
Why this is a great houseplant: For so many reasons. When it comes to the fig, you really need to be intentional with how you are nurturing it, and I think that’s my favorite part. It’s a tricky houseplant, but if you pay attention to it, it will tell you what it needs! My favorite part about owning the fig is the intentionality that you need to keep it alive, and it also reminds me of being aware with the relationships I have in my life.
How to take care of it: The fig is tricky to take care of if you don’t pay attention. It’s definitely not a plant you can throw in a corner and forget about. The fig needs to be as close to a window as possible, without it getting any direct light. Any harsh sunlight will definitely burn and kill your fig which is very sad. This plant requires watering (all the way through), about once a week, but don’t overwater it. If it’s been a week and the soil is still moist 2 inches down, DON’T WATER IT! It’s definitely a learning process, but pay attention to the nurturing it needs, and you will see growth.
3. Pinstripe Calathea
Lisa Waud, founder and creative director of Pox + Box
Why this is a great houseplant: It’s modern and gorgeous.
How to take care of it: It likes medium to bright light and lots of humidity — a bright bathroom or a sunny window paired with a humidifier nearby is great.
4. Stromanthe Triostar
Joyce Mast, Plant Mom of Bloomscape
Why this is a great houseplant: I love the fabulously colored foliage on this beauty. It is a joy to watch it opening up to greet the day with lush dark green foliage streaked in a creamy pink as the light increases each morning. At night it literally reaches for the stars as the light fades, showing off the beautiful cranberry underside. It lifts my spirits each time I walk by.
How to take care of it: Place the Triostar in a medium to brightly lit area. Avoid direct sunlight though, it will scorch the leaves. Water when the top of the soil just starts to dry, and do not let the entire pot dry out. It enjoys a bit of extra misting during the drier winter months. That’s it!
5. Bamboo Palm
Meg Gallagher, house plant buyer of English Gardens
Why this is a great houseplant: I love this plant for many reasons! Bamboo palms have a tropical, majestic and stately look to them. Their upright habit and their graceful, dark green feathery leaves can’t be beat. They’re highly adaptable to different light conditions. Typically, a lower light loving plant, the bamboo palm can adapt to lighter conditions. This is a perfect plant for Michigan’s long and dark winters.
The bamboo palm can also move outdoors in the summertime, so you can enjoy it on your patio or your entryway. This is the best part — it cleans and filters the air in your home.
How to take care of it: Bamboo palms like moist soil so water when the top of the soil is dry to about 1/3 down. Do not overwater. Bamboo palms do not like soggy soil and sitting in overwatered soil will cause root rot and your bamboo palm will die. Note that if you are over-watering your bamboo, the tips of the plant will turn yellow. If they turn brown, you are under-watering it.
Most plants are susceptible to spider mites and bamboo palms are no exception. Regularly wiping down your plants with soapy water solution will not only make your plant look beautiful, it can minimize an attack of spider mites.
Make sure to avoid direct sun-light. Your bamboo palm’s natural look and symmetry can be maintained by turning the container 1/4 turn every week to allow light to penetrate the foliage canopy of your bamboo palm.