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The Six Hottest Houseplants to Bring Home Now

Feb 19, 2016

by Jaime Buerger handmade and vintage goods

When not writing stories on Martha Stewart-y things like crafting, china and cakes, you can find Jaime Buerger hanging in the park with her corgi and her husband — most likely with a few craft brews on hand.

Chances are, even if you’ve never really thought about it, you’ve already seen a few houseplant trends come and go — like when your Pinterest feed suddenly shifted from an endless parade of potted fiddle-leaf fig trees in perfectly styled living rooms to, say, an ever-expanding portfolio of philodendrons. Much like textiles, lighting fixtures, and paint colors, houseplants routinely cycle in and out of popularity. “Indoor plants are subject to the whims of fashion on a steeper curve than outdoor plants,” says Iowa-based horticulturist Kelly D. Norris, author of the book Plants With Style (Timber Press, 2015). “That’s because they’re more closely linked to our interior design tastes and what we’re up to in our homes — and that changes over time, with plants along for the ride.”

To keep your indoor gardening efforts on the cutting edge, we asked Norris for the scoop on what plants you’ll be seeing more of in the coming year, then matched each one with our picks for some of the coolest containers to house them in. All six featured here are relatively easy to grow — and certainly easy on the eyes. Can you dig it?

Plant #1: Hen and Chicks


Slate-colored sempervivum, or Hens and Chicks, from Youngs Garden Center

These small, rosette-like succulents have been gaining momentum over the past few years but, says Kelly, the newest varieties are more colorful than ever, with leaves that can range from silvery green to the deepest of burgundies.

Good for: Beginning gardeners, and those who love adding little accents and surprising details throughout their homes. Hen and chicks are among the least fussy houseplants to grow and can go for up to 14 days between waterings.

Best in: A shallow pot made of clay or ceramic to allow for more air exchange, which is important for keeping the soil dry, says Norris.

Shop Our Planter Picks:

3-inch ceramic succulent planter from 1220 Ceramics Studio, $15; buy it here.

2-inch stoneware planter from Kristen Saksa Juen, $21; buy it here.

3 1/4-inch stoneware planter from Beardbangs Ceramics, $28; buy it here.


Plant #2: Streptocarpus


Polka-Dot Purple Streptocarpus from Dibleys Nurseries

A relative of the African violet, these showy specimens are considered collectibles by many growers. “They’re definitely not a once-and-done type of plant,” says Norris of their ability to flower for months at a time. The newest hybrids have bold colors, more patterns, speckled leaves and frilly petals.

Good for: Intermediate green thumbs looking for a touch of the exotic. “For best results, choose a spot with bright, filtered, indirect light,” says Norris. “Placing them a few feet from a windowsill is ideal.” Avoid using cold water and make sure that the water hits the soil directly without touching the leaves.

Best in: “This is another candidate for a ceramic container so that the soil will dry out between waterings,” says Norris.

Shop Our Planter Picks:

6-inch ceramic planter from Free Folding, $60; buy it here.

3-inch stoneware hanging planter from Function Pottery, $26; buy it here.

4-inch porcelain planter from Atelier Petit, $32; buy it here.


Plant #3: Coleus


Coleus Hipsters Zooey, from Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.

Usually associated with filling out outdoor beds and containers, the new series of coleus are “compact, with a dense array of hotly colored, miniature leaves that look almost like feathers,” Norris says.

Good for: Anybody. “They’re ridiculously easy to grow when left near a bright window,” Norris says.

Best in: They’re extremely adaptable, so they’ll thrive in plastic, ceramic or clay pots, or in wooden planter boxes.

Shop Our Planter Picks:

5-inch 3-D–printed plastic planter from MeshCloud, $44; buy it here.

6-inch black clay planter from karoArt, $68; buy it here.

24-inch cedar planter box from Red Oak Road, $23; buy it here.


Plant #4: Aglaonema


Red Aglaonema via My Garden Insider

Commonly known as Chinese evergreens, these leafy plants can come in fiery shades of red, orange and pink, “with great, glossy foliage that almost doesn’t look real!”

Good for: Those with patience, says Norris. “They’re slow-growing and need a while to reach their full potential, but they’re relatively easy to grow.”

Best in: They do well in any type of pot, but a footed urn or narrow planter makes them appear even bushier.

Shop Our Planter Picks:

Upcycled vintage 7 1/2-inch brass planter from dewdropdaisies, $28; buy it here.

Ceramic face planter in three sizes (3-inch, 5-inch, and 7-inch heights) from Javelina Ranch, $28-40 each; buy it here.

Vintage 8-inch hammered brass planter from Simplychi Vintage, $36; buy it here.


Plant #5: Neoregelia


Neoregelia Raphael from Eye of Eden

It used to be more difficult to get your hands on these statuesque bromeliads, which come from Brazil, but these days they’re seeing more action from domestic suppliers looking to satisfy customers who want to bring a bit of the subtropics into their homes.

Good for: Those with lots of bright, natural sunlight to ensure the colored leaves and flowers (in blazing shades of red, orange, purple, green and white) reach their full intensity.

Best in: Think “on,” not “in,” when it comes to bromeliads. “These are best mounted, as they usually grow on trees, not in soil,” says Norris, who recommends securing them onto a piece of wood or other sculptural vessel.

Shop Our Planter Picks:

16-inch driftwood planter with three bromeliads from Driftwood Planters, $54; buy it here.

10-inch driftwood planter from Mazuri Yako, $50; buy it here.

6-inch cholla wood planter from CTS Airplants, $5; buy it here.


Plant #6: Abutilon


Abutilon from The Garden Studio

You may have heard them called “flowering maples,” but these throwback plants, which were ubiquitous in the Victorian era, are actually relatives of the hibiscus. They’re available in many sizes and colors, but if you’re looking for a real showstopper, some Abutilons can reach heights of 10 feet. Plus, says Norris, “They’re just really pretty, with flowers that look like rings of crepe paper.”

Good for: Intermediate to experienced gardeners. “They love cooler temps and don’t like a lot of change,” says Norris. They’re ideal for sunrooms or other drafty areas. “I can see these looking really cool in an old, arts-and-crafts kind of home.”

Best in: These are flexible plants, says Norris, so simply choose a planter you love, whether that’s plastic, clay or ceramic.

Shop Our Planter Picks:

6 1/2-inch cement planter with 12 3/4-inch copper stand (for a total height of 16 inches) from Etta & Odie, $85; buy it here.

Rustic stoneware planters from Convivial Production, $28 (for 4 3/4-inch height) and $36 (for 8-inch height); buy it here.

Vintage 6-inch Gainey Ceramics planter from Caribe Casual Shop, $175; buy it here.

Lead image by ONE & MANY.




Want to learn more about surprising plant selections for indoors and out? Pick up a copy of Kelly Norris’s book Plants With Style, published in 2015 by Timber Press.




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