Fill your home with indoor plants that are trendy–and easy!

by Connie Oswald Stofko

bromeliad silver vase
Not only does the silver vase plant have attractive foliage, the flower is spectacular. Photo 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.

group of Chinese evergreen plants at Urban Roots in Buffalo NY
These are three varieties of Aglaonema or Chinese evergreens. The pink one at left is ‘Siam Aurora’, the one at top right is ‘Jubilee’, and the one at bottom right is ‘Osaka’. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
philodendron 'Hope' at Urban Roots in Buffalo NY
Philodendron ‘Hope’ grows upright with large, deeply cut leaves. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

Trendy houseplants

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.

Zamioculcas zamiifolia or ZZ plant at Urban Roots in Buffalo
The new leaves, which are light green and grow in spiraling tubes, contrast with the dark green mature leaves on Zamioculcas zamiifolia or ZZ plant. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

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

clivia in bloom by Stofko
The cheerful flowers of clivia can brighten a winter day. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

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.

20 Comments on “Fill your home with indoor plants that are trendy–and easy!

  1. Started in the 60’s for me when I was growing up.. my mother always had houseplants. When I got married in 83 she gave me cuttings of hers because we couldn’t afford decorations!

  2. I think those of us who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, houseplants have always been a way of life. The resurgence is happening with the Millenials and how they are discovering all the benefits, both environmentally and psychological that plants bring to ones life and home. It’s wonderful to see people discover, fall in love with and appreciate plants.

  3. Urban Roots has an amazing array of beautiful houseplants! The quality is always top-notch, and Patti and her staff are extremely knowledgeable on all of the products they provide.
    I hope folks who have not visited Urban Roots, will put it on their list as a “Go-To” business to visit this spring!

  4. Phyllis, I haven’t tried it, so I don’t know how long plants can survive in a bathtub greenhouse. It also depends on what plants you have. Some plants can easily last a week without watering. I agree with Meredith that if you are going to be away for a long stretch and want to make sure your plants are watered, the best thing to do is to ask a friend to water them.

  5. hi Alex, consider creating a mini-greenhouse in your bathtub. Plug the tub and layer old towels on the bottom; add your plants and water well to saturate the towels but don’t allow the pots to actually stand in water… if necessary raise them above water level. Cover with a sheet of clear plastic ( paint tarps work well) and leave the light on or preferably use a timer. When you’re home gradually re-aclimate your plants to lower humidity conditions. Some plants will thrive but some don’t appreciate too much humidity so maybe don’t cover w/ plastic depending on your collection. Of course, the best thing is a like-minded friend who”ll stop in occasionally to tend to your plants.

  6. Alex, if you are gone for more than a week there are watering systems you can use like a “Plant Nanny”. This consists of a terra cotta tube you put into the soil and in either a recycled water bottle or wine bottle into the tube. This allows the soil to maintain a moisture level needed by the plant. It is good to start this system a couple of weeks before you leave so that the moisture level can adapt to the plants needs. There are also decorative glass globes that will do the same thing

  7. Alex, my experience with plants like these is that you can water them before you leave, and when they come back a week later, they’re fine.

  8. “Resurgence”? I never stopped! A home without plants is sterile and joyless, especially when we have long periods of dreary gray outside. I have plants from my single college student days… back in the last century, and Christmas cactus that started with my great- grandmother. There’s usually someone blooming and they all make me very happy. The best thing you can do is share plants and love of plants so thank you Connie and the community who loves your newsletter.

  9. Barbara, yes, plants really make a room feel happier. Learning about their light and watering needs keeps them thriving, even if it takes a little trial and error.

  10. As much as I love my outside gardens, I need to have some green once we are forced indoors. So little by little my indoor garden has grown. Many of my plants summer out doors and come in for the winter and then there is the plant that calls to you as you walk by it in the store and says take me home I will brighten that dark corner for you. I have two coral cactus now going on 3 yrs in doors. Once I learned to really limit the water ( 1/4 cup once month) I was drowning them (murdered two) before because I thought they needed more not less water. It just warms up a room to have a plant in it, and there will always be new plants that we have not seen before that we see and want just because they are different. The reward is when they do well and are happy in the spot you chose for them.

  11. I have an evergreen I’ve had for more than 5 years
    I also have a ZZ plant for at least 3 years
    In the past I’ve had a silver vase but am looking for another

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