I Finally Stopped Buying Fake Plants and Got Real Ones — Here’s What I Learned

published Mar 13, 2022
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Assortment of fake plants, styled on a table

The first time I bought a real plant was on a whim from the grocery store. All my favorite designers and home bloggers kept saying plants were a necessity if you wanted to add life and beauty to a space, and even though I had no clue what I was doing, I went home happy and excited. My plant died in a matter of weeks, and the shriveled up leaves turned my hopeful enthusiasm into guilt and disappointment. I vowed to never get another real plant from that point on, and convinced myself I just couldn’t keep plants alive. 

Luckily, I have some plant pros in my life who talked me off the ledge of never becoming a plant parent again. With a little bit of assistance and encouragement, I’m happy to say that my brown thumb has turned green. I’m the owner of seven houseplants that have been alive for three years now, and I’m still not a plant aficionado! Because the good news is, you don’t have to be. Here are some plant newbie tips I’ve learned along the way for anyone who’s ready to make the leap from faux plants to real ones.

It’s OK to ask for help.

The reason my grocery store plant died was because I didn’t know what kind of plant it was, or what it needed to thrive. If there’s anything I’ve learned since, it’s that plant people are the friendliest and want to help you! Asking simple questions like, “How much sun does this plant need?” or “How much and how often should I water it?” are key to keeping your plants happy and healthy. Plant subscriptions like Horti are also made for beginners who want to learn, and specialize in educating new plant owners. 

Credit: Sarah Crowley

Know where you get the most sun in your home.

The two most basic things a plant needs are sun and water. It’s important to know where the sunny spots are in your home because more often than not, that’s where you’ll want your plants to live. If your plant likes lots of light, in front of a sunny window is a great spot, or if your plant prefers indirect light, putting it on top of a coffee table in a bright room should suffice. And don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of natural light in your home. Snake plants are hardy, do well with low light, and only need watering every two weeks or so.

Caring for plants is simple, once you have a routine and know what they need.

All plants are different, but once you’ve found the perfect spot and know how much and how often to water them, you’re golden! Pick a watering day and create a little ritual around taking care of your plants. I water mine first thing in the morning on Sundays and it’s something I look forward to that takes no more than five or 10 minutes.

Not all plants are beginner-friendly (and that’s OK!)

Once I learned that shopping for plants is about much more than just aesthetics, I was a little less hard on myself for my self-imposed brown thumb. Certain plants require more care than others, while other plants like ZZ plants, snake plants, philodendron, and succulents are great for beginners because they are low maintenance, robust, and resilient. Filling your home with beginner-friendly plants is a great way to add greenery to your space, without a lot of work.