Learning About Indoor Plants

Plant HuntingSettling into our new space has been a ton of fun, but we're far from settled. I don't know if any of you have ever experienced this, but when I move into a new space I have to decorate immediately or I will quickly develop blind spots to the boxes and messes. I just stop noticing all the little details that I meant to finish or fix or work on. In this space, I'm really trying to hustle and dive into decorating before I stop noticing all the things I meant to do. 

So anyway! This past week has been about plants. I'm hunting for lots of plants to fill out space with fresh vibes. It's incredible how much plants add to a room! I feel like they really bring a space to life. 

Plant Hunting Plant Hunting          Plant Hunting Plant Hunting Plant Hunting I'm a total amateur with plants. My only goal is to keep most of them alive. 

With that said, I'm not one to start dishing advice out about how to choose and care for them. (Hopefully someday I'll reach that status. Dream big, right?) 

With that said, here are some awesome indoor plant articles that I'm learning from right now:

 
Here are a few snapshots:
Plants in our new studioPlants in our new studioAdding plants to our new space! Plants in our new studioI'd love to hear your tips for keeping indoor plants! xo. Elsie 
 
Credits//Author: Elsie Larson, Photography: Sarah Rhodes 
  • I have killed like half of the plants you have beautifully placed throughout your space. guess i need to go shopping for the other half:)

  • Love it. I am truly a novice when it comes to plants and especially indoor ones. I’ll definitely be checking out these article you mentioned though.

  • Aloe Vera is incredibly easy to keep alive, and handy to have around with it’s medical effects. Snake Plants are easy to care for too, plus they are great for the windows that have too much insight, since they grow pretty high and are kind of dense.

    I apologize in advance for bad english, but you’ve got a swedish reader here!

  • Thank you for linking 10 tips for the black thumb! Unfortunately I am not having luck with even the supposedly easiest of plants – I just killed more cactuses than I’m proud of. 🙁 But no fear.. I’m ready to hit Lowes & Home Depot to try again this year because I just love how plants make a house a home too!

  • advice – neglect, for the most part. i planted several succulents together at the beginning of summer 2013. they lived outside all summer and have now survived a transition indoors a very chilly saskatchewan winter. i think the key to the success of these plants is the use of CACTUS SOIL and very little watering.

  • I LOVE this post – I am such a plant junkie. I always tell people that two things make your house look like an “adult” house – a rug and (alive) plants.

  • The terracotta pots will need a base or they will leak all over your pretty window sills.

  • I kill every plant that enters my home. I’ve had luck this year with a split leaf philodendron (they get large and beautiful), a peace lily, a palm, and trying to keep my fern alive. My mom has a rubber tree that is older than me!

  • I noticed the link “Air Purifying House Plants” is broken. I’d love to follow it to its intended destination, if possible! 🙂

  • i have killed a few plants myself and now have a fobia of anything other than fresh cut flowers {which inevitably will die, thus meaning i can’t kill them myself}. thanks for this resource…i love the life indoor plants add to a room so i will have to give them another try 🙂

  • Do you know what kind of plant the middle one in the shot with three in the pots is? I bought a similar one a few years ago and can’t seem to remember the name. It grows like mad!

  • My problem is finding plants that aren’t poisonous to my cats. Most of those listed as air purifying or great indoor plants are bad for my kitties 🙁

  • Nice! I’ve been searching for low maintaince plants for quite sometime. thanks for the insiration

  • So far I haven’t killed any of the new plants I’ve brought into the house. And I noticed your scallions by the window. I keep mine in a mason jar and bought a mason jar lid that’s cut for flowers to keep my scallions upright. My best tip is not to over water. That’s my problem more than anything!

  • I comment with a minimum of expertise, though I’ve now got plants that I’ve kept alive for over a year so I guess I’m finally doing something right! Mostly, I think you just have to love them – I love my plants the way I would a pet and I love to take care of them.

    My main tips are to learn how to test soil moisture so you’re not guessing, to choose good drainage over beauty when it comes to containers, and to keep as many of your plants grouped together and in a convenient location as possible. The huge shelf of plants in my living room is thriving because it’s right next to the kitchen sink and there are so many that is always remember to water, while the couple plants in my bedroom are always in worse shape because they’re just less convenient and easier to ignore. My favorite plants are snake plant (sansevieria), umbrella plant (schaefflerus, my absolute fav), and jade plant. I would not recommend ferns, they’re picky and I always kill them. I’ve learned so much from watching this YouTube channel: http://m.youtube.com/user/TheFicusWrangler

  • I really wish that I was able to have plants in my home, as they really just bring calm and energy into a home, but I have cats who eat them, and even if they didn’t i have two black thumbs!

    rae from lovefromberlin

  • This post is so timely. I have to work so hard to keep the ONE plant I have alive. Haha, these links will be so helpful.

