The 8 Best Plants for Your Space: Low Light

Recently, I have been adding to my side-hustle ventures (because I needed one more thing to do, right??), and have been selling some baby plants. As I have interacted with customers through this process, I have learned that most people don’t know which plants will do well in their spaces. This makes me think that perhaps there isn’t enough information out there (or people don’t know where to look) about what plants do well in different types of light.

And thus this three-part series – The Best Plants for Your Space – was born. Together, we will look at some of the best plants for your space based on the plant’s light requirement. I hope this will be helpful information!

When I first got started with houseplants, I had a cute little hanging planter that was designed to mount on the wall. I planted a succulent (which needed bright light) in the planter…and promptly hung it on a wall that was far from a window. I couldn’t figure out why my plant wasn’t thriving – that is, until I learned more about plants.

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Low light planters in my house – now holding the CORRECT plants for their location!

Today, we are going to look at plants that enjoy low light – the type of plant that would have been perfect in my little wall planter!

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ZZ plants do great in low light. In fact, once I was told that they could even survive in florescent light ONLY. (Dang, these guys are resilient!) ZZ plants also enjoy a dry environment. They are a great plant for beginners, as they basically thrive on neglect!

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Snake plants are another plant that does well in low light. I have seen in my own home, though, that while they will survive in low light, they will produce more growth when they are in moderate light. However, I have several stuck in dark corners because they look so dang cool there, and the plants are doing great. Keep in mind that snake plants need to dry out completely between waterings.

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Ivy – specifically English ivy – does well in low light settings. I have kept several varieties in my own home, and they are pretty hardy all-around. Just keep in mind they are another variety that likes to dry out between waterings.

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Pothos is a great go-to plant for beginners. Not only is it easy to find and relatively cheap to buy, but it is super forgiving. Pothos does best in low to moderate light and should be allowed to dry out between waterings to prevent root-rot. If you are new to houseplants, this is definitely a plant that you should try out!

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Philodendrons, similarly to pothos, are great for beginners as many of the varieties are very forgiving. They do well in low to moderate light and like to be allowed to dry out between waterings. Plus, there are so many different varieties – some that trail/vine, others that are more “bushy” – that it’s impossible to get bored.

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Ferns – specifically button, rabbit’s foot, and maidenhair ferns – are great for low-light spaces; however, I will warn you – they are a little less user-friendly than some of the plants on this list. Typically, ferns like to have their soil kept moist and don’t like any direct light.

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Peace lilies are not only great for keeping the air in your home clean but are also a plant that does well in low light. They like having soil that is consistently moist; if allowed to dry out, they will dramatically “wilt,” although they can usually be revived with a good drink of water.

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Calatheas are another plant that thrives in low light, but they can be finicky. (I, personally, have lost several calatheas by not providing the correct conditions for them.) They thrive in soil that is constantly moist, and they also appreciate high air humidity.

If you are new to houseplants and have low-light spaces, I would definitely recommend starting off with a pothos or philodendron. If you are more experienced with houseplants but are looking to fill a dark corner, you may feel brave enough to take on a fern or calathea.

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What if you have areas that get a medium amount of light? Check back next time to learn about plants that would be perfect in that space!

- the {house}plant momma.png

A Tale of Two Grandmas: Houseplants and COPD

Growing up, I had the privilege of having two, wonderful grandmas. They were as different as night and day, but both of them were special ladies.

My Mimi was a firecracker. She was always teaching my brother and I to do things that my mom hated (i.e. flipping off my grandpa behind a menu at a restaurant or letting us watch TV shows that my mom would NEVER let us watch). We loved it, and thought she was the coolest grandma ever!

Whenever my Mimi would visit, I would drag her to my room for some “talk time,” and would share my little world with her: boys, trainer bras, best friend drama – you name it. When I got older, I would talk to her every Sunday on the phone like clockwork.

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A sweet moment between my Mimi and I (circa 1987)

My Grandma Joyce was the complete opposite. While she was sassy in her own right, she enjoyed teaching my brother and I church songs while she played the piano or would make (terribly inaccurate) birdcalls for us. When we would go visit her, we would enjoy roaming around her property in Indiana, looking for fossils in her creek bed and fishing in her pond.

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My Grandma Joyce and I (circle 1988)

Despite these women’s differences, they both were hit by the same affliction at the end of their lives: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Mimi had COPD from her life-long smoking habit – an addiction that she just couldn’t kick. Grandma Joyce smoked when she was younger, but stopped when she was older. Yet the damage was done.

Both of my grandmothers died with COPD; because of this, COPD is a topic that is close to my heart. I am honored today to have guest writer Erin Lowry of 1stClass Medical sharing how houseplants can have a positive impact on those who struggle with COPD.

