If you are anything like me, gardening was always that mirage you just couldn’t reach. Herb gardens died inexplicably. Seeds never sprouted. House plants died. I came to an uneasy arrangement with my household plants: I avoided them, and they lived. My horticultural grandmothers were likely embarrassed that their granddaughter could not even keep a pothos plant alive.
But now my home is filled with plants. And no, they are not fake plants, these are all real. Even with a black thumb, you too can have a home full of lush foliage.
The first step in filling your home with plants is to find the right kind- ones you can’t kill. Look for hardy plants that require little care and low lighting such as the Cast Iron Plant, Rubber Plant, Snake Plant, and Dragon Tree. Other good options are succulents such as Jade plant or Aloe. Others that require minimal sunlight, such as prayer plant and pothos are great lower lying plants. Ficus is one of the more popular plants to have in an office or home, but I’ve found it requires a good deal of sunshine.
If you like flowering plants, African violets are a great way to start. In fact, it was an African violet plant that turned my black thumb around. The plants are relatively easy to care for and are generous with blossoms in many shades of purple, pink, and white. They do require lots of sunlight so find a window to set them by. You may need to pinch off the underlying leaves occasionally to promote new blooms. Other easy-care flowering plants are begonias, bromeliads, peace lilies, and kalanchoe.
Cacti may also be a good alternative for you but I personally don’t recommend it in a household with children or pets.
Once you have your plants, be careful to follow the directions for sunlight exposure and watering. The number one reason household plants fail to thrive because of over watering.1 (Just ask my two drowned herb garden attempts and at least one pothos plant!) With some plants, such as the Peace Lily, you can tell immediately when water is needed. The leaves droop and shrivel. But for some, such as the Snake Plant, it’s harder to tell. The rule of thumb is to wait to water until the soil is dry to the touch at least an inch down. Also, don’t water on a schedule. Some plants require more watering than others.
Trimming and Soil
Most of the hardier household plants require little care but occasionally you do need to trim or pinch back the plant. To get a fuller, denser pothos plant, you may need to pinch off the trailing ends. African violets provide more frequent blooms if you keep the larger leaves pinched back. (Pinch off the underlying leaves.) With a Peace Lily and other broad leafed plants, you may need to pinch off the brown leaves to make room for more. Also, you may need to re-pot plants as they become too big for their current pot.
All of this is rare maintenance for the sometime-gardener. Most of these household plants can go months without any worries other than watering. The only thing I’ve had to do with my plants is to add extra soil. After nearly two years in the same pot, my Golden Pothos plant was looking a little spindly. I added extra soil and it is flourishing again.
You can find most of these easy-care household plants in the garden centers at Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, et cetera. And some garden centers do have a one-year guarantee on some plants. If your store has that policy, be sure to keep the information and receipts so you can return the plant if it dies.
Get a quote for a gardener
Still not able to keep your plants alive? Then you may need a gardener to bring out the best in your garden and improve the overall look of your home. You can easily compare quotes from gardening companies who are both local and nationwide: