Design Tips

Which Houseplants Are Right for You?

Last week if you remember, we talked about biophilic design on the blog. Biophilic design is all about reconnecting with the great outdoors, so we can reap the many physical and psychological benefits of nature.

One of the easiest was to do this is to incorporate plants into your home. Studies consistently show that having plants in your home can enhance your wellbeing. Here’s how:

  • They boost your mood, productivity, concentration and creativity
  • They reduce your stress, fatigue, and sickness
  • They help clean indoor air by absorbing toxins, increasing humidity and producing oxygen
  • They add life to a space, can offer privacy and reduce noise levels
  • Caring for them can even be therapeutic

It’s true when they say plants make people happy. But what kinds of plants are right for you? Here’s the skinny on some of the best houseplants for all different environments.

But first…I just want to say something about the Fiddleleaf Fig, because I know a bunch of you just got an image of that plant in your heads. Fiddleleaf Figs are so cool and very popular right now, but they are finicky! Yes, no matter what you’ve been told, these are not the easiest plants to keep alive, so buyer beware.

Okay, so now that I’ve put my two cents in about Fiddleleaf Figs, let’s start talking plants. If you have a green thumb, love to garden and putter with your indoor plants, have never killed a plant in your life, maybe even consider yourself the “Plant Whisperer,” then I may not be telling you anything you didn’t already know today, but you can still enjoy the pretty pictures!

For all the rest of us (me included), who have plant issues, hopefully I can help you find the perfect plant for your home, no matter how dark or dry it is or how many pets you have or even how many plants you’ve put to their untimely death in the past.

And if not…there’s always a houseplant subscription service just waiting for you to contact them. 😉

Okay, ready? Let’s get “growing!”

 

No light? No worries.

If light is an issue in your home, here are 6 plants that just don’t care. (All photos via bhg).

(left) PEACE LILY. Peace Lilies are such a low maintenance plant and exceptionally durable! If you forget to water them, the leaves will start to droop and remind you. Once you’ve given them a bit of water, the leaves spring back into shape again!

(right) ENGLISH IVY. English Ivy comes in a wide variety of leaf colors and shapes and thrives in low light. In fact, it’s the perfect plant to grow on a cool, north-facing windowsill.

 

(left) DIEFFENBACHIA. These gorgeous tropical plants feature a wide range of speckled or splotched leaves in either yellow-and-green or white-and-green. Although they grow well in dark rooms, they do prefer some bright, indirect light to keep them from getting too leggy. Dieffenbachia is poisonous, though, so keep it out of reach of children and pets.

(right) PALMS. Popular since the Victorian era, palms come in all shapes and sizes and add tropical texture to a space. Shown here (left to right): ponytail palm, parlor palm, sago cycas palm

 

(left) ZZ PLANT. This African native will do just fine even if it only gets fluorescent light. It also tolerates dry conditions, so it’s ideal for someone who travels frequently. The ZZ plant looks great, too; it produces upright, slightly arching stems covered in shiny, dark green leaves.

 (right) SPIDER PLANT. Don’t let the name scare you, the spider plant, also called airplane plant, gets its name from the many runners it sends out with baby plants at the tips.

 

Buy it and forget it. 

These 6 are camels of the plant kingdom. They’re not big drinkers, so if you tend to neglect your plant friends, these guys are for you. (All photos via Good Housekeeping)

(left) CAST IRON PLANT. Much like its name suggests, this low-growing plant with wide flat leaves can stand up to tough conditions (you know who you are, “people who never water”). You should water them when the soil is dry, but they’ll fare through a drought, too.

(right) SUCCULENTS. These waxy, geometric beauties are certainly trendy, but not only because of their interesting shapes and hues ranging from mint green to deep violet. Their thick leaves store water, so they typically only require weekly watering.

 

(left) AIR PLANT. Much like their name suggests, these spidery plants don’t even need soil to thrive; you can literally hang them in midair, place them in a decorative vase, or prop them up on a shelf. And watering? Just dunk them in water for about 2 or 3 hours every 10 days or so.

(right) SNAKE PLANT. Also called mother-in-law’s tongue this easy-care, almost indestructible, plant is a popular choice with lots of beautiful new varieties coming out.

