By contributor Caylin Harris
It’s pretty safe to say that some plants are having a moment—especially when you’re scrolling through social and you keep seeing the same varieties again and again. But I always get frustrated when I can’t figure out a plant’s name or worse when I go pick up a plant I’ve been eyeing and it comes with no (or very vague) care instructions. So here’s a quick cheat sheet on identifying and caring for your pretty little plant babies so they’re always ready for their close-up:
5 Instagram Famous Plants
Popular because of its technicolor leaves, different varieties can range from hot to light pink to white. Slightly temperamental, we would not say these plants thrive on neglect, but they’re not as hard to care for as a fiddle leaf fig tree. They need low to medium, indirect sunlight and should be watered about once a week. You don’t want the soil to dry out completely, but at least two inches should be dry. Just stick a finger in to check if you’re unsure. Calathea like a little bit of humidity in the air. So if you notice the edges of the leaves looking brown or dry, try placing it in a bathroom instead or run a humidifier to help add a little moisture to the air.
A snake plant is a great place to start if you have zero plant care experience—or if you’re known in your circle of friends as the person who couldn’t keep a rock garden alive. Snake plants can handle a range of lighting situations, from low to bright indirect light. Be very careful not to overwater a snake plant, you don’t want the roots to rot. Water it when the top inch of soil looks very dry (usually once every 2-3 weeks). Pot them in a succulent mix because they do best with fast-draining soil in a container that’s not too roomy.
String of Pearls
These pretty cascading tendrils are actually hard to find at your local garden store depending on where you live, but they look so pretty in a hanging planter. Plus, it gives the plant plenty of room to breathe and grow. String of pearls or Senecio Rowleyanus thrives in a bright, sunny spot and should be planted in soil meant for cacti. This plant is drought-tolerant. So, less is more when it comes to water. Let it dry out completely between waterings, giving it a drink about once every two weeks. Keep this plant and any of its little “pearls” away from kids and pets.
Don’t be fooled, air plants need more than just air to survive. While they don’t need to be potted, which makes them easy to tuck into tiny containers or minimal plant hangers, they do need to be watered. Every two weeks round up all your air plants (if you have one, chances are you have a bunch). Soak them in a bowl of water for about twenty minutes. Remove them from the water, shake them off, and then place them on a towel to dry off a little bit before placing them back where they belong. Just don’t forget about them! It’s smart to make this part of your watering routine with all of your other plants.
You’ve definitely seen this cutie around. Also known as a Chinese money plant, it can be a little finicky and hard to keep alive. Less is more here though. It does really well in bright indirect sunlight but can also be placed in medium indirect light as well. It loves the sun so much you’ll find that its leaves will reach for it. So rotate the plant when you start to see it leaning in one direction to keep it looking nice and even. Water it every two to three weeks, how often will depend on what kind of light it’s placed in. A fun fact, pilea is really easy to propagate. So if you own one you can eventually have as many as you’d like. Tiny little plants will pop up around the full-grown plant and can be replanted on their own.
The plants shown here are all available at Amazon House Plant Shop.