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successful houseplants


As many of you know, I discovered the joy of houseplants in the spring of 2015.  I went a wee bit overboard and bought way too many plants for my house throughout the spring and summer, but it ended up being a good thing.  I was able to see which plants thrived in my house and which ones didn’t.

Many were lost along the way.

A moment of silence for those who fell.

I learned that some plants just aren’t suited to live in my house.  Or in the place I put them in my house and, once they were moved, they really thrived.

This is probably my biggest success story…


This plant just loves my living room.

Here’s how it looked seven months ago…


And now…


It’s taking over.

It is potted directly in an ironstone tureen, but there is gravel at the bottom for drainage.  I usually water it twice a week with about 1/2 cup water.  (Oh, and there is a little bit of English ivy mixed in and it’s doing well, too.)


These little baby tears also do well in my living room.  They just keep growing and growing.  I suppose at some point I will have to replant them in a bigger pot…


I think this succulent is the heartiest plant.  It seems to do well wherever it is and never asks anything of me.  I splash some water on it when I’m watering the other plants, just to keep the soil moist, but not too wet.  It, too, is potted directly in the tureen with some gravel at the bottom for drainage.  If you haven’t had luck with houseplants in the past, you might want to try this variety.  You can find them at Home Depot.


I tried a couple others varieties of “strings of peals”, but they didn’t make it.  This one, though, is doing very well in my family room, which doesn’t get a ton of light, so I’ve had a bit of trouble finding which plants are happy there.  This one has been in the family room for about five months and it still looks healthy and has a lot of new growth.  (I didn’t have a current picture of it.  Obviously, this was taken in the fall! It pretty much looks the same, but it’s a bit bigger and fuller.)


And, my favorite, are the lemon cypress topiaries.  I lost the myrtles that were in my dining room (I’m going to try them again next year), but I’ve been watering these faithfully and have left them where they get a lot of sun and they seem happy.  I was told that lots of sun and lots of water are what they need, so I’ve been trying to give them that.  (It’s amazing what happens when you follow instructions…)


These lemon cypress topiaries were in my family room and that definitely did not offer enough sun for them.


Confession time, I probably let them dry out a bit too much, too.

Sorry little guys.

And, as much as I want rosemary topiaries next to my kitchen sink, they are just not liking it there.  One has turned almost all black and the other one is threatening to do the same.  Can you revive them once they have started turning black?  Any tips on growing rosemary inside?


I’m enjoying the winter and the snow, but I am looking forward to when the nurseries are full of houseplants again and I can try out some new varieties…

Any houseplants that you find really easy to care for?

PS – I really need to get back (and stick with) healthy eating, exercise and pushing towards some fitness goals.  I’m thinking about starting a Facebook group for accountability.  Anyone interested?

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  1. Cape Cod Chic says:

    At this time of the year I love Paper Whites. I stagger their planting times and I have flowers from the first of December through February. And the scent is intoxicating.

  2. Patricia says:

    I struggle with those rosemary topiaries. Outdoors, mine are happy little campers. Indoors. Not so much. They are a Mediterranean plant that thrive in dry, bright sunny environments. They need something like 8 hours of bright sunlight. so in order for them to survive indoors, I’ve read that you have to put them on a sunlight diet and acclimate them to lesser amounts of sunlight.Often they are already struggling from the conditions they endured at home improvement garden centers before they even get to your house. They only need water when the top soil feels dry. I’d cut off the brown and prune it back so it it not struggling to maintain quite as large a plant and then make sure it is getting good strong light. It’s not dead, but its not going to be pretty for quite some time :(

  3. Kathleen says:

    I have for decades enjoyed the Pothos plant. It is an easy keeper in almost every condition. When mine start growing too long, I can just snip it off along the stem and start another plant in water. I have at least one in every room of my house. Can’t make a mistake. Try one! They seem to always be happy!
    I am sure injoying your blog! Thanks for sharing all that you do!

  4. Sarah says:

    I have aloe plants, arrowhead vine and golden pothos and they’re all very forgiving and don’t need slot of attention. The arrowhead is awesome and gets tall and then drops so it’s great on a pedestal. The golden pothos is pretty cool too because it’s easy to take clippings and start new plants in a glass of water. It’ll start rooting and then you can plant it in another pot. It also gets really long and you can drape it down bookcases, etc. The aloe is the best plant I think because it needs almost zero attention and I snip it for any kind of skin trauma like burns, cuts, and even wrinkles lol
    I’d be interested in a FB accountability group :-)

  5. Ivy, Aloe and Paper whites in the winter.

    The aloe is good with kids, any time there is an little first aid need, I have break off some aloe vera. Its virtually indestructible.

    Yes, to the Facebook group idea!

  6. All of the greenery looks so great with your lovely white ironstone and other decor. I have a string of pearls plant potted and sitting on my patio table outside. The table is under my kitchen window though, so the little pot is directly in front of me whenever I am standing at the sink. Right now, it is covered with little white blooms that smell sooooooo good! Has yours ever bloomed? Mine gets several hours of direct afternoon sun each day and I only water it about once a week. The pot has a hole for drainage.

  7. Jen Banker says:

    Peace lilies!! They are impossible to kill! I water mine when it starts to drop and it perks right back up.

