Incorporating Plants into Your Home Can Bring Some Major Zen

Natural lighting must be taken into consideration when determining where to place certain plants, experts say.

Installing and maintaining plants around your home doesn’t have to be a labor-intensive or even stressful process. In fact, it can be an extremely zen-like experience, as plants can provide comfort and promote relaxation, while also keeping the air clean.

ESTATENVY spoke with two plant experts - Theresa Montana, president and founder of City Scents Floral & Home in Chicago, and Sprout Home creative director Stephen Hill, who is also the general manager of the company’s Chicago branch. They shared advice on how to incorporate plants into one’s home.

“Adding plants and greenery truly has many benefits: The aesthetics are unarguably a huge perk, but the well-being they provide is also important to consider,” Hill told ESTATENVY in an email. “The method and attention given to tending your plants is a great way to slow down, observe and really exist in some quiet moments throughout your day, whether the task at hand be watering, re-planting, wiping the leaves clean or just standing back and enjoying. Plants will also do their part of the work, too, cleansing the air we breathe.”

While it’s tempting to think of certain types of plants belonging in specific rooms, this isn’t necessarily the way to go. Hill noted that sunlight and environment must be taken into consideration.

“For example, it seems logical to grow some citrus or herb selections in the kitchen, but without a very sunny window, this would not be advisable,” he said in an email. “I think it is important to consider rooms in your home you spend a lot of time in - these should be areas you fill as much as you can with green life so while they will require your care, you can spend your off-time just enjoying your surroundings.”

Montana suggests succulents as excellent candidates for the bathroom - provided there is a window that gets sunlight.

“I love succulents in the bathroom because they don’t need to even be watered because of the moisture,” she said, adding that just the steam from the shower will suffice to keep the succulent healthy.

But don’t forget about that window!

“It’s basic science,” Montana said. “If a plant’s going to grow it needs to have some sun.”

Montana has specific plant suggestions for anyone who is just starting to incorporate plants into their homes. The Peace Lily, she said, is a terrific choice for plant newbies, as it all but tells the owner when it needs water.

“If you come into a room and you see the plant and it’s [flopping], don’t throw it away because that means it just needs more water,” she said, adding that the Peace Lily “will grow quite rapidly” and should be placed in diffused light instead of directly in the sun. Another good option for beginners, Montana said, is the Dracaena Marginata, as it doesn’t need to be watered often.

She also recommends a hanging plant for the bedroom.

“I would suggest a hanging plant, like either a pothos or an ivy plant,” she said. “It doesn’t really take up a lot of space if it’s hanging in a corner. It helps you just relax at night.”

And don’t let winter ruin your green dreams.

Hill noted that plants can play a huge role in fighting the winter blues.

“While your houseplants won't always be at their most vigorous through the dull of winter, they will still add a flare of tropical foliage to your home and make a long winter hopefully just a bit shorter!” he said in an email.

Orchids are Montana’s personal favorite flower in the wintertime, but she also has other ideas.

“Bromelias are fabulous in the winter,” Montana said. “It just gives you a little spike of color and you can do that in any room in your house.”

Winter can change up your plant care routine. Montana noted that plant food is “essential” in the winter to supplement the lack of sun.

“Short days and less sunlight can and will change your care routine,” Hill said in an email. “Plants that perhaps required a weekly watering schedule may drop to every 10-12 days. Plants have a metabolism much like we do, and with less light and cooler temperatures, they'll slow down a bit. Always touch down into a plant's soil to determine how much moisture is in the soil before watering - over-watering is something to avoid.”

One thing is for sure: Incorporating plants into your home can be a challenge, but it can also be very rewarding.

“I think it's important to also take your losses in stride and focus on the wins,” Hill wrote. “Gardening can have some setbacks: a pest here, an overwatered plant there, but always we learn from these situations.”