  • The rubber tree on the right side of the image directly above the one of you cropped below the nose is the heartiest indoor plant I know. Ours even got a bit leggy, so we cut it at the root, stuck it back in the soil, staked it, and it rooted again and is happier than ever. I have also had good luck with ferns indoors. I love button ferns and maiden hair ferns.

    http://www.roseannbathphoto.com

  • I just read about using your juicing mulch for composting, so I am guessing somehow that can incorporated as a fertilizer, maybe after composting??

  • I agree! My succulents were going strong in a part soil/part sand mixture with lots of “neglect” until our ceiling leaked water directly into them! It was so sad to see them drown. I’ve managed to save two little ones with lots and lots of forgetfulness about watering.

  • I don’t really know anything about plants except that they like rock music. Honestly. I think it was Mythbusters or something like that, they did an experiment and realizes plants grow more and prettier if they ‘listen’ to rock music. Awesome, huh?

    In other news, one of my succulents is dying and I’m starting to panic. I noticed the bottom of it is going brown and almost rotten looking, but the top is still green and firm. I don’t know what to do.

  • I know what you mean about having to unpack and decorate sooner rather than later. Blind spots come easily not just to you! As far as plants, I love my Christmas Cactus. I don’t know if there is another name for it but it blooms annually around Christmas time (mine is still going strong now) and is extremely easy to take care of! Just stick it in a sunny spot and give it water every once in a while. Plus, its bright pink flowers brighten the winter months which is needed where I live!

  • I just looked through the air purifying plants and can definitely say the Snake, Pothos, and Spider are easy ones. A suggestion I have is the Tillandsia family, which comes in a huge variety of shapes and several colors. Even though they are also called air plants, they still do require water, but a quick mist is all it takes, with occasional soakings…

  • Your plants look so good! What a beautiful spot you have for them in that lovely bay window.

    I love houseplants too and have a bunch of them. I don’t mean to brag but keeping them alive is something I’m good at and they grow so big that I am forced to lop whole branches off some of them, lest they take over our space.

    A tip I can give is to always have a drainage hole in the bottom of any pot. And since that is necessary for their survival, I assume there are holes in those cute terra-cotta pots you’ve set out. Water will (and should) leek out of them when you water, so you’ll want to put some of those little matching terra-cotta plates under them. If you can find the ones with the glazed insides, they’re better because the unglazed ones will absorb water and can also ruin the surface they’re set on.

    Also it’s usually better to water your plants well (until some water drips out the hole) and then leave them ’til they dry out slightly before watering them again, than it is to water a little bit but more often. For my big pots I water once a week and for smaller ones (that dry out more quickly) a couple times a week, but your schedule will depend on the humidity in your house. Checking with your finger is the best test … If the soil below the surface feels wet than wait to water again.

  • The best advice I have is: don’t over water the plants, most plants die because they get too much water.
    Reading your blog has inspired me to go back to growing indoor plants. I think plants make a house a home.

  • Elsie – please tell me where your blouse is from ^^ I’m a huge fan of succulents, they’re almost impossible to kill. I’m trying to find a proper way to display my plants. Right now I have a plant shelf but I’m not happy with it . any ideas? ^^

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6RHZYIhS-o Go to the experts to learn about plants. Almost every botanic garden has a website with great info. The Uni of Illinois Extension You Tubes are excellent. Plants have differing water needs. Flushing salts out of soil by watering thoroughly and letting water drain through the soil is important. Don’t let your plants sit in saucers filled with water – roots will rot. The clip I linked has good quality info. Happy gardening.

  • I love houseplants too – inherited from my Mum I think, along with half my current plants. I used to manage to keep them alive pretty well without really doing too much – ignore largely and water when I remember about once a month! However, since getting cats who like nothing more than chewing on them, they’ve all died except a huge banana plant they don’t seem to like the taste of, though they are very happy to scratch around in the soil.
    Anyone any tips for keeping kitties off the plants?!

  • Thank you so much for this post! Adding plants to our home is at the top of my to-do list for this year. Can’t wait to read the articles you listed…I’m definitely not outfitted with a green thumb!

    HUGS,
    Jessica

  • I have around 50 houseplants in my apartment of all different varieties – it’s a jungle in here. My general tip for success would be to learn a little bit about the types of plants. Some like direct sunlight, some don’t, some don’t care. Some like to dry out completely in between watering (succulents, and most other potted plants), some like to always have moist soil and wither if the soil dries. Some like to be misted (eg. ferns). Also, succulents like really sandy, porous, quick draining soil (which is easy to mix regular potting mix with play sand and perlite to make your own succulent soil mix which will be way better than most succulent mixes you find in the stores). Also, remember to fertilize in the spring.

