The Trick to Choosing the Perfect Indoor Plant for Every Room in Your Home
We all know the addition of some greenery into a room can instantly transform and uplift the space. In fact, it's one of the easiest and practical ways to update your home that is not only budget-friendly but also landlord-approved. But the benefits go beyond interiors - indoor plants also have a myriad of health benefits including the ability to lower levels of anxiety, reduce stress levels, increase memory and productivity and even act as air purifiers.
However, before you make your trip to the nearest plant nursery and purchase every greenery you fall in love with, it's important to understand that not all plants are created the same. What this means is that not every plant will thrive in the same room, give off the right vibes or benefit your room's decor style. A lot more thought goes into choosing the correct houseplants for you, your home and your plant's health, too.
So, to help you better understand how to curate a thriving indoor jungle, we sought the help of Jennifer Sampson, plant parent (she currently owns 15 large plants) and Creative Director of online shop Jones and Co. Whether you're new to botanicals or you already have a thriving indoor jungle, there's something to learn here for everyone.
How do you choose the perfect indoor plants for each room in your home?
According to Sampson, it all comes down to light exposure, which is determined by how much natural sunlight shines through a room's windows.
"If you have a space you know you would like to green up, simply study the light in that area and then find a plant that will thrive in that environment. That way, there will be no disappointments," Sampson explains.
For a north-facing room...
North-facing rooms pose great challenges as they get low to moderate indirect natural sunlight. For these spaces, Sampson recommends low-light loving plants like Mother in Law's Tongue, Peperomia or a Zanzibar Gem. "These plants will still thrive in hallways, and low spots in living rooms next to a cabinet, console or couch."
For a south-facing room...
South-facing rooms receive bright indirect light to full sun in the afternoon. These are best for light lovers like succulents and cacti. "Play it safe and go for green fleshy succulents - as opposed to blue-toned succulents - as they are a little more forgiving."
For an east-facing room...
East-facing rooms receive medium-bright, indirect light. "Try a classic Devil's Ivy (Pothos) or a hardy Bird's Nest Fern, which can tolerate more light.
"Nothing beats a trailing Pothos dangling over a high shelf in the kitchen or on the windowsill in the bathroom. Plus, they’re a great way to introduce some green in your vertical space if you're short on floor space or have little kids and pets running around."
For a west-facing room...
West-facing rooms receive medium-bright indirect light with some direct sun at the end of the day. Fortunately, most indoor plants can adapt to this kind of light. Sampson specifically recommends Lush Boston Ferns, Ficus and Philodendrons, which also come in lots of different sizes and interesting species.
One word of warning: "Don’t place any plant too close to the glass if they're living near windows as this can burn their leaves."
What are the easiest indoor plants to care for?
Bringing in a houseplant is intimidating - just like a child, it requires your constant love, care and attention. If you want to spruce up your home with botanicals but have a track record of neglecting plants, never fear - there are a variety of more forgiving, low-maintenance ones to invest in. Some of these include:
Sansevieria (aka Mother in Law's Tongue)
"Mother in Law's Tongue is robust and doesn’t need full sun inside if your place is lacking natural sunlight."
Pothos (aka Devil's Ivy)
"The Devil's Ivy will keep growing, sometimes to the point where you run out of a shelf high enough for its legs and arms."
"Succulents are great. Just be mindful not to overwater them and ensure you give them a lovely sunny spot inside."
"Ferns are a great addition to bathrooms because they thrive in steamy environments."
What are the hardest indoor plants to care for?
On the other end of the spectrum, countless plants require a lot (and we mean a lot) of attention to thrive. These include:
While an incredibly trendy plant, the Fiddle Fig can quickly end up leaf-less in the council pick-up pile without constant care.
It's definitely the it-plant of 2021 (we even explained everything you need to know about this plant here), however, Sampson warns to do your research before investing in one as they require constant care and attention.
How do you decide what indoor plants are right for you?
Remember: there is no one size fits all when it comes to adding greenery into your space.
If you're just starting out, Sampson advises you start small. "Focus on one plant first, especially when it all seems a little intimidating - just start with one plant you love. Choose the right room with the perfect light, nurture it, care for it and learn its likes and dislikes. Learn when to water, when to prune a stray leaf and then once you have your baby all figured out, add another of the same variety."
A general rule of thumb when it comes to watering: less water in winter and more in summer. "Yellow leaves might mean too much water, or your plant is too hot or cold. Burnt leaves can be too much sun, or too close to the window."
One of the biggest mistakes Sampson sees too often is people removing their plant from its black plastic pot to replant it. Instead, she simply recommends slipping the plant into a chic ceramic vase. "You really need to know what you're doing when it comes to potting plants so opting for a ceramic piece to cover the undesirable black pot your plant comes in will mitigate a lot of risk and harm."
But her best piece of advice? "Make friends with your local nursery or homewares store as these guys are a wealth of knowledge. If you buy local, you can drop in with a picture of your plant if you ever have any questions or concerns."
Sampson also recommends purchasing a book about plants to have on hand as a reference guide as you slowly start to expand your plant family to a thriving indoor jungle.
For more from Jennifer, follow her on Instagram @jonesandco_.
Loved this? Here's a comprehensive guide to the most popular indoor plants.