Social media didn’t bring on the advent of plant-filled homes but I suspect it’s the reason we’re at peak plant lady right now. Seeing photos of other people’s fiddle leaf fici and monstera plants looking cute amongst other woo-woo decor elements makes even a novice like myself green with envy. (I, admittedly, did not even know what a succulent was until everyone on Instagram made me aware.)
More importantly, though, now that we live in a society where plants are so popular they’re covering entire walls and the inspiration for cupcakes, it means that there are such things as status houseplants. In the past year, we’ve seen the rise and rise of the sweet potato vine, the banana leaf, and air plants. So, what’s the plant most likely to be Instagrammed in 2019?
In the interest of narrowing down the field, I spoke to Justin Mast, the founder of Bloomscape, an online nursery, and Erin Marino, brand director of The Sill, a director-to-consumer website that ships fully grown plants, to get their predictions.
Generally speaking, on the come up are “colorful plants with hints of red and pink” as well as “brightly colored variegated foliage plants with white/cream colors,” Mast says. These plants are also decidedly more rugged and tree-looking than their more flowery and shrubby predecessors. Below are the four frontrunners for 2019’s most popular houseplant title, according to Marino and Mast.
1. The Janet Craig
I love anything with two first names—this plant included. Known in less fun parts as dracaena deremensis, it’s not just the mini-palm tree aesthetic that’ll make this tree popular. “The Dracaena Janet Craig and other varieties of dracaenas are commonly seen in offices and retail spaces because of how easy they are to care for,” explains Marino explains as to why you’re about to start noticing them everywhere.
Mast says that they work well in homes because unlike other more temperamental tree plants, Janet Craig “is incredibly easy to care for and will adapt to nearly all light conditions. The biggest tip for keeping this plant healthy is to not overwater it.”
2. The Ponytail Palm
The Ponytail Palm is a tree that goes by several other names—elephant foot tree, bottle palm tree, and it’s botanical name beaucarnea recurvata. Marino sells me completely on the plant when she says, “The Ponytail Palm is a great pick for the neglectful indoor gardener or plant parent with a busy schedule because it’s pretty drought tolerant.”
Actually one of the easiest ways you can kill this plant is by overwatering it. Mast and Marino recommend putting it somewhere dry with indirect sunlight.
3. The Red Prayer plant
One of the prominent plant trends Mast sees emerging is colorful plants that have accents or hints of red and pink shades. The prayer plant also sometimes called the Herringbone Plant or Maranta Prayer Plant has what look like magenta veins that contrast the dark green leaves.
This plant is fast growing, which means it’s great for people who thrive on instant gratification. “This plant adapts to nearly all light conditions and should be watered when the top one to two inches of soil are dry,” says Mast. Beyond that, he recommends “misting your Prayer Plant regularly as well.” It’s also a fascinating plant to watch since Marino notes that while its leaves lay flat during the day, at night they fold up like hands in prayer.
4. The Philodendron Hope Selloum
If you’re only going to have one plant, the Hope Selloum should be it. With its huge, almost heart-shaped leaves, it’s a showstopper and conversation piece. Mast recommends this plant because it’s “easy, is a great air-purifier, and will do best in bright, indirect light.” Marino adds that the other appeal of this plant is that “unlike other common philodendron houseplants that trail, this one has an upright growth habit—it grows tall, then wide.”
And as far as upkeep goes, the plant thrives in indirect sunlight, with regular misting and watering only when the top part of the soil is dry.
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