Hang out for long with me and you’ll find I have a deep affection for fresh greenery.
Ferns, trees, herbs, little plants whose names I don’t know – I’m in to all of them.
I would even venture to say a room is not complete without something living and green.
One of the most asked questions about the mini kitchen makeover centered around the vast amount greenery seen.
I’m so glad you all noticed the plants because they really do add so much life to the kitchen.
In answer to the most frequently asked plant-related questions, I’m here today with all of my greenery-loving wisdom.
Are the plants real?
Yes, all of the plants in the kitchen and around the house are living.
There are times when faux plants are just the better (or only) choice – like in a room without natural light, up high on a bookshelf, in unkind climates or in vacation or rental homes where regular care is not available. Otherwise, I always err on the side of real.
Real plants have gorgeous color, texture and movement that faux plants just can’t quite capture. Plus, they grow! And watching the growing process is fascinating and rewarding (I sound like a completely crazy plant lady but I’m okay with it).
How are they cared for and kept alive?
I know one of the biggest issues with bringing in real plants is the challenge with keeping them alive. Are some people better at it than others? Is there really such a thing as a green or black thumb? I’m not sure. But I will say that with regular attention, anyone can keep a plant alive.
At least for a while.
Sometimes, plants die. Sometimes ferns loose their leaves and start to look a little yellow and sparse. Sometimes you don’t catch dry soil fast enough and a little mossy plant dries out. It happens and it’s okay.
I like to think about it like this: if I were to buy a bouquet of flowers from the grocery store, they would only last 5-7 days. So any plant that costs less than $20 and lasts longer than a week in the house feels like win in my book. (I will say, though, that I’ve never killed a plant in 1 week. After a month? Sure. But then some of my $20 ferns are still going after a few years!).
Each plant has its own temperament and needs. Some like direct light, some like indirect. Some like the soil to remain moist, some need it to dry out between waterings. You’ll usually see these caring instructions on the little stick that comes in the plant or you could ask the nursery worker.
Yes, pay attention to those plant idiosyncrasies, but also don’t stress.
I pretty much treat all of my plants the same with one main objective: keep them well-watered.
How often you water depends on the climate and temperature of where you live (I notice the plants dry out much faster in the winter when the heat is on all day). I typically put all of the plants in our sink to fully water once per week. If I notice throughout the week that the leaves look droopy or the soil is dry to the touch, I’ll water again. If I don’t feel like bringing the plant to the sink, I’ll just pop an ice cube or two on top to melt. If it helps you remember, schedule a watering day once per week to build into your routine and keep your plants alive.
Other than watering, I just try to keep dead leaves trimmed.
If you notice that a plant doesn’t look healthy, is losing its color or doesn’t seem to be growing, try moving it to a new spot in the house. In general, anywhere with indirect natural light is a good place for an indoor plant.
What types of plants are best for indoors?
The quick answer is anything that catches your eye in the indoor section of the nursery. If it is housed in the indoor greenhouse, it is likely a good choice for indoors.
I am usually drawn to non-flowering plants in shades of bright green with lots of little leaves.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Boston Ferns (and other similar varieties) are inexpensive, commonly available and low-maintenance. They are usually hanging at the garden center and I just remove the plastic hangers. Expect to pay about $20 for a good-size fern.
Maidenhair Ferns are my very favorite, but they are a bit more temperamental. They dry out very quickly and can’t be revived once the leaves wilt. The little plants are around $5, the larger ones (like the one in the terra cotta pot on the kitchen counter) go for $15.
Baby Tears is a sweet little creeping plant that will fall over the edges of the planter. I pay around $5 for a small one.
Jade is a variety of succulent that requires very little care and has a cool sculptural feel (like the one on our kitchen table). I bought mine six months ago for around $15 and it’s doing great.
Herbs like Rosemary, Basil and Thyme are always good choices especially in the kitchen. Bonus: you can clip right from the plant to use in your cooking.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees are very popular and known for their diva-ish needs. Indirect sun, no breeze, 1 cup of water per foot about once per week, no moving to a new spot, more expensive price tag. Even taking these things into consideration, I still love them.
The one in our kitchen was a bush I found at IKEA 3 years ago. It lost all of its leaves and I was about to throw it out, but instead moved it to a bright spot that didn’t get much air flow and it started growing again. You can sometimes find 5′ trees at Home Depot for around $80 or check your local nursery (expect better quality and a higher price – like $150 and up). Check out this post for more on fiddle leaf fig trees.
And, of course, don’t forget clippings and branches from outside. They are free, they bring in that green and add so much life and texture to any space.
I very much encourage you to bring a live plant into your home. Just that little touch of organic green will really make an impact!
Do you have any favorite indoor plants? Or any other questions for this crazy #plantlady? Ask away …