Plant lady is the new cat lady.

Artwork by Justina Blakeney

Artwork by Justina Blakeney

Okay. So I guess houseplants are "in." But houseplants have been around for a long time and while their popularity ebbs and flows, I believe they're here to stay. Let's start with a little history, yes? Houseplants became popular in the Victorian era, where palms, ferns, and terrariums spruced up fancy parlors. Thanks to the advent of glass being widely available even to the middle class at that time, natural light could stream through the windows all year round, and Victorian folks could finally bring nature indoors. Houseplants regained popularity in the 1960s and '70s as a part of the burgeoning environmental movement. In fact, I can recall seeing old pictures from the '70s of my grandma in her house, and there will always plants in the background. Even growing up, my grandma still had the macrame plant hangers that were once in fashion (and are again today)! There's since been a resurgence in plants thanks to social media platforms Pinterest and Instagram, and publications like Huffington Post and the Washington Post are writing trend pieces on millennials' obsession with all things green. Plants are now an interior design standard, and our houses are urban jungles riddled with all sorts of green babies. Just check some hashtags on Instagram like #houseplantclub and #urbanjungle, and you'll find thousands upon thousands of posts, along with some extremely popular accounts dedicated just to houseplants. 

The problem is - and let's be honest here - people get caught up in the trend of having greenery in their home without doing proper research on their plants, and all of a sudden they're not sure why their nerve plant (Fittonia albivenis) has wilted or why their delicate maidenhair fern (Adiantum spp.) is browning. There's SO MUCH conflicting information out there, too, which certainly doesn't help. Folks on gardening and plant groups have A LOT of opinions, and there are many houseplant books that have conflicting information as well. One book will tell you to keep a snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) in low light, while another will tell you to keep it in full sun (when in reality you can do both). Even some of the popular houseplant Instagram accounts will feature gorgeous photos of plants but offer little in the way of information about the plant or care advice. Oh, and don't get me started on the care tags that come with most plants from a big box store! That is, if they even have care tags, or are even labeled with a name. Ever been to a Home Depot and found a plant called "beautiful foliage"? No wonder people think they have brown thumbs! 

I'm here to guide you based on my personal experience, peppered with information from quality, reliable houseplant and horticulture books. I'm not a professional. I didn't go to school for horticulture or botany, and I don't work in the industry. I wouldn't even call myself an expert (but I'll get there one day), but I am extremely passionate about houseplants and continue to learn as much as possible about them. In turn, I learn by helping others. It's a win-win for everyone!

I can't wait for all of the upcoming posts. I'll be featuring elements of plant care in depth, like lighting and watering; individual plant profiles and care tips; "best" lists (like best low light plants); troubleshooting common plant issues; and cool science topics like taxonomy. As always, shoot me a message via email, on Facebook, or on Instagram if you have any questions whatsoever!