Try something new in 2021...
Money Tree (Pachira)
The Money Tree will give you that tropical feel indoors! With its braided stem and glossy green, palm-like leaves, it looks like a miniature palm tree. Native to Mexico and northern South America, the Money Tree is a very popular, low maintenance houseplant.
Light: For best results, place in bright light. No direct sunlight. Rotate plant a quarter turn every time you water for even growth. Because it adapts well to fluorescent lighting, it's a good one for the office, too.
Fertilizer: Feed once a month in spring and summer (when it is producing its leaves) with a water-soluble, balanced houseplant fertilizer. Make sure the soil is damp before you add fertilizer.
Water: This plant prefers deep, but infrequent watering. Pour water into container until water runs out of the drainage holes. Empty the saucer. Do not let plant stand in water. Since the Money Tree likes a little extra humidity, increase the humidity by putting the pot on a pebble tray with water. Or, mist it on a regular basis all year round.
Tip: Try not to move your Money Tree around too much. It prefers to remain in the same spot. However, if it drops a few leaves, it will adjust. It’s a tough plant.
Earth Star (Cryptanthus)
Earth Stars are in the Bromeliad family and received their name because of the star-shaped foliage. There are over 1200 different varieties that display fantastic, leaf variations that range from dark green to bright reds, pinks and silvery stripes. It is native to the rain forests of Brazil.
Light: Most plants prefer indirect sunlight or a sunny, indoor room without direct sun exposure… too much sun will bleach or burn the leaves.
Fertilizer: Bromeliads are light feeders so only fertilize plants when they are actively growing. Use a diluted solution of houseplant fertilizer, as needed.
Water: Keep the plant moist and add humidity for indoor plants. A bathroom would be a welcome spot.
Prayer Plant (Maranta)
The Maranta species is a low growing, spreading plant species that is native to the American tropics. It gets its name from leaves that stay flat during the day and fold up at night. The most popular variety is known for its velvet-like, deep-green leaves with bright red veining. Prayer Plants are extremely beautiful but not especially low maintenance.
Light: Bright, indirect sunlight. Direct sun will scorch the leaves. Generally tolerant of low light conditions in winter when plant is dormant.
Fertilizer: Feed it monthly in spring, summer and fall with a water-soluble, balanced houseplant fertilizer... only when plant is actively growing. Dilute fertilizer to half of the recommended strength.
Water: Do not allow plant to dry out. Water with room temperature water and try not to get water on the leaves. It prefers a very humid environment so increase the room humidity with a small humidifier or place an open bowl of water close to the plant. A bright, warm bathroom would be ideal location.
Tips: Since this plant prefers acidic soil, use a peat-based potting mix. To improve drainage, add rocks or gravel to the bottom of container.
Tree Philodendron (Philodendron Selloum)
The Tree Philodendron is native to South America and also to the Gulf Coast of the United States. Keep in mind that this philodendron can take up a lot of space indoors-- sometimes spreading up to 5 ft. or more with 2- to 3- ft. long leaves. The large and deeply lobed leaves almost look like fingers. It’s a sassy plant that looks stunning in contemporary settings.
Light: Bright, indirect light is best. Place in front of an east-facing window; within 1-3 ft. of a west-facing window or within 5 ft. of a south-facing window.
Fertilizer: Feed your Tree Philodendron monthly in spring, summer and fall with a water-soluble, balanced houseplant fertilizer--but only when it is actively growing. Dilute fertilizer to half of the recommended strength.
Water: Unlike most philodendrons, it likes a moist but not a soggy soil. During the winter, water less often and keep the soil barely moist.
Tips: These plants are considered poisonous. Place up and away from children and pets.
Pancake Plant or Friendship Plant: (Pilea peperomioides)
The Pancake Plant (pictured) is an Asiatic perennial herb that is native to Southern China. This pet friendly plant is loved for its green, disc-like leaves that hover above thin stems. It is also known as the Friendship or Pass-Along Plant because its ‘pups’ can be divided from the mother plant and are easy to share with friends. It’s a very low maintenance choice for your indoor plant collection.