– the {house}plant momma

COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a progressive disease that makes breathing continually harder to do. COPD is a broad term that covers multiple lung diseases, such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and asthma. These diseases can trigger coughing, which in turn causes an excess amount of mucus, wheezing, chest tightness, as well as other similar symptoms.

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Image from British Lung Foundation

While cigarette smoke is a main cause of COPD, you do not necessarily need to smoke a day in your life to get COPD. Any harmful pollutant in the air can also cause COPD; additionally, constant exposure to those pollutants (smoke included) can worsen the effects of COPD. Minimizing these triggers means doing what you can to avoid the irritant or keeping your home clean to lower the amount of pollutants in your home.

Many respiratory patients spend roughly 90% of their time indoors, as outside air has been believed to cause COPD flare-ups. However, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there may actually be more indoor air pollutants than outdoor air pollutants. One reason is that many homes now have a better seals against the outside, which helps them be more energy efficient. However, this process also locks in pollutants. Also, pollutants such as harsh fumes from cleaners, dust, and pollen can get inside and embed themselves into carpets and upholstery. All of this may mean the home is not as safe for COPD patients as they might think.

A safe and relatively easy way to reduce these pollutants in your home is to invest in houseplants. Indoor plants are known to reduce harmful pollutants from the air by up to 87% in only 24 hours! How, you might ask? Plants use the process of photosynthesis to take in carbon dioxide and other pollutants in the air, and in turn, release clean oxygen. By absorbing the unhealthy gases and releasing clean gases, plants can help clean the air; this is much easier – and cheaper – than paying for an expensive machine to clean the air for you!

In 1989, NASA put together a list of plants they believe to help clean indoor air the most efficiently. English ivy, peace lilies, flamingo lilies, variegated snake plants, chrysanthemums, and bamboo palms are all great plants to remove many pollutants in the air.

If you aren’t familiar with these plants, here is some basic information about them.

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English Ivy: English ivy needs to be grow in a shaded area with rich soil; it should be watered enough to keep the soil moist. It’s vines can grow up to 50 feet long – or more – over time.

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Peace Lily: Peace lilies need partial shade, but can survive off virtually no sun at all. They should be watered when they start to droop.

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Flamingo Lily: Flamingo lilies are from the rainforest, so they enjoy growing in a humid area, in a pot of moss-based soil. This lily requires enough water to keep the soil moist; however, do not allow the soil to get overly wet and make sure the pot has a way to drain.

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Snake Plants: Snake plants grow best in a pot with good drainage or in a soilless potting mix, so that it does not get overly moist. These plants can handle indirect sunlight, and only need to be watered when the soil dries out.

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Chrysanthemums: These plants need regular watering, poured under their leaves to avoid any fungus growth. Chrysanthemums do not like humidity and only bloom for 3-4 weeks total, leaving behind their beautiful leaves.

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Bamboo Palm: Bamboo palms only need indirect or filtered light. They like to have their soil kept moist, but be careful not to overwater, as it can lead to root rot.

All of the best plants for the air quality are also fairly low maintenance. This makes it easier for those with COPD and other respiratory diseases to maintain a plant without having to constantly provide care for it. Many of the plants listed only require enough water to keep the soil moist and a minimal amount of indirect light.

It should be noted that many of these plants are not pet friendly. If you have pets, make sure you get non-toxic plants or keep your plants in places you are confident your pet cannot reach. (To learn more about plants that are pet safe, click here).

Before bringing home any plant, I recommend making sure you are well educated about the plant you are buying. Speaking with a specialist at your local nursery or garden store, or doing research online, can help ensure you know how to care for the plant in your climate and region.

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A note of caution: If you aren’t careful, an over-watered plant can produce mold; this will have the exact opposite effect of the plants air cleaning purpose.

Houseplants have many benefits for their owners, but for those with COPD, those benefits can be life – and health – altering!

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Com’mon! Gimme the Dirt!

I love a good pun! Growing up, my dad was always cracking corny jokes, causing my brother and I to roll our eyes.

Ugh.
So dumb.
So embarrassing.
“DAD…STAHHHHHHHHP!”

But now that I’m a parent, I think puns are comedy gold! Any time I can make a play on words, I feel like a champion. It’s my oldest son (who just happens to be 13) who now rolls his eyes. He’ll give me the look, say “Mom…stop,” and then I’ll burst into giggles. His rejection of my humor only makes me love it more.

Omg. I’m such a mom.

Ahem. Anyway. Today I want to “give you the dirt” on soil. Did you know that different species of plants do best in different kinds of soil? If your soil holds too much moisture, plants that prefer dryer conditions – such as succulents and cacti – can easily experience root rot or the plant itself can even rot. If you use a fast draining soil for plants that like lots of moisture – such as a calathea, they can quickly dry out. Selecting the correct type of soil for your plant is part of good plant care.

