Educate before you decorate with plants

Biology senior Miranda Villarreal waters her plants March 29 in her home in Fort Worth. Villarreal owns over 20 plants and has them scattered across different areas of her apartment.

Green leafy plants are a natural way to decorate a living or work space, but some may be hesitant when considering purchasing a plant.

Though fake plastic plants imitate the relaxing vibe real ones can provide, actual plant care and maintenance doesn’t necessarily require a “green thumb.” It’s all about patience and research.

Sarah Campbell, Idlewild Botanical retail manager, recommends that students research the particular plant they want to buy and learn about the care it needs. Some plants require more attention than others, she said.

Things to consider when searching for the perfect plant include basic care needs such as the amount of water and light required. Most plants require a monthly dose of fertilizing, Campbell said, and students should find out if the plant goes dormant in the winter.

Campbell said plants like the monstera deliciosa, which looks like Swiss cheese, are usually some of the hardest to maintain and tend to be pricier because of their popularity.

“You want to think about what kind of plant parent you’re gonna be,” Campbell said.

Biology senior Miranda Villarreal has a variety of plants in her apartment arranged throughout her living room and bedroom. For Villarreal, her plants are a piece of home.

Villarreal, who owns over 20 plants, said most people recommend succulents as a beginner plant, but she’s never been able to keep them alive. Instead, Villarreal prefers to adorn her apartment with plants like whale fin sansevieria and cacti.

Some plants require frequent watering, while others do not, Campbell said. When watering a plant, let the soil dry completely before watering it again.

Educate before you decorate with plants

Biology senior Miranda Villarreal waters her plants March 29 in her home in Fort Worth. Villarreal said she started collecting plants after she moved to Arlington in 2016.

“Everybody has a hidden green thumb,” Campbell said with a laugh.

Villarreal said one should learn everything about the plant they own or are considering purchasing. Pay attention not only to how often a plant needs to be watered but also how to take care of pests that might inhabit it and how often it needs to be repotted, she said.

When it comes to light, Campbell said some plants need direct light while others don’t need any and could grow in a cave. Aloe vera and pothos, aka devil’s ivy, are good options for beginners and don’t require direct light. When customers ask for a plant that doesn’t require tedious maintenance, Campbell points them to a sansevieria.

“They’re the plants that you can stick in the corner and practically forget about,” Campbell said.

Educate before you decorate with plants

Different types of plants sit on biology senior Miranda Villarreal’s window sill March 29 in her home in Fort Worth. Villarreal said she waters the plants once a week because they dry out faster inside small containers. 

Look for plants that will thrive in your living space, interior design sophomore Alexia Koltes said. And if you’re unsure, ask associates at plant shops for maintenance advice.

Koltes grew up with house plants and managed to accumulate over 40 plants when she moved away for college. She groups her plants together by the amount of light they require. Her cacti and succulents sit near her window while her fig tree is placed further away.

However, Villarreal places plants that need the same amount of watering together.

She said her plants create a peaceful and relaxing environment while giving her something beautiful to look at.

Thanks to her plants, Koltes said she doesn’t have to decorate her apartment with other items.

“It makes me happy when I walk into my apartment,” Koltes said. “If I didn’t have all my plants, it would be very dark and plain.”

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