The Pot & The Plant
Houseplants: collectible living tamagotchis that don’t stop growing and incidentally provide great decor. What’s not to love? I credit houseplants to being my gateway drug into nature (gardening, permaculture, and so forth).
🚧 I’m working on turning this page into a catalogue of my current houseplants, Pokédex-style, but in the meanwhile, have a few curated pictures and some thoughts on my favorite houseplant species, as well as ones I perpetually murder.
Favorite houseplant families
One of my absolute favorites. Gorgeous and incredibly varied, while remaining tolerant to under-watering, and smaller roots that don’t require frequent up-potting. In terms of showing stress, they tend drop leaves instead of getting brown/yellow tips which I prefer visually (although it can get annoying to clean up after depending on the plant - Ruby Cascade was a bit much for instance).
The tanks of the houseplant world - no houseplant collection is complete without them. They don’t tend to show stress or brown tips, and are ridiculously easy to care for. My heartleaf philodendron is currently overtaking my living room ceiling, with no signs of stopping. I’m a huge fan of the variety of this family as well - Neon, Micans, and Brasil should all be investigated, not to mention the Birkin.
I’m not as big of a fan of pothos as I am philodendron - I find them to be a tad touchier and more prone to yellowing and brown tips - but nevertheless they’re still excellent to own and fairly easy to keep alive. I particularly love the coloration of N’joy pothos and marble queen pothos.
One alternative to pothos that’s quite similar in terms of care and appearance is the Scindapsus family - while it’s less varied in appearance, it’s still quite a striking looking plant to own at least one of.
A relatively new discovery of mine, I’m quite amazed by the growth and invincibility of this plant. It outgrows almost everything else I own and it can grow an entirely new plant from just a simple clipping - I’ve murdered and regrown the same zebrina multiple times now. It’s also happy as a clam in just water, which is fun.
Another plant that works well with my usual under-watering regime and rarely shows complaints or stress in its leafs. The variegation in the Krimson Queen/Princess are fun, although I’ll admit I find the majority of its varieties somewhat same-y.
It’s always nice to have at least one tall snake plant for the distinctive look, although there’s also more compact varieties available. It’s super hard to kill these except through overwatering. They do require high lighting to actually grow; I’ve had the same snake plant now that I’m pretty sure hasn’t really moved or changed for the past 2 years, but it hasn’t died or wilted either, so that’s fine by me.
- Cast Iron Plant
- My first ever houseplant, that got me into the whole shebang. This plant is a super slow grower but is also indestructible - I spent the first year wondering if I was watering a fake plant. It has nice large foliage and is perfect for beginners, tolerating almost everything you throw at it.
- ZZ plants
- The only way to kill a ZZ plant is through overwatering, which I learnt the hard way with soggy non-succulent soil on my first normal ZZ. I now have a Raven ZZ and a dwarf ZZ Zenzi which are doing well though, and I love their looks.
- African violets
- I have a love/hate relationship with these. They do real well at first, and then just stop blooming for me and get super bushy?? They look (and feel!) kinda cool though when bushy so I’ve kept one lil guy around.
- The PNW (and my house specifically) doesn’t really get a whole lot of consistent natural sunlight, so I’ve mostly only had success with succulents under grow lights. I have a couple for the novelty, and they do well with my low watering schedule, but I’m not in love with them or anything. They’re okay.
Plants I have murdered
- This is a common complaint, but I will openly admit to having absolutely killed every calathea I’ve dared to bring home within less than a week. Apparently my house is completely lacking in humidity.
- I want to like dracaenas but in the end I just don’t. They show brown tips super easily and I honestly have no idea what they want or what it looks like when they’re doing well.
- Spider plants
- Spider plants hate my tap water or something - their tips always brown for me immediately and the plant ends up looking gross and sad. I’m a lazy shit who refuses to baby plants with distilled water or other BS, so I just kinda gave up spider plants (other than 1 that just refuses to die). BTW, cats love eating them.
- Parlor palm
- So to be fair it was my cat that decimated this plant, not me. Turns out cats fucking love eating palms, it’s like crack to them or something.
The above plants are what work for me and appeal to my aesthetic sensibilities. I tend to choose plants that prefer less water to more water, are hard to kill, and tend to not show stress (brown/yellow tips). I am extremely lazy and hands-off and absolutely cannot keep fussy/high-humidity plants such as calatheas alive.
If you are similarly low-effort when it comes to plants, I can strongly recommend the above named families, self-watering planters (ideally with wicking ropes), and putting your plants near plain ol’ LED lights. Thanks to bottom-watering planters, I typically water once a week at most during summers and once every 3 weeks in the winter.