6 Tips to Incorporate Greenery in Your Home

Ideas to keep houseplants alive and thriving.
condo with various houseplants
Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino

Being confined inside for the last couple of months may have you feeling a little stir-crazy. One of the things we miss most about the great outdoors is foliage. Try this remedy for what we’re all missing; it not only allows you to reconnect with nature, it also livens up the home.

Of all the decorative ways to turn your space into a cozy, welcoming oasis that everyone wants to hang out in, one of our favorites are real, live, simple-as-can-be plants.

And we’re not the only ones. Just take a peek at Pinterest and you’ll find that these days, everyone’s hankering to bring the outdoors in. You’ll find scores of green-decked parlors, dining nooks, and even bedrooms basking in leafy vibes and chic style — all part of this seeing-green trend. Maybe it’s the feeling of bringing a slice of nature right into the living area that’s driving it, or the extra dose of fresh air these oxygen-producers add to a room. Either way, the green wave is a trend we’re embracing in our own homes — and would love to see in yours, too.

But first: Here are a few things to keep in mind when going green.

house plants on small table

Start Slow

As excited as you may be to get growing, start off with one or two easy, low-maintenance plants (a pothos is a good one to start with) and see how well you do with them first. You don’t want to buy two dozen delicate babies only to find two dozen dead stumps a month later because of your too-shady lanai, spontaneous watering habits, or proximity to pests. Trying out a couple of kinds of plants at a time can give you a clue as to what you, your lifestyle, and your home are best suited for.

Study Up

Not all ferns are created equal, unfortunately. For every direct sunlight-loving, desert-dwelling sprout that can be neglected way more than you’d ever believe (we’ve been there), you’ll have a fragile bloom that prefers partial shade. Some of your plants will also be more susceptible to bugs, have different watering expectations, and even different needs when it comes to space to grow. Keep an eye out for changes in your plants, and don’t underestimate the power of a quick Internet search. Most likely, someone else will have asked and received an in-depth answer on the same question you’re asking. Like, “What are these teeny black bugs on my elephant ear plant?” (Probably aphids. You can clean them off with soapy water.) Or, “Why are my leaves yellowing around the edges?” (Check your watering and drainage.)

In The Mix

You probably don’t want to be running around every day keeping an entire greenhouse alive in your home. So, maximizing the plants you do get can add a lot to the jungle vibe. You could concentrate a lot of them on one credenza for a plant arrangement centerpiece, or mix them up with some cut or dried flowers, or other organic decor (basket wall art, for instance, or earthy vases). Find eye-catching spots that will really let them shine (while also giving them the sunlight they need).

Act Natural

You don’t have to break the bank on your planters. Check out thrift stores and garage sales for pots, or hunt down receptacles to repurpose around the house. Plants automatically go great with the organic, au naturel aesthetic, too (even woven baskets can be great plant holders), so simple ceramics and even raw wood containers are perfect.

house plants on dresser

Next Level

Get creative with your presentation, and play with levels. Think about scattering some winding ivylike plants on different tiers of a bookshelf, letting some ferns drape off a floating shelf, or mixing up some macrame hangers along window sills. The vertical and horizontal interplay will draw the eye up and about, giving a wider green effect.

When It Rains, It Pours

Actually, that’s not always true. For some of your plants, a little water can feel like a flood. For others, they’re thirsty all the time. Even the quickest Google search when you buy a plant can do wonders for your watering plan, but keeping a consistent routine, plus paying attention to how your plant reacts, is key. Is this guy drooping when you skip a day of watering? Are those leaves starting to yellow from too much moisture? Are you noticing the soil staying wet (and attracting bugs), meaning there’s too much water for the plant to absorb? Are you getting a lot of excess moisture coming from your drainage holes? These are all clues for how you should adjust. Proper drainage is essential for your plants. If water is collecting at the roots, your plant will start to die, or pests will start to collect. If your pot or planter doesn’t already have drainage holes, consider drilling some in. Putting a layer of rocks on the bottom of your pot, before the layer of soil, is also a good idea.

Categories: Gardening, Interior Design