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My Top 5 Houseplants, as a New Plant Mama

By  La Shell Reid Hoilett

My Top 5 Houseplants, as a New Plant Mama

Eeeeek! We’re talking houseplants. PLANTS!! Can you imagine it? Never would I ever have thought I’d be here talking about this. But you know, when I get into something, I get INTO it.

So what’s all this chatter about? Well. When we moved into our home, I bought two plants for my toilet tank tops, purely for the esthetic. Not because I really cared for plants to be honest. I bought a small sansevieria and another dark green leafy friend whose name now escapes me. Let’s just say he didn’t make it. But my trusty and sturdy sanse’ is still alive and kicking!

Since then I’ve accumulated quite a bit and I’ve grown to fall in love with them. My word, who knew plants could be this fascinating? Who knew!?! Before I go off the rails here (because well, I can go on and on), these are my top 5 houseplants so far. They’re not all easy to care for, but boy are they super pretty and add so much life and spunk to our little corner of the earth.

1/ Sansevieria Trifasciata | Snake Plant | Mother-in-Law’s Tongue

This is such a sturdy and resilient little sucker. Now that I’m into plants I see them flourishing everywhere. Indoors, in porches, in outdoor gardens, at the side of the road, just, everywhere! These perennials live a long long time and are my favorite because of how low maintenance they are. The species and varieties are boundless so you can find them only a couple inches tall to over 12 feet high. My personal favorite is the Zeylanica. The leaves are a beautiful deep green that grows slim and stand straight up. It’s not to the taste of many because of it’s harsh appearance but I love the boldness and modernness of it. Not to mention, they are an excellent air purifier. 

Care – Bright indirect light is ideal, although I’ve seen them grown quite fine in outdoor gardens. Water moderately. I water mine once every two weeks or so (I live in a tropical climate with no winter). Can be toxic for pets and babies. They pretty much want you to leave them alone.

2/ Ficus Lyrata | Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

This baby is trendy as trendy is. You can’t get more instagrammy if you’ve got a Fiddle Leaf Fig tree sitting in your living room. I mean they are everywhere on the internet. And yes I fall in that group as well. I haven’t shown off this lovely specimen too much though as I’m stuck in a zone of just pampering and admiring. This plant is a member of the ficus genus and can grow to a massive 15 meters tall in it’s natural habitat. This slow growing plant is a native of West Africa and is revered for it’s massive leaves and statement piece like stature. This is not an easy plant to care for and needs lots of love and patience. Mine is pretty new but oh I just love it. It’s lush and rich and just overall fancy!

Care – Light wise, bright and indirect. Some direct sun is nice too but this plant hates being moved around too much. Water when the top soil is dry. Under watering is easier to fix than over watering. Clean the leaves ever so often to get rid of dust build up. Here’s a good resource for more detailed care.

3/ Chlorophytum comosum | Spider plant | Airplane Plant

A very very popular houseplant here. And there’s a reason for that. They’re super super easy to care for and they create a nice contrast in your space. There are several varieties and you can find them plain green, with white stripes in the middle or even on the edges. There are really large ones and very small angel hair pasta looking ones. They’re very easy to propagate as the babies grow right off of the flowers. I have two of these in my kitchen and they make the place seem so vibrant! I heard they are awesome bathroom plants too.

Care – They love bright indirect light but can flourish in low light areas as well. They won’t grow babies unless having access to bright light, though. I’ve heard they like sun as well, but I’m not to sure about that one. Most people advise against bright direct sunlight. Mine loves the warmer weather and I water once a week or whenever the soil has started to dry out, but not completely dry.

4/ Calathea

My Top 5 Houseplants, as a New Plant Mama

Oh I love this plant. It is not, and I repeat, it is not an easy plant to care for. Very very high maintenance. Everyday I come across something I shouldn’t be doing to it that I’ve been doing since I got it. These babies are pure beauty. The luscious leaves come in all shades of greens and burgundies with patterns galore. Their foliage is truly an eye catcher across variations. And boy do they have personality! Every day they’re in a different position or facing a different direction. I love that when I wake on mornings, the leaves are all standing up with their tips to the ceiling. They belong to the Marantaceae family and are native to tropical areas such as the Americas. Mine is the Calathea Zebrina. So so pretty.

Care – they prefer indirect light with high humidity levels. I had mine in my living room and everyday the leaves would curl inward and look truly distressed. So, someone told me to place it in my bathroom, which is where it lives now and is flourishing. It’s hot, humid and gets all that misty goodness from when we shower and use the sink. I  do have a winder in my bathroom so the light is still there. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. I give mine a nice shower (literal shower in the bathroom) ever so often. I water weekly or sometimes twice a week if the heat is unbearable and the soil is drying out quickly.

5/ Lucky bamboo

My very very first plant. Had one on my desk at the office years ago. It didn’t last very long but the ones I have now love me! I think I’ve found the trick to keeping them alive and healthy. This is truly a beginner’s plant and grows in water. This plant isn’t a bamboo at all. It just looks that way. It’s actually a Dracaena sanderiana and has been a part of Chinese culture for millennia. It’s popularity has gone through the roof worldwide and now you can find them just about anywhere. In Chinese culture though, there are significant meanings and reasons to have them around. I don’t know too much about it but I do know that I keep my stems under four! Apparently there is a bad omen attached to it.

Care – They love bright indirect light but do just fine in low lit areas. Mine lives in my guest bath and although there is a window, it’s not the brightest place. I went to a store the other day and saw these beautiful bamboo arrangements. They had them in large glass mayonnaise jars with the water all the way up to the top. That was something I was NOT doing. Yes I was told to cover all roots with water but I wasn’t submerging them completely in it. I’ve now done the same. Empty mayo jar that’s full of water, and they are living their best lives for sure! They’re now all tall and green and leafy. I don’t fertilize mine, maybe I should, but they seem to be doing just fine without it.

My Top 5 Houseplants, as a New Plant Mama

Other things to note about my plants is that I water them all with rain or stale (sitting for a week or so) tap water. I don’t touch them up too much (although I’m always tempted) and treat them like living things, for which they are. I don’t use shine products to clog their pores nor do I move them around too much (because I hate that so I’m putting myself in their shoes, heh heh).

All in all, I’m now officially a plant mama and I am love love loving it! Who knows, maybe some time in the future I might make them make me a living (wink wink). Truth be told, I have been saying for years that my retirement looks like me living in the countryside somewhere with a little garden shop, mulling and fussing over my plants, bossing my husband around to bring me the manure, to where I would spend the rest of my days. This just might happen a teensy bit earlier. We shall see!

So tell me, what are your favorite houseplants right now?

Thanks for stopping by!

PS ~ Gift guide for the new homeowner and 10 things I’m loving in November.




  Comments: 2

2 responses to “My Top 5 Houseplants, as a New Plant Mama”

  1. I was literally just thinking about house plants this morning!!! And was actually wondering how hard it is to care for fiddle leaf figs!! We have a faux one and I was thinking of getting a real one… I always have to dust the leaves of it too lol

  2. i love houseplants when i dont have to take care of them. lol i tend to neglect

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