house full of plants

Inspired by my friend Michael's lovely collection of houseplants, I've been trying to add more plants to my home. I love the fresh pop of green they add to a room, there's something so cheerful about a little potted plant. 

Our current apartment doesn't get a ton of natural light, so its been a bit of a challenge to find plants that will survive in our mostly indirect light conditions. Click below for tips and photos of the plants I have been able to keep alive, as well as the ones that didn't make it...

These two plants are my kind of houseplants. They are nearly indestructible, tolerant of low-light and irregular watering, and both are great at improving indoor air quality. The Snake plant (on the left) is also sometimes called "Mother-in-Law's Tongue" because of its spikey leaves. I actually purchased the Dracaena, or Dragon tree, on the right at Ikea, and I'm somewhat shocked that it's still alive and thriving.

I inherited this Ficus tree from my friend Tracy when she moved out of her apartment last month. So far its doing well, and is doing a great job of covering up the door we don't use, but I'm waiting to see if it will be happy with the lack of light in this corner. Ficus trees are a great low-maintenance plant, they only need to be watered about every 4 weeks. 

This Spider plant likes a little more light, and has been flourishing next to the window. I water it once a week, along with most of my other plants, by sticking it in the bathtub. I plug the drain, give all my plants a quick shower and then let them soak in the pool of water that's collected for about half an hour. Once they've had a nice drink, I drain the tub and leave them in there for another half hour or so to drain. It's important to give them time to drain properly, as over-watering is often the cause of death for houseplants. 

This little pink plant is one that does not get the shower treatment. It is a Pink Fireball Bromeliad, which only absorbs water in its center. When looking down at this plant, the center leaves form a little "cup" that holds water. It is easy to tell when this little lady needs water, I just check the cup every few days and fill it up when its dry. I wish all plants made it this easy! The plant on the right is another spider plant.

This plant is called an Asparagus fern , but I was surprised to discover its not actually a member of the fern family. It seems to do well in the humidity of the bathroom, and likes a weekly shower. Beware: it will send out shoots and try to grow up the walls if you let it. If you notice it sending out long shoots, just trim them off at the root if you don't want a trellis in your bathroom.

And here are the ones that didn't do so well. These are just a couple of the plants I've managed to kill since we moved in a year ago. I'm not sure what happened to the little succulent on the left. I know succulents are supposed to be easy to keep alive since they don't need much water, but apparently they don't like it if you never, ever water them- whoops. The shriveled brown leaves on the right were once a Maidenhair fern. I really tried to keep this plant alive, but they can be finicky about moisture levels and I never found the right balance. I would advise you to steer clear of these ferns if you are a plant novice like me- they're beautiful but high maintenance. RIP little plants!

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