The Plant Chica Gives Us Her Best Tips (Beginners, Take Note!)

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Fall is fully upon us, and we're welcoming the shifting seasons by adding more greenery to our homes to incorporate new life and cycles — but mostly, because we can never get enough of plants. Whether you're called to draping vines over a window frame or adding small succulents on your tabletop, there are endless plant varieties and combinations that will help render your space a green oasis.

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This past year and a half, we've become more acquainted with our homes than ever before. Investing extra time and care into creating a nourishing living space is always worthwhile, and plants are a great place to start.

If you're on the fence about which picks are right for your space, or just need some inspiration for new go-to greens, we're here to help. We caught up with Sandra Mejia, co-founder of The Plant Chica, a nursery based in Los Angeles, for her top tips on deciding which greenery you should add to your home.

Plant Recommendations for Beginners

Many of us have tried and failed to care for a plant before, and that experience can leave us uninspired to try again. But If you're looking to start off with something easy to care for while you work your way up to a strong green thumb, Mejia recommends the ZZ plant, snake plant, pothos, and Chinese evergreen for newbies.

A little green can go a long way, not just in transforming the aesthetics of your space, but also in helping make your house a healthier environment. With the wildfire season still lingering, we're here for any technique that can help improve air quality, and plants are an easy way to do exactly that.

"My favorite air purifying plant is the ZZ plant," Mejia says. "Mainly because I love the waxy leaves and the way the leaves grow on the stalk. They are also super low maintenance and easy to keep alive and bring good luck."

Tips for Care

To make sure your plants are getting the care they need, there are a few simple strategies to keep in mind. Mejia recommends always buying pots with drainage and making sure you use the right soil.

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"It is crucial for the health of a plant to have a healthy draining system," Mejia says. "If the water cannot go anywhere it will sit at the bottom of the pot and your plant can get root rot."

These fundamentals are invaluable to healthy plant life, but more than anything, keeping your plant collection at a manageable level might be just as important.

"Don't neglect your first plants because you get so caught up in the newer, more expensive plants," Mejia says.

Think About Maintenance

"Look at your environment and determine what would work best for your home, Mejia says. "Some homes don't have too much lighting and this is where low maintenance plants can come in. Some homes have too much lighting and this is where hoyas and peperomias would thrive in. "

Nevertheless, plants can be finicky, and if at first you don't succeed, keep at it. Becoming a good plant parent is not an overnight process, and experience makes all the difference.

When asked what plants are high maintenance but worth it, Mejia brought up calatheas.

"They are divas, but they are so pretty to look at," Mejia says. "If you finally find the right balance to make them happy, it can be so rewarding to watch them grow."

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Ivanna Baranova is a poet, writer, and editor. She is the author of CONFIRMATION BIAS (Metatron Press, 2019).