If you’ve been into Curious Nature, you know how much we love our house plants. For one, having a connection to nature in your home is a great way to enjoy it, especially out here in the deserts of Arizona. There is a huge range of plants to keep in your home, the majority of which are tropical plants native to mostly Central and South America; a lot of these plants are relatively easy to care for, but their care regimen can range quite a bit. Some of our absolute favorite house plants include:
You probably know of the most popular bromeliad – the pineapple. These super fascinating tropical plants are an incredible way to bring bright pops of color to your space and their care is unique, yet simple. These plants are related to air plants in the way they absorb water through scales in their leaves instead of their roots; which can be the only tricky part to growing these cuties. They do need plenty of moisture, so make sure you have a nice misting spray bottle on hand or humidifier.
The main trick to keeping these beautiful plants happy is keeping their natural cup of leaves full with clean water! Here in Phoenix, they tend to drink up all the water before it can grow bacteria, but in more humid areas you’ll want to keep an eye on the water so as not to overdo it. Bromeliads with stiffer leaves (like the type currently available here) tend to need more light than those with softer ones, but no matter what, you need to ensure they receive plenty of bright, soft, natural light.
Our favorite part about these plants is how easy it is to propagate and grow new babies from your mother plant. After they bloom, new “pups” will start emerging from the bottom layer of leaves. It is super exciting to see these tiny babies start to grow from nowhere! Once they’re about a third to a half of the size of the mother plant, they can be cut away and repotted to grow and bloom like the one that came before.
This popular tree can be found on every tropical and temperate continent in the world, but don’t be fooled by this one, it can be slightly more difficult to keep these beautifully dark trees happy. The main challenge to these bad boys is that they can be extremely sensitive to environmental changes – moving them just a room over in your house can lead to them shedding their entire bottom layer of leaves. Don’t be too discouraged though, once this little tree is in a happy place it’s incredibly easy to keep it that way.
Lighting can be the trickiest part of making these plants happy – they need lots of bright light, but can burn in direct sun. It’s best to keep them near an east facing window where they can get cooler morning sun and light for most of the day. If you notice a lack of new growth on your plant, this is typically due to insufficient light.
You can overwater rubber tree’s if you’re not careful. A good rule of thumb is to keep the soil lightly moist throughout the warmer seasons and allow it to dry in between watering throughout Fall and Winter. Here in the shop, we like to give them a small drink every other morning.
This vining plant is a semi-succulent tropical, it’s plump leaves do an incredible job at absorbing and holding water for the plant which makes it really easy to care for. If you want to see this plant’s super cute flowers, it will need plenty of light, but you will want to take care so it doesn’t burn in too much direct sun.
When watering this adorable guy, you can allow the soil to completely dry before giving it more; it can stand a little neglect if you aren’t the best at remembering a water schedule.
We adore spider plants! These super cute little plants grow the most adorable baby pups as well with proper care. Not only do they make an excellent beginner’s plant, but they’re incredible at filtering the air in your home which is a really great reason to keep them around. They are also non-toxic to kids and pets! The most difficult part of spider plants is that they are sensitive to fluoride in their water, so keep in mind that you’ll need filtered rain water or distilled to keep them happily growing strong.
Spider plants will happily tell you if they’re unhappy with the water they’ve been drinking, just pay close attention to the tips of their long leaves – if they’re browning it’s usually a sign of fluoride being in their water. Keep these guys lightly moist throughout the summer, but allow the top inch of soil to dry in between watering them during the winter. They’ll need plenty of bright light, but be sure not to allow them to sit too long in direct afternoon sun – they easily burn.
Who hasn’t heard of air plants these days? This amazing plants, called Tillandsia, makes up the largest genus of bromeliads – unique plants that absorb water through their leaves rather than their roots. We have a huge variety of air plants available here at Curious Nature; some require more care than others, but all of them make easy to care for friends that can be moved regularly to get the most enjoyment out of them.
The number one way people kill off their air plants prematurely is lack of lighting. Tillandsia need lots of bright light, but it’s easy to forget this due to their unique growth system. Don’t let their common name fool you – they need more than just air! They’ll flourish with plenty of bright light and can even stand a couple of hours in direct sun depending on the species.
There are two major types of air plants – Xeric and Mesic. Xeric Tillandsia are native to more arid regions, even deserts, so they need to be watered less frequently compared to Mesic. These types of air plants are most easily identified by their white or silver hue – an effect of the larger trichomes or scales on their leaves. Examples of Xeric Tillandsia we have here at the shop are: caput-madusae, harisii, and xerographica. Water these plants once every seven to ten days by dunking them in a bowl or stream of water and misting lightly in between as needed.
Mesic Tillandsia tend to appear more slick/smooth with brighter green leaves – like our favorite brachy-green, concolor, or bradeana flabellate. They need more frequent drinks of water, close to ~three times a week. These air plants will also be more sensitive to harsh direct sunlight, so ideally, you’ll want to keep them away from west facing windows.
Tillandsia work incredibly well in your home because they can be displayed in a huge range of ways. In the wild, these little plants use their roots as a way to anchor onto trees and other plants, but you can use these roots to latch them onto many surfaces. You can spot our tillandsia here at the shop in a bubble terrarium, a barnacle cluster or other large sea shell, or even inside the eyes of our larger skulls!