If you ask me what my favorite purchases have been while in quarantine, I would without a doubt say my 2 new houseplants from Cast & Grey Botanical. You see, I don’t have ANY natural ability with plants and I need guidance! I’ve tried reading books, looking online for pointers and even speaking to some of my neighbors who have green thumbs. However, despite how much I give it my all, my plant journey has never been a success. Until now that is. In my DM to Cast and Grey, I simply told them how big my planter was and what type of light exposure I had in each room. Within minutes a reply came describing what would work best under those conditions. That is not where the success story ends. Not only did I get the plants at the same price or less than I would have paid at a Home Depot type place, but they were both delivered directly to my doorstep. My plants are currently thriving and the best part is I know if I run into trouble…the answers are just a quick DM away.
Here, Emily Hinners of Cast & Grey Botanical breaks down some of the best indoor plants to turn your home into a green oasis.
When I first started keeping houseplants, I thought I would only be able to handle succulents. The lady at the garden shop told me they only needed to be watered once a month. I thought, ‘I can do that’.
But I didn’t really consider that succulents need a lot of light in order to thrive. I lived in a Seattle shoebox apartment with no direct sunlight, so as a result I ended up with stretched-out, winding plants that were constantly seeking more sun.
Turns out, there are lots of different houseplants for beginners that are easy to take care of, and you can find one that’s suited to whatever sunlight conditions your space has to offer.
One of my very favorite plants is sansevieria, or the snake plant. There are lots of different kinds of sansevieria, and my apartment can never have too many. They’re known as a low-light plant, but can adapt to many different light conditions. You can even find them growing in direct sun! In lower light conditions, they require very infrequent watering.
Another low-light-tolerant plant is the zamioculcas zamiifolia, or ZZ plant. Much like the sansevieria, it’s adaptable from low to bright light, and prefers to stay on the dry side. It keeps its water supply in the bulbous rhizome that it grows from.
Pothos are so much fun. Their vines will snake all over your house in time, and there are a bunch of varieties to choose from. Golden, Marble Queen, Pearls ’n Jade, Neon — whatever your favorite is, it’s easy to care for (water when the soil goes dry) and easy to propagate with cuttings.
Tradescantia (aka spiderwort, inch plant) is a real stunner. The more popular zebrina variety is cloaked in purple with shimmering silver stripes. It’s a surprisingly fast grower — my albiflora (the green one with cream stripes) came from a single four-inch cutting and is now a curtain of leaves that cascades all the way to the floor. (Also easy to propagate! Photo is of cuttings dipped in rooting powder and stuck right into soil.) These like to be watered when the soil is almost dry.
My first non-succulent plant was a spider plant. Happy in medium-to-bright light, when they’re mature enough they’ll start sprouting little baby spider plants that you can cut off and share with your friends. All they need is a good drink when the soil dries out.
Y’all know about tillandsia, also known as air plants. Savannah’s famous ‘Spanish moss’ is a kind of air plant. Most tillandsia are epiphytic, which means they don’t need soil to grow. Instead, they get most of their nutrients from the air. They thrive in bright light, with a good thorough soak about once a week. It’s important to let the water drain out of them afterwards, though, to avoid rot. There are lots of creative ways to display air plants!
Haworthia are a striking succulent plant native to South Africa. Their watering needs are infrequent and they thrive in bright sunlight. Some varieties are easy to mistake for aloe. The two genus are related, but not the same.
Jade is gorgeous. When it’s mature, its stems get kind of woody and it grows into a succulent little tree. It grows best in bright indirect sunlight. You can tell it’s time to water when the leaves get a little wrinkly. Like a lot of my bright-light plants, I find my jade likes to be left alone for the most part.
Houseplants can be intimidating if you’ve never kept any, but caring for them is like any other skill. It’s fun to learn! If you’re new to plants, consider starting with one of these. I’m sure you’ll find one that speaks to you.