More than you ever wanted to know about my houseplants

When we moved to Arizona and suddenly didn’t have plans to move in 6-12 months, I started getting into houseplants.

I love my backyard garden but I have to admit that my houseplants are just about my favorite thing ever. They’re so low maintenance, add some life and greenery to my house, and I never have to worry about birds or deer trying to eat them.

Every time I show one of my houseplants on Instagram or mention them in passing, I get a ton of questions about where I get them, how I take care of them, and what kinds I have.

So consider this all post more than you ever wanted to know about my houseplants.

This is my current houseplant situation:

  • A fiddle leaf fig in the piano nook
  • A Philodendron Selloum in the piano nook (This has grown like a week – it’s probably 5x in size since I bought it).
  • A White Veined Birkin Philodendron on the kitchen sideboard
  • A Lemon Lime Prayer Plant in the living room (I LOVE this plant and it’s probably quadrupled in size since we moved to this house).
  • An Orchid in the living room
  • Another darker prayer plant in the dining room (despite this room being somewhat dark, it’s done surprisingly well)
  • A snake plant on Bart’s bedside table
  • A Dieffenbachia on my bedside table
  • A Peperomia plant on my desk
  • A Pilea Peperomioides in my closet
  • Pothos plants on the piano nook shelves, my office shelves, Ani’s bedroom shelves, and Bart’s office shelves
  • Some sort of agave succulent that my sister Landen gave me when we moved to our last house – I have one in my office, the kitchen sideboard, the kitchen window, Ella’s room and the piano nook shelves (they just keep popping out new little babies!)
  • A Dieffenbachia Camille in my office – this was the first houseplant I bought for our last house and it grew like a weed, then I moved it outdoors the last summer we lived there and forgot about it and it basically got scorched. When we moved to our current house, I was sentimental about it and I’ve been slowly nursing it back to health and it’s thriving in my office (it has three new leaves popping out right now!).
  • A Philodendron in our guest bathroom. This thing shipped in the winter and had some serious freeze damage when it arrived, but it’s rallied unbelievably and I’ve now propagated it and have TWO thriving pots of it.
  • A whole collection of propagations from my other plants in the kitchen window.

I basically have three rules for my indoor plants and I’ve had nearly 100% success with them (I haven’t killed one in at least three years).

how to care for houseplants

  1. Water them once a week. My plants all get watered on Monday. I have about 15 plants on the main floor of my house and it takes me probably less than 5 minutes to water them all. I have a plastic pitcher that we bought 6 years ago for probably $2 at Target or Walmart and it’s winning no Instagram beauty contests, but it does the job so I have no complaints. I always use Plant Food when I water my plants – this stuff is magical! (My code is EVERYDAYREADING).
  2. Make sure they get enough sunlight. Our house gets a LOT of natural light. I don’t have any plants in the basement because it’s just not quite bright enough for most houseplants in most of the rooms. Also. . . I don’t like going up and down stairs to water. Some plants can thrive with less light and the tag or Google will usually tell you, but most indoor plants really want a lot of indirect light. So you don’t want them getting blasted by direct sunlight, but a nice bright room out of the direct beams of the sun is perfect!
  3. Make sure your indoor plants get good drainage. This will kill your plants faster than just about anything – plants don’t like wet feet! I always get a pot that either has holes in the bottom with a saucer or tray (like these ones) or if the plant comes pre-potted in an ugly plastic pot with drainage holes, I’ll get a pot with NO holes that I like, fill the bottom with an inch or two of small gravel and put the plastic pot inside it. I try not to overwater my plants so the bottom doesn’t fill up with too much water. Usually, the excess water in the gravel will evaporate but if it starts to build up, I’ll drain it out every month or so.

What houseplant should I start with?

In my opinion, the easiest, most gratifying houseplant on earth is a Pothos plant. I had one in Arizona that just went bananas and I currently have three that are all just thriving. I basically feel like you don’t have to do a thing except water them occasionally and they just grow like there is no tomorrow. If there is any plant to make you feel like you have a green thumb, it’s this plant.

Where to buy houseplants

Most of my plants are from Home Depot or Lowe’s. I love that they have a twelve month guarantee so if your plant dies within a year for ANY reason, they’ll give you a full refund. Their selection is always changing, so sometimes they have fantastic plants and sometimes it’s just the same old boring things.

Walmart also has surprisingly good plant deals and I try to keep an eye out whenever I go to a big Walmart. I bought my original fiddle leaf fig (which was about 5 feet tall!) at Walmart $30.


IKEA is also a good place to grab some live plants. All of my Pothos plants were ones I picked up there.

I’ve ordered all of my succulents through a subscription and they grew a lot sitting in my office window in our old house. It’s so fun for these teeny baby succulents to show up in your mailbox and then really take off.

And of course, if you can, a local nursery is the best place to buy plants. My personal favorite is Sun River Gardens – they have a huge variety of plants and pots (plus a million other cool things) for good prices and I could easily buy up the whole store every time I go.


Any other questions about houseplants? Happy to share my limited knowledge!


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Photos by Heather Mildenstein

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  1. Ok Janssen. I just recently got my first house plant which is a snake plant. Yours is lovely by the way. I’m having trouble with gnats on my plant. I have tried doing a hydrogen peroxide wash for the soil and putting rock on top of the soil to keep the gnats from being able to lay eggs. Then I also made an apple cider solution to attract and catch the adults. None of those things have helped. How do you prevent gnats on your house plants? I also live in NC which has lots of bugs as you probably know.

    1. Anissa, I had the same problem with one of my house plants (in Georgia, so it can also be humid with lots of bugs here). After doing some research, I learned the problem comes from the top layer of soil staying damp, which encourages the bugs to lay eggs there, so I specifically targeted that issue. Instead of pouring water directly into the soil, I now water the plant by filling the saucer underneath once a week or so. The water is absorbed up into the soil and gets to the roots but never reaches the top of the pot, so the top layer stays dry and the bugs can’t lay eggs. Since I made the switch, I haven’t seen a single gnat around that plant. Hope this is helpful!

  2. Where do you buy your pots for your plants? I’m always on the hunt for good looking pots, but have a hard time paying tons and tons of money for something I’m going to fill with dirt — even if it is lovely. Where have you had the most luck?

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