 

(left) PATHOS. This leafy vine would have been voted “most popular” in high school. Since its quite hardy (and quite pretty), people choose it often. It can deal with low light, and won’t be bothered if you let the soil dry out.

(right) CHINESE EVERGREEN. This rock solid plant can stand up to a lot. And there are fun versions with speckles and stripes. Chinese evergreens can tolerate low to medium light, and you can water when you notice the soil is dry.

 

Have allergies?

These 4 plants could really help you feel better. They remove toxins from the air, catch and digest mold spores and naturally humidify the air. So if allergies have you sneezing a lot, adding one of these beauties (yeah, they’re pretty, too), to your home has gotta help, right?

(left) ARECA PALM. The Areca Palm ranked highly on NASA’s list for its ability to remove formaldehyde, xylene, carbon monoxide, and toluene from the air. It can also humidify a room in dry winters or summers because it actively releases moisture from its leaves.

(right) DRACAENA. For sensitive individuals, the Dracaena houseplant can help with those irritating chemical reactions. Its specialty is removing benzene from cigarette smoke and other household chemicals but it also removes formaldehyde, xylene, trichloroethylene.

 

(left) ALOE VERA PLANT. This succulent plant purifies the air of formaldehyde and benzene and has amazing healing properties too. The gel inside its leaves is full of vitamins and is naturally anti-bacterial making it ideal for treating minor cuts and burns including sunburn. There is also some evidence that aloe vera gel may help improve dry skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

(right) BOSTON FERN. Classic Boston Ferns are the most efficient plants at removing formaldehyde from the air (the most common indoor air pollutant) and for adding humidity to the indoor environment.

In addition to these four, the peace lily, spider plant and air plant mentioned before are good air purifiers, too!

 

On the flip side, bouquet flowers (not necessarily a houseplant, but common in homes, especially on the dining room table) have plenty of pollen and may have you sneezing into next week. Here are a few to avoid:

  • Daisies – have a high pollen count
  • Sunflowers – if allergic to ragweed you might have reactions
  • Chrysanthemums – related to ragweed
  • African violets – their leaves collect dust so these are bad for dust mite allergy
  • Bonsai Trees – if a juniper (cedar allergy)
  • Ficus (fig) – wax can attach to dust and enter airways, mimicking latex allergy
  • Pine – Christmas trees can cause allergic symptoms. Although they won’t be flowering while they’re in your home, they may be carrying mold and dust.

 

Have a pet?

Here are 4 plants that will live in harmony with Fido and Felix so you don’t have to worry if your fur baby decides to have a bite to eat 😉

(left) BURRO’S TAIL. This succulent, also called Donkey’s Tail, is a really textured looking plant. Each branch is supposed to resemble a donkey’s tail (hence the name). It’s very dangling, so probably would be best in a hanging basket.

(right) BABY’S TEARS. This charming houseplant forms a dense mat of lush, rich green leaves and creeping stems that grow horizontally over flat surfaces or trail like a full head of hair from hanging baskets.

 

(left) MONEY TREE. Who wouldn’t want a money tree in their house? This beautiful little tree has a lovely braided trunk which has been thought to bring luck and financial success. Okay then! Good for pets, but has been known to cause digestive issues if eaten frequently. Just a heads up.

(right) SWEDISH IVY. This pretty plant is neither Swedish nor ivy and is sometimes known as Creeping Charlie. But who cares when it’s safe for your fur babies to take a little nip?

 

Give me some color!

Fancy a little color with your green? Here are 6 beauties that either flower or have colorful or at least interesting leaves. These 6 are all pet-friendly, too.

(left) AFRICAN VIOLETS. African Violets are an old-fashioned favorite. Didn’t everyone’s grandma have African Violets on her windowsill? So pretty, and you know me, I love the purple!

(right) LIPSTICK PLANT. A beautiful flowering indoor plant prized for its shiny foliage and interesting flowers. It gets its name because the flower buds peek out of dark-colored tubes, looking like a miniature tube of lipstick.

 

(left) BROMELIAD PLANT. With their pretty pink and red leaves, a Bromeliad plant will bring a touch of the tropics to your home.

