by Connie Oswald Stofko
“There’s a resurgance” in growing indoor plants, said Patti Jablonski-Dopkin, general manager at Urban Roots Cooperative Garden Market. “Indoor plants aren’t just an accent item; people are filling their homes with them.”
People who use a lot of plants in their homes don’t want more of the same plants they already have.
“They’re looking for unique and different varieties,” Jablonski-Dopkin said.
But new doesn’t have to mean fussy or challenging to grow. Here are some trendy houseplants that are easy to care for, too.
What’s trendy? People are looking for anything with pink or red foliage, anything that blooms and anything that is variegated, Jablonski-Dopkin said.
Just as some gardeners fall in love with a certain plant such as hostas or daylilies or roses and fill their beds as many different varieties as they can squeeze in, many indoor gardeners will pick a favorite indoor plant and start collecting varieties of that plant.
“Once people find a good, easy plant, they want all the varieties,” she said.
With a plant such as Aglaonema, also called Chinese evergreen, you can have varieties with leaves that look very different from each other. Some leaves are traced with pink, others are striped with white and still others are speckled.
You can place these plants side by side; they don’t look alike. There are many varieties, so you won’t get bored.
Another plant with many varieties is philodendron. You may have one in your home or office that has green, heart-shaped leaves that trail down the side of the pot. But Urban Roots carries a very different variety called ‘Hope’ that grows upright with large leaves that are deeply cut. And people love other varieties, such as red ‘McColley’, for their color, Jablonski-Dopkin said.
A plant that may be new to you is Zamioculcas zamiifolia, referred to simply as ZZ plant. It has glossy, dark green foliage. What I think is really cool is how the new foliage adds another dimension to the plant with spiraling tubes of yellow-green foliage.
With most of these plants, we enjoy them for their leaves, but you can find easy-to-care-for indoor plants with flowers, too. I was wowed by the flower on the silver vase plant (Aechmea fasciata). It’s a large pink flower with dots of true blue.
Tip: On this plant, after the flower blooms, make sure you add water to the cup formed by the leaves of the plant, said Brad White, assistant manager at Urban Roots.
Clivia was also blooming when I visited Urban Roots last week. This plant has thick, strappy leaves and blooms with light orange flowers. I have these plants in my house and I can attest to them being low maintenance.
It’s easy to care for these indoor plants
These indoor plants like bright, but indirect, light. It’s usually possible to find some window in your home that can provide that kind of light.
(Since I don’t have a lot of light in my house, there are many plants I can’t grow inside, but I can grow this kind of plant.)
Once you have identified a spot that has the proper lighting conditions, make sure you water properly.
The best way to see if you are watering enough is to use the two-knuckle test, she said. Stick your finger into the soil. If the soil is moist up to your second knuckle, your plant has enough water.
Be consistent with your watering. If you underwater, then overwater your plant, you’ll stress your plant out and it won’t perform at its best.
Urban Roots is located at 428 Rhode Island St., Buffalo. Anyone can shop there and it’s a short drive from the Buffalo suburbs.