Are you new to the world of indoor plants!? Sulin has you covered!
Guest Post by Sulin A.K.A. @the_jungle_asian!
Now that we are spending most of our time indoors, many of us have been looking at ways to make our homes more inviting, cozy, and green. If you’re new to the houseplant scene, trying to grow a living organism indoors can definitely feel like a daunting task. However, there is no need to panic as there are many options for all levels of indoor gardeners!
Here is a list of plants that seem made for indoor spaces and will help any fledgling green thumb get their hands dirty.
Basic care needs such as light, water, and soil type have also been included to guide you, but remember it is important to adjust this to your own home environment and season.
For example, during the summer higher temperature, humidity, and light levels will kick start your plant into growth mode! In other words, you will need more frequent watering than in the winter. However, the frequency will also depend on how well-draining your soil is (how quickly the water leaves the drainage holes of the pot when you water), with more dense and peat heavy soil staying wetter for longer, and more bark or perlite heavy soil draining faster. As a general rule, poke your soil with your index finger and only water if you the soil is dry up to your second finger joint.
Monstera Deliciosa (Swiss Cheese Plant)
There is no plant that immediately gives off major jungle vibes like the famous Monstera Deliciosa, nicknamed the Swiss Cheese Plant with its giant leaves with holes! The beautiful fenestrated (literal translation: having perforations or “windows”) glossy leaves feel at home in a variety of decor aesthetics, ranging from minimalist, mid-century modern, to a boho-maximalist home.
The monstera loves to vine and trail, and if you give it a nice support like a totem pole to climb up on, it’ll reward you with a real statement making size.
Light: Bright to medium indirect light.
Water: Watering needs are generally based on temperature and light, and the higher you have of either, the more frequently you should water. For example, in the summer months you might need to water every one to two weeks, but this may need to be reduced to half that frequency (once to twice per month).
Soil: Try to give it a well-draining tropical mix with some added perlite or orchid bark to help the growing media drain excess water quickly.
Sansevieria (Snake Plant)
If we had to pick a plant that is well suited for most living situations, it would have to be the Sansevieria (recently reclassified as Dracaena trifasciata) or commonly known as the snake plant. Although this plant is native to west Africa and does best in high levels of light, it's a superb option for low-light apartments. It may not put out a lot of new growth in lower levels of light, but it will survive and continue to look absolutely stunning with very minimal care!
Light: Prefers bright indirect light and can adapt to bright direct light. It can also tolerate moderate to low levels of light. If you wish to keep this in a zero light situation, a tip is to maybe get a duplicate and have one in brighter spot, and rotate once a month to ensure continued growth for both!
Water: Minimal watering is best for this plant! In the summer you may be able to water it every three to four weeks, and decrease this to 6-8 weeks in the winter.
Soil: They prefer a loose well-drained potting mix or something a little sandier.
Ficus Elastica (Rubber Plant)
This is a popular house plant for those that would like to eventually have a small indoor tree, and it is a fantastic option with its broad glossy leaves. There is also considerable variety in the types of Ficus elastica, ranging from vibrant green to dark almost black leaves (Ficus elastica “Burgundy”), and some are beautifully variegated (Ficus elastica “Ruby” and “Tineke”).
Light: Bright indirect light will encourage a more bushy plant with broader leaves, but it can tolerate medium indirect light.
Water: In the summer when it is actively growing, you can water it up to once every week to two weeks, and in the winter, reduce that to every three to four weeks.
Soil: A well-draining tropical soil mix is best.
Zamioculcas Zamiifolia (ZZ Plant)
The ZZ plant is a firm favourite in homes and offices alike for its unique shape and ability to thrive on neglect. This rhizomatous tropical plant is native eastern Africa, where its palm-like fronds can spread out into a gorgeous display. In the home, it is a slow grower due to lower light levels. This makes it well suited for those of us who may not want to repot frequently or have difficulty accommodating a rapidly growing plant.
Consider this plant if you don’t have too much time to devote to plant care, or simply would like something with a striking shape. Oh, and did we mention that this glossy plant is now available in black (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia ‘Raven’)?
Light: Bright indirect light will encourage faster growth, but it will burn in direct sunlight. It tolerates and will grow slowly in low to moderate light.
Water: Do not over water this one! The rhizomes (potato-like structures) store water for the plant so in the summer, you might be able to water it every 2-3 weeks, and in the winter decrease this to once a month of less. Always touch the soil to ensure that it is dry before watering, otherwise the plant may rot.
Soil: Well-draining tropical soil to help reduce the risk of rot!
Philodendron Hederaceum (Heartleaf Philodendron)
Where would we be without this ubiquitous vining plant? It’s common for a reason! This beauty is a fast grower, tolerates low, medium, to high levels of indirect light, and will trail so beautifully and help you create that boho-vibe that screams #jungalow.
Light: Prefers medium indirect light, but can tolerate a little brighter and lower levels.
Water: Every one to two weeks is best, and you can change this based on temperature and light levels. The leaves will also droop slightly when it’s ready for watering.
Soil: It enjoys a slightly peaty mix which allows for more water retention, but remember, don’t overwater it!
Hoya (Wax Plant)
Hoyas largely hail from subtropical and tropical Asia, and are popular both for beginners and well-seasoned house plant enthusiasts for their ease of growth and the diversity in leaf, stem, and flower morphology. The more common varieties tend to have more of a trailing and vining habit, which allow for beautiful cascades of leaves, and with enough light, gorgeous waxy flowers that often have a lovely scent. Although Hoyas can get large in size, they tend to be moderately slow growers and can be easily trained up trellises or pruned back to make things
Light: Bright indirect light is best, especially if you’d like to encourage flowers. Be careful not to expose them to direct harsh sun, as they can burn despite the waxy protective covering on some Hoya leaves.
Water: Hoyas prefer to be underwatered than overwatered, especially if it is a waxy more succulent like variety. In the summer, consider watering every one to two weeks, but in the winter decrease to once to twice per month.
Soil: Once again well draining soil is key to preventing root rot.
Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma (Mini Monstera)
This cute plant reminds us of the larger monstera deliciosa, but with much smaller leaves and a more delicate growth pattern. While the larger lookalike enjoys sprawling across the apartment, this tropical aroid will enthusiastically clamber up any pole or surface you lay it against. It can be a very rewarding option for those who want a fast-growing plant with a very tropical feel. It also requires minimal care.
Light: It enjoys medium to bright indirect light, but keep it away from any harsh direct sun.
Water: Due to its fast growth, consider watering a little more frequently, about once a week in the summer and once every 2 weeks in the winter.
Soil: A well-aerated tropical soil mix with perlite and bark will do nicely for this plant.
Ceropegia woodii (String of hearts)
Last but definitely not least is the super romantic Ceropegia woodii that will steal your heart! This little trailer is a fast grower, putting out diminutive heart shaped leaves that are available in hues of green, silver, and a variegated pink shade. As the strings grow and mature, you will notice little round bead like nodules forming along the stems. If you wish to propagate the plant, simple cut the stem above the nodule and lay it in some soil, and roots will easily form from this swelling.
Light: Bright light is best, and it will even tolerate some direct exposure for brief periods during the day. You will know if your plant needs more light if the space between leaves is growing too much, and your leaf colour is not as vibrant.
Water: These plants are semi-succulent so be careful not to overwater them. The easiest way to prevent accidentally overwatering is to let your soil dry out completely in between waterings, which might be every two to three weeks (depending on temperature and light) in the summer, and even less in the winter.
Soil: Well draining soil is best for this semi-succulent, so it will appreciate additional perlite or sand mixed into tropical soil.
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