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When I first started keeping houseplants, I didn’t know this. I had a large planter and was preparing to put a giant snake plant in it. I went outside, dug up some dirt from my flowerbeds, dumped in the planter, and put the snake plant inside. (Seriously, I’m cringing as I tell this story.) The soil from outside was a) not sterile, b) didn’t have the correct nutrients for houseplants, and c) was way too dense. Needless to say, my snake plant suffered until I realized my error and gave it the correct type of soil!

You can purchase pre-mixed soil at your local garden store or nursery. Or, you can mix it yourself, which happens to be a cheaper option most of the time. (Plus, who doesn’t like getting their hands a little dirty?)

There are four main elements present in different types of soil.

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When mixing soil, you will notice that each recipe calls for a certain number of “parts” of different elements. A “part” is simply anything you use to measure your ingredients. Therefore, if you are using a scoop to measure elements in a recipe that calls for “1 part all-purpose soil and 1 part sand,” you would use one scoop of soil and one scoop of sand.

Soil-based Planting Media

  • 1 part all-purpose soil
  • 1 part peat moss
  • 1 part perlite

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Soil-less Planting Media

  • 1 part peat moss
  • 1 part perlite

(Please note that because there is no soil in this planting media, plants will not receive the nutrients they need. If you choose to use a soil-less planting media, be sure to fertilize/feed your plants frequently!)

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Planting Media for Succulents

  • 3 parts all-purpose soil
  • 2 parts coarse sand
  • 1 part perlite

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Planting Media for Cacti

  • 3 parts all-purpose
  • 3 parts coarse sand
  • 2 parts perlite

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My favorite way to mix soil is to do so in a giant bucket.  I dump of my ingredients into the bucket and mix with a small hand shovel. (You can also mix with your hands if that works better for you.)

It should be noted: you can use plain ole’ all-purpose soil in your planters if you want! There is nothing wrong with this plant medium. However, if you discover that your plants are not thriving, you can add in elements to help your plants grow bigger and better. If you think your plants need some extra drainage, add in some coarse sand or perlite to the soil. If you feel your plants need to hold in moisture better, mix some peat moss into the soil. Through time and experience, you will begin to learn what your plants need!

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Now that I’ve “given the dirt” on soil…get out there and get dirty!

– the {house}plant momma

My Favorite Plant People

If you’re part of the plant community, then you already know…plant people are literally the best! I have been part of a lot of groups, clubs, and organizations throughout the years – be it church groups, mommy groups, music groups, etc. – but never have I seen the level of openness and kindness that I see in this community.

Being part of the plant community has opened me up to many new friendships, found around the world. With that in mind, I wanted to share some of my favorite plant people with you. Please take a few minutes to read about these amazing folks; then give them a follow on social media, check out their websites, buy their amazing products – just give them some love!


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Favorite thing about plants: Propagating! There is something so magical about being able to create new plants from cuttings. It makes me feel like a plant-magician!

Fun facts:
– I wear many hats owning my own business, but my favorite part across all aspects of my content is photography. Challenging myself to be a better photographer always brings me joy and excitement.
– I love playing video games and my favorite is League of Legends!

Why she made my list: When I first started my plant journey, Alessia was super-encouraging; she even sent me some clippings from her own urban jungle! Her Instagram account is absolute eye-candy, and she is really engaged with her followers. This is a plant lover you definitely want to get to know!


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Favorite thing about plants: I am obsessed with beautiful foliage and plants that interact with the environment (e.g. Oxalis triangularis). They bring joy and serenity to me; a green space reminds me of nature and how it gives generously.

Fun fact: I’ve always been a fan of Biology (it’s my favorite subject) and fancy plants a great deal. My love for them grew exponentially when I received a succulent from my mum. From there, things sky-rocketed. I deeply enjoy planting and interacting with the plant community on Instagram.

Why he made my list: Marvin is not has a beautiful Instagram feed and a fellow plant lover, but he is also a top-notch guy! He frequently gives me positive feedback and advice about my own plant experiences. I have also really enjoyed watching his plant journey – even if it’s halfway around the world!


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Favorite thing about plants: I love how it seems like they each have their own personalities and quirks. There’s always new things to learn about each one!

Fun facts: 
– I actually have my masters in Interior Architecture & Design, but soon after college my love for plants and my need to help others with their plant journeys took over. I was way happier inside with the change.
– I’m pretty obsessed with Corgis. I follow about 20 different ones on my personal Instagram account. The day I finally bring one home will literally be the best. day. ever.

Why she made my list: I initially met Alicia through a group of plant lovers on Instagram, and was thrilled to discover that she sells plants on Etsy. Her store, Land of Alice Studio, sells excellent-quality plants at fair prices; plus, Alicia is able to get ahold of plants that I am not able to get locally in Ohio. Oh, and did I mention she’s a total sweetheart??



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Favorite thing about plants: How much they have taught me – patience, mindfulness + intentionality, and letting go.

