Are you tired of a dead interior? Or maybe your room is a blank canvas, ready for the first dash of color. The best indoor plants can add just the right amount of intrigue - they're casual and organic, yet clean and sculptural; they're delightfully unpredictable, yet confident in their constant presence. And their lifespan, thankfully, is much longer than cut flowers. But when considering plants in a room design, there are a few things to consider. Architectural Digest contacted horticulturist Dennis Schrader of Landcraft Environments in Mattituck, New York, to get the dirt.
"You have to think of the container it goes into like a piece of furniture," Schrader says. "It should match the interior." As for the plant, you'll want to coordinate that, too. Here's a guide to some stellar finds and their requirements, but first, what if you decide to include more than one plant in your design? Schrader advises grouping plants according to their natural way of growing. "You don't want to put a fern next to a cactus," Schrader says. And what's more, plants that grow together will have similar needs, making it easier for the caretaker. As for how many there will be, he says: "It all depends on how many you want to care for."
Finally, location should be dictated first and foremost by the plant's need for light and then by the owner's taste. Try a plant here or there and see what works well for you, and don't be afraid to move it around. For smaller indoor plants, Schrader says: "you can use them as a table setting and then move them to a windowsill later."
Here, we've rounded up the best indoor plants, along with professional plant care tips from Schrader and two other experts, Sprout Home founder Tara Heibel and Tassy de Give, who founded the Chicago-based garden store in Williamsburg, New York.
1. fiddle leaf Fig Tree (Ficus Lyrata)
This shrub has a long, elegant stem and branches with broad, leathery leaves. Schrader suggests placing it "under a skylight or next to a window." In other words, it needs as much sun as possible. Schrader suggests pruning the upper branches as it grows over a window frame.
Fiddle-Leaf Fig Tree Care: Water once a week, or more if it's winter and the air in the house is dry.
2nd Split-Leaf Philodendron (Monstera Deliciosa)
A favorite of Henri Matisse, this plant has a distinctive leaf that looks like it was gently cut by a careful hand. Schrader says you can cut off the top - as long as it has aerial roots attached - and replant it, which means if you buy one of these, you can easily have more if you want.
Split-Leaf Philodendron Care: Water once a week.
3. Meyer Lemon Tree (Citrus X Meyeri)
This tree is named for the Meyer lemon, considered a hybrid of lemons and mandarin oranges with a subtler, sweeter flavor than lemons. But these trees don't stop at fruit: "When they're blooming, you get this beautiful citrus scent," Schrader says. Meyer lemon trees do well indoors, as long as they get plenty of sun.
MeyerLemon Tree Care: Water weekly.
4. kentia Palm (Howea Forsteriana)
Front this plant in spring to great heights from the ground and then lean forward, quietly shading the ground beneath. "It looks great in a large urn," Schrader says, noting that it should be given plenty of room because it can grow to 10 feet with a wide spread.
Kentia Palm Care: Requires medium to bright light; water weekly.
5. cast iron plant (Aspidistra Elatior)
Schrader says this plant is "primarily for foliage," which means if you want to add a lush, dark green plant to your space, this one is for you. It does well in medium to low light and is tolerant of neglect, so it's good to forget about watering it once in a while.
Castiron Plant Care : Water once a week or every ten days.
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6th Eucharist Lily (Eucharis Amazonica)
Another dark green plant, but this one has large white flowers that bloom all winter and early spring. "Even when it's not blooming, it's nice to look at," Schrader says. It thrives in medium light; it lets the soil dry out between watering."
Eucharist Lily Care: The leaves wilt when it needs water, but once a week should be enough.
7. snake plant (Sansevieria Trifasciata)
"I think they're making a resurgence, especially in contemporary interiors," says Schrader. With sword-shaped leaves gently coiling up from the ground like enchanted snakes from a basket, this houseplant in the home strikes a beautiful balance between order and chaos.
Snake Plant Care: Place anywhere and allow the soil to dry completely between watering. Check the soil weekly, but you can skip a few.