    The best way to be successful with plants, from my experience, is to buy plants that fit with the amount of light you get where you want to place the plant and that have needs that fit in line with your horticulture style. For me, I have to avoid high-light plants, even though I want them so badly, because I know they will just wither in my apartment. I also avoid plants that are too finicky about moisture levels and what not.

  • I too have a crazy love for plants! I took a great class in college on interior plants and would highly recommend the Miracle Grow Complete Guide to Houseplants. I have saved quite a few plants by learning about their individual needs and wants. Good luck!

  • I’d love to know if anyone has advice on indoor citrus? I always read differing opinions on whether they can thrive indoors, or if outside is best for them. I live in sunny Los Angeles and one died outdoors on me, so I’m at a bit of a loss :/ But i would love an indoor lemon tree!

  • To avoid the bad smell, you can put broken eggshells in the bottom layer of soil – then they help with the drainage as well as acting as fertiliser!

  • I am literally the grim reaper when it comes to plants. I’ve killed a myriad of them over the course of my life. I love the look of fresh plants so I shamefully resorted to, fake *shudder* as it was just too depressing having the kiss of death.
    Thanks for the articles!
    The Macadame. xx
    http://www.creamstop.com

  • really helpful links! I have found the easiest way to bring some green to my flat is taking cuttings of ivy and letting them do their thing in pretty glasses and jugs of water – no maintenance necessary!

  • and I am an avid gardener and have a somewhat green thumb. I love to dig in the dirt. And most recently I have discovered the awesomeness of orchids that I have actually been able to get to rebloom each year. Well…at least one of them. i have two that are being a bit stubborn this year but I may have let them down a bit with this cold winter we had. Still hoping they will shoot some blooms up soon.

  • I love plants They absolutely make a room come alive. My most important advise for them is as in any other thing, know what their needs are and if you are in a four season geographic spot of the world as I am…in the midwest, remember that their watering needs change from season to season. I think this is one of the main disasters to any plant, indoor or out….over or under watering.

  • I love having plants in my apartment – I have a little succulent and two bamboo shoots that are doing pretty well, but everything else doesn’t last too long. Love this article!

  • I noticed that also. Most pots need a saucer or something under them for drainage and moisture!

  • Someone at a nursery once told me that succulents thrive on neglect. I’ve been hooked ever since. 🙂
    I’m not sure where you guys live, but I water my indoor and outdoor succulents about once a week and they are doing great! I found if you water them more than that the soil can get moldy and sometimes little flies will start to breed. (ew.)
    Good luck starting your garden! Succulents are such amazing plants.

    xoxo. LP

  • I started a year ago to collect some cactus and succulents. They are beautiful and ideal for those who are not good in the garden. They require little irrigation (less is more), sunlight and love 😉
    Once in the year, they give some beautiful flowers.
    Be carefull: you have to keep them away from hurried husbands, cats… and neighbors who like to stole succulents by the window! : (

  • Thank you for this! It’s been a real trail and error with my indoor plants, I’ve had great success with Rubber Plants, Saint George’s sword (snake plants) and aloe. I have no idea how foolproof or technical this is, but I just feel the soil and if it’s dry, it’s time to water- my plants have alive and well based on this system.

  • I am actually not a plant-killer! But we move every 2-3 years and it is hard to find them new homes;) However I’m on the lookout to bring in some green!

  • I agree! I am NOT a plant person (I think they’re pretty but I’m just not attentive enough.) But I always have an aloe plant in the kitchen. It’s pretty sturdy and SO great when I burn myself. (Which is more often than I’d like.) If you’ve never used aloe for a burn, it’s super easy: immediately snip off a piece, split it open(like a vanilla bean) and smear it on the burn. AMAZING.

  • I started an herb garden a few years ago, my goal being to make amazing marinara sauce with fresh basil and make great mojitos with mint leaves. I guess my main goal should have been to keep them alive as well. Oh well…

  • I noticed the lack of trays under your pots, too. A great way to increase humidity for your plants in the dry winter months is to fill the trays with small pebbles and fill with water to just under the bottom of the pot. When you water your plants, allow the water that drains out the bottom to refill the tray (pour out any excess that reaches beyond the bottom of the pot so it’s not sitting in water)

    Instead of plain terra cotta trays you can use pretty plates from the thrift store and those colored marbles used in vases instead of pebbles! I use pebble trays year-round here in Colorado since it’s always so dry!

    I have been growing indoor plants my whole life and it’s so awesome to see such a growing passion from so many people for green things in our homes! Keep up the houseplant posts!

  • Loved your article and pictures! I killed so many plants in my life until a friend of mine borrowed me a Koubachi. I admit I was a bit sceptical, but I loved it! Now I have mine since 1 year and my plants are growing really well! They also have a free app to start with, I can only recommend it. It’s not perfect, but it really helps you taking care of your plants.