Self-care comes in many different forms – a glass of wine, a good book or a long soak in the tub, but plants play a major part of the self-care picture, too. Plants are also having a major moment right now, and for good reason.
First of all, there’s such a variety of plants available to suit almost any lifestyle and level of ability, no matter how busy our lives get. They improve our quality of life, and we’re not just talking about air quality—they also relieve stress! In fact, a lot of offices will bring them in to absorb noise and increase productivity. Visually, they also create a calming effect and allow people to really slow down and escape. And at home, there’s just something about creating a green space that’s personal to you. It’s a great feeling to have something around us that’s alive that we have to take care of, and let’s be real – they’re easier than animals and unlike children, they don’t talk back.
Plant enthusiast Adam Mallory shares some tips for some of the best plants to bring into your home, and you don’t have to be a plant pro to keep them alive.
The pothos is the ultimate starter plant. It’s considered a very forgiving plant, which means if you over-water it (or forget to water it at all) you won’t kill it. A lot of plants are dependent on specific lighting, but pothos can thrive in minimal lighting as well as filtered lighting. It doesn’t need direct sunlight, which can make this plant a great addition to your office space. The plant grows fast and can really create a green space in no time. It’s also a great air purifier, removing negative toxins from the air. These low maintenance plants can be watered once a week to a week and a half.
Succulents have become very trendy—especially on Instagram—but it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into before you buy the first one you see at a corner store. Maintaining a healthy succulent varies from plan to plant, but the secret to a healthy succulent across the board is simple- do your research!
An Echeveria, for example, is a very popular succulent because they’re so beautiful and Instagrammable. However, many people make the mistake of thinking they don’t need any water at all, and that’s not the case. They like an environment that’s not too wet or too dry with bright, filtered light.
The most common mistake made with succulents is overwatering or not getting enough sunlight. It’s difficult to know just how much water your succulents need, especially for a beginner, but there’s a good rule of thumb to determine this. Add two to three shot glasses of water every 2 to 2.5 weeks and in the winter, approximately every 3 weeks. If your succulent is in a self-draining pot, wait until you see a bit of water coming out; that’s when you know you’ve watered enough. Determining the amount of lighting your succulent needs is simple- the darker the green of the succulent, the darker the space it can handle. It will still need sunlight, but its colouring can determine just how much it really needs.
Orchids have a reputation of being one of the most difficult house plants to keep alive, yet they are so commonly given as gifts. The truth is, orchids are a great starter plant because you always get that impressive bloom and once it disappears, the green part is actually quite hard to kill. Interesting fact: more and more, plants that expose their roots are becoming especially trendy.
So, what do you do when the blooms fall off? Don’t throw it out!! Most orchids after they finish blooming do need to be cut. There are two places you can cut them – at the bottom of the stem, or just above one of the little nodes. The reason some people cut just before a node is there’s a chance one of the nodes will branch out and you will get more blooms on the same stem. Cutting at the bottom of the stem means should promote new green leaves and in the fall, you should start to see a new stem.
Oh, and one more thing: the ice cube trick is a myth. This shocks a plant! You want to water an orchid once a week. Run it under the sink and let drain for a few minutes so it’s not sitting in a puddle. Keep in bright filtered light, but not direct.
Air plants are low maintenance and very versatile. They purify the air like all of these other plants up here, but they add a lot of interest to your space. Placing some in a bowl or around your shelves is a great way to add greenery to your space! Some people like to place them in terrariums or wire them to a log or piece of wood; you can get really creative with them!