Photography: Janis Nicolay | Story: Beautiful Botanicals Add a Touch of Whimsy to a Vancouver Studio
Whether you want to try your hand at the urban jungle trend or just want to add some more greenery to your home decor, you can count on these pretty plants to be 100 per cent safe for the whole family (furry fam included!) to enjoy.
In the past few years, growing houseplants indoors has become more popular than ever, and with good reason! Not only do plants brighten up just about any space, but as an added bonus, many of them purify the air, too. That being said, certain common houseplants are toxic if consumed—not a huge problem on its own, but they can pose a risk if you have toddlers or pets wandering around. Better to be on the safe side, and instead fill your home with these nontoxic plants, that happen to be gorgeous to boot.
1. Christmas Cactus
This coastal plant gets its name from the fact that it blooms (typically red or pink flowers) once a year around the holidays. It’s best grown in a rich soil, which should stay relatively moist, but allow for partially drying out between waterings. It prefers moderate light and some direct sun, so an east-facing window is ideal.
2. Blue Echeveria
These pale, pastel-hued succulents grow in rosettes, and occasionally even bloom flowers. Plant them in a well-draining succulent mix and ensure they dry out completely between waterings—in fact, they can go for weeks or even months at a time without water, particularly in the winter. Echeveria prefer full sun, and can handle direct light; without enough, they’ll begin to etoliate.
3. Cast Iron Plant
Named after the sturdiness of the beloved kitchen tool, cast iron plants are almost impossible to kill. These dark, evergreen beauties can grow up to three feet tall, and work well in dimly-lit spaces. Plant them in a well-draining potting mix, and keep the soil moist without letting it dry out completely, nor become sodden. These plants work well in shade and semi-shade and can handle some indirect light, but they won’t tolerate direct sun.
4. Ponytail Palm
Despite the name, these charming plants aren’t palms at all, being more closely related to lilies. Their care, though, is similar to that of succulents: Plant in a well-draining succulent mix, and let the soil dry completely between waterings. Bright, indirect light and occasional full sun work well. Ponytail palms don’t need much humidity but avoid placing them too close to a vent or drafty window to prevent the leaves from drying out.
These waxy-leaved beauties come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, from dark green leaves to variegated ones to leaves striped like a watermelon. Peperomia needs well-draining soil with a little extra air circulation, so use a mix that contains perlite or sand. They retain water in their leaves, so allow the soil to dry completely between waterings. Ideal light conditions include moderate light and partial shade.
6. Spider Plant
Spider plants are some of the easiest hanging or trailing houseplants to grow. Soil-wise, they do well in a fast-draining and well-aerated potting mix and should be watered generously, plus the occasional misting if you’re able. Spider plants grow well in bright, indirect light but partial sun works as well.
7. Prayer Plant
Prayer plants are a popular choice because of their gorgeous jewel tones and rich leaf patterns. They should be potted in well-drained soil, but they require high humidity to thrive. Short of getting a humidifier (which, honestly, is probably a good idea anyhow for the winter months), you can also mist the plant occasionally, or set it among other well-watered houseplants to help create more humid conditions. As far as sunlight goes, prayer plants are reasonably tolerant of low light conditions but perform best in bright, indirect sunlight.