These 15 Plant Parent–Starter Finds Have the Expert Stamp of Approval
Plus three of the most popular buds to begin your journey.
Published May 4, 2021 1:00 AM
Just as there are interior trends, certain houseplants—from pink princess philodendron to olive trees—have had their moment in the sun, too. Speaking of sun: “No matter what the trend is, it doesn’t apply to you if you don’t have the right lighting,” says Maryah Greene, founder of Greene Piece, a New York City–based plant consultancy. (Then again, there’s always grow lights. More on that in a second.) Christan Summers, cofounder and CEO of Tula, a Brooklyn-based plant nursery and resource center, agrees. “Shopping for a plant is like playing matchmaker; plants have different sunlight requirements, water preferences, humidity, dryness, and soil structures.”
You should also consider variety. Plant e-commerce brand The Sill’s current best-selling plants are the ZZ plant, snake plant, and philodendron. “These tried-and-true houseplants have always been best-sellers because of their easygoing nature and tolerance to lower light levels,” says Erin Marino, the company’s director of brand marketing.
Lisa Muñoz, a Brooklyn-based interior plant designer and the founder of Leaf and June, says her clients go for low maintenance and uniquely structured plants. “Whenever possible, I try to source specimens that have a less symmetrical growth,” she explains. Once you select your greenery, Muñoz suggests grouping plants together in odd quantities and varying shapes, textures, and sizes to add visual interest. “Don’t be afraid to try moving things around until you get the right configuration,” she says. Consider these 15 expert-approved finds your official plant parent starter kit.
Clay All Day
Create a focal point in any room by utilizing an eye-catching planter, like these terracotta showstoppers from Los Angeles–based artist Bari Ziperstein. Choose from three sizes and more than 32 glazes.
Muñoz swears by Haws watering cans. “They’re practical, simple, and really beautiful to have out on a shelf next to your plants,” she says. “They also have a removable watering rose, so you can have a more direct stream of water or choose to have a water flow that mimics rainfall.”
Everyone’s favorite Instagram plant stylist, Hilton Carter, launched a small line of plant-adjacent accessories, and they’re as effortlessly cool as the man himself. This denim apron with leather and metal accents will make you feel like a pro from the get-go.
Maryah Greene says a soil probe is essential for any plant parent: “It checks the moisture in the soil from the bottom to the top, which is important because what’s happening at the bottom of the pot could be very different than at the surface.”
Built to Last
If your home doesn’t get a ton of direct light, consider a snake plant. Not only is it a natural air purifier, but it’s easy to care for and can thrive for decades.
Overwatering in winter is a common mistake for new plant parents, but misting is a must. “Tropical plants need the extra humidity,” says Summers.
Keep It Clean
Truth: Indoor gardening gets messy, so it’s best to have a stash of stylish tools that makes cleaning up a breeze. This all-natural hand broom is a good place to start.
A ficus elastica, aka rubber plant, is a great low-maintenance starter plant. “They’re classic in leaf shape and extremely robust,” says Muñoz.
Both a pesticide and a fungicide, neem oil is a safe, nontoxic way to combat all types of houseplant pests.
Summers says fresh dirt is must for replanting. He swears by this 16-ounce bag of tropical soil.
If your sills are full (or nonexistent), go vertical and mount plants to the wall. Doing so helps add height, and this planter doubles as a sculpture.
These sturdy pruners were designed for smaller hands and are endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society. “They’re comfy to handle and very durable,” says Muñoz.
A ponytail palm has the look of a palm but is much easier to care for. It’s actually a succulent and only needs to be watered every two weeks.
Handcrafted in Montana by blacksmith Tuli Fisher, this trowel has a blade made from high-carbon steel and a handle carved from American black walnut, which means you’ll have it for decades.
“If you really want succulents and cacti but lack enough light, grow lights are a great solution,” says Greene. This one comes with a 15-foot-long cord and swag hook so you can hang it just about anywhere.
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