Two things you can find in every room of our house - religious art and plants! These are my two favorite things to decorate with. Plants bring such a happy pop of green and life to a space, giving it warmth and depth. They are fun to watch grow and change, and make a great little project for children to help out with. My children have plants in their bedrooms too, per their request! Whether it is a friend visiting the house or spotting a plant in a room via Instagram, I get a lot of "I need you to teach me how to keep plants!" comments. I am totally an amateur plant lady, but thankfully it doesn't take much to bring and keep bright greenery into your space! I used to wander around looking at plants, feeling overwhelmed and clueless. My husband new I wanted to get a few plants, so one Mother's Day, he gave me a gift card to a local plant store! I did a little Pinterest research on plants I might not kill, and went for it! Not every plant I've had over the last three years has lived, but some have stuck with me that whole time. So to each friend that has said "teach me your ways," here we go!
First, don't go drooling over urban jungle IG accounts and go purchase $200 Fiddle Leaf Figs and rare succulents! Give yourself three months to prove to yourself that you can keep $30-50 worth of plants alive, even if the plants you start with aren't your dream plants. I think the best way to start is with a handful of plants that look great and can stand up to your learning curve! Second, don't be legalistic with how much water, how much sun, etc. You can find tips for every plant imaginable on the internet, but even if you follow those rules perfectly, your particular plant may not be happy! Know that you'll have to play around with where to keep it for the amount of sun and how much water it likes. Third, get a few to start! If you get one plant and it dies, you may feel like a failure. If you have three and you lose one, you have a few others to care for! I also think my plants aren't neglected because they have friends - there are too many plants in my house to forget about them! When you are watering and checking on more than one plant, it's likely to become a natural part of your home care routine. Okay - let's dive into what I think are the best three plants to start with!
From left to right: ZZ plant, pothos ivy, and snake plant!
ZZ Plant: The zamioculas zamiifolia is the first plant we ever bought, and it went to my husband's chiropractic office! I asked the woman at the local plant store for a plant that could handle low light and likely some neglect (my husband takes amazing care of his patients, but his plants don't get water as often as they should!), and she sent me home with a ZZ! If you are the brownest of thumbs, the ZZ plant is your best friend. They do well in moderate to bright light, near a bright window - you'll see new growth constantly! That being said, the ZZ is a rockstar for super low light, and can even live on just fluorescent lighting! This is one you can stick in a low lighting corner for a design pop, and it'll look healthy forever. The ZZ can handle water once a week, but it'll tolerate being watered less and even totally forgotten for a while! It doesn't want to be overwatered, so be sure the soil is dried out between watering. One thing that I love about the ZZ is that it has these big rhizomes that store water - it truly can handle some drought. When they look shriveled and not full, you can be sure that the plant is thirsty. I have one ZZ and I usually water it every two weeks. When I place it near a window, it gets tons of new growth and height. In a darker spot, it slows but looks great and stays happy! Bonus - even if you are eventually going to kill a ZZ, it probably will take you over a year to kill it. Ha!
Pothos Ivy: Your grandma's favorite houseplant, and for good reason. I have four pothos plants, and they are some of my favorites! You usually purchase them as bushy, short plants with two or three leaves on a few of the vines. They can grow quickly, making them the most satisfying first plants I can think of! It's a joy to watch new pothos leaves unfurl and to see your vines get some length! Like the ZZ, pothos can handle not having a lot of sun. They are great on bookshelves and in spots that get moderate light, but can be a good distance from windows too. All of my pothos plants are fairly far away from their light source, but they are happy! Starting with plants that aren't too picky about their lighting is ideal, I think. Pothos plants are also good at telling you what they want changed. If they are droopy or starting to brown, they are thirsty. If they are getting too much light, the color of the leaves will bleach out. Pothos ivy plants like to have their soil dry out completely before watering, and I find with mine that once a week is usually when they are ready for water. I have often let them go two weeks with no problems! This is a low maintenance plant that looks great in every space and is fun to watch grow.
Snake Plant: The sanseveria plants are some of my favorite! My husband has two at the office, and we have one at home. I love the height and fun patterning that they bring to a space! They are similar to ZZ plants in many ways. They'll do great in bright light near a sunny window, but they'll also hang out happily in lower light areas. These are a favorite for people who forget to water their plants, as they need water about every two to three weeks! You'll get feedback from your plant if you are overwatering - the leaves will start to droop rather than stand up straight.
Plant Lady, you are officially ready! Head to a local nursery (or even Amazon!) and grab your first three plants! Get regular potting mix and some terra cotta pots or at least pots with holes at the bottom, and find spots for your new plant babies. Don't be afraid to move them around and don't stress over watering - just check the soil with your fingers to make sure it has dried out before watering again. Don't overthink it, just enjoy your plants!