The Sill + Terrain: Choosing the Right Houseplant


This month, we're teaming up with The Sill to focus on indoor gardens. Always seeking new ways to bridge the gap between plants and people, The Sill inspires us with creative ideas for indoor, windowsill, and near patio gardening. Stay tuned throughout April as The Sill shares more of their abundant knowledge; below, check out some tips for choosing your perfect houseplant.

When choosing a houseplant it is important to remember that plants, like people, have different temperaments. Give yourself – and your plant – some time to get to know one another. Nurture the relationship with a little extra attention early on while your plant acclimates to its new environment, and you’ll be together a long time. Not sure where to start? Light. Nearly all plants prefer bright light, but some thrive just as well in the shade. Determine how much light your space or patio receives and choose your plant accordingly. 

Determine your light
What direction do your windows face?
     South: Provides the most light and therefore the most options. Plants can be situated far into the room and still receive bright light.
     East: Light drops off quickly so it's best not to situate plants too far away from the window.
     West: Same light as east windows but accompanied by more heat.
     North: Provides the lowest light. Situate your plants directly on the sill.
     No Windows? If you want to brighten up a dark room with a plant, choose a “low light” plant but move it to bright light 2 weeks per month.

Sometimes its what’s outside the window that counts.
If you live in NYC like we do, its not uncommon for your window to face a brick wall. To ensure you know what kind of light you’re getting, here’s a simple test: place a white piece of paper on the spot you intend to put your plant. Then spread your hand out about 1 foot above the paper. What do you see?
     Well defined shadow = bright light
     Fuzzy shadow, still recognizable as your hand = medium light
     Only faintly discernable shadow = low light
     No shadow = no plant

Once you’ve determined what type of plant you’re looking for – a bright, moderate, or low light plant – here’s what to keep in mind while scouring your local nursery:
     Watch out for yellow leaves, powdery mildew, leaf spots, brown leaf tips, weak or wobbly stems, and other signs of poor plant health.
     Look for damp soil so you know your plant has been getting watered regularly.
     Check for weird smells, which could be a sign of root rot. 

And don’t be afraid to ask! Be sure you leave knowing the type of plant you have and how to best care for it. 

Our Top 6 Plant Picks

     Sunlight: Bright
     Water: 1x /week 
     Humidity: Average
     Temperature: Average
     Perfect Placement: Windowsill 
     Perfect Parent: Frequent Traveller 

Rex Begonia
Sunlight: Moderate to Bright
Water: 2x /week 
Humidity: Average
Temperature: Average
Perfect Placement: Side Table 
Perfect Parent: Caregiver

   Golden Pothos
     Sunlight: Low to Bright 
     Water: 1x /week
     Humidity: Average
     Temperature: Average
     Perfect Placement: Shelf 
     Perfect Parent: Plant Newbie

Monstera Deliciosa
Sunlight: Moderate to Bright
Water: 1x /week 
Humidity: Average
Temperature: Average
Perfect Placement: Living Room 
Perfect Parent: Trendsetter

ZZ Plant
Sunlight: Low to Moderate
Water: 1x /week or less 
Humidity: Average
Temperature: Average
Perfect Placement: Cubicle 
Perfect Parent: Black Thumb

Snake Plant
Sunlight: Low to Bright
Water: 1x /week or less 
Humidity: Average
Temperature: Average
Perfect Placement: Bathroom 
Perfect Parent: Plant Killer

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