A new apartment is like an empty canvas, something to fill in with your own colors, textures, and personality. Plants are integral to showing off your best self. Some are subtle, some showy; some are multicolored, others one shade. They make a statement, whether on a counter, in a window, a corner in a hallway, or taking up an entire room. And not only do plants add life to a new space, but some filter air making them environmentally healthy.
When you’re ready to venture beyond succulents, a few tips. Choose what’s best for the light you have, whether it’s direct or indirect sunlight, or even on the balcony. If you want more than one, cluster plants of various heights together for interesting and structural focus, but make sure they all have similar needs, like watering — it will be easier to take care of them. And don’t be shy about moving them around. Maybe a plant starts in one place, only to move to another. Once you get used to having another life form around, you’ll get hooked. Here are a few plants to make any space interesting, plus a few stores around town to find them.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree
This gorgeous broad-leaf plant boasts long elegant stems with dramatic flair. You need bright, indirect light for this — meaning next to a window, not right in front of it — and only need to water it when the top inch of soil is dry. That’s about once a week in our dry climate.
With fronds that soar and lean forward, this palm adds height to an empty corner. It needs medium to bright light, and needs watered weekly. Look for a nice big decorative urn for the base. Here’s an entire guide on how to care for kentia palms from Apartment Therapy.
For adding drama without much effort, this plant brings a pop of red and pink to the party. Also known as Chinese Evergreen, it’s considered a good Feng Shui plant that brings luck and fortune. Put it in medium light to get the best effects, and water only as needed (even if you forget, it still performs).
A very Pinterest-friendly plant, the spiky, sword-like leaves work great in indirect light. Consider an elevated planter for its home, or mix and match with others for texture. Let the soil dry completely between waterings.
String of Pearls
For a hanging pot idea, this bauble-like plant features cascading pods in a fresh, bright green hue. Keep the soil steadily moist, and place in bright indirect light for best results. Field Notes by Studio Plants has some great tips on caring for this slightly more challenging, but stunning, succulent
This plant makes a statement with its dramatically lined leaves and straight stems. Let the soil dry out between waterings, and mist occasionally.
Meyer Lemon Tree
Because you live in Southern California. Because the citrus flowers smell great when they bloom. Because you have a balcony. A Meyer lemon tree looks great, and once it bears fruit, you can make preserved lemons. It can live indoors as well, but needs lots of sun and a weekly watering.
Favorite Plant Shops Around L.A.
You can buy so many plants online now, or at one of the big-box home supply stores. But to keep it local and independent, check out the plants, planters, and living plant accouterments at places like Sunset Nursery, The Potted Store in Atwater Village, Mickey Hargitay Plants, the gorgeous Rolling Greens, and the online-only Plant Provocateur. If you’re heading down to the L.A. Flower Market, stop by Jay’s Plants. Loveable, In Chinatown, find affordable plants at 88 Gifts Shop on Ord Street (and really all over the neighborhood).
Featured photo by Brina Blum/Unsplash