How to Pick the Perfect Houseplant, Even if You Don’t Have a Green Thumb

Take a walk with us through The Borrowed Nursery and get some great tips on how to find your perfect houseplant!

This post comes from our Australia contributor, Miann Scanlan. Follow along with her on Instagram @freepeopleaustralia!

I used to think that caring for plants was simple. Put it in a pot, give it some water and (as we say in Australia) Bob’s your uncle.

I remember childhood car trips with my father being somewhat of a tree-sighting adventure. From ferns to pine trees and flowering vines, Dad would point out and rattle off the scientific names of any tree we would pass in the car. He was also a keen landscape garden designer – for work and pleasure – sourcing and germinating palm seeds from all over the world, even from the foothills of the Himalayan mountains.

Given my exposure to plants, one would think I’d be a bit of a green thumb. Disappointingly, I’m quite the opposite. You give me a plant to look after, and I’ll find a way to kill it. So far I’ve killed an aloe AND a cactus, which makes me so sad to even think about it. I mean, who knew that you had to take into consideration not only the amount of sunlight a plant needs, but also the different types of sunlight. Combine that with soil, water and fertilizer, and it’s safe to say whatever plants are left in my apartment have literally been living on the edge for quite some time.

I love the calming energy that plants bring to my home. The greenery reminds me of my father and how he used to speak to his plants while gardening. I name all of my plants. I named a flapjack plant after a friend of mine, because its leaves reminded me of his hair. He’s still alive, and I say hello when I water him in the mornings. But before I embarked on adding to my collection, I paid a visit to my local savior The Borrowed Nursery.

The Borrowed Nursery is run by Lauren and Lauren, two non-botanists by trade who are “just two girls who happen to be in the plant business”. They provide plants for hire for all kinds of events and beautifully considered spaces, from table settings to wedding installations and large-scale fashion retail installations. Beyond stocking a bespoke collection of plants potted in only the coolest of pots and baskets, they also host regular gardening workshops, from how create a terrarium to flower crown fashioning. They also run a Pinterest-worthy Instagram @theborrowednursery.

I spoke to Lauren and Lauren about their top 5 tips for picking the perfect house plant:

Consider your schedule
If you are often out of town, choose plants that can survive a few weeks without watering, like jade or rubber plants, mini-geraniums, golden pathos, or any kind of philodendron.

Think about lighting
Think about where your plants will reside, and then pick those types that will best thrive in those conditions. Each plant has different needs, so research whether a plant needs high, medium or low light.

Take humidity into consideration
If you live in a dry climate, avoid houseplants that require high air-moisture levels unless you plan to put them in a room that’s often humid, like the bathroom. Tropical plants like Pink Sunburst cannas, caladiums, and lantanas need humidity; succulents and cacti are desert plants that thrive in dry air.

Go with hearty plants
Find your green thumb more easily by choosing heartier plant varieties like ZZ palms, wave petunias, dragon trees, ivy, and crotons. If you manage to kill those, switch to silk plants!

+What are your favorite houseplants and how do you keep them healthy?

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5 years ago

Great tips! I love Philodendrons, because you can clip and multiply them!

5 years ago

Thanks for sharing these tips! I don’t have a green thumb AT ALL, but still I love having plants decorating my home. I adore aloe vera. It’s easy to grow (and keep alive!) and purifies the air from bad toxins! I think everyone should have one ;)
xo – Marta

5 years ago

I really love big tropical palms – they add so much atmosphere to my home! I also have a lot of cacti and succulents because they are quite lovely and don’t require much maintenance.

5 years ago

As someone who forgets to water her plants for weeks on end, I must say Snake Plants (aka Mother in Law’s Tongue) are my favorite. They’re impossible to kill and I do mean impossible. Thanks for the great tips!