Recently I’ve been on a mission of adding more greenery to my home. I started a few years back with a succulent here and there, then finally added two snake plants to the mix too. One in my office and one on my new buffet. They’ve been impossible to kill as they require little to no attention. As in, they maybe get water whenever I find a half full water glass around my house. Which means, maybe once a month at most. My home also doesn’t get any direct sunlight since I face directly north in my apartment. However, I do get really great indirect light making it ideal for these low maintenance plants.
Since I’ve accomplished keeping TWO whole plants alive for a few years now, I feel like it’s time to add something a little more challenging to the mix. My grandmother always has big beautiful plants in her home. I remember as a kid taking these vintage red enamel watering cans around her house in New York to water them all. Hoping she’ll let me have one now that my plant collection is growing and using left over water glasses isn’t super classy. After some research, I got a little overwhelmed with all the information and types of plants I could buy. Plus, finding the ones I wanted became nearly impossible. Unfortunately big box home improvement retailers don’t carry a massive variety of plants. Especially if you live in an area that the plant won’t survive outside in, they typically won’t carry them. It makes sense, but it sure does make it annoying to find a fun plant to bring home outside of your classics.
After messaging with my friend Jess of Lady Flashback who has an impressive plant collection, she recommended I head into The Victorian Atlanta to find some unique plants and pretty planters to boot. The Victorian Atlanta is located inside Citizen Supply in Ponce City Market, a favorite spot in the city to hang out. They’re tucked into the corner with massive windows as her plants love the light. After browsing and chatting with Libby, I knew I wanted to pick her brain a bit and share some of her tips on the best plants to keep alive indoors. Plus she’s answering the question I feel like so many of us want to know, how to keep those fiddle leaf fig trees alive we see everywhere.
Libby, tell us a little about your store and how you got started in caring for all these beautiful plants?
I have always been a plant person since as long as I can remember. My mom was always tending to her plants indoors and out when I was a child, so I think it’s something that was just ingrained in me from the start. She was constantly rooting new plants all over the house that she would eventually pot and give away as gifts. I’ve since transferred my love of plants to Cary, my fiancé and business partner, who wasn’t familiar with them at all when we first started dating, but now I think he’s a bigger plant nerd than I am in some ways.
The Victorian Atlanta provides fully potted, healthy, and unique houseplants ranging from all types of cacti to exotic tropical plants. We make our own concrete pots as well as our potting mixes from scratch, using only the best organic ingredients. But, more than that, we want to educate folks about plants and make everyone feel confident enough to start their own green collection! Plants are so important for so many reasons and having them in our living and work spaces is actually vital to our health and well being. Providing people with the knowledge of how to actually keep and grow their own plants is something we hope to provide to everyone who walks through our shop. Our goal is to inspire and educate others to feel confident about having their own green collection. We also offer in home/studio plant consultations and love to design for those who are looking to green out their spaces!
I’m getting ready to start adding some plants to my life, what should I think about?
This is such a great question! The most important thing to consider is how much light that plant will receive in your home. Plus, if it’s the right amount that the plant needs in order to grow happy and healthy. So often, people put plants in places in their homes as a style element without thinking of what light requirements the plant actually needs. This can cause the plant to not thrive and then you think you can’t keep plants alive. Good news is, there’s probably a plant that will work in that spot, but you have to be careful to choose the right one. Other things to consider are how big the plant will eventually get, how much attention the plant needs and if it is poisonous to pets if you have them.
TIP – Decide where you want to put a plant first before choosing the plant. Plus, if you aren’t home much, a plant that requires a ton of watering won’t work with your lifestyle.
I don’t get a ton of light in my home, but still want to add some real life plants to my life. What are your best recommendations?
The top three easiest plants are pothos plant, snake plant and spider plant. Pothos and snake plants come in several varieties so you could collect multiples of these and they wouldn’t look exactly the same. These guys don’t need a lot of attention or bright light so they are excellent for beginner plant lovers. I think a lot of people think they are more on the boring side, but crazy long pothos vines are still one of my favorite things. And to be honest, if you choose the right planter you can make any plant look cool.
TIP – These plants don’t require a ton of water or maintenance. Typically you’ll only need to water when their soil is dry. Always check the instructions or ask your nursery expert when purchasing your plants so you keep them happy.
So my house gets some great direct and indirect light, what do you recommend? And how do we keep them happy?
The possibilities are endless for folks with great light! For bright ambient or indirect light, most tropical plants will thrive in those conditions. The best indoor plants for this type of light include monsteras, philodendrons, fiddle leaf figs, bird of paradise, just to name a few.
If your home gets a lot of direct sunlight, then you can go the cactus and euphorbia route. We get a lot of bright direct sun in our loft and shop so we’ve filled them with just about everything. During the winter when the days are shorter and the sun shifts keep an eye on the light levels. If you feel that something isn’t getting enough sunlight then move it around for a season.
TIP – Direct light means real deal sunshine beating down on the plant (meaning it’s location is facing west or east). This is important for cactus and euphorbias. If you get a ton of great indirect light, (as in many hours of not needing any lights on in your home and there’s no shade) you can probably get away with the other options listed besides the cactus and euphorbias.
While browsing your store, I found so many plants that I fell in love with. Is there a particular one you just love?
Gosh that’s such a hard question. There’s so many! I guess if I have to choose, my favorites at our house are our variegated monstera and also one of our fiddle leaf figs. He was one of my first plants, and I got him when he was a baby and now he’s grown into a monster. My fiancé, Cary is really into weird unusual cactus and succulents especially copiapoa. They are a super slow growing species of cactus from Chile that have a unique coloring and are rare to the States.
Let’s get real here, the Fiddle Leaf Fig has been having one serious moment on Instagram. I feel like I HAVE to have one but they’re pretty intimidating. What’s your secret to keeping these impressive plants alive and always Instagrammable?
5 TIPS TO KEEPING YOUR FIDDLE LEAF FIG TREE ALIVE
1. Repot It The Right Way
2. Location, Location, Location
3. Water It Properly
4. Keep em Clean!
5. Trick It With A Spritz
Mist your fiddle leaf every other day or so, especially in the winter when the air in our homes is dry from the heat, with a spray bottle. This tricks the plant into thinking it’s environment is more humid than it actually is and helps keep it happy.
If you live in Atlanta, I can’t recommend enough heading into The Victorian Atlanta. Even if you already have a plant, she has lots of great unique pots and baskets to keep them in. Her selection is ever changing too. The first time I went in she had tons of cactus, the next time, totally different. I’m keeping my eye out for an Audrey Ficus which is sort of a less overwhelming size and version of a Fiddle Leaf Fig. Libby said she thinks I could handle that one!
Lastly, if you’re local and want to learn more about the best indoor plants for your home plus planting and potting tips, The Victorian Atlanta is having a workshop on February 10th which you can learn more about here.
Photography by Bryce France