(right) ORCHID. Who doesn’t love a beautiful orchid? It’s such an elegant flowering houseplant. And you’ve heard how to water them, right? All you need to do is add three ice cubes to your orchid’s pot every week. That’s it! This is equivalent to ¼ cups of water.

 

(left) HAWTHORIA PLANT. If you’re a lover of the Aloe Vera Plant but are looking for a pet-safe substitute, Hawthoria is perfect for you.

(right) POLKA DOT PLANT. How fun is that? The pretty pink leaves will add a dash of color to your home. 

If you want to find out if your houseplants are safe for your pets, check out the ASPCA plant list.

 

Want to eat your plants?

Growing your own herbs for cooking can be really satisfying and a lot of fun. And…it’s not difficult! Have a windowsill? Okay, you’re ready to go. Having your own herbs on hand when making a dish is really convenient. And, according to herbalist Candace Hunter, “Many cooking herbs have amazing anti-microbial properties that make them a perfect choice for preventing colds and flus and an incredible ally when you do get sick.” So there you go! (All photos via Flower Patch Cottage Garden).

(left) PEPPERMINT. How nice to be able to snip a leaf to put in your tea.

(right) THYME. One of the most popular herbs in the entire world, thyme is not only delicious herb for cooking, but it’s also used as a natural cleaning agent.

 

(left) SAGE. The quintessential Thanksgiving Day herb, sage is not only flavorful in stuffing but in many soups and sauces.

(right) BASIL. If you like Italian food, you’ve probably eaten a lot of basil. This popular cooking herb is also said to repel mosquitos!

 

(left) OREGANO. Oregano is especially known for its awesome fragrance and is usually used in making pizzas and pasta sauces.

(right) STEVIA. This herb is a natural sweetener, so it’s ideal for those who are avoiding processed sugars (and shouldn’t we all be doing that?)

 

And…If you want to make a statement….

Little houseplants are great. Supersized houseplants make a statement! Here are 6 of my favorites that will not only enhance your wellbeing but will make a style statement in your home, too. (Most photos via The Stylist).

(left) RUBBER PLANT. Sitting comfortably at 3 feet, these rubber plants with their beautiful glossy leaves will look great alongside any style of décor.

(right) UMBRELLA PLANT. Named for the way each group of leaves droop and fan out like an umbrella, this plant will make a unique and lovely addition to your home.

 

(left) FIDDLELEAF FIG. Ahhh! The beloved Fiddleleaf 😉 These leafy giants are the darlings of Instagram for sure, and they do look amazing, but buyer beware, they are finicky to care for.

(right) WEEPING FIG. The Weeping Fig (or Ficus Benjamina) comes in both non-variegated and variegated types, but this variegated plant is really stunning. This plant is known as the weeping fig for its ability to drop leaves when put under stress (Put it in a bright corner of your house and remember to water, and you won’t stress it out too much).

 

(left) SWISS CHEESE PLANT. The Swiss Cheese Plant is one of the most popular indoor plants because it’s super easy to care for and has the most unique foliage.

(right) COCONUT PALM. Sleek and sophisticated, the coconut palm is the perfect plant for any tight corners which need a bit of style.

 

A few final words

Whether you like your plants small or big…

If you are a minimalist or a maximalist…

Opumo

 

Essence

 

The perfect houseplant can be one of the best accessories of all.

 

So there you have it. I hope that if you’re like me, you’ve picked up a bit of good information about houseplants today, and if you’re a plant pro, I hope you’ve just enjoyed a brief respite from your day looking at pictures of pretty plants.

Either way, even though we aren’t the Plant Whisperers over here at Marcia Moore Design, we are the Design Whisperers  and we enjoy incorporating our leafy friends into the interiors we create. So, give us a call at 314.395.1114 or CLICK HERE to send us an email We’d love to help make your home as special as we know it can be (with or without plants).

By the way, we’re back running full speed at Marcia Moore Design, but if you still prefer to work virtually, we understand and can do that, too. Whatever works best for you and makes you the most comfortable is great with us.

Stay safe and healthy,

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P.P.S. CLICK HERE to check out our portfolio. We recently uploaded several new projects that we’re super excited about.

 

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