This post was originally published on DIY Network’s blog Made + Remade in February 2015.
Indoor greens are great for air quality and for making your home feel decorated, especially during the winter months when you’re on lockdown, missing the lushness of an outdoor summer day. Caring for indoor plants is an easy way to improve my wintertime morale, and add color to my home in a friendly way.
Choosing the right plants isn’t easy though. Not all homes are overflowing with daylight. Many homes can only offer indirect sunlight, and have drafty sills on which potted plants requiring consistent warmth would suffer during the winter months. Finding the perfect assortment of plants that will thrive easily in your home requires a bit of shopping, and acceptance that the plants you like the look of, might not be the best fit for your dwelling.
My home is one of those hindered by lack of direct sunlight. Wide eaves and lots of trees negate the fact that we do have nice big windows for the sun to flow through, so indirect (and low light) daylight is the best that we can offer.
When it came to finding plants to sit in a midcentury half-wall planter in my living room, we were challenged with identifying varieties that were satisfied with these low and indirect light conditions. The Birds Nest Ferns have done well in this low light setting, and are a good scale for the space. They are of a Polynesian descent, but are hearty, and present as less “tropical” than alternatives sold in stores. A faux option that I considered for this stone planter was fake grass to add color and greenery in a modern way.
Cacti and succulents are an easy go-to as indoor plants that require low maintenance, are long living, are easy to transplant, and are very affordable at just $3-10/plant. Indirect sun needs and only the occasional dampening make these greens ideal for many homeowners or renters. Colorful grafted cacti are popular (pink! orange! yellow!), as are “plain” cacti with little flowers hot glued to the tops. (Please pluck those fake florals and residual glue off the plant with a pair of tweezers after you purchase.)
Moss can thrive indoors as well; it’s in the background of the below photo. I love it in this planter (it has ceramic lips, yes, and it has a partner donning a mustache, too). Moss is also a popular additive for living wreaths.
If you have a green thumb and your home is graced by warm, sunny-sunny sunshine, spring for a Fiddle Leaf Fig tree. From what I gather, they’re finicky little things, but can grow nicely in an environment they’re comfortable in. My parents have been raising a Ficus tree since 1976, longer than they’ve been raising children. The Ficus falls into the Fig family, and at present is 10′ tall and 6′ wide. There are lots of different Ficus varieties (the one owned by my parents looks most like this one), and they have become pretty savvy at learning what it likes. The tree spends its summers on the back porch basking in the sunlight, and the rest of the year it sits in their living room, which has a high lofted ceiling and skylights. I wouldn’t say that it gets a lot of direct sunlight, especially during the gray winters, but it obviously does pretty well.
For more tips on indoor gardens, check out these articles: