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Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Best Plants for the ‘Gram, with Michael Lanier of The Bosque

Written by Isabella Castillo Category: Lists Issue: April 2017
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Pothos and rosemary houseplants. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.If you were born somewhere between 1982 and the early aughts, there’s a good chance your home is overrun with houseplants, and your Instagram feed is cluttered with close-up succulent shots.

According to this Nylon magazine article, experts theorize that millennials’ houseplant obsession could be attributed to our focus on healthier living. And, since more young people are opting to live in urban centers with less access to green areas, they’re bringing nature inside.

In Phoenix, though we have unparalleled access to nature – hiking trails snake every mountain literally surrounding our Valley – we also have great reason to nurture a houseplant obsession: It’s freakin’ hot! Most non-native plants won’t survive a summer outside here so if we want green in our life while its 115-degrees, we have to bring em’ indoors.

With summer, sadly, right around the corner, we asked Michael Lanier, proprietor of The Bosque and plant expert, to give us some tips on finding the right plant for your space.

So you’re struggling with commitment…
You never text back and you certainly can’t remember to water a plant on a weekly schedule. Not to worry, there’s a plant out there who will still love you, even when you’ve ignored it for three weeks. The Zamioculcas Zamiifolia or ZZ Plant, thrives in dry soil and low-light, and toughs it out under unfavorable conditions. “These babes practically thrive on neglect,” Lanier says.

Zamioculcas Zamiifolia. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

So you’ve got too much time on your hands…
You don’t get out of the house much, and, let’s be real, you’re pretty lonely. Realistically, you should probably get a cat, but there is a plant that’s just as thirsty for attention as you are. Birds Nest Ferns love moist soil and frequent misting — talk about high maintenance. Just make sure to avoid watering in the center of the plant to keep it from rotting.

Birds Nest Fern. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

So you’re living in a cave…
Your bedroom hasn’t seen sunlight for a while, maybe because you’re a reclusive gamer, maybe because you’re actually a vampire, or perhaps you’re just really into mood lighting. Whatever the reason, there’s a plant that will tolerate your quiet, somewhat creepy lifestyle. Philodendrons are perfectly happy in low-light. In fact, direct sunlight may burn the foliage and stunt growth. Lanier recommends the Cordatum variety.

Philodendron. Photo courtesy Pixabay.

So you just want to look like a minimalist Instagram lifestyle blogger
Let’s face it, you don’t really care about plants. You just want your home to look hip and Instagram-able — but who doesn’t? Lanier says the Monstera Deliciosa (or Swiss Cheese Plant) is the way to go. The Mexican plant’s large, uniquely shaped leaves can be spotted all over social media, and the care is pretty moderate. These guys like time to dry out a bit between waterings, with high humidity and bright, indirect sunlight.

Monstera Deliciosa. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

So you’re a plant killer...
You’ve reached the end of the line. Everything you touch withers and dies. You’ve even managed to kill off the succulents everyone else seems to be able to maintain. Before you give up hope, give the Pothos vine a try. “Pothos are kind of the all around easiest plant overall,” Lanier says. “They can do bright or dim light, they need water weekly, but if you went two weeks the plant would hardly notice.” If you can’t handle a Pothos, maybe the houseplant trend isn’t for you. Why don’t you give latte art a try?

Pothos. Photo courtesy Flickr CC BY 2.0.