Most people, when asked why they love a place or a space, don't immediately recall a specific detail but rather the composition as a whole. A well designed product, room, garden or park is so much more than one little detail, it is the harmony of every little piece fitting together to create the larger vignette. It is these spaces that are most often remembered because of there precise consideration for the finishing touches.
Interior plants are one of the details which are often overlooked but can easily complete a room. I know many of you are reading this saying "but I always kill them!". Let me be the one to admit that I have had difficulties keeping certain indoor plants alive. What I have learned is that careful consideration needs to be taken when choosing the plants for your particular space. Form follows function, as always. Although you would love that adorable little lavender plant and the sales person at Home Depot tells you it can survive indoors, it most likely will not! Picking up whatever looks pretty is dangerous and can lead to a shriveled plant and a bruised ego. At the least an understanding of your light source, humidity and desired care regimen is a must before purchasing.
Here are some rules of thumb when choosing the new addition to your interior garden:
- Larger foliage (leaves) = less water. Philodendron, Sansevieria Birds Nest Fern, Fittonia, Pepperomia
- Finer foliage = more water. Ferns, Club Moss, Baby's Tears, String of Hearts, etc.
- Thicker foliage = less water. Jade, Echeveria, Haworthia, most succulents
If you are just getting started in the plant world, it is safe to start with a member of the succulent family. These plants can withstand very dry conditions and can survive up to a month of no watering (not recommended!). Keep in mind that most succulents do like some light so a dark bathroom or basement apartment may not be a good fit.
For those of you living in basement apartments or rear north facing buildings a plant that tolerates low light environments is your best choice. Luckily, these plants tend to also be easier to care for. From experience, I would recommend a Philodendron or ZZ Plant. Both are pretty much impossible to kill. ZZ Plants can be ignored for long periods of time without showing any signs of distress. Philodendrons are a more common house plant and have a more delicate and whimsical texture. Both will thrive in low light conditions.
Don't forget the best part of indoor plants is that they are the best 'au natural' air filter!