How to Pick Houseplants Like a Designer

How to Pick Houseplants Like a Designer

How to Pick Houseplants Like a Designer

Ready to blossom into a plant person? Read on as Homepolish designers weigh in on their houseplants of choice, caring tips, and the greenery trends they’re ready to bury.

Plants are having a moment. And it’s no surprise: they are a simple way to breathe new life into your home. But when it comes to picking houseplants, the seemingly endless options available are both a blessing and a curse. Not only are you confronted with some wild-sounding names—think monstera, the ZZ plant, and banana palm—but you’ve also got to factor in if you can keep them alive or if their moment in the sun is dead.

To help us navigate the sometimes thorny world of houseplants, we asked Homepolish designers to reveal their tips—from their favorite varieties to the unexpected places you should be styling them.

Design by: Jae Joo
Photo by: Claire Esparros; Above also by Jae Joo and Claire Esparros

1. What is your favorite houseplant?

Olivia Stutz: Currently, I am absolutely swooning over the oak leaf kalanchoe plant.

Kerry Vasquez: Dracena Marginata! They are gorgeous when they get tall and sinuous, and they are virtually unkillable!

Cindy De Luzuriaga: My elephant ear (Alocasia) plant makes me so happy. I like it when they are small to medium in size. Simple and elegant, they stand out from a lot of other busy plants. It feels like a living sculpture

Tali Roth: The Ficus Audrey—it’s been my most well behaved long last plant.

Design by: Nina Jizhar and Crystal Sinclair
Photos by: Vivian Johnson and Heidi’s Bridge

Crystal Sinclair: Cacti! They’re so easy to take care of and definitely add edge to a space. Also, it’s a nice throwback to my roots (Texas)!

Anna of Kroesser + Strat Design: We love rubber tree plants. They have a modern feel, come in a variety of different sizes and shapes, and really help to elevate a space.

Tina Rich: I’m really into olive trees at the moment—it’s probably the Greek in me.

Claire Hung: My favorite indoor plant is the Dracaena Marginata—they are super easy to take care of, and they aren’t finicky about light. The best part is IKEA sells them for like $13 bucks!

Allie McMunn: I personally love succulents because they are the one thing I cannot seem to kill. There are so many variations and they are really versatile.

Designs by: Jae Joo
Photo by: Claire Esparros

2. Which plants are you tired of seeing?

Tali Roth: Obviously a fiddle leaf fig. I mean I still love it, but we all need a year or two off it. We went too hard on the trend!

Anna of Kroesser + Strat: The fiddle leaf fig has had a good run, so we are loving the “new fig tree”, the Ficus Audrey.

Olivia Stutz: Fig tree, banana palm, and areca palm.

Gianna Marzella: Snake plants, spider plants, pothos, and African violets.

Tina Rich: Bird of paradise!

Larisa Barton: Dried “grandma” flowers.

Design by: Jill Shadek
Photo by: Sedona Turbeville

3. Do you have any tips for caring for houseplants?

Julieta Alvarez: Remember to regularly prune old leaves and don’t move your plants around.

Tali Roth: Look closely at the leaves; often there is stuff going on that is obvious that we miss. If the roots are turning back and are all mulchy, it is likely that you are overwatering.

Claire Hung: When repotting, don’t upgrade to a larger pot unless you want the plant to get bigger. If your potting soil looks low, then just repot the plant by shaking the extra soil free from the root, and replacing the old soil with new in the same pot.

Design by: Rhobin Delacruz
Photo by: Heidi’s Bridge

Kerry Vasquez: Choose a spot for houseplants that gets light, water once a week max, and don’t move them. Follow these steps and they should acclimate nicely.

Tina Rich: Being a designer, I want to place plants were I think they look good, but I’ve learned that you need to place them where they will thrive.

