Spring is coming, which means I get antsy to bring more plants into my life. We're currently planning a plant room in our home, complete with a kantha-covered daybed to hang out and read books. People often come to me asking what plants are easy to care for and which are my favorites, so I thought I would share a few of them with all of you!
Of course, getting a plant and taking care of it aren't always easy, and often, the plants survival depends solely on your lighting situation. Some plants just don't do well without tons of light! (Cacti and succulents to start). But there are some plants, given adequate light and regular watering that are a bit hardier than others. Today I'd like to share a few of my favorite "starter" plants!
1 | PLECTRANTHUS
These little plants make amazing "pets." There are two varieties of plectranthus that I absolutely love, and both of them have the loveliest scent! The first one (Cerveza and Lime) is often called Cuban Oregano, and the second is a variegated kind called Mintleaf. The soil on these should stay evenly moist, but they don't need to be in direct sunlight. Overall, I've found them to be relatively easy to grow!
2 | ALOE VERA
I think Aloe Vera are just beautiful. Their varied coloring with dappled spots make for a nice addition to any room. And beyond that, they can be used for healing wounds and purifying your air. Here you will find a great article on some of the many natural healing uses of aloe. Aloe need more regular watering in the summer months, and the tips will start turning brown if they don't get enough. They will also change color if they're getting too much or too little sunlight, giving you a bit of a head's up that something needs to change.
3 | ZEBRA HAWORTHIA
I first discovered these funky succulents on a trip to Austin, Texas. I knew it would be difficult to bring one home on a plane in the middle of winter, so I hunted for one as soon as summer arrived in Chicago. I've found that like the aloe, the zebra haworthia can do well without intense sunlight. Since it also stores a lot of water in its leaves, it doesn't require regular watering, making it very easy to care for! It makes a great plant for fun container-gardening or open terrariums, as you can see in The Plant Recipe book.
4 | DRACAENA
Dracaena come in all sorts of interesting color combinations, and their funky shape make for a fun plant for a hip, urban apartment. They're pretty hardy, and also another air purifier! Depending on the variety, Dracaena can grow pretty tall, so definitely make sure you have space for one. I have one in our home that grew over six feet tall!
5 | BLOOD LEAF/IRESENE
Last year a friend invited me to tag along at a local greenhouse plant sale, and that's where I purchased my first Blood Leaf. I had NO idea what it was, but I thought it was so colorful and pretty that I had to take a chance on it. I'm so glad I did! My little plant that started at a few inches tall is now over a foot tall a year later. The Blood Leaf is a pretty thirsty plant, and needs good light. Luckily, this one demands water by drooping a little when it needs more.
Believe it or not, I used to have an incredibly black thumb. Over time, I've learned how to pay attention to my plants so I know what different ones need. Lighting is the biggest hurdle, and if you have that, you should be golden! I even put a calendar reminder in my phone to remember when to water. It definitely helps on busy days!
If you live near Chicago, here are a few great plant shops: Gethsemane Gardens, Alapash, and Adams & Sons. You can also find plant sales at local greenhouses, farmers markets and conservatories!
Do you have a favorite houseplant?