With winter creeping in and the holidays just around the corner, spending time outdoors is becoming a thing of the past. So we asked Igor Josif & Judith de Graaff from Urban Jungle Bloggers to answer 4 essential questions on how to keep the green alive in your home this season. Read on for their houseplant wisdom!

Urban Jungle Bloggers Guide to Green | west elm

I live in a small, garden, patio + balcony free apartment but really want to add some greenery to my space. What do I need to get started with this?

Igor: I actually live in such a building! Living with greenery doesn’t necessarily require a lot of space. Start small and pick plants that fit your home and lifestyle. Get yourself a few plant pots that match your home décor, find an adequate spot for your plants and keep them happy! That’s all there is to it.

Judith: Really, adding a few plants to your home is easy. Igor’s right – you really don’t need a lot of space! What about adding some plants in hanging planters? Or place some small plants on the open shelves in your kitchen. Or add a succulent to your desk or bookcase? I always keep some plants on top of our (stand-alone) fridge: it’s cat safe and adds some greenery to a not-so-obvious space!

Urban Jungle Bloggers Guide to Green | west elm

Mini Cacti - Urban Jungle Bloggers Guide to Green | west elm

I would love to dress up my windowsill with some plants. What are the best plants to go for?

Igor: Go for plants that like direct sunlight – think of anything that originates from the desert like cacti or succulents. I have almost all my cacti on my windowsill!

Judith: Same here, I have mostly cactus plants and succulents in our windowsills. It’s also really nice to add some fresh herbs to your windowsill. It immediately upgrades a kitchen window and it smells (and tastes!) really good too!

Plants on Bookshelf - Urban Jungle Bloggers Guide to Green | west elm

Windowsill Plants - Urban Jungle Bloggers Guide to Green | west elm

I love having plants indoors but with a full-time job, I’m not the best at caring for them. What are your housekeeping tips? Are there any specific plants you can recommend that need minimal care?

Igor: Always choose plants according to your lifestyle! I have a full time job too and I travel a lot thus I am focusing on plants which require minimal care like cacti and succulents. You can leave them almost a whole month with little attention and they will still be happy. It works in my place!

Judith: Our cats love nibbling on my dear fig and palm trees. So we mostly keep cat safe plants in our apartment, like paddle cacti and succulents. I particularly love Aloë Vera plants, they are very forgiving and need minimal attention. They come in many different colours and shapes too. And they’re also very practical: there’s no better treatment for skin burns than the aloë gel inside the leafs. Just cut off and peel a leaf and gently rub your skin with the aloë gel. It’s also a great moisturizer!

Urban Jungle Bloggers Guide to Green | west elm

Vases & Cactus - Urban Jungle Bloggers Guide to Green | west elm

Urban Jungle Bloggers Guide to Green | west elm

I’m always seeking inspiration online for greenery/plants. Who are your must-follows on Instagram?

Igor: I love the Instagram account of @thesill, @still_______ and @magali_coffeeklatch. I check in to see what they’ve posted every day and always feel inspired!

Judith: @needlesandleaves, @looseleaf__ and @solveigsdotter are amongst my favorites for green grammers. I also love to browse through all the pictures tagged with #urbanjunglebloggers (which also appear on our website)!

Urban Jungle Bloggers Guide to Green | west elm

This Saturday at west elm London, Igor + Judith will be hosting a bloggers styling challenge together with at{mine}, a new online community for interior design lovers based around members’ homes. As a member you can share and discover real interiors and find out where to shop the products you love.

at{mine} is currently in invite-only beta with a handpicked group of inspirational individuals, designers and brands.

Exclusively to west elm customers, they will be sharing 100 invites to the community. Click here to join or use the invite code ‘WExAtMine’ on atmine.com




Urban Jungle Bloggers Guide to Green | west elm

Urban Jungle Bloggers Guide to Green | west elm

Thanks Igor + Judith (Urban Jungle Bloggers) for your advice! Be sure to follow the #urbanjunglebloggers hashtag to get inspired!

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October 19, 2014

I love your ideas….I was wondering if you have any ideas for treating clay pots, before planting in them so they stay looking clean and nice. Ones used outside definitely get salt stained and other grime. For inside plants, I bought some new ones to move some herbs indoors. Any ideas?


October 19, 2014

Hi Sheri,

Great question – we posed it to Judith + Igor for you and this was their reply:

“I never treat my clay pots for indoors or outside…unfortunately I don’t think there’s a way to prevent salt stains on porous surfaces. As a temporary fix to keep the inside clean, keep the plants in their plastic container, though they will need a bigger pot soon after you purchase them. Glazed pots can be treated with olive oil or gasoline to make sure that raindrops don’t stick on the surface. Hope that helps!”


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October 20, 2014

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October 31, 2014

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November 1, 2014

Love many of the planters pictured here – any suggestions for great sources?

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