With cooler temperatures quickly heading our way in much of the U.S., you may be wondering how you can add some greenery to your living space this fall. Houseplants can certainly lend a touch of the great outdoors to any room — not to mention the fact that they liven up our surroundings at a time of the year when the view outside is, for a lot of us, pretty dreary. In fact, many who suffer from varying forms of seasonal depression find that having a few lush, leafy plants around provides an all-natural mood boost, and helps to distract from the otherwise chilly, bleak conditions around them.
Plants also help us by subtly increasing the oxygen levels in our homes, so there’s really a whole host of health benefits, both physical and emotional, to be reaped from incorporating them into our lives. You may not be able to control what the weather is doing, but with some well-chosen, hardy houseplants, you can easily transform your apartment into a verdant getaway.
From the dramatic to the more understated, there are a lot of varieties that happen to do quite well indoors, and if that wasn’t enough, many mentioned here are quite also popular at the moment. The bottom line with any houseplant is that it ought to be able to thrive year-round and be relatively low-maintenance. These plants fit the bill on all counts, and with so many to choose from, you’re sure to find at least a couple that complement your existing decor.
Bird of Paradise
Native to the balmy climate of South Africa, the elegant Bird of Paradise dons large, glossy leaves and cheerful orange blooms that to many resemble birds, evoking the tropics. Having one of these will make it easy to pretend that summer never really ended in your apartment. The bird-like flowers that give this plant its name are a little fussy, though. They’re most likely to bloom when kept in an adequately humid and sunny area of your apartment, so placing the plant in direct sunlight is highly recommended. If you live in a region that’s low in humidity, you might consider getting a humidifier for this plant, or misting it with a spray bottle to recreate its preferred environment. As far as watering goes, you’ll find that once a week is fine here, making the Bird of Paradise relatively straightforward to care for.
Often nicknamed the “Snake Plant” or “Mother-in-Law’s Tongue,” the sansevieria comes in a few varieties, each differing in size and leaf shape. If you’re looking for one that won’t take up too much space, you may find the Petite Snake Plant to be best for your apartment. In China, these plants are often placed near the entrance to a home or business in order to promote good Feng Shui and bountiful luck. The sharp, minimalistic look of this succulent will also appeal to those who favor a more modern aesthetic.
Sansevieria is known in the horticultural world as an unbelievably hardy plant and requires very little attention. Just stick it in a spot that gets some sun and water occasionally. Interestingly enough, the Snake Plant has also been studied by NASA for its air purification properties, so it actually works for you in the sense that it helps you breathe better and stay healthier. It also boosts the humidity in a room, which makes it a great choice for those who constantly have the heat running, or who live in drier environments.
This Instagram-worthy plant can grow just about anywhere, from low-light corners to a the sunniest of indoor spots. As it grows, the leaves, which look a little like Swiss cheese, get bigger and more showy, allowing the plant to effectively “climb” onto nearby surfaces. You can facilitate this effect by putting some type of vertical support like a pole or stick into its pot or, to really show it off, installing a trellis above it. Because it originates in Central America, monstera also benefits from the occasional misting every now and then.
As the plant’s leaves grow large, you may need to dust them off every so often to keep them looking their best. No fertilizer is necessary during the cooler months, and watering is only irregular at its most intensive. To prevent root rot, you’ll just want to water the soil when it feels dry to the touch two or more inches down.
Note that the leaves of the monstera are somewhat toxic when ingested, so if you have any pets in your apartment, this may not be the houseplant for you.
A favorite since Victorian times, the Philodendron makes a timeless addition to any contemporary home, as its unassuming presence beautifies without overpowering. Also called the “Sweetheart Plant,” its leaves are small and heart-shaped, sporting eye-catching patterns. Its needs are fairly simple; it likes medium-to-bright lighting but should always be kept away from direct sunlight. Remember to water it only when the soil is dry about halfway down the pot.
As the Philodendron grows, it tends to either climb onto a surface or spill over the edge of the pot. For that reason, you may choose to hang the plant and let the vines trail down, or place it against some kind of surface for it to “climb” — it’s up to you.
These evergreen rhizomes have developed a cult following amongst houseplant lovers. In particular, the “Green Velvet” hybrid has distinctly-shaped leaves with broad, whitish-colored veins that provide a striking contrast against its dark green leaves. This little houseplant, which grows to reach about two to three feet in height, tends to thrive in sunlight and more humid conditions, so it may need some help in those departments. Even if the plant wilts a bit during days that aren’t as sunny, it bounces back fairly quickly. Unfortunately, the leaves are toxic to pets.
Any of these trendy houseplants is sure to brighten up your apartment this fall, breathing new life into your surroundings while also imparting a feel-good ambiance.