These Are the 4 Plants That Plant Experts Are Buying This Summer (and You Should Consider Them, Too)

published Jul 24, 2020
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As I’ve spent many months indoors, I’ve realized that I want to become a plant person… but I have no idea where to start. Narrowing down what cool plant will look best in my apartment while requiring the least amount of effort when it comes to watering and sunlight is overwhelming. I scroll aimlessly on Instagram to find my one true plant, but have come up empty so far. With summer halfway over though, I decided to consult a few plant experts and florists for the best plants to buy right now before I totally miss out on all of the extra seasonal sunshine my apartment is getting. 

The below picks are a mix of the latest and greatest trendy plants with tried-and-true favorites that thrive in the summer months. I’ll be following these pros’ selections and instructions to a tee, and I hope you find them helpful, too.

For tropical vibes

Zenia Ruiz, co-owner of Flor del Monte in Chicago, loved two plants equally so she and her mom (and co-owner!), Rosalva, couldn’t pick just one. “Philodendron Xanadu and Monstera Deliciosa both have awesome names and are relatively easy to care for,” she raves. “They are both tropical plants that do great indoors with bright, indirect light.”

Resilience is key when you are first starting out as a plant parent, and Ruiz says that’s why these two species are ideal. “We’ve had our xanadu plant for over three years in our studio, and she has grown so much, in spite of having to ride out many gray, winter months,” says Ruiz. “Our monstera is just as resilient and has the coolest leaves. We keep both plants indoors year round and water about once a week.”

One trick the Flor del Monte ladies recommend is misting your plants in addition to watering. “We tell ourselves that it refreshes them, but really, it’s a great way to keep them hydrated without fear of overwatering the roots,” says Ruiz. If you decide to go the route of the xanadu, make sure you have ample space in a sun-filled room (same goes for the monstera, though space is a little less of an issue with this guy). The best part about these two summery-looking stunners? You can use their leaves solo in vases or to pep up other floral arrangements throughout your home. “As florists, we love that we can clip a stem or two to enhance our designs, especially if we’re going for a gorgeous tropical vibe,” says Ruiz.

Buy: Monstera, $150 from Bloomscape and Philodendron Xanadu, $23.99 from Target

For easy care

Lauren Hill, owner of Full Bloom by Lauren in Atlanta, is “totally obsessed with ZZ plants this summer,” which she says are great, low maintenance starter plants that she recommends to all her clients and friends. “I initially purchased one for my desk at the office, and now it’s thriving in my studio at home,” says Hill. “They are such sturdy plants that don’t require a lot of light nor water, and the leaves are such a nice dark green! It can be placed anywhere and does well with or without light; low light is actually ideal.”

The biggest caveat with ZZ care is overwatering. “I let the soil get dry before giving it more water,” says Hill of her ZZ. “She’s almost a year old now and isn’t needy for a lot of attention like some of my other plants.”

ZZ plants come in a variety of sizes and typically have a lot of leaves on all the stems, so Hill recommends looking for that when you’re purchasing one if you can. “There don’t have to be a ton of stems or branches because you want room for new ones to grow, and that way, you can see your own progress,” she says. “The branches can be shorter when starting off but [should be] full of nice, healthy dark green leaves on each of the stems that will go pretty far down close to the soil.”

Buy: Medium ZZ Plant, $51 from The Sill

Credit: Terrain

For smaller spaces

The easy sell for lemon lime prayer plants, also known as lemon maranta, is getting lost in their gorgeous leaves for hours. At least, that’s how Ellen Duong, owner of Chicago-based plant company Qideas, describes this lesser known but special, pet-friendly species. “This unassuming plant has beautiful, dark velvet-looking leaves that are famous for moving upwards, similar to hands in prayer,” Duong says. “Prayer plants grow horizontally and are wonderful hanging plants to keep indoors by a window that does not receive any direct sunlight.”

Lemon marantas can also thrive anywhere that’s few feet from a window or on a shady porch, if you are lucky enough to have covered outdoor space. “You can display them on a bookshelf and watch them drape down the sides,” says Duong. They key to making these plants is happy is sticking to a temperature that’s between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit and keeping them away from vents.

Humidity is also a factor in lemon lime prayer plant care. “They enjoy humidity and do well in bathrooms with skylights as well,” says Duong. “Keep your prayer plants close to a humidifier to help maintain a damp soil when you can.” If not, just spray the dark green and neon lime leaves weekly.

One other thing to keep in mind is that during peak growing season, prayer plants can produce five to eight new leaves monthly. Expect to have to repot these guys fairly regularly, but on the whole, they tend to be on the smaller size, which is great for apartment dwellers.

Buy: Lemon Lime Prayer Plant, $48.00 at Terrain