Fun fact: I was born on Valentine’s Day!

Why she made my list: I also met Eliza through a group of plant lovers on Instagram. She is a wealth of plant knowledge, and has an awesome blog. (You should totally check it out!) Another thing I love about her is that she is a mom, so we can sympathize with #momlife things together.


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Favorite thing about plants: Learning, exploring, sometimes failing, the bewilderment and magic, sharing and connecting with others doing the same. Not to mention the beauty it brings to any environment!

Fun fact: I make pretty decent sushi.

Why he made my list: Jonathan manages a an absolutely gorgeous Instagram feed. If you are not following him, you should be! He also has been a big encouragement to me throughout my plant journey. So thankful for this Insta-friend!


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Favorite thing about plants: Watching them grow and nurturing something so innocent and pure, and they way they bring life to any space!

Fun facts about me: I’m an only child. I have MANY creative outlets and started my blog so that I could honor them all instead of choosing just one. I love working with crystals to bring more balance and serenity into my life. Currently saving up for some new tattoos and a puppy.

Why she made my list: If you have had any interactions with Joi, you know that she absolutely radiates positivity and kindness. In my early Instagram days, Joi and I forged a friendship as newbies to the Instagram world and “beginning bloggers;” I am so thankful that we have formed a fast friendship since then. It’s amazing when online friends become REAL friends!


Have you met any amazing people in the plant community? How have they impacted you? Please tell me about it in the comments below!

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And if there’s a new Instagram account, Facebook account, or blog that I should be following – let me know! I’m always excited to meet new friends, learn new things, and invest even more in the #plantlife!

– the {house}plant momma

Products I {Heart}: Metallic Planters

Growing up, I never really thought much of metallic tones. Maybe it was because my parents didn’t use many of them to decorate our home (aside from brass lamps in our living room), or maybe it was because my mom didn’t wear jewelry; either way, metals never really did anything for me.

When I got older and started wearing jewelry, I only liked to wear silver. I remember when I was in the 8th grade, my best friend went to London and brought me back a real silver necklace with a blue glass teardrop charm. I thought it was the most gorgeous thing I’d ever seen!

However, when I got still older, I began to appreciate metallic tones more – especially when it came to important things like my engagement ring and wedding band. You better believe I wasn’t UNinterested in metal when it came to that!

As my husband and I have worked to decorate our home, I have noticed more and more metallic items sneaking their way in. When we decorated our first home together, we only used brushed nickel and stainless steel. However, as we have been working on our new home (which has needed pretty much EVERYTHING replaced and updated), lots of gold and brass tones are making an appearance…and I’m not mad about it!

Metals are a great way to add a certain richness, depth, and shine to your space. There are so many different options to choose from – shiny to brushed finishes, gold to silver to bronze, and even rose gold is becoming popular.

Metallic planters are also a great way to accentuate your plants, as they really draw the eye. They easily take a lovely plant and make it into a statement piece. I have a few metallic planters in my home now, but here are some that have caught my eye recently.

Industrial Metal Planter 

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Image via Etsy

Rossum Metallic Plant Stand (various sizes)

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Image via Anthropologie

Sahara Brass Planter

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Image CB2

Chrome Satin Foil Planter

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Image via Amazon 

Hammered Trio Plant Hanger

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Image via Anthropologie

Eden Cross Base Standing Planter

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Image via West Elm

Metallic Pineapple Air Plant Magnet

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Image via Etsy

Cross Base Terrarium

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Image via West Elm

Sparkly Trio Air Plant Holders

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Image via Etsy

Antiqued Silver Planter

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Image via Amazon

Do you like using metallic tones in your home? Which of these planters most caught your eye? I hope you’ll tell me about it in the comments section below!

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– the {house}plant momma

Luna: My Favorite Plant Store Ever!

If you read my very first blog post, you know that my plant journey truly began on a warm spring day in March 2017, when I stumbled upon a shop called Luna Gifts and Botanicals. Luna is located in the historic Oregon district – an up and coming area of Dayton, Ohio. As soon as I had been bitten by the “plant bug,” my visits to Luna became nearly a weekly occurrence. Not only is the shop beautiful, but some of the nicest, sweetest people you will ever meet work there. (Seriously, they remembered my kids’ names, remembered me from visit and visit, and would even text me suggestions of plants when I needed them! BEST EVER!)

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Seeing this sign is like coming home!

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Since my family and I moved from Dayton nearly two months ago, I have been missing my weekly visits to Luna terribly. I follow their account on Instagram (@luna_gifts), and their gorgeous posts make me even more homesick.

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I love this little chalkboard sign!

Last week, I had the chance to go home to Dayton – specifically to visit my favorite plant store ever! As soon as I stepped into the shop, I could not stop smiling. Lovely plants in every shade of green, goods and gifts sourced from many independent artisans, and beautiful pots and planters surrounded me. To top it all off, I was given the warmest welcome by almost the complete staff of Luna, even including the owners! During my visit, I had a privilege to chat with the girls about many different aspects of their shop.

