Houseplant envy: it’s a thing and I’ve got it.
When visiting my brother, whose prowess with plants is legendary, I seethe internally at his ability to create a peaceful wall of greenery inside his itty-bitty Brooklyn flat. I can’t exactly prove that his constantly chill attitude is a result of his obscene green-thumbery, but everyone from NASA to your neighborhood feng shui practitioner agrees that plants are good for you. Plants can clean the air, aid in alleviating depression, lessen stress, and symbolize life and growth.
I’ve declared this my year of the houseplant; this is the year I’m gonna turn my black thumb green and here are some plants with whom I’ll be chumming up.
Low Light Lovelies
Bromeliad: Basically, if a plant is related to the pineapple, it’s cool. Even better, the bromeliad loves low light and humid conditions making it the perfect bathroom companion. The bright flower that erupts from the middle of the green spikes makes getting ready on a Monday morning a little brighter.
Calathea: Most low light greenery are just that—various shades of green. The calathea is a colorful little dude, with leaves that are spotted or striped with shades of rose and purple, as well as lighter shades of green. Because of the variety of variegation, the plant is also known as the Peacock Plant or the Zebra Plant.
Cast-Iron Plant: I figure, since my cast iron skillet is over 70-years-old and I haven’t screwed that up yet, this would be an indestructible plant partner. This is a plant that actually loves to be ignored. It grows slowly, its narrow green leaves just hanging out, thinking, “yeah, I’ll get some water eventually, but no big whoop.”
ZZ Plant: If this plant dies in your care—go plastic. For real. This shiny-leafed plant is so chill, it can live on fluorescent light alone and is down with dry condition—making it your best buddy at the office, or that one room at home without a ray of sunlight.
Boston Fern: My parents have a Boston Fern that’s been hanging around for over 20 years and they’re so gotdamn busy, you know this is a hardy lad. It also is known for leeching such nasties out of the air as formaldehyde and xylene.
Peace Lily: Lovely, fragrant flowers bloom all summer, and sometimes throughout the year, with long-stemmed skinny leaves, this is a plant to have a crush on. It’s also NASA-approved for its ability to remove formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide from the air. That’s right, NASA.
And the must have:
Aloe Vera: Ahhh, aloe vera. We love you for your fat waxy spikes. We love you because you are a harbinger of doom– when there are too many chemicals in the air from caustic cleaning products, you get brown spots to warn us. We love you because your oozy insides are packed with amino acids, vitamins, and other things we don’t understand that help soothe burns, sores, and cuts. We love you because your healthy juice is good for hair conditioning and toning our stressed-out skin. •
Start your plant plan at any of the following gardening shops: Oakland Nurseries, Strader’s Garden Centers and Stump. Most big box home stores have a houseplant section as well.