The first plant I ever owned was an African violet, which to my bewilderment I kept alive a little more than six months in my dorm windowsill as a freshman in college. My mom gave me fair warning to always water from the bottom and let the plant soak up the moisture through its roots and to never water the leaves. I don’t remember how the purple-flowered plant died, but it was my first go at a plant. Fast forward four years ahead and many neglected houseplants, the first plant that I kept alive was gifted to me by a co-worker while I worked at a coffee shop. It was an arabica coffee tree. I took that plant across the country with me to Albuquerque and gave it away to a friend before moving back to Pittsburgh. Hopefully that plant has survived, but who knows!? It has taken me time and a learning curve to be able to keep plants alive.
Now I have over fifty houseplants including a pomegranate. Admittedly, some are doing better than others and I am continually playing with moisture levels and light. I also do a lot of research about the type of plant and care. I cannot resist a good plant deal at any retail store and will inevitably bring it home. I love adding greenery to my living space and friends’ homes and gardens. The benefits of keeping houseplants are numerous. One of my favorites is that they help purify the air in your home. I want to share with you some tips and the three beginner plants that I think anyone can keep alive.
Plant Care Tips
Some easy care tips that most houseplants love are:
1. Mist with a spray water bottle three to four times a week.
2. Water from below in a tray and let the plant soak up the water it needs through its roots, or water the soil and not the foliage.
3 Houseplants for Beginners
The three easiest houseplants (in my opinion) are pothos, Christmas cactus, and bromeliads.
The pothos plant (Epipremnum aureum) has beautiful, heart-shaped, often variegated leaves that grow in a vine. They can be trained to grow along curtain rods and up to a ladder shelf. If you cut it often it will grow into a more bushy form and fill out. Watering is minimal; every one to two weeks. Pothos does not like to have their roots sitting in water and will get root rot. This houseplant can tolerate low light but will not be as variegated in color. Pothos is easy to multiply and create new plant babies. You simply cut a vine that has at least four leaves growing and place the cutting right into a pot with potting soil or in a glass with water. If you leave it to root for a month in water, then it has to live in the water. It cannot be placed in a pot at this point.
The Christmas cactus (schlumbergera) is actually a tropical plant that likes shade and high humidity. I love the flower show that mine has twice a year. Usually once around Thanksgiving and again around Easter. Christmas cactus comes in a variety of flowering colors. I have had mine in the same large pot for almost eight years, and it is going strong! It is also easy to take cuttings from. I water mine once a week and mist it often.
The tropical bromeliad (bromeliaceae) has a unique tiered flowering display. If you buy one already in bloom, it will last for about a year and will produce pups (off-shoots) that you can re-pot. I place rocks in a tray at the bottom of the plant and fill it with water. Unlike most plants, the bromeliad loves water to sit in the middle of its foliage. I pour water right down the middle and let it fill the center cup. Indirect, bright light is best for the bromeliad.
I wish for everyone to find a plant that they are able to keep for many years that brightens their living space and brings joy to their lives.
Owner of Moss & Fern