If you’re a card-carrying plant person, then winter can present some plant care challenges. The verdant hues of the outdoors are replaced by gray, gray, and more gray, and even your prized indoor tropicals are feeling the heat (and not in a good way) thanks to moisture-zapping radiators. To learn pro-approved ways to keep the green going indoors all winter long, we caught up with Melissa Lowrie, senior green goods buyer for Terrain (our go-to haven for all things plant-related). Below, she shares her top tips to enhance your home this season.
1. Pick hardy plants
Of course, if you don’t have a green thumb to start with, winter can pose a whole other challenge. Use this season to focus on naturally hardy and already well-established plants, rather than deciding now’s the time to try your hand at a new specialty. “Sansevieria is a standby as a truly solid, highly tolerant plant,” Lowrie tells Brit + Co. “[At Terrain], we are liking the narrow shape and natural form of Fernwood Sansevieria, or Sansevieria Moonshine, for its brighter, frosty green foliage.”
2. Stick to your routine
If tending to plants is part of your self-care, be sure to keep this habit going strong, especially since moods can plummet during the winter. “Beyond the air-purifying benefits and the way that plants brighten up and bring life to interior spaces, for us it’s about maintaining the connection to nature throughout the year and the ritual of tending them, especially in the colder months,” Lowrie says. Engaging in pruning and tending rituals can be a fulfilling part of your day and can boost your mood when you’re not getting as much interaction with the outdoors.
3. Make a mister your best friend
If your favorite plants are struggling as temperatures drop, remember that it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity. “Many ferns and other lush plants will thrive in low-light situations, but humidity is often the biggest challenge for otherwise tolerant houseplants,” says Lowrie. “To remedy, we scatter misters throughout the house, and I make habit of misting while on the phone or chatting with my partner.” A simple spritz here and there might be the difference between lush greenhouse vibes and saying goodbye to your favorite plant pal.
4. Opt for a mix of cut and live specimens
Not every splash of green in your home has to be from a live plant. The holiday season is always full of cedar boughs, sprigs of holly and, of course, cut Christmas trees. “We love mixing the potted and the foraged, the living, fresh and dried,” explains Lowrie. “Beyond giving you lots of texture to play with, you can use the different elements to create pieces that will look fresh over a longer period of time, and that can evolve as the season progresses.” Try incorporating cut flowers into arrangements. Lowrie and her team love Paphiopedilum AKA lady’s slipper orchid among potted plants to add depth and layer in color that wouldn’t necessarily be sustainable as a live plant. “We might pair [cut flowers] with some interesting houseplants. Philodendron micans is great for its velvety dark leaves, or something sweet and delicate like angel vine, a mass of heart ferns, or an oversized rabbit foot fern,” suggests Lowrie.
5. Share the (plant) love
It’s better to give than to receive, right? “I adore African violets this time of year as a small, simple gift,” she says. “They are deeply nostalgic plants and feel special enough for the holidays but also sweet and humble.” Not sure if your intended recipient can keep a plant alive? Try gifting something more established. “Last year, we gifted larger (8”+ pot) established ferns to our adult family members,” says Lowrie. “Gifting a single, more mature plant gives less experienced recipients a better chance at success.”
6. Keep the color alive after Christmas
After the tree has been sent out to the curb, don’t forget to refresh your home. “The draw to ‘green’ your interior space definitely hits hardest once the Christmas trees are gone and new-year winter is in full tilt,” explains Lowrie. “We love Clusia for a fresh take on a floor plant/indoor tree, and snowberry for its interesting foliar color and the lacy round leaves.” In need of a New Year’s resolution? Adding some plant life in the winter is a good place to start. “The bigger trend we are seeing is that more people are becoming indoor plant people, and that means a renewed and expanded interest in all different kinds of plants,” Lowrie says.
Article by Emily Bihl for Brit+co