Light: Thrives in medium bright, indirect light but can tolerate a few hours of direct light.
Water: Water every 1- 2 weeks, allowing soil to dry out between. (Expect to water more often in brighter light and less often in lower light.)
Humidity: Normal room humidity is fine.
Tips: Don’t water over the crown area, it can rot easily. Try to keep the leaves dry to avoid bacterial problems. Non toxic to humans, dogs and cats.
Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)
The Snake Plant* is a tough, plant that prefers warm, sunny locations but also tolerates a bit of shade. It's a native from tropical western Africa with fleshy, sharply pointed leaves that stand tall and narrow. Search out varieties with unique cylindrical leaves, or those with silvery markings, tiger stripes or yellow margins. It's a very low maintenance plant that looks very sculptural in contemporary settings.
*Studies by NASA into the best houseplants for clearing formaldehyde from the air (often found in fiberboard and plywood in the home) have shown that Snake Plants and orchids remove toxins from the air, as well as release oxygen at night. Great plants to include in the bedroom!
Light: Indirect light is best but this hardy plant will tolerate a range of bright to low light conditions.
Water: The lower the light, the less you need to water. Don’t pour water directly onto the rosette of leaves. Water around the base of the plant for best results. It is best to let these plants dry out between watering.
Fertilize: If the plant is grown in a pot, water in a little general purpose houseplant fertilizer when plant is in its spring/summer growth period.
Toxicity: Keep these plants out of reach of children and pets. They are toxic, if consumed.
Peperomia Plant (Peperomia))
Peperomia plants (pictured) are native to Native to Mexico, South America and the West Indies. They offer a tropical appeal with their wide variety of thick, fleshy foliage in reds, greens, gray or purple colors and many textures. It is drought tolerant, slow growing which make it a perfect, low maintenance plant for beginners.
Light: Place in medium to bright light to maintain the colorful foliage. Morning light and filtered light is preferred.
Water: The succulent-like leaves indicate that this plant doesn’t need frequent watering. Allow soil surface to dry out between. If you keep your plant on the dry side, you’ll avoid fungus gnats or root rot. Give it plenty of humidity in the summer, when it is actively growing.
Fertilize: It's not necessary to fertilize this plant if it has decent potting soil, as it is very slow growing.
Tip: No need to repot often because peperomias doesn’t grow very quickly and they also enjoy to be a bit root-bound. However, when roots emerge from bottom of pot, repot in a slightly larger container with an acidic potting mix or orchid bark.
Although the Fiddle-leaf Fig has been a favorite of interior designers for a few years, it remains a star because of its large and bold, violin-shaped, glossy leaves. It is available as a tree form and also as a smaller shrub shape.
Fiddle-Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata)
The Fiddle-Leaf is the cool kid in town and has been featured in many design magazines from coast to coast. It is native to the African jungle with its distinctive, violin-shaped leaves. Love it either as a leafy shrub or as a tall tree with an exposed mini trunk… but you have to give it what it desires… lots of bright, indirect light, humidity, regular watering and no cold drafts.
Light: A brightly lit location with no direct sunlight is best, although a small amount of daily sun is fine, if it isn’t a mid-afternoon sun.
Fertilizer: This Ficus doesn’t have a strong need for fertilizer. However, during the spring and summer months, you can water the plant with a diluted fertilizer once a month.
Water: Water when the top of the soil becomes slightly dry. Reduce your watering in the winter. The worst thing to do is to over water this plant, not underwater.
Tips: If the Fiddle-leaf drops its bottom leaves, it might need time to adjust to its new space.
Looking for healthier, indoor air? The best, air-filtering plants are:
Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum 'Mauna Loa')
Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata 'Laurentii')
Red-edged Dracaena (Dracaena marginata)
Corn Plant (Dracaena fragans 'Massangeana')
Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)
Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)
English Ivy (Hedera helix)