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Top 15 Delightful Houseplants for 2020

Houseplants have seen a surge in popularity across the states in the last few years, and they’re just as popular in Iowa as anywhere else. With 2020 around the corner, the houseplant trend isn’t going anywhere.

In 2019, the list of most popular houseplants in Iowa was dominated by tropical beauties that are super easy to grow, like Snake Plant and ZZ Plant. Now that people have gotten a taste of the joys of houseplants, it looks like they’re starting to branch out a bit and take on plants that are a little more challenging, like African Mask. Plant sharing is becoming more popular too, so things that are easy to propagate, like Chinese Money Plant, are still on the list.

Here are 15 gorgeous houseplants that are about to be wildly popular in 2020.

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Swiss Cheese Plant

Swiss Cheese Plant, or Monstera deliciosa, has the potential to grow to a massive scale. In their native environment, from Southern Mexico to Panama, they grow up to 30′ tall. It’s dramatic split leaves are visually striking, adding drama to any room. Swiss Cheese Plant is a statement piece. They will tolerate low light fairly well, but they grow faster in a bright room. Native to the dappled shade of the rainforest, Swiss Cheese Plant can’t tolerate direct sun, so don’t get them too close to south-facing windows. Now and then, wipe the leaves with a damp cloth or sponge to clean the dust off.

String of Pearls

String of Pearls are unique succulents that looks beautiful when trailing over the edges of hanging pots. It genuinely resembles a string of green pearls. This popular succulent is pretty easy to care for, too. It needs well-draining soil, like a cactus mix, in a shallow pot. Fertilizer can cause root burn, so don’t fertilize more than once a year in spring. This succulent likes bright light, but not direct sun, which can be too intense for this delicate plant. If it’s struggling near a south window, move it away. It doesn’t need much water; the soil should be dry before watering again. String of Pearls is very easy to propagate—just snip off a section of pearls and tuck the cut end into the soil.

String of Hearts

String of Hearts, or Rosary Vine, is another popular trailing plant. It has delightful soft green heart-shaped leaves with white veins. It looks beautiful in a hanging pot. String of Hearts loves heat, but not direct sun. It thrives near a west-facing window. While not technically a succulent, it likes similar care to succulents like String of Pearls, and the soil should dry out between watering. This plant is sensitive to overwatering.

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Rubber Tree 

Rubber Tree, or Ficus elastica, is another popular house plant with the potential to grow big and bold. It has shiny dark green leaves and is an excellent complement to minimalist decor. Rubber Tree isn’t actually made of rubber, but it is very easy to care for! Keep yours in a bright room but out of direct sunlight. Don’t water until the top inch or two of soil is completely dry. You can keep their size in check with regular pruning, but if left to its own devices, this plant will grow and grow. The sap from Rubber Tree is a known skin irritant, so wear gloves when pruning or repotting.

Ruby Rubber Tree

Ruby Rubber Tree, or Variegated Rubber Tree, has variegated leaves with green centers, white edges, and hints of pink. Often the middle stem of leaves will be red. Ruby has similar care requirements to the standard Rubber Tree, although its need for bright indirect light is even more critical. Poor lighting will cause the vibrant colors of this variety to fade.

Rubber Tree Tineke

Tineke Rubber Tree, or Burgundy Rubber Tree, is very similar to Ruby, but it is a little more compact with deeper red tones. It has the same care requirements as Ruby, and bright indirect light is very important for color retention. Love what you’re reading? Sign up to our email newsletter, and get inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.

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ZZ Black Raven 

ZZ Plant is probably the easiest low-light plant to care for. With its recent resurgence in popularity, more varieties of ZZ Plant are available than ever. Black Raven is a favorite because of its extremely dark, nearly black leaves. It’s a striking contrast to the classic brighter greens of most house plants. Black Raven ZZ Plant should not get direct sun. Although it does need some light, it will grow well in offices or bathrooms with less light. The new leaves emerge in a shade of vibrant green and shift to deep purple-black over time. 