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Luna’s sister store, Heart Mercantile, opened in October 2015, selling a variety of unique products and gifts. They added plants to their store’s offerings, and couldn’t keep plants on the shelves. However, Heart’s space was limited and when they heard the new retail space had opened up around the corner, the group of best friends decided to open a second store, focused mainly on plants and bohemian-themed gifts; Luna opened in September 2016.

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It was all I could do not to take this guy home…

When describing the scope of both stores, the girls describe Heart as the “funny” or “dark” store (seriously if you ever visit, you’ll understand why…but you might not want to take your kids there if they can read – HA!), while Luna is the more “light” store. They are both seriously amazing!

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One of my favorite things about Luna is that it is not just a plant store, but sells many different types of products – from crystals to candles, books to jewelry, planters to food goods. They features a lot of Etsy vendors for these items, a total of 200 different sellers between Heart and Luna. (Some of their favorite Etsy venders include: Pen + Pillar cards, Wild Botanicals, 39 north jewelry, Heartswell, Capricorn Press, URB Apothecary, Savve Studios, and Goodsmith Studio.) They also source local products as often as they can. Their goal is to find unique gifts and goods – something different that you can’t find elsewhere – and they do a fantastic job of it!

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Um, I think I need one of each…

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When it comes to plants, the Luna staff likes to handpick unique plants for their customers – and they love learning about new varieties along the way. All of this knowledge trickles down to Luna’s patrons. When you begin searching for a plant at Luna, you will find that the plants are grouped together by the type of light they prefer and the amount of care they require. This is just one way that the Luna girls try to help their customers – specifically those who might be new to owning houseplants – have a successful plant experience. They also have care cards up by the register for the different types of plants they sell. These are available for customers to take, giving the purchaser a good foundation of knowledge to take with them.

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However, my favorite way to find out more about plants is – of course – to ask! The girls who work at Luna are so incredibly knowledgeable about the plants they sell. They give great advice as to what type of plant will do well in a certain space – taking into account light of your space, as well as how much time you want to commit to it’s care – and have a great aesthetic eye for offering advice on planters or other gifts and decor. They have seriously never steered me wrong!

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Looking up…

I asked what the most commonly sold plant at Luna is; the girls agreed snake plants, ZZ plants, and air plants are some of their most-sold plants. They also sell a lot of cacti and succulents, which just so happened to be the plant of the week during my visit.

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During our time together, I shared with the girls that my first successful plant experience had been a monstera plant purchased at their shop. They were so tickled that they had been the inspiration for this crazy plant journey on which I find myself! (I think it was then that they understood why I have such a soft place in my heart for them, as well!)

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Beautiful cards – perfect for any occasion

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When the time came for me to leave, I received hugs all around, an adorable little pineapple air plant magnet (which I’m obsessed with and have on my refrigerator), and I made many promises to be back soon to see all of their Christmas displays.

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The gorgeous ladies of Luna (from left to right): Carly Barrett, Brittany Smith, Kammi Kuskowski, Tracy Robillard, and Sarah Smith (not pictured: Kelsey Kussman)

If you are ever in Dayton – or even the greater Dayton area – be sure to stop by Luna Gifts and Botanicals. I promise you won’t be disappointed! (And while you’re there, be sure to swing by Press next door for some of the best coffee you’ll ever have. I recommend the latte!)

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You can visit Luna at 261 Wayne Avenue, Dayton, Ohio, 45402. (Please note: parking is across the street!) Their hours of operation are Tuesday thru Thursday, 11:00 to 6:00; Friday and Saturday, 11:00 to 7:00; and Sunday, 12:00 to 5:00. If you go check them out, don’t forget to tell them the {house}plant momma sent you!

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To learn more about Luna…
Website: www.lunadayton.com
Instagram: @luna_gifts
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lunadayton/

Also, if you’re interested, to learn more about Luna’s sister store, Heart Mercantile…
Website: www.heartmercantile.com
Instagram: @heart_mercantile
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeartMercantile/

– the {house}plant momma

Pumpkin Succulent Planter DIY

It finally feels like autumn here in Central Ohio! After months of hot, sticky days – even though the entire month of September – the weather finally cooled down with some rain over the weekend.

Something I love about living in the Midwest is the changing of the seasons; I am always so excited for the next season to arrive! In the spring, I’m dying to get out of my sweaters and boots and into cute little dresses and flip-flops. However, this time of year, I’m eager to snuggle up in an oversized hoodie (generally stolen from my oldest son’s closer) with a cup of tea.

Fall is also one of my favorite times of year with my family. From going to the pumpkin patch to making homemade applesauce and apple pie, from taking the kids trick-or-treating to making caramel apples, autumn holds many treasured traditions for our little crew.

