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Plant Parenthood: How to Get Started With Houseplants That Will Thrive

"I personally think that they're like the little black dress of decorating," says DC shop owner Holley Simmons of houseplants

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Houseplants are having a moment.

Urban jungles, made popular by social media influencers, might have you thinking you could be a "plant lady" or "plant daddy" too. You can.

Holley Simmons owns She Loves Me, a flower shop in D.C.'s Petworth neighborhood. She teaches a class called Plant Parenthood, all about how to care for your house plants.

"I think just about any plant will work in just about any room," she said. "I personally think that they're like the little black dress of decorating."

If you're unsure where to start, Simmons suggests bringing home a pothos, birds of paradise or sanseiveria to start.

Pothos are a good starter plant, Simmons said.


"They are a vine plant. They drape. They cascade. You know, they take up a lot of space for not a lot of money," Simmons said. "When they need water, they look a little droopy. They won't just die overnight."


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Another option is Birds of Paradise.

"The leaves are massive. And when they unfurl, you feel like you've just accomplished the biggest thing ever," Simmons said. "They don't need a ton of attention. They do like east- or west-facing windows where the sun is a little bit lower."

Sanseiveria, or snake plants, are good for those who want a plant but don't want a time commitment.

"They thrive on neglect," Simmons said. "Honestly, if you just set it in a windowsill and forget about it, come back to it in a couple weeks, [and] it will be in the exact same state, if not even healthier."

Monstera is so popular right now that even Simmons, who has connections with growers all across the country, has trouble getting her hands on them.

"They're also called a Swiss cheese plant because they tend to grow with holes on them, and monstera is having a moment right now," Simmons said.

Fiddle leaf figs are quite possibly the most popular houseplant right now, but they can be challenging to care for.

"Fiddle leaf figs are even hotter than the monstera," Simmons said. "I think they just ended up in one design blog and it took over the nation."

Simmons says they’re difficult to read. Signs of overwatering are the same as underwatering.

Plants, Holley Simmons

"They don't like change, so if you bring them home from the store, they're likely going to protest and drop a few leaves," she said.

The biggest tip from Simmons: Don't buy a plant based on a vacant space you want to fill. Instead, figure out where that plant will thrive.

You can find information on Simmons' virtual "plant parenthood" class online here.

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