I’m sure you know this, but it’s the start of August, and lockdown is still underway for most of us.
The new normal feels strange. That is if you’re still stuck at home in quarantine with no end in sight. It feels as though the beginning of the year was another lifetime ago and that your immediate surroundings are the only place you have ever known. On the other hand, this could be the first time you’ve ever slowed down and finally had the chance to look around at your surroundings.
Like it or not, the world has come to a halt, and after everything that has gone on in the last several months, I can’t believe I’m going to stop and talk to you guys about plants.
Creating a pleasant environment to live in a while in a not so friendly world can help with unease and anxiety as the months continue. Gardening has helped me so, I hope that others get something out of it too.
So, let’s talk about plants and, more specifically— indoor pet-safe plants. I know this sounds crazy, but let’s add to the list of other things we need to keep alive. Also, it’s vital to not poison our furry friends now that they are the only other living things we can cuddle. Y’know, if you’re not lucky enough to be under quarantine with an s/o or people in general. Okay, and especially if the only other creature you are living with is a twelve-pound cat.
Anyway, here is a list of nine plants to give you a mood booster without the worry of hurting Mr. Piddles.
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Aluminum Plant or Watermelon Plant
Botanical Plant name: Pilea cadierei
This plant gets its name from the pattern on its leaves. Yes, the markings resemble the stripes found on a watermelon with long aluminum stripes. Also, yes, it is more evident than the picture above shows.
The Watermelon Plant is native to China, and it is relatively easy to take care of. Lucky for first-time plant owners, it doesn’t need constant watering. In-fact this plant’s roots are susceptible to root rot if the plant receives too much water. To avoid this, make sure to re-pot it in a planter with a draining system to expel excess water. With a little care and a proper draining system, the Watermelon Plant will be a great addition to your home.
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Botanical Plant Name: Soleirolia soleirolii
Baby Tears is another excellent plant for beginners. They don’t require direct sunlight, and they don’t need an extreme amount of water. Remember, keep the soil moist but not damp. Also, don’t feel afraid to prune them from time to time. Visually, these plants have a mossy look and are native to southern Europe, Italy, Sardinia, and Corsica.
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Botanical Plant Name: Chlorophytum comosum
Okay, the first two plants were classified as easy, but the spider plant might be the best start for those that don’t consider themeselves to have a green thumb. The spider plant is considered one of the most undemanding plants to take care of because it is highly adaptable. It does excellent in indirect sunlight and only needs to be watered until the soil is damp. In-between watering, the plant does well if the soil dries out before the next round of the water canister.
The Spider Plant gets its name from the leaves or ‘spiderettes’ that hang down from the mother plant. It somewhat resembles small spiders. If you look at the picture, it is actually more appealing than it sounds. This was the first houseplant I picked up, and I recommend trying it out if you are looking for your first plant.
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Polka Dot Plant
Botanical Plant Name: Hypoestes phyllostachya
This plant is native to South Africa, Madagascar, and Southeast Asia. The polka dot plant gets its name for the pattern of polka dots that spot the leaves, and it comes in an array of colors. The design also gives this house plant the name the freckle face plant. The ideal placement to grow it in is indirect sunlight. In the summer, keep the soil moist and pull back on watering in the wintertime. The polka dot plant also enjoys humid weather, so keep a mister handy from time to time.
The last thing to remember about the plant is that after it flowers, it will become dormant. When it becomes inactive, that spells the end of the lifespan of your polka dot plant. You will have to purchase a new plant every season in exchange for the splash of color it gives you and your home.
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Botanical Plant Name: Fittonia albivenis
This plant resembles the Polka Dot Plant, but instead of the splashes of freckles, the colors come from long red or white veins. The Mosaic plant is native to the rainforests of Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Northern Brazil.
The Mosaic Plant does not enjoy direct sunlight as it typically grows under the shade of trees in tropical forests. Indirect sunlight is ideal, and it can be picky when it comes to water. You must keep the soil moist because if it dries out, the plant can collapse or “faint.” After watering, the plant can recover from fainting, but doing this repeatedly is not recommended.
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Botanical Plant Name: Hoya carnosa
This plant is very hardy. It lasts forever, flowers beautifully, and can be reasonably substantial as it is considered a vine. The wax plant is straightforward to take care of as it is not picky about getting too much water. This plant should be a top choice for beginners.
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Botanical Plant Name: Haworthia
Now, if you are looking into succulents, this is the right plant for you. The Haworthia resembles an aloe plant, but it is much friendlier to pets. It enjoys bright light and only needs to be watered once every week to two weeks. It is small, striking, and relatively easy to take care of.
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Botanical Plant Name: Orchidaceae
Chances are, if you know nothing about plants, you have still heard about the Orchid. These plants are a flowering plant and are known for their blooms that last one to two months. Orchids need indirect sunlight and require water every few days with an emphasis to make sure to not overwater them. Also, remember to have adequate drainage in the bottom of the plant to avoid root rot and keep a spray bottle to mist it gently.
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Botanical Plant Name: Ocimum baslilicum
If you have ever wanted to start a garden, you have thought of a herb garden. Also, chances are that if you live in a small space, you can only have an indoor garden across your window. The problem is, you have pets. If you still want to try out some herbs and don’t want to worry, then Basil is the right fit for you.
Pet safe and easy to take care of, you can grow this inside your home in the summertime. This plant enjoys warm soil, regular watering to keep the soil moist, and you can start using the leaves when the plant is 6 to 8 inches tall.
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Botanical Plant Name: Sedum morganianum
Donkey Tails are succulents that will add style to your space. The plant has long stems that grow over the pot to give it it’s signature look. They are native to Southern Mexico, and despite being a succulent, they can be somewhat finicky. This plant can be grown indoors, but they do prefer an outdoor climate.
Make sure to keep these plants well-watered but do not water again until the topsoil has dried out. Overwatering can be damaging to this succulent, but underwatering is also very harmful to this plant. To keep this plant looking healthy, the leaves need to be kept plump with the proper amount of water. When checking the water levels, stick your finger in the soil and make sure the roots around the plant are kept moist but not completely dried for best results.
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All of these plants are pet safe, but it’s better to be free from worry about your pets getting into your new plants.
Consider getting hanging planters to avoid accidental mistakes from a nosey cat or dog. A catastrophe from your pet could include midnight munching and broken planters when you’re not watching. Remember to pick hanging planters that don’t have tassels at the end to avoid temptation if you have a cat.
The second thing to keep in mind if you don’t have access to purchasing these plants in-store is ordering online. Currently, I have gotten two plants online, and all of them have come packaged and shipped to my door very much alive. If you are thinking of going this route, make sure to read the reviews before you place your order.
Lastly, if you decide to go for the hanging planter route, think about how you’re going to hang them. Do you have a stud finder handy, or do you need to buy some drywall anchors? If you are renting, is this an option for you, or do you need those removable hooks?
Before you purchase anything for your new plants, make sure you go over how you are going to re-pot, hang, and care for them.
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I know this is a lot to think about, but adding some green to your living space is worth it, in the end, to help ease the quarantine stuffiness. Now, you are armed with a list and an idea to add new variety to your living space.
The world has become a darker and scarier place, but that doesn’t mean you have to surround yourself physically with those same ideas. Now could be the time to start with your first houseplant. Maybe, it can brighten your mood a little too.