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Me and my crew at the pumpkin patch

With the crisp feel of fall in the air, I decided to take on a fun (and easy!) little DIY that I wanted to share with you: turning a pumpkin into a succulent planter. This little project makes a perfect centerpiece for a table or would look adorable on your porch (climate permitting!).

As I said, this project is very simple. First, go to your local greenhouse or favorite plant store and select some succulents. I recommend picking ones that aren’t too short, as you want to add some dimension to your planter; however, picking succulents in a variety of heights is a good idea.

For my planter, I decided to use a white pumpkin, which I found for $6.99 at Trader Joe’s. Truthfully, you can use any color or shape of pumpkin you want; you can even use a plastic or Styrofoam pumpkin, which you should be able to easily find at your local craft store or hobby shop.

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Begin by cutting the top of your pumpkin out, just as if you were making a jack-o-lantern. I should note that the shorter pumpkins – like the one I used – are a little harder to work with. Because they have less area in the middle filled with seeds, you have to work a little harder to separate the top from the rest of the pumpkin.

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Once the top of your pumpkin is removed, use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and “goo” from the inside of your pumpkin. As I was working on this step, a little “helper” came along… “Whacha doin’, Momma?” So…my little “helper” assisted me with the scooping process!

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When your pumpkin is empty, fill it about half-way with soil. I used a soil that is specific for cacti and succulents, as I have found the faster-draining soil does really well for those plants.

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Gently remove your succulents from their pots and set them in the pumpkin as desired. Carefully fill in around your succulents with more soil until they are well supported, but do not pack the soil in too tightly.

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I gave my succulents a nice drink after they were planted, which also helped wash off some of the loose soil that had settled on them. And ta-da! Your pumpkin planter is complete!

(I told you that was easy, didn’t I?)

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I am so excited to display my planter on my dining room table, and add a little bit of festive autumn décor into my home.

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If you decide to take on this project, I would absolutely LOVE to see what you come up with! Please e-mail me pictures to the.houseplant.momma@gmail.com or tag me on Instagram @the.houseplant.momma – I can’t wait to see how yours turn out!

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What’d your favorite autumn tradition? Tell me about it in the comments below!

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– the {house}plant momma

Moving With Plants

In case you’re wondering where I’ve been…I promise: I haven’t fallen off the face of the planet. My family and I just made a big move, and things have been absolutely insane. As part of sharing my plant journey with you all, I wanted to share my experiences with moving with plants.

We placed our home in Dayton, Ohio on the market on July 15, 2017 as we left for a few days vacation with my parents. I jokingly told our realtor as we left, “Get this thing sold before we get home!”

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Some of my plants lined up by the door before moving

And he did. In four days – yes, before we returned – our house was under contract. Although we had anticipated it would sell quickly, we hadn’t counted on it selling THAT quickly. The next month approaching our closing was an absolute whirlwind of packing and trying to figure out what was next for our family.

We planned to move to Dublin, Ohio, to be closer to where my stepson, Alex, lives with his mom. However, homes were selling like hotcakes in the area (for well above our price range, no less). Finally, a week before we were set to move out of our home in Dayton, we went under contract on a “fixer-upper” less than half a mile from Alex’s mom’s house.

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Cutest little moving helper I ever did see! (Note the tongue out in concentration as he walks down the steep plank!)

And then I began to panic – where was all our stuff going to go? And, more importantly, where were all my plant babies going to go? (You know that was my real concern!) My in-laws graciously allowed to let us keep all our stuff in their pole barn while we waited to close on our new house; they also agreed let me keep all my plants in their basement.

I really fought my husband about taking my plants with us. We secured a short-term apartment (through Airbnb), and I felt like we’d have plenty of space for my plants. My husband told me – no plants. (Insert crying face emoji!) I did manage to keep a few of my cuttings with me, but all of my other plants – large and small – were packed up into the drawers of our dresser and transported to my in-laws in the moving truck.

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R.I.P. rubber tree (and you can see the battered monstera in the foreground)

Some of my plants didn’t do so well in the move. My beautiful monstera took a beating in the moving truck. Also, once moved into my in-laws, my rubber tree that had been struggling at our home completely gave up the goat.

However, most of my plants did pretty well (amazingly!!). My in-laws have a split-level home, and their basement has some fantastic southern-facing windows. Also, the room where the plants were is fairly humid, and they sure liked that!

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Checking in on my plant babes in my in-laws basement

I visited my plants a couple times while they were away from me, being sure they had enough water, pruning them as needed, moving them towards the window or away, depending on their needs.

On September 22, 2017, we closed on our new house and got keys right away. I wanted to pick up my plants the instant we were done at the closing, but my husband (ever the logical one) said we needed to move in “stuff” before plants. (Such a killjoy, right?? HA!)

