Best of the Blog: My Favorite Houseplants for Low Light Rooms + how to care for them

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DIY HOME DECORATING TIPS

Best of The Blog Series revisits my most popular posts with fun updates to let you know how it’s going. Today, we take a look at my Powder Room makeover and I add additional resources and tips for achieving your own revamp on a budget and timeline. 

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Alternative Post Title: Confessions of a Serial Plant Killer. Seriously, I try very hard and yet, I’ve never managed to keep plants alive in my home. I have one aloe plant that was a gift from my friend over ten years ago and it’s still alive. Probably because it took a four-year hiatus from my care while I was living in North Carolina. During that time, it lived with my mother, who can grow plants in a cardboard box (I’m not kidding at all), and it thrived. It even had a baby! I’ve had it back for six months and it’s looking pretty sickly. 

Exhibit A
Exhibit A

I’m good at so many things. How could I possibly be bad at the one thing everyone else seems to be thriving at???! When I try and try and just can’t get the results I want, I know the correct resolution is to turn to the experts. So last weekend, I set out to find a plant specialist who could help me overcome my fears and fill my home with lush, beneficial greenery. I turned to my local nursery, Gardens of Babylon. I live in Nashville and we have a ton of nurseries here. I chose G of B because I know these guys are genuine experts and lovers of plants. But honestly, if you choose to work with a local team, instead of going it on your own at a big box hardware store (as I’ve always done in the past), you’re going to get great advice and knowledgeable assistants who want to see you succeed. Go to Home Depot and try to ask for plant advice. You might luck out and find a true green thumb working in the garden center, but most likely, you’re going to be met with blank stares from Will, The Retired Plumber Who Can Fix Your Toilet Leak Over The Phone But Has Never Potted A Plant In His Life. 

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And then I met Jamie, The Man of My Green Thumb Dreams. A former Interior Designer himself, Jamie has a good eye for design and a strong knowledge of how to keep a plant alive. I mean, is there literally a better man on Earth? I should’ve asked if he’s single. Ladies!!! If you missed these shenanigans in my igstories over the weekend, I’ve saved them to my Instagram page under Plant Saga. Check them out. I’d had a little (lot) wine beforehand and Jamie was so game for fun. It was really a good time. 

Jamie helped me determine my plant issue was mainly about lighting. You see, that first photo was taken at 7:00 am. Basically, that’s the only time of day my house gets any direct sun. Even then, because of the forest in our backyard, the sun only shines through like that in the Winter and Spring before the leaves fill out the trees. I have no south-facing windows in my home. Everything faces East (back of the house) and West (front of the house). So while I do have a ton of glorious windows, they basically do no good for plants. 

This means I had to find some plants that could function in low to mid – levels of light. Low (or no) light plants are the hardest to find, according to Jamie. Most need sunlight to develop Chloroform, which keeps the plant green, and he said a lot more about this but to be honest, it kind of felt like 7th-grade Biology class and my mind started to wander. So let’s just cut to the chase. Here are the plants Jamie helped me pick out for my low-to-mid-level lighting sitch. 

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This is a Snake Plant (Sansevieria). It’s in a 6″ pot and it’s two and a half feet tall! I love the variegated leaves (tentacles?) and this one looks like it’s going to bloom soon. Although Jamie warned me not to get too excited about the blooms. He says they’re not much of a show-stopper. (but I’m pretty excited anyway). This was $19 and is perfect for adding height to the back of a vignette.  UPDATE: She’s having a baby! Four months in and she’s preggers!

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This little mama is also a Snake Plant (Sansevieria Trifasciata), but is a much smaller variety. She comes in a four inch pot and stands only six inches tall. And I know she’s a lady because LOOK! 

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See that tiny green dot in the soil? THERE’S A BABY IN THERE! She’s with child. Two for the price of one ain’t bad when the price is only $9! I plan to use her in my office. I think she’s gorgeous enough to stand alone but would also do well in the front of a vignette of more delicate plants. UPDATE: This little mama is now on Baby #2! She stays busy. 

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This little lovely girl is a Calathea. She’s in a six-inch pot and stands only seven inches tall. But she packs a punch! Look at those burgundy leaf undersides and gorgeous print on the tops. I like her as a filler for a vignette or centerpiece for a table setting. UPDATE: She’s okay. She’s doubled in size but has some browning on her leaves that I should probably figure out. 

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Here’s a closeup of her beauty. At $20, she’s a timeless investment for your plant menagerie. All plants are ladies now, by the way. 

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Here’s another Calathea. She stands 18 inches tall and has sweet little pink lines on her leaves. I feel like this is the current Plant of the Moment. She’s all over Instagram and designers love her! With good reason. She’s perfect on her own but adds great dimension in the back of a vignette or placed in front of a spindly tree. She was $24 and worth every little penny. UPDATE: No one has died, but she’s not doing great either. I missed a couple months of feeding because she was off in another corner of the house. So I’m in rehab mode right now. I’ll let you know how it goes. 

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Here’s my favorite. This Eucalyptus was an amazing find for only $6. SIX DOLLARS. I bought two but now I want to go get, like, a hundred of them. Technically, they require full sun. My plan is to move them outside in the Summer and bring them back in for cold weather. In warmer climates, they can be grown outside. Can you imagine having an endless supply of eucalyptus branches for your decorating? I’m elated with this purchase. UPDATE: These babies are thriving! I’ve moved them outside into a Full Sun location and EVEN THOUGH THEY ACCIDENTALLY GOT BLEACHED when the house was cleaned this Spring, I was able to bring them back to life and they are spindly and gorgeous flowing in the wind. 


HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR PLANTS (so you don’t kill them)

So now that we’ve covered what I bought, let’s talk about maintenance. I grabbed some good advice from Jamie. He says I want to maintain a moist but not wet soil. Check. Don’t move these to a scorching hot window. Check. And if you want to use decorative planters, place the plastic pot inside the planter. That will make watering easier and keep you from immediately shocking your plant by transplanting it. Plus, if you need to move it, the plastic pot is so much lighter than a bulky ceramic one. 

Even if you don’t live in Nashville, you should follow Gardens of Babylon on Instagram. They load stories about how to care for your plants. Like this one:

Here are the products you need to keep your plants healthy, with an affiliated Amazon link (which means I’ll get a commission if you buy them. Thanks! This helps me keep pay for the overhead costs of running this blog! xoxo) I’ve also included my favorite gardening accessories! 

I hope this post inspires you to kick the fake plants and big box plant shopping to the curb. I’ll be back with ideas for how to display the plants in your home. In the meantime, if you want to do your own plant excursion, here’s a website that will help you locate your local nurseries – Gardens.com.

xoxo
Teri

** And in case you’re wondering, this post is NOT SPONSORED by Gardens of Babylon or Gardens.com or any other business. But even if it were, the opinions would still be the same – MINE and TRUE. Love you guys! **

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