...and how to keep them alive.
Whether it’s the Pantone effect (the Color of the Year is “Greenery”) or the influence of nesting-obsessed millennials, plants are trending. They’ve become as essential to stylish home decor as textured wallpaper or a subway-tile backsplash. Here’s why: “Plants function in the same way as a painting or sculpture, bringing colour and texture through the leaves and through the vessels they sit in,” says Michael Leach, owner of Dynasty Toronto, who has witnessed first-hand the Instagram-driven buzz. (Even Drake and his crew are into nature – Leach does the plants for the OVO Sound recording studio.) “Just having one plant, such as an architectural piece in the corner, completely changes the feel of a space.”
Perennials change how you feel too. Thanks to a little thing called photosynthesis, plants are oxygenating, can reduce the presence of certain pollutants and are proven to make people more relaxed – which we need now more than ever in our largely concrete existence. NASA research suggests one plant per 9.3 square metres is optimal for the above health benefits. (Following this ratio will prevent your place from looking like your grandma’s house.)
Black, white, marble or pink planters feel freshest, but your fig should be about twice the size of the container. “Find consistency in your planter style,” says Adam Mallory, co-owner of Crown Flora in Toronto. “You want the plant, not the pot, to be the focus.”
1. PHILODENDRON “BRASIL”
“Hanging plants are a great way to fill a corner of a room and create some drama,” says Leach.
($30, at Poppies Plant of Joy, poppiesplantofjoy.com)
2. AFRICAN MILK TREE
This prickly plant prefers sandy soil.
3. STAGHORN FERN KOKEDAMA
Short on space? Opt for a kokedama, a plant grown in a moss ball. It can be mounted on the wall or sit on anything from an antique teacup to a beautiful plate. Water it in the shower or sink, or wet the roots using a spray bottle.
($60, at Botany Floral Studio, botanyflowers.ca)
4. HYDROPONIC POTHOS
You can grow many different types of greenery in these stunning soil-free, water-based glass vessels. Minerals are typically added to the plant’s water supply, negating the need for soil.
($95, including plant, glass and metal stand, at Crown Flora, crownflorastudio.com)
The leaves of this easy houseplant can be cut and replanted so you can share it with friends.
($10, and ceramic planter, $18, Dynasty Toronto, dynastytoronto.com)
6. FIDDLE-LEAF FIG TREE
This leafy tropical is the current It plant of Instagram. Be warned: It’s very finicky.
(From $65, at Crown Flora, crownflorastudio.com)
7. HANGING TERRARIUM
Build your own ecosystem. Coral jade, lace aloe and pencil cactus horse terrarium
($80, at Stamen & Pistil, stamenandpistilbotanicals.ca)
8. SPLIT LEAF MONSTERA
“These produce a lot of oxygen and are very easy to grow,” says Mallory.
($28, and metal planter, $40, Dynasty Toronto, dynastytoronto.com)
9. SNAKE PLANT
This one is ideal for newbies because it needs fewer nutrients, survives in low light and has leaves that retain water well
($28, and ceramic planter, $40, Dynasty Toronto, dynastytoronto.com)
10. GHOST EUPHORBIA
When you water your cacti, pour slowly, says Leach; otherwise it will collect in the bottom of the planter (because the soil is so parched between drinks).
11. AIR PLANT AND MOSS TERRARIUM
Many plant stores now offer terrarium-building workshops.
($150, at Poppies Plant of Joy, poppiesplantofjoy.com)