I have always been one to acknowledge design when considering my admiration for a product, service, or environment. I’m not exactly sure where it started, or if I was born with it, but I’ve always paid very close attention to detail when it comes to the environment I am living in. When I was a child I would often rearrange my room, organize my shelves, and make sure everything was clean and in place at all times. I’d often watch HDTV with my mom, and we’d always talk about how we would make our house better if the money was there. Today, I often theorize that this is the reason I became a visual designer. As I got older, saved more money, and broke into the design world while in undergrad, I became even more interested in the environment I lived in—I know not typical for a college student. This is when I discovered plants.
Now, my first plant wasn’t actually in college. I clipped a bamboo leaf off of my parents’ bamboo plant, propagated it and have been growing it since I was small. What prompted a full-blown obsession was the transition into a new place while I was in college. My room had a lot more light than my previous place. I decided to go for vining pothos plant — aesthetic, easy to care for, and pretty cheap.
Now here I am with over 50 plants in my one, small Seattle apartment room. They are even starting to overtake my living room and I’ve even considered releasing bugs in my home to eradicate another small plant-destroying bug species that appeared on a plant — more about this later. If it wasn’t for the fact that I have a roommate, and of course the lack of space in my room, I’d probably throw out some soil on the carpet and begin cultivating a jungle on the floor. But all of if this obsessive behavior is beside the point, I’ve actually learned a lot on this little plant journey of mine. So this led me to think, maybe it’s time to write a medium article about it?
So yes, the title of this article is pretty direct — no bones about it. I want to chat about actually bringing life into your home.
As that brand you may or may not have seen on Instagram, The Sill, says “plants make people happy.” Oh yes, I know, very millennial of me to be personally identifying with Instagram propaganda. But I actually love the statement that The Sill uses to sell their products. It’s simple, easy to digest, and completely accurate. Plants are easier than dogs and kids. Plants have real air quality boosting properties tested and proven by NASA! And finally, plants are super fun, and the indoor plant community is on an exponential rise! Enough of the sales pitch. Let’s get talkin’ about how to get started.
Addressing Requirements for Life
I always recommend getting low light and low maintenance plants to start your journey and then working your way up.
When deciding what plants to get you should first and foremost figure out how much light is in your space. If you don’t have a lot of light, don’t get a cactus. The same goes for the opposite — if you do have a lot of light, don’t buy a Frydek and set it in direct sunlight. I’m lucky enough to have a large window that gets a lot of sunlight. So I am able to have plants that require more light. My lower light plants get placed father back into the room.
Watering your plants can also prove to be difficult. I think it is best that if you’re new to the plant scene you invest in a moisture meter. They are cheap and easy to find and they really help you learn how often each plant needs watering. I especially like to use these tools with plants that have huge pots. With huge pots, you often find that the top of the soil is dry, but the bottom is still wet.
I like to check my plants weekly. I usually probe them with the meter first. If they are dry I give them a water (this doesn’t work perfectly for every plant and there is always an exception). I would recommend doing a little research when you buy a new plant. Figure how much sun and water it likes because you might have to check some plants more or less than once a week.
Another thing to consider is the planter you pot them in. Most plants like drainage. Some plants prefer ceramic instead of the absorbent nature of terra cotta. Some plants thrive in a humid environment and would benefit from a bed of rocks and water.
Once you have all this down, it’s time to consider a s e t h e t i c s.
Plants and Style Should not Just Coexist, They Should Compliment One Another
Maybe it’s because design school nailed it into my brain. Maybe it’s because I live in a psychosis where everything must look exactly as I want. My over-arching point is that your home goods should be styled in conjunction with your plants. The pots you choose should accent your home and the type of plants should too. Form follows function is what I’m getting at here. Plants can be functional (like the ones we eat or the ones we use to heal ourselves), but they can also be beautiful and simply add to the home purely for aesthetic purposes. This message is mostly for the people out there who place their plants in the plastic planters that they purchased them in. Please, if you decide to fill your home with any plants, at least follow this one rule. Plant your plants in new pots!
I see it time and time again, wonderfully designed homes and businesses that people have decided to add plants into — awesome! And then there the plants sit. In the black, plastic, and cheap pot that came straight from the nursery.
Please house plant hobbyists. Don’t do this.
Plants are a fun hobby that bolster air quality and home design and are overall low-risk life forms. That is if you kill a plant, the worst that can happen is a plant is well, dead.
Every home should feature plants. We should, as humans, appreciate the plants given to us by mother nature. It helps us respect the planet we live on and consider the impact of our footprint just a little more. No to mention, improves the look and feel of any house or interior space.