Regardless of era, trends are ever-present. It’s true in fashion, decor and music.
Believe it or not, it’s even true of house plants. The plants that families tend inside their homes can be a sign of the times. For instance, the 1950s embraced the African violet. The 1960s saw an increase in indoor greenery including philodendrons, Swedish ivy and monsteras while 1970s homes gravitated toward figs, rubber trees and palms.
The 2000s have followed the same path, switching up both the plants themselves and the way they are displayed. This year, it seems there’s a touch of the retro, such as macrame plant hangars, terrariums and plant stands, with crisp white, modern planters. The same is true for what is being put into the pots and planters. Greenery such as palms and figs as well as succulents and cacti are all hot ticket items.
But there is also a move toward practical plants, ones that help improve a home’s air quality, says Dawn Hart, owner of Ace Garden Center on St. Simons Island.
“There are a lot of people wanting plants for air purification. There are a lot of specific plants that are good for that like spider plants and dracaenas. We have most of them,” she said.
In addition to those that clear the air, Ace Garden Center is also selling a lot of succulents and plants that enhance the design of a room.
“Millennials really like the contemporary look of succulents and light colored arrangements with contemporary containers,” Hart said. “Decorators really love the look of fiddle leaf figs because they add form and structure. It also rises above the furniture to add an impact to the decor.”
Here are a few finds that do a bit of both:
• Spider plant
These easy to maintain plants are perfect for beginners and busy owners. They favor bright, indirect sunlight. They boast a light green foliage with a pale yellow stripe in the center. These can be contained in a hanging pot or a planter.
• Snake plant or (mother-in-law tongue)
This low maintenance plant enjoys sitting next to a sunny window or in indirect light as well as minimal watering. The soil should dry between waterings but overwatering should be avoided. Avoid getting leaves wet when you water.
These come in several varieties, featuring long, wide leaves, often with white, cream or red lines. Pet owners should be aware that these are toxic to dogs and cats. They require less water than most indoor plants. Misting the leaves with water and keeping the soil lightly moist but never soggy.
Allow the top soil to dry out before watering as overwatering may cause root rot.
This is another easy peasy plant ideal for beginners. The vines thrive in a variety of light levels — from indirect sun to shade. Too much light, however, can change the color of the leaves to a whiter hue. They can be potted or simply placed in water, where they grow well. It should be noted that the leaves can cause intestinal distress in children and pets.
• Ficus or weeping fig
This is a tree that can grow to be between two and 10 feet tall. It can tolerate bright as well as indirect sun. The soil should be fully dried between waterings.
• Boston fern:
These bright green plants enjoy high humidity and indirect sun, making them perfect for the South. They are relatively easy to grow, needing only a good soak once or twice a month.
• Aloe vera
These plants have medicinal properties, boasting anti-inflammatory gel in the leaves. They enjoy indirect sunlight as deep watering, allowing the soil to dry before the next. Water about every three weeks and even more sparingly during the winter.
Most varieties need at least half a day to a full day of sunlight. They enjoy a light watering but do not over water or “wet feet.”
These are actually a brand of succulents and require similar care. They should be watered once a week and a healthy dose of sunlight. A good way to transfer these prickly plants from pot to pot is by using thick gloves and newspaper as hand guards.