Compiled By Rachel Peters Kreidler
Photos by Aaron Dougherty
Suddenly it’s hot. Overnight, our desire to dig in the garden beds and dally with blooms in patio containers begins to wane. Which isn’t to say we want to twiddle our green thumbs for the next few months, just that it’s time to transplant our affection for growing things indoors. The good looks of our tried-and-true houseplants are subtler than the showy perennials in our green spaces, but we find a lot of beauty in their variegated foliage, drama in the shapes of their leaves and contentment in their easygoing ways. Plants that deliver a daily dose of satisfaction with no sweat on our part — that’s our idea of summer gardening at its best. Find these plants and containers right for your style at your local nursery or garden shop.
Sword ferns are bog plants, hence they thrive in moist soil and humidity. You can re-create their natural environment in your home by misting the fronds once a week and monitoring the soil. Like most ferns, they are tolerant of lower light conditions — a boon to the indoor gardener.
Calathea is a bit of a prima donna, but its graphic stripes and long, sinewy leaves reward the extra attention. It is sensitive to poor quality water — it’s best to use bottled, distilled or even rainwater when giving the plants a drink. It’s also important to keep the soil moist; if it gets too dry, leaves quickly start to brown. Bright, indirect light is best for this lady.
Pilea is best suited to a bright indoor spot with plenty of indirect sunlight. Be sure to allow the soil to dry in between drinks. The little beauties thrive when left in their plastic containers, which allow for optimal draining, and seated into an attractive container.
Pothos is one of the easiest houseplants to grow. Its resilience — and forgiving nature when you forget to water — is no doubt responsible for its long-lived popularity. That it also pairs beautifully with a variety of container styles, from hanging baskets to climbing poles, also makes it companionable. Ivies are excellent air purifiers and can thrive in low or even artificial light. Allow the roots and soil to dry out between waterings.
Monstera is having a moment. These dramatic plants are heralded on everything from pillows to wallpaper. They grow best in bright spots, and they don’t like it when their soil dries out. Be careful not to overwater, though, as root rot gets real in a hurry. Tropical at heart, they thrive in humidity — mist the leaves once a week or give your plant some time alfresco when the weather gets balmy.