Warm breezes and sunny days mean it’s time to open those windows and let the summertime in. Now that the sun is out, all sorts of greenery are in full bloom, but for those of us without a yard to landscape, potted plants are a simple way to bring that touch of summer indoors. Plus, there are plenty of health benefits to having your own urban garden. In one study, NASA found that certain plants can clean the air of dangerous chemicals. Plants are also stress-reducing and can help make people more productive, especially in a space with little to no windows.
If you’re worried about your wilted track record, there are plenty of low-maintenance options out there that can withstand even the brownest thumbs. Plus, many of them continue to grow into the winter, meaning you can reap the health benefits of an indoor garden all year long.
These “lilies” are notoriously easy to care for, though they’re not technically lilies (they’re actually a flowering plant). Thriving in indirect sunlight, they do best in 60- to 80-degree temperatures and will conveniently tell you when they’re thirsty: The leaves start to droop. Peace lilies need a lot of water at once, but wait until the soil is totally dry before watering again.
This compact plant adds an easy touch of green perfect for small spaces. If your apartment isn’t as sunny as the ones you see on Instagram, peperomia won’t mind. They thrive best in indirect sunlight and don’t need tons of water. Make sure the roots get enough oxygen to absorb nutrients and water—mix coarse gravel into the soil for room to breathe.
Snake Plants (aka Mother-in-Law’s Tongues)
Easily the hardiest of houseplants, you can (accidentally) forget about these sharp “tongues” for weeks and still not kill them. As a succulent, it stores water in its leaves much like a cactus. Bonus: It can survive in minimal light, though it will grow faster if it gets more sun. It does need a free-draining soil, which means the soil can’t be too moist, or the roots will rot. Add gravel or pebbles to your soil, and your snake plant will be forgiving no matter how much you forget about it.
We know every apartment on Instagram has at least one of these, but they really are some of the easiest (and cutest) plants to take care of. They come in a variety of shades and shapes, so browse around for “the one” before taking your pick. Styling tip: Arrange three or more succulent plants together before you buy to see if they complement one other, or buy a pot that has several plants growing in it already. Leave them in a spot where they’ll get a half to full day of sun, and water thoroughly, letting the soil drain completely in between watering. Ensure your soil drains well by adding gravel or sand to the bottom of the pot. Now take a bunch of pictures and brag about your stylish succulents—you’re in the club.
If you do happen to have a spot in your apartment that gets plenty of light, geraniums bloom wonderfully indoors. Place them where they can get at least four to six hours of direct sunlight daily. Water them when the soil feels dry to the touch, and make sure they’re free-draining with pebbles in the bottom of the pot. You can water them less once winter comes, but be sure not to let the roots dry out.
Drape this elegant vine over a bookshelf or tabletop to make your home feel straight out of a Jane Austen novel. Like the peace lily, English ivy does well in indirect sunlight and should be watered when the soil feels dry to the touch. Keep it moist in the winter by misting it with a water bottle once or twice a week.
Photo Credit: Jeff Sheldon