Zeen O -- June 2022
All Things Houseplants
& How to Care for Each Kind
Who doesn’t love some greenery inside the home? Plants are the perfect way to liven up your space! Come to my house and see how I’ve created a jungle inside my home. ;) A few of my favorites are pothos, ZZ plants, figs, ferns, succulents, and air plants. Given the right space and light, these plants can flourish and even amplify the air quality, in your home. Below, I will brief you about each plant and how to care for your plants to make sure each one thrives in its own unique environment.
Pothos, whose botanical name means “Golden Flower on the Tree Stump,” is a hardy, popular houseplant with numerous varieties. I call it the Goldielocks plant, because it does well in almost every condition, which is a rare trait. It has thick, waxy, green, heart-shaped leaves. As a houseplant, it is commonly grown as a hanging plant. Pothos can climb by means of aerial roots, and wild or cultivated plants grown outdoors can reach enormous heights using tall trees as support.
Light: Prefers bright, indirect light, but also thrives in low light environments.
Soil: Prefers nutrient-rich soil, but also thrives in nutrient-deficient soil. It can also live in just water. (win/win/win!)
Water: Prefers soil to dry out between waterings.
Temp/Humidity: Prefers temperatures above 50 degrees and likes high-humidity, so housing in a kitchen or bathroom will help it thrive.
ZZ Plant [Zamioculcas zamiifoli]
The ZZ plant, which originates in Africa, has potato-like rhizomes that store water and help weather drought. This plant is one where the more you neglect it, the better it does! Its stems grow in a graceful, wand-like shape that starts thick and bulbous at the base and then tapers to a point. Along the stem are fleshy, oval-shaped leaves that make the plant look like stylized feathers. The entire plant has a waxy, shiny coating.
Light: ZZ plants are tolerant of a wide range of lighting conditions. They prefer bright to moderate, indirect light, but will do fine in extremely low levels of light. This plant makes an ideal plant for a window-less office or bathroom.
Soil: Prefers well draining soil, but is not overly picky about their potting medium.
Water: Thanks to the rhizomes, these plants are extremely drought-tolerant and can handle infrequent waterings. Let soil dry out between waterings and water every week or two. (Note: It’s better to under-water than over-water!)
Temp/Humidity: Prefers household temperature and humidity. They do not tolerate cold temperatures, under 45 degrees, very well.
The Fiddle Leaf Fig is a classic house plant, but requires more specific conditions than other plants. Don’t be deterred though, because when it thrives, it’s a fan favorite! This plant features very large, heavily veined, and glossy violin-shaped leaves that grow upright on a sleek trunk. A fiddle-leaf fig is perfect as a focal point of a room.
Light: I have found that my fiddle leaf fig plant does best in an eastern or Western facing window. It prefers bright, filtered light. Be careful not to expose them to direct sunlight, as it can burn the leaves!
Soil: Any quality indoor plant potting mix that is well draining should be suitable.
Water: Fiddle-leaf figs like a moderate amount of moisture in the soil. If the plant doesn’t get enough water, its leaves will wilt and lose their bright green color. And if it gets too much water, the plant might drop its leaves and suffer from root rot, which ultimately can kill it. During the growing season (spring to fall), water your fiddle-leaf fig when the top inch of soil feels dry. And over the winter months, water slightly less.
Temp/Humidity: Fiddle-leaf figs don’t like extreme temperature fluctuations. A room that’s between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit is typically fine, though you must position the plant away from drafty areas, as well as air-conditioning and heating vents.
Bird's nest ferns form a series of spoon-shaped, bright green fronds that rise from a central rosette. Epiphytic in nature, they can be found growing high in the crooks of trees and on the surface of other plants. Healthy plants can have fronds up to 5 feet long, but bird's nest ferns kept as houseplants typically have fronds that grow only about 2 feet long. These ferns have a slow growth rate. They're best planted in the spring, though houseplants generally can be started year-round.
Light: Bright, indirect light
Soil: Loamy, moist & well-drained
Water: It prefers a consistent amount of soil moisture, but don’t like soggy soil. Water whenever the top inch of soil begins to dry out.
Temp/Humidity: It thrives in warm, moist environments, with temperatures between 60-80 degrees. It can tolerate temperatures down to 50 degrees, but anything colder can harm the plant.
Succulents come in all varieties, shapes and sizes. Who doesn’t love a potted mix of bright, fun succulents? One of my favorites is an echeveria, because of the shape and hardiness. Succulents are the easiest plants, because the more you neglect them, the better they do. How many things in life are that way? Very few… All the more reason to add these to the mix in your home!
Light: Prefer bright light, when indoors and outdoors, and should get at least 6 hours of light a day.
Soil: A well-draining soil that is specifically designed for cacti or succulents.
Water: Succulents should dry out before waterings. Water by using 1 tablespoon, per succulent, every two weeks. Overwatering is a common cause to a succulent’s demise. If they are overwatered, they become soft & discolored and may turn yellow.
Temp/Humidity: Succulents prefer hot, dry climates and temperatures that range between 70-85 degrees.
These are one of nature’s coolest plants, in my opinion. How often do you see a plant thrive without soil? These can live simply on light & water. My favorite varietal is the Xerographica Tillandsia, because it spirals, from the center out, in a beautifully organic shape. Air plants are known for being low-maintenance and fun to display around your home since they do not require soil to grow. Here’s how to keep these tropical plants happy indoors:
Light: Bright, indirect light. They love being close to a windowsill, but not in direct light, as it can burn the leaves.
Soil: Funny enough, these sweet tropical do not require any soil, just water and air! Avoid placing in soil or moss for looks, because it can lead to root rot.
Water: These plants need to go for a swim to get plenty of hydration. Submerge your plant in a bowl of clean water and let soak for 10-30 minutes. Be sure to shake out any excess water, to prevent the roots from rotting.
Temp/Humidity: Between larger soaks, your air plants will thank you if you regularly mist. It give it humidity and moisture, without overwhelming it or causing rot. They prefer temperatures between 50-90 degrees.
Hopefully these tips+tricks inspire your curiosity to merge nature with home. It’s not so daunting, once you have the knowledge to care for these plants, and see how lovely they make a space feel. Wishing you a happy and healthy home, filled with plants-a-plentiful!