A Guide for New Plant Parents

By Haley Sinsley

by ELYSIAN Magazine

Plants are the new pets. This statement is something you would likely hear coming from a millennial or an older member of Generation Z, as lockdown caused these young people to reconsider their needs within their own homes. Houseplants provide warmth, comfort, add a unique type of life, and fill the lonely spaces of your home. 

It is no wonder the love for houseplants has grown within recent years as a simple yet beautiful hobby anyone can practice within their own home. If you are just getting started developing your green thumb or already maintain your share of plants, I hope these different tricks and tips help you create and promote your own indoor jungle. 


Getting Started

The claim that plants are the new pets is no joke. While you might not see them move much, house plants are living things that need your attention. It can be difficult to know what those needs are, and it is important to do research as you grow your plant collection. However, there are a few important tips beginners should be aware of:

  • Overwatering is the most common way people kill their plants. It is important to give each plant time for the soil to dry. To aid in this, tools such as water meters or even something as simple as how dirt sticks to a chopstick can tell you when your soil is dry.  
  • Remember photosynthesis? Your plant is obviously going to need this to survive, and it will not be found under fluorescent light. It is important to understand the sunlight needs of each plant, and sometimes that may mean trial and error in where you place them. If you have a dark space that you are desperate to fill with a plant, grow lights can act as a solution. 


Growing Your Jungle

There are countless ways that myriad species of plants can be incorporated into your home. Conversation-starter plants can be found at almost any local plant shop or nursery, and you will find a plethora of knowledge when asking for help there. To get you started, we are going to look at some of the lushest, easy-to-care-for plants that will add exceptional character to your home.


Trailing Plants 

There are a number of trailing plants you can find, however the most common, and most beginner-friendly are pothos and philodendrons. Both offer a medley of variety in their color variegations, allowing you to choose the tone that best fits the atmosphere of your home. These plants grow long, vining stems that can be shaped and manipulated into your space how you see fit, intertwining life as boldly or subtly as you wish. This can be accomplished through a few methods:

  • The use of a trellis, which can come in diverse shapes and sizes, will allow you to intertwine the vines of the plant within the posts however your creativity sees fit.
  • A hanging pot or macrame will show off the full immensity of the plant, allowing the vines to hang down and display your success as a plant parent.
  • Subtle clips placed along walls can be used to string the plant into a striking, ever-growing display that you create and maintain. 
  • Propagation! Pothos and philodendron produce aerial roots, or nodes, that you will be able to spot along the vines. To propagate, you will simply need to cut one or a few of the sections with nodes, place it in water, assure the node is fully submerged, refresh the water every few weeks, and sit back and watch as you grow another plant in a stunning display. 

If you have already started with pothos and philodendron, or they don’t quite suit your style, other common beginner-friendly trailing plants to check out include ivy, inch plants, hoyas, and monsteras. 


Bathroom Plants

Placing a plant in a bathroom can be a brilliant idea, given the correct circumstances. As mentioned, your plant will need to be able to photosynthesize to survive, so it is important to have a window in the space or set up a grow light. Tropical plants, such as ferns, will thrive in this space, soaking in the added humidity from your showers and purifying the air. If you are looking to get really up-close and personal with your plants, you can hang dried eucalyptus in your shower and add a unique twist by pairing it with dried lavender or rosemary. The eucalyptus will act as a natural insect repellent, maintaining the health of any other plants in your bathroom, and will provide antiseptic properties as its sweet, subtle aroma combines with the steam of your shower. 


Low-Maintenance Plants

Buying a new plant is undeniably exciting, but coming home to a dead one is not how anyone would like to be welcomed into their space. For those who travel frequently, or just want a very straightforward place to start with plants, there are still interesting options. 

The snake plant, or “mother-in-law’s tongue,” comes in multiple varieties and is a very commonly known plant for its air-purifying properties. These can be found thriving anywhere from the tropics to the airport, as their care could not be easier. Similar to the snake plant, and with the exact same needs, a less commonly known plant is the Zanzibar gem, or zz plant. Both of these are the hardiest plants one can find, able to survive in areas of low light, incredibly drought-tolerant, and requiring water no more than once a month. Similarly, a collection of cacti is another impressively durable option for low-maintenance plant parents to get started with. As desert plants, they will also only want to be watered once a month, however you do have to guarantee them direct sunlight.

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