Raindrop Peperomia

Raindrop Peperomia, also known as Peperomia polybotrya, Owl Eye Peperomia, or Coin Leaf Peperomia, commonly gets mistaken for Chinese Money plant, but the leaves have slightly different shapes. Raindrop Peperomia’s leaves are a distinct water droplet shape. It is suitable for smaller spaces as it won’t usually get more than 1′ tall. It needs bright light but should be kept out of the direct afternoon sun. Raindrop Peperomia is a succulent, so let the soil dry out between waterings. 

Sansevieria

Sansevieria, also known as Snake Plant, Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, or Viper’s Bowstring Hemp, might tie with the ZZ plant for the title of “easiest plant to care for.” You can forget to water Sansevieria for weeks, and they don’t seem to care. In fact, they’re more sensitive to overwatering than infrequent watering. They’ll do well in low light situations, and are also easy to propagate from cuttings. There are many different varieties available with beautiful patterns and colors. 

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Starfish Snake Plant

Sansevieria Starfish, or Starfish Snake Plant, has thick cylindrical leaves that spread out in all directions like the legs of a starfish. The leaves have stripes of alternating light and dark green. Their care requirements are the same as all other Sansevieria.

Fernwood Snake Plant

Sansevieria Fernwood, or Fernwood Snake Plant, also has cylindrical leaves, with slightly wider strips than Starfish. The leaves grow in a tight cluster that arch out a little as they get taller. The care requirements are the same as all other Sansevieria.

Rattlesnake Plant 

Rattlesnake Plant, or Rattlesnake Prayer Plant, has light green leaves with dark purple stripes and spots, and purple undersides. The leaves have slightly ruffled edges, giving the plant an intriguing appearance. Rattlesnake Plants prefer medium to low-light locations; direct sun will burn the leaves. It likes damp, but not waterlogged, soil. Overwatering will cause it the leaves to wilt, and if it’s left dry for too long, the leaves will start to curl and may turn brown.

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Calathea Orbifolia

Calathea Orbifolia is another popular variety of Prayer Plant. It has large bright green leaves with dazzling silvery-blue stripes. This variety is a little harder to find, but it’s a beautiful addition to any home. Like Rattlesnake Plant, Calathea Orbifolia prefers medium to low-light conditions and evenly damp soil.

Chinese Money Plant

Chinese Money Plant, or Pilea peperomioides, is also a super easy-care low-light plant that happens to be absolutely adorable. It has pretty round leaves at the top of long skinny stems. Chinese Money Plant is an excellent plant for sharing with friends because it regularly sends up new little baby plants all around its base. This cheerful plant will start to turn yellow or brown if exposed to too much water or direct sunlight.

Elephant Ear Alocasia

African Mask, also known as Alocasia sanderiana or Elephant Ear plant, is a bit higher maintenance than others on this list, but its exotic colors are worth the effort. It has arrowhead-shaped, nearly black leaves with striking white veins. It offers an exciting contrast to more common houseplant varieties. Elephant Ears require bright but indirect light, and moist, but well-draining soil. It’s best to water this plant in the morning. They need plenty of humidity and warmth, and regular fertilizer during the spring and summer growing season.

If you haven’t tried any of these gorgeous houseplants, visit our garden center in Cumming, Iowa. You’ll love browsing our selection of the most popular houseplants for 2020, along with gorgeous pots to go with them.

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Fiddle-Leaf Figs

close-up image of fiddle leaf

“Style is something each of us already has, all we need to do is find it.”
– Diane von Furstenberg

The Fiddle-Leaf Fig has become the hallmark of classic style and grace in the contemporary home. It’s become the newest, designer “it” plant, and it isn’t hard to see why everyone is so in love.
This fig brings an elegant atmosphere to whatever room it’s in, all while maintaining a cool and tropical undertone with its luscious, deep green leaves. They take center-stage in any well-lit room, but can also transform your patio into a luxury oasis in spring and summer.

