For better or for worse, covid has turned me into a plant lady. And friends—I’m kind of obsessed. Something about watching my plants grow, change, and root is so incredibly therapeutic. And the great thing is, plants are SO good for your health and they were already one of my favorite ways to accessorize a space. Win win!
I’m no green thumb, and until quarantine I didn’t have a good handle on how to care for my plants, what they needed, or really, much of anything about them. I had been overwatering some, under-watering others, and I had a lot of my plants placed in the wrong type of light—all very important things! Once I had the time to sit down, google just-what-the-heck some of them were (since I didn’t know the names of most of them), and what each of them needed, it wasn’t all that hard to figure out how to take proper care of them.
Today I’ll give you the run down on each of my plants, what I like about them, and, you know, just kind of, introduce you to the gang! Hopefully you’ll walk away encouraged to add a few plant babes to your own space.
This plant I purchased on facebook marketplace, of all places! It was such a great find!
I originally had him up in the loft in a north facing window that wasn’t super sunny. In my research, however, I learned that since this is a tropical plant, it needs a lot of sun, so now, it’s living in my sunroom, which faces south, and it seems to be doing really well. I’ve also cut a couple branches from this plant and am propagating those over at my “propagation station” (I'll show you that later in this post!). One of the branches has two large leaves and is verrrry slowly growing roots, and the other is a super tiny cutting, and seems to be growing roots much faster, even though I've only just cut it!
I’ve been pretty amazed at how fast the rubber tree grows. Every time a leaf opens, a new little red sprout pops out and starts growing another new leaf. It’s pretty amazing!
These are the plants you see EVERYWHERE in Grand Rapids hanging on peoples porches. And it’s no wonder why: they are so beautiful, they grow like maniacs, and they don’t need a lot of sun, so they grow well in the shade of your porch. They DO, however, need a lot of water, so be sure to give them lots to drink!
I originally had these two ferns out on our front porch and a friend of mine told me you can actually take them inside for the winter. For some reason, I never thought to do this! I'd always seen these in people's trash cans come fall, so it never crossed my mind. But truly! Just spray them down with Neem Oil, which is a natural pest killer, and let them dry before bringing them in.
I found that my ferns shed a lot over last winter, but I wonder if it’s just a matter of giving them more water and a little less sun. I had them in the sunroom over last winter, and while they grew a LOT, they also shed a lot.
I moved one of them up to the attic in a North facing (and less sunny) window this summer, and it seems to be shedding a lot less (however, that could also be due to it being summer!). This winter, I may experiment with keeping each of them in different spots (I have four...!) to see which does best. I’ll keep you posted!
Cast Iron Plants
These are my two oldest house plants—I’ve had them since before we moved into our current house—and I’ll admit, I probably haven’t treated them the best. They’ve come with me to home shows in drafty showrooms, and they probably experienced cold shock at some point. They both appear to have some damage, but I’m working really hard to get them back into healthy shape!
The good news is, they are super low-maintenance plants when they are healthy. They don’t need much water and do okay in lower light situations. I love the way they look and the texture they add to a space, and I would definitely purchase more of these in the future!
Dragon Tree—I think?
Another lovely low-maintenance plant that doesn’t like too much water. I don’t know a lot about this plant, but I’ve had it for about two years, it’s still in it’s nursery pot, and seems to be doing just fine. I like that this one feels bright, airy, and tropical. Such a happy little tree!
If you are wondering, yes, I do take my plants to photos shoots of clients homes...HA!
Now that that's cleared up...I love this plant! Like most of my plants, it’s also low maintenance. It grew a TON this year, so I started propagating four stems early this summer that are rooting really nicely, and I just cut another three which will hopefully start to grow roots soon.
I love the thick waxy leaves, the fun height and texture that it brings to a room, and for some reason, these plants seem really lively and playful. Maybe it’s their name? ZZ!
Corn plant and....not sure what this guy is? If you know, tell me!
Both of these are fun, wild looking plants!
The one with the tall green stalks, not unlike corn, is the corn plant! I love that it is are taller and leafier, and has some varied height within the plant itself. Apparently corn plants flower as well, though mine never has.
The colorful plant, I'm not sure what it is (if you know, do tell!). I think this is a tropical plant of some kind based on the thick, sturdy leaves, but I couldn’t find it in my googling. I love it's brightly colored and variegated leaves!
This was another great facebook marketplace find! This is a newer plant for me, but I’m excited to give it a shot since it’s supposed to be one of those plants you can ignore for months...just my kind of plant!
I also love that it looks so completely different than any of the other pants I have. One quick tip for working plants into your space: try to play with a variety of heights, textures, styles, sizes, and color variations so the space doesn’t feel repetitive.
Golden Pothos—The Easiest Plant EVER
Pothos are my favorite because they are the easiest plant everrrrrr, they grow like crazy, they are super low-maintenance, and they are SO easy to propagate! I have a glass of propagated pothos in almost every room of our house.
Quick tip! When I first started propagating Pothos, I'd to wait for a vine to get super long and then cut a single, long vine and pop that into a glass or jar of water. I recently learned, however, especially if you’d like to plant your propagated Pothos at some point, that it’s better to cut many shorter stems rather than a single long stem. This way, when you do plant them down the road, you have a fuller, leafier plant, rather than a single long vine that grows longer but not fuller. Makes so much sense, right!?
My “Propagation Station”
Lastly, I want to show off my little propagation station! Here, I have clippings of my rubber tree, zz plant, another tropical plant (not sure what this is—if you know, do tell!), some willow tree cuttings (not pictured) from our back yard—these root like CRAZY! And apparently they can be used to make a rooting liquid to help other plants root faster. Lastly, I have my sad little aloe plant, which was doing pretty poorly until this summer when I cut off all the dead arms, and it seems to be doing a little better. It had been living in our Airbnb for about a year, and I have a feeling guests had been cutting it and using the aole...oy vey!
The Wrap Up
So there you have it, I'm officially a plant lady! I'm only just skimming the surface, but I'm having such fun learning about and caring for all of them, and I'm eager to incorporate more plants into my clients spaces. I'd love to know if you have any great plant tips, recommendations of species, or if you have any plants of your own that you love (or loath!). How have you used plants as a design feature in your space? And if you don't have plants yet, would you be open to trying it?
Share in the comments below!
About Lauren Figueroa Interior Design
LFID is a full-service interior design firm based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We work with clients throughout west and southeast Michigan, and pride ourselves on creating bespoke, people-centered spaces—because after all, people are what this life is all about! If you have a project on the horizon, get started by telling us a little about your vision here.