The Perks of Plants

Whether you’re quarantined or just following the “stay at home” order, many of you are spending more time inside right now than you’re used to. All the time in your home may have you reconsidering decor, or looking to add something new. Might we humbly suggest houseplants?

Houseplants come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and can make any living space more aesthetically pleasing. And, they have numerous benefits for your physical and mental health. Studies have found houseplants increase positive feelings, reduce stress, and increase productivity. Taking care of houseplants gives you a sense of accomplishment, which can boost your mood. 

Even if you’ve struggled to keep plants alive in the past, we promise there’s a plant out there for you! And if you already have plants at home, there’s always room for more! (Trust us.) 

If you’re looking for a few suggestions, the Kemper Center recommends the following.

Easy to Care

Golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
This plant produces lovely trailing vines and is a breeze to care for. It grows best in bright, indirect light, but can tolerate shade and artifical light. Water roughly once a week, making sure the soil is moist.

ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)
Requires little water, only when soil is dry, and can grow in most light conditions.

English ivy (Hedera helix)
Place in bright, filtered light and keep soil evenly moist.

For more hard-to-kill plants, check out our post on Indestructible Houseplants.

Best for Low Light

Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema sp.)
This variety of houseplant includes about 20 species and is known for its attractive variegated foliage.

Chinese evergreen, Aglaonema ‘Key Largo’ Acquisition Number: 2010-1137-1

Snake plant (Sansevieria sp.)
Also called mother-in-law’s tongue, these stemless evergreens can last many years with little care.

Lucky Bamboo
Known for its heart-shaped, dark green leaves, philodendron can grow well in no light, but does need some light. Bright, indirect light is best.

Best Foliage

Split-leaf philodendron (Monstera deliciosa)
These plants are trendy for a reason, their foliage is very showy.

Amazonian elephant’s ear (Alocasia × amazonica)
This colorful hybrid elephant ear does very well in indoor conditions.

Parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
This plant, native to Mexico and Central America, will add a tropical flare to any space.

Best Flowers

Cane-type begonias (many hybrids, example: Begonia ‘Sophia’)
These have long-lasting clusters of pink or white flowers that bloom from late winter into spring.

Angel-wing begonia, Begonia coccinea

African violets (Saintpaulia hybrids)
These flowers come in many colors and relatively easy to care for.

Peace lilies (Spathiphyllum hybrids)
These plants have glossy green leaves and long-lasting, upright white blooms.

Most Adaptable

Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
These cascading plants are tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions including being grown in water.

Cacti and succulents (many species)
Generally slow growing and tolerant of dry conditions. Most will propagate easily by taking a stem or leaf cutting. Their shallow root system means they can be grown in small or oddly shaped containers.

Air Plants
These plants, which don’t grow in soil, can be used in many creative ways. They do need light and regular soaking and misting, but they can thrive in almost any type of container.

Catherine Martin
Public Information Officer

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