Getting the Fiddle-Leaf Look:

Like any fashion icon worth their salt, these plants might need a little nurturing to look their best, but your efforts will be well-rewarded. With any sunny room, though, you’re already on your way to bringing home the designer beauty of a fiddle leaf fig.

fiddle-leaf figs placed indoors

Light:

Enough of the right kind of light is the key to keeping a fiddle-leaf looking fabulous. These elegant beauties aren’t meant for sprucing up the basement – they thrive best in a bright room with some South or West exposure. The trick is that, while your fig loves light, its luxurious leaves are quite sensitive to burning and will scorch under direct sunbeams.

If your fig isn’t getting enough light, it will certainly let you know, though without much warning, by dropping leaves. While many fig owners panic at the idea of their beloved plants suddenly balding, it’s just their way of telling you that they need more light to keep looking their best.

Once your fig is comfortable in their spot, try not to move it. While redecorating is always tempting, these plants prefer to keep things consistent once they find a location they like. The one exception to this rule is rotating your plant if it’s getting all its light from one side. Gently turn your fig every few months if it starts reaching across the room towards the light.

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Water and Fertilizer:

The amount that you water your fig very much depends on how much light it is getting, but no matter what, it never wants to be soggy. Wait to water until the soil is dry to the touch. When you do water, do it thoroughly until the water flows out of the bottom of the container, washing away any salts before they accumulate on the fig’s sensitive roots. Remember to empty the water dish when you’re done so your beautiful plant isn’t sitting in water that could rot its roots.

While figs aren’t big feeders, a little touch of nutrition will help keep them vibrant, lush, and ready to impress. When your fig is growing (spring through fall), it’ll love a pick-me-up with a monthly dose of all-purpose fertilizer. Keep the fertilizer at half strength to give your plant a gentle boost, rather than a kick, of nutrients. In winter, your fig will hibernate and it won’t grow nearly as much, so it won’t need the added fuel for growth.

Growth and Transplanting:

A happy fig will grow quickly if it is given the chance, sometimes reaching eight or nine feet tall, and, eventually, it is bound to outgrow its pot.
Your fiddle-leaf will make it pretty obvious when it has outgrown its current home and needs a larger container. When the roots start to wrap around the inner edge of the pot, it’s time to transplant to something larger. The best time to move your fig is in the spring when the growing season has it primed and ready to fill out its new container. Sometimes you can’t wait, though. If the roots start to grow out of the bottom drainage, you’ll need to transplant right away.

Only jump one pot size at a time (aim for growing 2” larger in diameter). If you move more than that, the outer soil could end up water logged and damage your fig’s delicate, fibrous roots.

fiddle-leaf fig plant

For a consistent indoor look, consider keeping your fig in a pot with good drainage inside a more decorative container that is a few sizes larger. You’ll get to keep the same aesthetic for multiple container changes, and your fig will get all the healthy drainage it needs, without impeding on your style.

Other Tips for Fiddle-Leaf Figs:

We absolutely adore the fiddle leaf’s luscious, tropical leaves – especially in the midst of our chilly Iowa winters – but they are just as good at catching dust as they are at catching sun rays. A build-up of too much dust is not only unattractive but can prevent your fig from photosynthesizing as it needs. Clean up their leaves every few months with a clean, damp cloth to keep it looking and performing its best.

A pale and spotty fig might not be getting enough light, or could have come down with a pest. Have a careful look at your plant for any obvious problems, or move it to a brighter spot to clear up the blemishes.

We can’t blame everyone for suddenly wanting to take these gorgeous plants home – they are simply irresistible and add that accent of natural color and style to your indoor decor. We certainly understand why they’re so popular right now, and are happy to help you bring your own fiddle-leaf fig home without the hassle! Visit us in-store today to pick one up or to learn more.

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Kokedama

how to make a kokedama houseplant bonsai

Kokedama is one of the newest trends in houseplants, but its roots can be traced to sophisticated philosophy. This Japanese tradition is just as unique as the other modern gardening techniques of the same heritage. The striking aesthetic of Kokedama tells its own story and is a great choice to enrich your indoor spaces.

