Houseplants seem to be the hottest home accessory these days, but unless you come equipped with a green thumb, you may find yourself struggling to keep your ferns and succulents alive. If you’ve found yourself with one too many dead cacti on your hands and are determined to finally master the elusive art of indoor gardening, we’ve got you covered. Eva Kosmas Flores, the multi-talented lifestyle sage behind Adventures In Cooking, is sharing her own tips for choosing—and maintaining—some her favorite houseplants. Check out all the tips + shop the look below!
Succulents & Cacti: These plants require very infrequent watering, and are the best choices for first-time plant owners, since they’re very forgiving if you forget to water them for long periods of time. In fact, over-watering is the easiest way to damage these guys, since they don’t like to have their feet wet. With succulents and cacti, make sure you use well-draining potting soil (a mix specifically for cacti in particular is best), and that there is a drainage hole in the bottom of the planter. When you water them, give them a hefty dose of water and allow it all to drain out the bottom. Depending on the season, you can water them every 2 to 8 weeks, with more frequent waterings in the summer and less frequent ones in the winter. They love sun, so try to place them in front of a window where they will receive direct sunlight for some portion of the day.
Airplants: These are perfect for homemade terrariums since they don’t need to be rooted in soil. Just take a beautiful vessel, fill it with some decorative sand, a pebble or seashell, a piece of moss, and you have a home for your new little green friend. These need to be watered about every 1 to 2 weeks, and while some are fine with a 10-minute soak in a bowl of water and a gentle shake to get off excess water droplets, I’ve found that the larger airplants with deep crevasses can end up growing fungus and dying when being watered this way, so I recommend giving the large ones a heavy misting with a spray bottle filled with water. These enjoy bright indirect sunlight.
Ferns: Ferns are perfect for low-light areas of the home. They come in a variety of shades of green, with the ghost fern being one of my favorite varieties due to the pale grayish streaks of color of its leaves. These do need to be watered frequently, though, and prefer their soil to be constantly slightly damp. Depending on the temperature, they should be watered every 2 to 7 days.
Water Lettuce or Water Hyacinth: These pond plants usually reside outdoors, but they make great container plants for large glass vessels inside. They have quite a striking appearance since you get to see their lovely roots, too. The water needs to be replenished in the vessel to keep the roots submerged, and the plants prefer a few hours of direct sunlight a day. Putting a drop of liquid houseplant fertilizer in the water once every couple months ensures they’re getting the nutrition they need, too.
Jade: This plant is a bit of a statement piece. Jades have the shiniest, most beautiful thick green leaves and their exposed grayish tan bark is something to behold. These will grow very large indoors over time, I have had mine for 14 years and it is now about 4 feet tall. They are like succulents in that they need very well draining soil and are very drought tolerant, but they do need to be watered a bit more frequently than cacti and succulents, usually every 1 to 3 weeks depending on the temperature of your home. They also require direct sunlight in order to thrive, so they should be put in front of a sunny window.