I’m proud to say I’m a crazy plant lady. I’ll always take a new plant over a bouquet of flowers, I can swiftly navigate any nursery, and I’ve decorated my one-bedroom apartment with more than 60 houseplants. From fiddle leaves flanking my living room to golden pothos wrapped along my curtain rods and English ivy draped in my shower, every inch of my space is donned with greenery. Although that may sound like a lot of foliage to pack into a small space, I can confidently pass the KonMari tidying method — each and every one brings me joy.
My obsession with plants started innocently enough after moving from Denver to Houston. I walked into my new apartment complete with hardwood floors, crisp white walls, lots of natural light, and minimal furniture. I picked up a few small plants as I began to settle in to top a table, fill a shelf, or give life to an empty corner.
I began to love the look of plants and they made me happy and relaxed. I slowly found myself swapping weekends of window shopping for strolls through my favorite garden shop. Incorporating a new plant is a lot like interior decorating — deciding where the plant will work best in the space both aesthetically and in terms of light is a fun puzzle, and layering multiple plants requires a mix of heights and textures.
Before I knew it, I created my own jungalow oasis. I often get asked how I care for so many plants, and it’s actually surprisingly easy. Every plant requires a bit of trial and error in terms of best sun exposure, but once you find it, caring for it is simple. I think overwatering is the biggest mistake people make with houseplants, so I water all of them at the same time once a week. Watering is my favorite Sunday chore — I make a cup of coffee, open the windows and catch up on a podcast while I water for 20 minutes. Every few months or so, I’ll dust leaves and pivot the big plants so they get equal sun exposure — that’s it!
Incorporating a new plant is a lot like interior decorating — deciding where the plant will work best in the space both aesthetically and in terms of light is a fun puzzle
In addition to loving the look of plants, I’ve discovered other positive effects of having them in my home, several of them backed by science.
Here are my top reasons why you should add real plants to your space:
Clear the air
At the end of the day, I want my apartment to be a haven — a clean, calming space where I can relax and recharge, and plants help me do that by purifying the air. According to NASA’s Clean Air Study, several plants can detoxify your place from the airborne toxins, dust, and germs that can be found in household products, materials, and furniture. They may even remove up to 89 percent of a toxin called benzene in 24 hours! Plants are especially helpful if you’re a renter in an old building or live in an urban area that contends with pollution.
Boost your mood
Did you know plants decrease the amount of stress we feel? According to a study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, interaction with indoor plants can reduce both mental and physical stress. They also enhance moods and help with loneliness and depression, which is especially helpful for people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder. Some plants, like lavender, even enhance sleep through scent.
Combat dry air
Whether you’re battling air conditioning season or winter elements, plants help regulate dry indoor air by releasing moisture from their leaves. They act as a natural humidifier to combat dry eyes, headaches, and even aid with asthma.
Personalize your decor
Whether you prefer a modern aesthetic or a more traditional design, there are plants (and planters) to complement every space — from ceramic, terra cotta, and concrete planters to baskets and terrariums. I lean toward a tropical vibe with a pop of desert cactus, as it blends into the Houston landscape and reminds me of Merida, Mexico — one of my favorite places. I love picking up pottery and planters on my travels to incorporate into my space. They are a great way to remember the trip and provide planter variety through color, texture, and pattern.
Lighten your budget
Many plants can also be propagated, or create additional plants, making them the gift that keeps on giving. Buy one plant that can be propagated and create endless additional plants at no extra cost. Just add time (and another planter!)
My Plant Picks for Every Everygirl
For the girl afraid of commitment
No soil required with air plants! They can also withstand a lot of neglect, only needing to sit in a bowl of water for a few minutes every couple of weeks. Add them to a terrarium or style them freestanding on a shelf.
The snake plant thrives in low light and minimal water conditions. It also releases oxygen at night, absorbing several hazardous chemicals in the air to help you sleep better.
For the girl with an eye for design
Arguably the most popular plant (for design and for good reason), the fiddle leaf fig, can be on the pricier end. Pro tip: buy a small one for less. You’ll be shocked at how fast they can grow in a year or so.
When it comes to unique plants, cacti are one of a kind. Tall and slender or short and round, they come in endless shapes and textures, adding the perfect design touch.
For the girl who likes to make a statement
The Monstera deliciosa is a gorgeous plant with unique, tropical-like leaves that can climb to more than eight feet indoors.
A shrub, which can grow to a small tree, the stunning sweet bay gives off an herbal scent. You can even add its leaves to winter soups!
For the girl who keeps it minimal
One of the most air-purifying plants, English ivy is a dainty plant that looks great cascading down shelves or hanging baskets. It can easily be cut back or trimmed to your liking.
Boasting a deep shade of green and symmetrical leaves, the bird of paradise is a simple yet beautiful option that looks great in bare corners.