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
– Leonard Cohen

Wabi-Sabi

Wabi-Sabi is the Japanese term to describe the beauty of imperfection and transience. This aesthetic principle is guided by a focus on forms of nature that our western culture sometimes forgets: the irregular and modest. This is an intimate look at the beauty of the imperfect.

Kokedama was traditionally an expression of Wabi-Sabi with bonsai trees. Typically, the trees would be taken out of their pots and instead displayed on top of pottery, or intertwined in driftwood. The bare display and exposed roots celebrated the beauty of simplicity and the rougher parts of nature.

The practice has since evolved to an even more striking aesthetic: roots are wrapped in string and moss balls to create a natural pot for a plant. It creates a living sculpture, with strong Wabi-Sabi aesthetic that is guaranteed to catch the eye and start a conversation.

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The Basics:

Kokedama works for almost any plant you can imagine growing inside. Some of our favourites are ferns, orchids, small tropical plants and vines, succulents or even air plants.

This trend is just on the rise. Buying a ready-made piece may be difficult, but finding the supplies isn’t hard and the process is easy to do yourself. Making your own Kokedama plant promises a totally unique and personalized plant to display that exactly fits the mood and look you want for your home.

You’ll Need:

  • Potting soil and black dirt (in a 2:1 mix of potting soil to black dirt. You want the soil to hold its form – add a little more black dirt if it isn’t holding together.)
  • Sheet moss or Coco Liner
  • Cheese cloth
  • Fishing line
  • Twine/cotton thread
  • Your plant(s)

How-To:

While the statement plant of your container is typically the focal point, don’t forget that the container itself is an important part of the overall look. Different containers can help compliment your style or even be the statement piece, while also providing the plants support like moisture or heat control that they need for their best growth.

Healthy plants naturally look the best, so remember to select plants that have similar care requirements. Super aggressive growers have a tendency to swallow up less aggressive growers, if they share a container. Additionally, pairing plants with similar moisture and sunlight needs will help to avoid making compromises.

If you have your heart set on some combinations that don’t work well, don’t worry! Some conflicts can be cheated. Plants with different needs can be planted in their own individual pot that is hidden in the container itself. It might look like the plants are all together, but it’s a smart way for you reap the benefits of better control.

Make your own kokedama! See if we have a kokedama workshop coming up.

Assembly:

  1. Expose the roots of your plant. You don’t need to scrub them, but should gently remove as much soil as you can.
  2. Blend your potting soil and black soil. You’re aiming for a texture like a homemade meatball – something that doesn’t fall apart, but still has some give.
  3. Check that your soil ball is big enough to hold the roots of your plant. On average, the ball should be the size of an orange, but should ultimately reflect the size of your plant.
  4. Carefully split the soil ball in half, or make a hole in it. Gently fit the roots into it, being careful not to break them.
  5. Press the ball back together gently.
  6. (Optional) Wrap cheesecloth around the ball.
  7. Wrap the ball in sheet moss or coco-liner. Anchor the covering by pressing parts of it into the soil. The ball should be totally covered.
  8. Wrap fishing line around the ball to hold the covering in place. A second wrapping in twine will give a more wabi-sabi aesthetic, while cotton thread will eventually dissolve.

Basic Care:

Water your Kokedama plant by soaking it entirely in lukewarm water. You should water immediately after planting, and then as needed – succulents will need watering much less frequently than tropical plants.

You can display your Kokedama plant any way that you want. Some prefer to place it in a dish, but the most eye-catching option is most certainly hanging. A suspended Kokedama plant is a great statement piece that adds an element of intrigue to any room and promotes a healthier-looking plant, as well.

This growing trend is a great opportunity for a unique and personalized green and leafy element to your home that is sure to stop people and start a conversation. Take advantage of this gorgeous style to add a new element of striking Japanese tradition and aesthetic to your home.