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YAY! They’re home!

Finally, last week, my in-laws brought all my plant babies to their new home! I can’t tell you how big I was smiling as I carried in each drawer and crate filled with green goodness. After all the plants were in the house, I spent several hours with my hands happily covered in soil as I worked with each one in-depth: pruning, repotting, etc.

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So this is where I am: living out of boxes, plants stacked anywhere that’s flat (including on piles of boxes), painting my fireplace a color my husband hates, and preparing to strip miles of wallpaper from every room in the house.

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I’ll definitely share how my plants adjust to their new environment, especially as we get ready for winter.  Fingers crossed they do well!

– the {house}plant momma

DIY: Animal Air Plant Holders

Before we get too far into today’s blog, I have to confess something to you. I’m currently writing from the driver’s seat of my car, parked outside a Starbucks, while my kids are both asleep in the back in their carseats. I’ve got an iced coffee in my cup holder and a scone to snack on, but every time I reach for a bite of scone, the bag crinkles. I’m pretty sure my kids are going to hear it, wake up, and rapidly consume the rest of my treat. (In case you’re wondering, this is what my “mommy time” looks like these days.)

I also just discovered I have some succulents in my cup holder next to my coffee. Seriously, who does that?

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Anyway, I have a super-fun tutorial in store today. Several weeks ago, I posted about novelty planters. As I was preparing that blog, I kept coming across pictures of air plant holders made from plastic animals or dinosaurs; and every time I saw them, I thought to myself, “I could do that!”

The rest is history!

My three-year-old son is becoming obsessed with plants. I don’t think he so much appreciates them for the same reasons that I do, but he loves them simply because I love them. I asked him if he would like some more plants in his room, and he jumped at the idea! With that in mind, I decided to make these fun (and easy!) animal plant holders for him.

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When you search on Amazon for plastic animals, you’ll find that you have a ton of different options. I selected these animals (pictured below) based on size (I wanted them big enough to support the air plant, but not so but that it couldn’t be seen), and on price. When it comes to price, I bought something that was relatively cheap because I didn’t want to experiment with these on an expensive toy. The quality of the animals was a little cheaper than I typically like to buy, honestly. If I bought animals again, I would go with some that were better quality. However, because I knew these would ultimately get painted, I wasn’t too worried.

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Image via Amazon

The plant holders are very easy to make. The first thing I did was use a hole saw attachment for a drill to make a circle hole in the backs of the animals. The size of saw you’ll use will depend on the size of your animals, but for mine, I used a 7/8-inch bit.

**If you are cutting a hole in a solid plastic animal (as opposed to a hallow one, like I used), you would want to use a paddle bit, also known as a spade bit.

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Once you have drilled a hole in the back of the animal, lay your animals flat on cardboard in an area that is not at-risk from overspray. Even though my cardboard was rather large, I sprayed mine in my grass – just to be safe. I used a spray paint that was a paint/primer combo, in the hopes of masking the brightly-colored animals more easily. Any color will work; the possibilities are endless!

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Be sure to get paint into every nook and cranny of the animals, turning them at different angles to get paint into open mouths, texted “hair” areas, and their underside. (Beware of over-spraying your animals or you will deal with runs in the paint. Multiple light coats of spray paint are always better than a few heavy coats.)

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Let your animals dry overnight, and check for any stickiness/tackiness in the morning. Once you are sure they are dry, add air plants on the holes, and presto! A cute little addition to your home décor!

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Plants on top of my son’s toy bins

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If DIY is not your style, but you like this idea, Etsy has some really cute products for sale that are reasonably priced, such as these kissing giraffe air plant holders:

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Image via Etsy

Or these dinosaur air plant holders:

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Image via Etsy

There are even polka dotted dino air plant holders!

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Image via Etsy 

I hope you enjoyed this fun little project.  I know I sure did!

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– the {house}plant momma

Take a Deep Breath

Have you ever stopped to think of the quality of air in your home or workspace? In the last few years, more and more people have been turning away from many products – including candles, air fresheners, soaps and hair products, detergents and cleaning products – in order to avoid bringing toxins into their homes.

However, how often do you stop and think about the quality of air around you – especially indoors? Did you know that you can actually improve the quality of air just by adding houseplants into your space?

In the 1980’s, NASA began researching how houseplants could be used to improve the air quality in space stations. Their research uncovered that plants are helpful in many ways; specifically, they filter out certain harmful compounds from the air and make it healthier to breathe – which means a healthier space overall.

The good news is that many of the houseplants that made NASA’s list are easy to grow – and beautiful, to boot!  Below you will find a list of plants that ranked high on NASA’s list, as well as some information to help you get started growing them in your own home.

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Bamboo palms are different from many palms in that they can grow in indirect light. When purchasing a bamboo palm, look for a plant with bright green leaves and one that stands tall. (Unless you’re on a rescue mission, don’t bother with one that is leaning too much or has browning foliage.)

