Do you do the slow walk whenever you pass a plant shop? Do you follow more plant experts than kittens on Instagram? Do you long for your own plants to take care of, verdant and green, to turn your home into a cozy mini-jungle to warm you through the winter months?
We know if that if you’ve never grown plants before, you might be kind of intimidated when it comes to creating your indoor jungle, so here are six plants that you can buy right now at your local plant shop to get your green thumb going.
- Monstera Deliciosa
First on this list, of course, is the beautiful monstera deliciosa, aka the split leaf plant. Due to their large, graphic leaves, these tropical lovelies have been a star of interior decorators for years. But it’s only since the advent of Instagram that their popularity has truly exploded.
And, luckily for all of us, they’re pretty easy to care for! Because monstera’s natural habitat is the jungle floor and tree trunks, it does well in pretty much any light level. If you have a particularly sunny window, you might find that your monstera will grow to a monstrous size, really quickly. For a plant nerd, there’s nothing more exciting than seeing that bright green spiral start to poke out and unfurl a new leaf! If your monstera starts to get out-of-control big, it’s really easy to cut a piece off and start a new plant, just be sure to cut below a node in order to ensure that your cutting will root.
Monsteras also like to stay fairly damp because they’re tropical plants, so water when the soil is dry up to one knuckle. Spritz about once a week and, if you’re really feeling like babying it (or your house is just super dry), set up a humidifier nearby.
Also, don’t repot until it’s totally rootbound — like until there are small roots literally coming out of the bottom. It likes being constricted a bit, so play it out as long as you can before repotting.
Alocasia — and its cousin, colocasia — make massive, beautiful leaves that really exemplify “jungle.” Unfortunately, it’s a little pickier than some other houseplants and therefore maybe not the best choice for a total newbie indoor gardener. But if you already have some confidence in your plant-caring skills, definitely go for an alocasia.
Alocasia like to stay moist, so it’s best to keep them in a non-porous pot, aka plastic instead of terracotta, which “breathes.” You’ll also want to make sure that the soil stays moist but not soggy, which means adding smaller amounts of water more frequently, rather than soaking it once a week.
For light, the alocasia can take pretty much anything, but in the winter time it will go dormant for a while. If you live somewhere that doesn’t really have seasons, your plant will just grow a bit slower. If you live somewhere that gets really cold and cloudy, you might think your plant is dead — but don’t fear! It’s not dead, it’s just taking a long nap. Keep watering and it will come back to full foliage in the spring.
Pothos is one of the most low-key houseplants. It’s a lot of green, for very little work. Hard to argue with that, right?
Another vining plant, pothos love to live in hanging pots, but will be happy in a table-top one as well. (Actually, their ideal situation is climbing rather than hanging, but they’re pretty easygoing.) Pothos can grow in low to bright, indirect light and will benefit from benign neglect when it comes to watering.
That’s to say: You don’t have to do much. Water when the soil is dry up to one knuckle or when your pothos’ little leaves are drooping.
Similar to pothos (and the two are often confused for each other!), philodendron is a hearty vining plant that doesn’t need much from you to thrive. Its glossy, heart-shaped leaves seem to grow by magic and pretty soon you’ll find it taking over your house — in a good way.
Philodendron, like pothos, does well in pretty much any light and doesn’t need to be tended too often. Let the soil get bone-dry before giving it a little refresh, along with the occasional spritz from the spray bottle, and it should be good to go!
There are a variety of different calathea, but they all add beautiful color and design to your room. They’re also very chill, preferring lower light and watering only when the soil is dry to your first knuckle. Choose a couple varieties and place them at different levels around the room for a particularly foliage-filled jungle effect.
- Corn Plant
Finally, consider adding a corn plant to your mini-jungle. No, we’re not talking about corn like corn-on-the-cob. The corn plant — which is also sometimes called a mass cane — grows long green leaves with a lime green stripe down the middle, on a woody trunk. It’s not a picky plant and will grow in high or low light. It prefers a little more humidity, but won’t get too mad if your home is on the dryer side. Water when the soil is dry up to one knuckle and watch this baby sprout!
by Emma McGowan