With the end of winter on the horizon, the idea of beautifying our living spaces with plants becomes particularly appealing. Plants can lift our spirits, especially during these last cold and dreary days, and they even have potential health benefits. But there are so many types of plants out there, and it can be tricky to know which ones best suit our space. Thankfully, Lisa Eldred-Steinkopf, a gardener and writer known as “The Houseplant Guru,” has expert suggestions for cheerful houseplants that thrive in a variety of conditions and will bring vibrancy to any home. From the living room to the kitchen to the bathroom, there’s no shortage of spots that would benefit from the addition of a gorgeous plant.
To Enliven a Living Room: Add Snake Plants
“Houseplants will brighten up your home and mood at any time of year, but especially during the dreary end-of-winter months,” says Steinkopf. And bringing in a trio of plants, like these snake plants, breathes new life into a space instantly. For a standout look, drop three snake plants into white pots and arrange at the center of a coffee or entryway table.
To Care for and Maintain: Give plenty of sunlight and water when soil is dry. (The snake plant can be toxic if ingested, so keep away from pets and children.)
To Beautify a Bathroom: Add African Violets
Lush, lovely African violets can thrive even in artificial light, and they love heat and humidity, making them perfect for a bathroom or laundry room.
To Care For and Maintain: For the perkiest display, water the plant from the bottom: When the soil feels dry, place the pot in about 3 inches of water (in a sink or deep saucer) for 30 minutes, then drain off excess moisture. Tip: Each flowering plant lasts up to four months, so pinch off faded blooms to encourage continuous new growth.
To Brighten a Windowsill: Add a Flowering Clivia
“This orange flowering plant is called clivia,” says Steinkopf. Native to the subtropical forests of South Africa, it’s easy to maintain as a houseplant indoors year-round, but it will also flourish outside during summer on a shady patio or deck. For a cheery display that enhances the plant’s orange colors, drop a clivia into a fiery-hued pot. “When the pot matches the blossoms, it makes a more cohesive, pleasing display.”
To Care For and Maintain: Be sure the pot is equipped with drainage holes and filled with well-draining potting mix. Give medium light and water when soil is dry.
To Dress up a Dining Table: Add Potted Bromelaids
Thanks to their spiky green foliage and vibrant bracts (the blossom part of the plant), potted bromeliads make a striking focal point for a dining table. For a rustic-chic look, plant in small square pots, then arrange on a long wooden tray or platter. “I love the juxtaposition of rustic planters with these modern-looking plants — it’s stylish and surprising,” says Steinkopf.
To Care For and Maintain: Give bright indirect sunlight and keep soil slightly moist and well-drained.
To Bring Sunshine to a Kitchen: Add Calceolaria Flowers
“Placing sunny blooms in a pair of cool-hued pots at various heights creates a floral display that’s full of movement and visual interest,” says Steinkopf. Here, bright-yellow calceolaria — also known as “pocketbook plant” because the pouch-like blossoms resemble purses — pop against the blue and green ceramic pots.
To Care For and Maintain: Place near a kitchen window, but out of direct sunlight; let soil dry out between waterings.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.