Mandy Cheng: If a plant seems like it’s struggling, take a picture of it (a medium shot so you can see the general lighting), and bring it to your local nursery. They’re experts and will have very helpful suggestions on how to remedy the issue immediately.

Design by: Crystal Sinclair
Photo by: Seth Caplan

4. Can you recommend any plants that are especially easy to care for?

Olivia Stutz: Most tropical plants are easy to care for indoors, as they just need a window to be next to light. Orchids are easy and last long, so are mini monstera plants.

Gianna Marzella: Succulents of all types like to be ignored. I recommend them for anyone who likes to forget about the responsibilities of caring for plants.

Emma Beryl: My easy go-to plant would be the snake plant (Sansevieria Trifasciata). It will survive under the most unsuitable conditions and is perfect for the forgetful gardener!

Tina Rich: ZZ plants are literally the easiest plants to care for, and they grow like crazy.

Larisa Barton: Pothos and Philodendron are both low maintenance—they do not require a lot of light or water but will grow and grow making anyone look like they have a green thumb.

Tali Roth: The easiest plants to care for are similar to rubber plants, Philodendron, and cast iron plants.

Design by: Jae Joo and Michelle Zacks
Photos by: Claire Esparros

5. Where do you like placing greenery in a home? Anywhere unexpected you recommend styling houseplants?

Olivia Stutz: On a pillar, almost like a statue, on the bar, outside on the balcony (if you are lucky enough to have one), in the bathroom by the bath, on the fireplace mantel, or stacked on the floor in a bunch.

Tina Rich: I love a built-in planter—so retro!

Claire Hung: My favorite place to enjoy and see plants are in bathrooms. Of course, the bathroom will need to have a window or skylight, but it’s so refreshing for any plant to be in humid environments. I just love it when they are actually in the shower or around the tub.

Design by: Michelle Zacks
Photo by: Lindsay Brown

Emma Beryl: I love to place my plants at various heights around my home. For example, on top of cabinets, on interesting stands beside by sofa, clustering different size plants together in
a corner, hanging from the ceiling or on any shelving you may have!

Larisa Barton: A plant wall is a really great idea for a natural divider in a studio apartment.

Anna of Kroesser + Strat Design: We love to place greenery in bedrooms. air plants are a great way to help detoxify your home, especially in the place where you and your family are getting your rest.

Allie McMunn: I love using multiple wall hanging planters to create a simple, but beautiful piece of “artwork”.

Design by: Ana Claudia Schultz and Crystal Sinclair
Photo by: Sean Litchfield and Seth Caplan

6. What are some of your favorite vessels for plants?

Julieta Alvarez: African woven baskets and old wine barrels.

Allie McMunn: I prefer black ceramic or stone pots for greenery because it really makes the greens pop. I place flowered branches in them to create a tree like effect—it is cost effective and really makes an impact!

Olivia Stutz: I tend to focus on vessels as “art”, but I always love a plain, old see through glass vase.

Tali Roth: I love a terracotta pot from the plant district on 28th (in New York City), but one that looks 100 years old. If you can find a great antique cement or stucco pot, then awesome, but if not, then just keep it simple with white or grey.

Tina Rich: I’m really into French Biot Jars at the moment or anything terracotta.

Design by: Jesse Turek and Julia Montanez
Photo by: Sean Litchfield and Claire Esparros

Emma Beryl: For a laid-back bohemian vibe, I’d go with a rattan or woven basket. If I were working with a smaller plant that needed to be of impact, I’d use a plant stand. And if it were a layered, eclectic space, I’d opt for something patterned or colorful.

Claire Hung: I love any handmade pottery planters from local or even Etsy vendors. There’s nothing more unique than a one-of-a-kind handmade piece from a artisan.

Cindy De Luzuriaga: I actually like really simple vessels. It just comes down to proportion with the plant.

Gianna Marzella: You can repurpose an old mug; I also like glass containers where the soil and roots become part of the show. Air plants are fun because they can grow in anything.

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