Green thumb or not, you won't kill these beauties!
As the beautiful greenery of summer fades away, it's time to fill our apartments with year-round foliage before the winter sets in and we forget that plants exist. Houseplants are vibrant additions to your interior decor, and some can even feed you while the growing seasons last.
It can be hard to get started on your indoor jungle journey, so here's a list of the easiest houseplants to take care of for beginners, alongside suggestions for where to buy them in Montreal. These low-maintenance cuties will add life and colour to your home, without requiring constant care or a degree in horticulture.
The pothos is a hardy trailing plant that can survive in a wide range of conditions, including dimly-lit bars and otherwise depressing dorm rooms. They love nutrient-rich soil but can also thrive in vases of just water, and enjoy sunlight but still grow to impressive lengths without it.
Pothos varieties are great for beginners and easy to find at most plant stores, including the popular spot Vertuose, which also sells a three- to seven-plant starter kit called "the unkillables." Depending on your aesthetic sensibilities, you can find a pothos variety that matches your vibe, from dark forest green to dramatic neon shades.
Snake plants have long, blade-like leaves which are typically striped with dark and lighter greens, offering an eye-catching look without too much complex care. As one plant care advice site says, "Snake plants do well when you almost forget about them."
Infrequent waterings that allow the soil to fully dry are the best thing you can do for your snake plant, which is especially sensitive to overwatering in the winter. Snake plants are toxic to pets, though, so keep them far away from your dog or cat. They're easy to find in many plant stores, including places like Dépanneur Opéra, which sells plants as well as corner store mainstays.
Many varieties of peperomia are great for novice planters, but peperomia hope offers a particularly pretty silhouette, with its succulent-like round leaves and trailing stems. The shallow-rooted plant grows best in chunky soil that drains easily, and should be left to fully dry out between waterings.
Peperomia hope also does well in bright but indirect sunlight, and is extremely easy to propagate once you get the hang of care. For new plant owners, it may be tempting to overwater, but most easy plant species live their best lives with only an occasional thorough drink.
You can buy a peperomia hope from Jean-Talon market's longstanding florist Binette & Filles for between $12 and $22.
The ZZ plant, or Zamioculcas zamiifolia, is another plant that loves a dry spell. Best practices for caring for your zz plant include watering only once every two to three weeks, allowing the soil to completely dry between waterings.
These strong plants can tolerate low light, but they thrive in medium to bright indirect sunlight. Keep them out of direct light, though, as it can prove to be too intense for their leaves. When grown inside, ZZ plants can grow up to three feet tall and wide, although this process takes several years.
This is another plant that isn't particularly pet-friendly, so if you have dogs or cats, keep them away from this striking beauty.
Rubber plants are not only easy to care for, but they're also good communicators. Preferring bright, indirect light and moist soil, these plants have expressive leaves, which droop when their conditions aren't quite right. If you notice a sad demeanour about your rubber plant, check the light levels and the soil.
If it's too dark, bring your buddy closer to a window, of course. Unlike some of the other plants on this list, rubber plants do best with a constant low level of moisture in their soil. To help them absorb water, it's also good to mist the leaves or rub them down with a damp cloth.
Like the colourful pothos, philodendron varieties can express a wide range of colours and patterns, allowing you to pick whichever plant best suits your indoor spaces. These perennials produce thick stems which can either trail (vining philodendron) or grow upright, with long tapered leaves of many shades of green.
Part of what makes philodendrons so special are the many shapes that their leaves can take, depending on the sub-species. To care for your philodendron, make sure you use potting soil with excellent drainage, and place the pot in bright (but indirect) sunlight. But don't worry too much about light level — these hardy plants can survive in almost any condition.
Local plant store Miss Boon offers several types of philodendron, including the painted lady, which features light green leaves with even lighter spots.
These beautiful plants are known for being almost too easy to grow! Spider plants propagate like nobody's business, producing tiny babies (adorably called "pups") that dangle on the ends of their leaves. If you take good care of your spider plant, you'll be able to expand your collection in no time.
Spider plants like moderation: give them well-draining soil and don't let them get too dry or too wet. This sounds complicated, but they're not actually too picky. Keep them in bright but (you guessed it) indirect sunlight, and move to a shadier spot if you notice brown crunchy areas of any leaves.
Montreal plant store Alma offers a curly-leaved spider plant you can buy for less than $15 to add a pop (or twenty) of colour to your home.
If you've adopted every allegedly "easy" plant and they've all died on you, it might be time to try the humble cactus. A hardy and extremely low-maintenance type of plant, cacti put you more at risk of poking yourself than of killing them. Unless you overwater, that is.
Cacti love sunlight and hate too much water, but make sure you give them a thorough soak when it is time to refresh. Let the soil dry out thoroughly between waterings, and don't be afraid to let them thirst for a while. It's easier to save a thirsty cactus than it is to cure a soggy one.
Dragon Flowers in Mile End also sells well-priced cacti and succulents, and the lovely Tammy is more than happy to give you a few pointers on plant care while you're there.