Water the plant when the soil feels dry to the touch, but beware of over- or under-watering.

Caring for a bamboo palm also includes using a time-released fertilizer during the growing season. Granular fertilizers tend to work best. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when feeding your palm plant and always water the fertilizer in.

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Pothos are one of my favorite houseplants! I have at least four varieties in my house currently, and I absolutely love propagating them because they root very quickly. They do well in bright indirect light to low light (hence the reason they do well in my house – lots of low-light areas).

When it comes to watering, drench your plant well each time you water and let dry in between waterings. Beware of over- and under-watering. When I first got started with pothos, I frequently over-watered and couldn’t figure out why all of the leaves were turning yellow and the roots were rotting out.

Pothos do not require fertilization, but are a little happier if they are fed periodically. Fertilize them three or four times during the spring and summer.

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Dracaena are a beautiful addition to any home, and are quite easy to care for. They do well in bright, indirect light. Once again, beware of over- and under-watering; if you do over-water, look out for drooping or yellowing leaves.  Soil should be thoroughly drenched when watered, allowing it to dry out between waterings.

Dracaena do well when fertilized every two weeks in the spring and summer. In the fall, fertilization can be reduced to once a month. Because the plant benefits from periods of being dormant, it is not necessary to fertilize in the fall.

I went on a little plant shopping spree a few weeks ago for my birthday, and actually bought a little dracaena plant. My variety is dark-green-and-white variegated. I can’t wait to see how large I can get him to grow!

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In spite of its name, peace lilies are not true lilies.  As such, it requires different care than a lily would. Peace lilies are hardy and easy to grow; they’ll even let you know when they are thirsty as they begin to droop when they need watered. Keep their soil fairly moist, but let dry out a bit between waterings. Another part of peace lily care is keeping their leaves clean of dust, allowing them to process sunlight as efficiently as possible.  Wiping down their leaves with a wet cloth once or twice a year is a great way to help clear off the dust.

When it comes to fertilization, peace lilies benefit from being fertilized once or twice during the spring and summer. They do not require more fertilization than that.

Peace lilies also benefit from being repotted or divided when they become too big for their current container. You will be able to tell if you peace lily needs repotted if it droops within a week of being watered or new leaves emerge deformed.

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Weeping fig trees are a type of ficus tree. They are sought after because they add a bright statement to any room and can grow to be fairly large. Weeping fig trees do well in bright, indirect sun.  In warm weather, their soil should be kept moist. However, when the weather cools, let the soil dry out between waterings.

Weeping fig trees need to be fertilized once a month from the spring to the fall with a liquid fertilizer, diluted to half-potency.

It should be noted that, as with many ficus trees, weeping fig trees do not do well with change. Moving it to a new location, changes in air temperature or air humidity, or over-/under-watering can all cause leaves to drop. If this happens, do not worry. Once the tree gets settled and care is stabilized, the tree should continue to grow.

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Spider plants are easy to grow and very easy to propagate. I have several in my home – all from the same “momma” plant! Because of their resiliency, they are a fantastic starter plant for many aspiring {house}plant mommas.

Spider plants like to be watered thoroughly and then allowed to dry out between waterings. They also enjoy a cooler temperature than do most other houseplants.

In regards to fertilization, feed your spider plant once a week during the summer with a liquid fertilizer. Or, if you prefer, use pellets on your soil at the beginning of the growing season.

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Philodendron is another plant that is great for beginners, as it is very forgiving. Philodendron like to be in bright, indirect light, but also can survive in low light. This means that it will do well in a variety of environments.

Philodendron should be watered regularly in order to keep the soil moist, and benefit from an occasional misting.  The leaves will begin to droop if it is over- or under-watered, but they will typically bounce back once the watering schedule is corrected.

When it comes to fertilization, philodendron are fairly low-maintenance there, as well.  Plants should be watered monthly with a liquid fertilizer during the spring and summer. During the fall and winter, fertilization should be spaced out to every six to eight weeks.

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Snake plants happen to be another of my favorites. Not only do they look great, but they are very resilient. They do well in a variety of lighting situations – from bright, indirect light to low light.

Snake plants ought to be watered less frequently than many other houseplants, and need to dry out between waterings.  This may mean that you water less than once a week, depending partially on the size of your plant and pot. Root rot is an issue for snake plants, so beware of over-watering.

These plants can be fertilized a couple of times during the spring and summer, but this isn’t required.

When I bought my first snake plant, the girl working at the shop told me that it is also know as “mother-in-law tongue” because it’s impossible to kill. I don’t have a bad mother-in-law by any means, but the nickname sure does make me smile every time I think of it!

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Now…take a deep breath.  Is your air as clean as it could be?  Maybe it’s time for you add a little green into your life!

– the {house}plant momma