Lately, my little indoor garden has been my happy place.
I’ve been slowly collecting houseplants over the past year-and-half, which my boyfriend jokingly bemoans. He dreads the inevitable transition of our apartment into a jungle. I wholeheartedly welcome it.
There’s a certain peace I feel that comes with caring for plants. Maybe it’s just the “aesthetic” of the moment or the literal air purification qualities they bring, but I definitely feel like I have my life more put together than it actually is when I tend to them.
In fact, there are even studies that indicate indoor plants can help boost your mood, productivity and creativity, as well as reduce stress.
I genuinely enjoy looking up the needs and backgrounds of each plant I get. I’m no horticulturalist, though, and I’m still learning as I go.
I have 16 plants so far, but it’s hardly the tip of the iceberg. My first proper plant in my collection was a monstera deliciosa, or “Swiss cheese plant,” which is the tropical looking greenery whose leaves split off into sections. It’s grown into a pretty monstrous thing — to the point where I was intimidated to even attempt to tame it because its leaves started growing every which way.
I only just last week decided to lop it apart and make separate plant cuttings. I’d never done it before so I was afraid I’d kill it but so far, so good. I was able to make three more plants out of it, and I decided to spread the love by giving them away to family.
My favorites are probably my rubber tree for its gorgeous deep green, symmetrical leaves with tinges of red, and my sansevieria, otherwise known as a snake plant, for its interesting form. It’s the little things, like noticing one of my plants sprouting a new leaf, that really make my days.
There is a particular plant species I am swearing off, and it’s a little embarrassing to admit because they’re supposed to be one of the easiest to handle: succulents. All of them, really.
They’re labeled as beginner-friendly because they actually seem to thrive when you neglect them. Yet every time I get my hands on one — death. I could never find the right balance between neglecting them too much and overwatering them. I can’t help that I care too much, so I’ve decided to stop wasting my time and money on succulents even though I love their fun colors and pudgy leaves.
I wish I could better spread out my plants, but the only setup in my apartment that gets enough good light is my back porch window so they’re all concentrated in the kitchen. Lots of natural light is definitely going to be a requirement in my next home.
Here in Manhattan I usually frequent Blueville Nursery or Home Depot to browse indoor plant selections, but if anyone has any tips on more places to check out in the area, my inbox is open.