Seeing as we're all sheltering at home for the foreseeable future, now is the perfect time to spruce up your space. Adding some greenery to your home will not only boost your WFH productivity, but may also reduce stress and boost mood (and we could all use a bit of that right now). We tapped The Sill's Director of Brand Marketing and plant expert Erin Marino to learn which indoor plants are best to buy, and how to keep them alive once we take them home. Whether your apartment is dark or bright, tiny or big, we have a pick for you.
Bird’s Nest Fern
Best For Bathrooms
Why? I hate to break it to you, but your bathroom won’t instantly become the spa from the Four Seasons by adding a potted plant. (Sorry!) But you can add a little spa-like, topical feel with a Bird’s Nest Fern (eucalyptus, be damned! Just kidding, we still love you). This fern thrives in a space with higher humidity levels, so a bathroom is the perfect spot.
What to look for: Look for a Bird's Nest Ferm with plenty of vibrant green leaves; the leaves should not be washed out in color, thinning, or almost transparent. The rosette at the center of the plant, aka, the bird’s nest, should look healthy – it should be dry and not show any white and powdery mildew.
How to care for it: The Bird’s Nest Fern thrives in medium to bright indirect light, but can tolerate low, indirect light if you’re bathroom doesn’t have a big window. Water it every 1-2 weeks or so, allowing the soil to dry out at least half way down between waterings. Increase watering frequency with increased light, decrease watering frequency with decreased light. (This remains true for the rest of the plants we list, too!)
Snake Plant Laurentii
Best for Dark Apartments
Why? A snake plant is one the most resilient on the market—it can tolerate low light and is relatively low- maintenance, making it a go-to choice for dark apartment.
What to look for: When picking a snake plant, choose one with thick upright leaves and vibrant coloring. There should be little to no browning on the edges of the leaves.
How to care for it: Keep a snake plant in medium to bright indirect light, but it can tolerate low indirect light, too. Water it every 2-3 weeks, less in the winter. Allow the soil to dry before watering again. A tell-tale sign of underwatering are wrinkled leaves—so if you notice that, give it a water.
Best for Bright Apartments
Why? So you have an ultra-bright apartment filled with direct, natural light? Lucky you. Echeveria is a rosette-shaped succulent that thrives in the sunshine (same) and only requires occasional watering. Plus, it’s non-toxic and pet-safe. (and looks super cute in a pastel pot).
What to look for: Pick one with thick, fleshy leaves, which are a sign of a healthy Echeveria succulent.
How to care for it: We know it’s hard, but you have to resist overwatering succulents. Echeveria only needs watering every 3-4 weeks, when the potting mix is bone dry.
Marble Queen Pothos
Best for People Who Kill Their Plants
Why: Think of pothos as the 101 starter plant: It’s easy to care for and can tolerate a wide range of environments (including a dim office, which earned it the nickname “cubicle plant.”) The leaves grow downwards, making pothos great in a hanging planter or in a pot on a high shelf where it can fall naturally.
What to look for: Opt for one with vibrant coloring and minimal brown spots. Although it is a trailing plant when it’s grown, (meaning the stems fall downward), when you purchase the stems should stand slightly upright and be firm to the touch (pictured here).
How to care for it: Pothos can tolerate medium to low indirect light, and it’s not suited for intense, direct sun. Water it every 1-2 weeks, allowing soil to dry completely between watering. Pothos grows fast, so occasional pruning will help it from thinning out too much and keep it lush and leafy.
Best for An Empty Space
Why: Thanks to waxy, broad green leaves and bright blooms, Anthurium adds a pop of color to any space. Because each bloom can last up to eight weeks (and will quickly be replaced by new ones), they make a perfect accent plant in otherwise empty rooms.
What to look for: Look for a lush plant, with lots of leaves and flowers, and for one that shows signs of new growth.
How to care for it: Put Anthurium in a place with bright indirect light (but it can tolerate medium indirect light, too). Water about once every 1-2 weeks, allowing soil to dry out between waterings.
Petite White Orchid
Best for Allergies
Why? If you have pollen allergies and therefore can't enjoy fresh flowers, an orchid is a great bet as it's allergy-free. For beginners, try one in the phalaenopsis variety: It’s the easiest type to grow as a houseplant.
What to look for: Look for one with thick, vibrant green leaves, and if in bloom, some new buds. If you’re buying in bloom, note that it will likely stay that way for 3 months (so yes, purchase right before your housewarming party).
How to care for it: Orchids don’t need much soil or a huge pot, so the pot should compact. After a blooming cycle, the flowers will wilt and fall off, and the orchid will start storing up energy to re-bloom again next season. It thrives in bright indirect light, but can tolerate medium, indirect light
Best for Green Thumbs
Why? Rattlesnake Calathea is like the Mariah Carey of plants—high-maintenance, but ultra beautiful. If you're a seasoned plant vet, this guy grows to be a unique looker.
What to look for: You know this by now: Look for one that is vibrant in coloring, and has minimal leaf spots and brown edges. The more leaves, the better. You want to look for long wavy leaves with a deep green, brushstroke pattern on top and a deep purple coloring underside.
How to care for it: Place in a spot with bright indirect light. Water every 1-2 weeks, allowing soil to dray at least half-way down between waters. Ideally, you water with distilled or purified water (or let tap water sit for a few hours before using).
Best for Pet Owners
Why? Like many plants, Pilea peperomioides is non-toxic and pet-safe, but we’re picking this one because of it’s fun, full shape.
What to look for: When picking one, look for many circular-shaped vibrant green leaves, with minimal browning on the edges.
How to care for it: It thrives in bright direct to indirect light, but can tolerate medium indirect light. It’ll grow towards its light source, so feel free to rotate it weekly if you’re not into a quirky shape. Water every 2-3 weeks, allowing soil to dry in between waterings, upping water in the spring and summer when there’s more light.
Best for Small Spaces
Why? Super cute and compact, this succulent packs a big punch in a small package.
What to look for: Look for one in the Zebra variety, which is dark green with ridges and bright white stripes. The leaves should be thick and not soft or mushy.
How to care for it: This succulent thrives in bright direct light, but can tolerate bright indirect light. Water it about once every 3-4 weeks, allowing soil to dry out between waterings. Wrinkling is a sign of thirst for succulents, so if you see wrinkling or curling leaves, water it; it should bounce back quickly.
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Megan DiTrolio is the editor of features and special projects at Marie Claire, where she oversees all career coverage and writes and edits stories on women’s issues, politics, cultural trends, and more. In addition to editing feature stories, she programs Marie Claire’s annual Power Trip conference and Marie Claire’s Getting Down To Business Instagram Live franchise.
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