Decorating With Plants 101

Coffee table succulent garden
Succulent garden on the coffee table

Plants have made a huge comeback in the world of home decor, and there are plenty of good reasons why. They add soothing greenery and texture to interior spaces, they clean the air, and they're more budget-friendly than weekly trips to the florist for fresh-cut blooms. But which plants should you get? How do you care for them? And if you're a gardening newbie, how do you stop yourself from killing them? I'm still figuring out the answers to all of these questions myself, but as someone who's just jumped on the plant bandwagon recently, I'm sharing what I've learned so far after the jump!

Orchid and parlour palm on white dining table
Orchid and parlour palm on the dining table

What are the best plants to get?

As someone with more of a black thumb than a green one, I was looking for plants that were easy to care for. Our condo's east-facing and all of the light comes from one wall, so knowing I wanted to place the plants throughout the condo and not just on the windowsills, I also wanted ones that would fare well in indirect or low light. Species that would clean the air were good too. After extensive research, I settled on these :

  • Spider plants
  • Snake plants
  • Palms and tropicals
  • Aloe vera
  • Succulents
coffee table succulent garden
Succulent garden

Which plants are best at cleaning indoor air?

Spider plants, snake plants, aloe vera, certain species of palms, and a lot of broad-leafed tropicals are great at filtering harmful chemicals out of indoor air. Some, like aloe vera and snake plants, also release more oxygen at night than during the day; they're recommended for bedrooms because they're supposed to promote a good night's sleep. According to NASA's research, you need at least one green leafy plant that's at least big enough to fill a 6" to 8" planter, per 100 square feet, to clean indoor air effectively. Following this ratio also ensures your plants are spaced out evenly enough to avoid veering into crazy plant lady territory.

Snake plant in bedroom
Snake plant in a corner of the bedroom

How I've incorporated plants into our decor

In our condo, I'm relying on a spider plant, snake plant, parlour palm, and calathea to do the air-purifying. During the month or so we've had the plants, there's been a noticeable improvement to the air quality in our condo. I also sleep longer and more deeply, possibly thanks to the snake plant next to my nightstand releasing oxygen at night.

The orchid and succulents are for ornamental purposes. I potted the succulents in separate containers and grouped them together using a square white bento plate as a tray. The resulting succulent garden looks great on one end of the coffee table, but I still have the freedom to move the succulents around the condo or use them as props in my beauty product photoshoots.

Calathea and succulent on side table
Calathea and succulent on the side table

Plant care tips

  • Succulents are prone to overwatering, so try not to give yours too much TLC. I give mine just a tiny splash of water about every 2 weeks or so.
  • I only water the snake plant when the top layer of soil has dried out completely.
  • The orchid needs watering about once every 10-14 days.
  • Twice a week, I mist and water the spider plant, parlour palm, and calathea. The former two don't need as much watering, which the latter enjoys more humidity.
  • If the tips of your plant leaves are turning brown, it may be a sign they're sensitive to water impurities or temperature. Try using filtered water at room temperature.

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