  8. Ariel Field says:

    I adore houseplants, I’ve been on a big kick the last couple years. I live in Upstate Ny and some of my favorites that are so easy are: Jade, Fern, English Ivy and Creeping Fig. They all thrive and are beautiful and healthy plants. I also love my Orchid, I’ve only had it for 5 months, but so far so good. I am afraid I’m going to kill it, though. Haha.

  9. Lisa Alderson says:

    I have learned that Rosemary really doesn’t like to be indoors and should be moved outside as soon as possible. Same goes for the cute little mini roses you see in the store.
    I live in a partly wooded area so I don’t have a lot of light. I have had a lot of success with African Violets (north or east window, indirect light) and what we call Christmas Cactus (east or west window).

  10. Yvetta says:

    I am interested in a Facebook accountability group. I did Whole 30 with great success in October/November. I just felt better and I lost 14 lbs! Christmas happened and I didn’t stick with it. Started again last week and I felt better quicker this time around. Would love some company!

  11. KitsyKeelSmith says:

    You might want to try Arrowhead plants. They come in a variety of variegated forms and I grow mine in water or plant them in soil. So very hardy, I put them on the porch (no direct sunlight) in summer and bring them in when the weather gets cold. I have started all of my plants from one plant by putting cuttings in water and they root very quickly. Also you might want to try Pothos. So very hardy also and will root in water.

  12. Maureen says:

    Loving your green! One of my favorite how to grow things places, is the U of Maryland Extension site. It has a helpful article on Rosemary care indoors.

  13. I’m interested in joining your fitness Facebook page.

  14. You might try begonias in your low light areas. My dining room doesn’t get a lot of light and my begonia is thriving. I bought it in the houseplant section of Lowe’s.

  15. Beautiful plants Marian….I will have to try the baby tears as it looks so beautiful cascading down from the cabinet…..I have the same fluted bowl and have lavender in it….love the way the plant looks in it, so will be on the lookout for baby tears. I too, have not had much luck with Rosemary topiaries in my house…however, I am having great luck with dwarf myrtle topiaries!

  16. Is the first plant a creeping fig? If so I am trying to grow one of those up the side of my house as we speak :) I recently purchased a Maidenhair fern and so far it is lovely, getting very little light in my kitchen. It has the cutest little curly que’s that it makes. Good luck with your plants! They do make a room look happier :)

  17. Believe it or not – I’ve had nice success potting up hosta (from garden divisions) to use as indoor plants — they LOVE shade outdoors, so I thought, why not low light inside?

  18. Alisha says:

    I had a creeping Susan (Charlie) in our first home that had hardly any natural light. It thrived! It actually was a gift from my husband’s grandma that started out as a few clipping from her plant. She would just clip a few stems off and put them in a glass of water till roots started growing. I thought it was the sweetest gift that just kept giving! The tear drop plants remind me of it!

  19. I have no idea how old this post is, but here goes. I have killed many Rosemary plants, but this seems to work. Rosemary will inevitably look a little straggly inside. It’s not hardy where I live, so mine comes in for the winter and goes back outside in the summer. My main goal for winter is to keep the plant alive. I usually shear off the straggly growth every six weeks or so.

    You don’t want to overwater it. I usually wait until it feels almost bone dry and then drench it until water runs out the bottom of the pot. You need really good drainage in the pot though. It needs some humidity. I’ve never tried putting a plate of pea gravel under the pot but some people swear it works. I mist it once a week.

    Rosemary really does need a lot of light. It needs to be close to a south facing window or under a plant light for several hours a day. I have a whole setup with built in lights on a timer for several overwintering houseplants. If your desired location isn’t that bright, you could try replacing the lightbulb in that room with a plant light.

    As Rosemary is an evergreen, once the needles get really dried out, the only thing you can do is shear the plant back and hope for the best. All of this is not as much work as it sounds – it’s mostly about proper setup.

    If you really want the look of the topiary you’re better off with fake plants.

  20. Your house looks so lovely with all the plants! They really do make a room look more cheerful and alive. I recently discovered this too; even though I have been an avid gardener for the better part of a decade, I avoided houseplants until last fall (when I went overboard — i have at least 50 plants inside now!), and this winter seems to be going so much more easily for me. As far as the rosemary, it won’t overwinter outside for me, so I bring it into my basement and put it under a grow light near an small east window, and water it about once a month. I think the upstairs is too dry with central heating for most evergreens — my little European cypress got crunchy like yours within weeks of bringing it home. I just don’t think the humidity is high enough to grow those inside, so don’t feel like you did anything wrong. Nice post! -Beth

  21. Heidi says:

    Peace lilies have been easy for me to keep alive in non-sunny areas. I have also had luck with an indoor pine that I bought in November – just not a lot of water necessary. Thanks for the tips!

  22. Marilyn says:

    Three indoor plants that are pretty easy to grow are Spider Plants, African Violets, and Christmas Cactus. I give both my African Violet and Christmas cactus 2-3 drops of African Violet fertilizer in their water (which comes from the bottom) and get some nice flowers to go with the pretty greens. (Note, my “Christmas” Cactus is just getting ready to bloom. It didn’t bloom in December, but will give me some pretty February flowers.)

  23. I love my two massive Peace Lilies. They hang out in large chunky baskets in my living room and add a pop of color and texture. AND, they are very forgiving… Which is good because I’m awful with plants.

    I would love a Face Book Accountability group. Yes, please!!

  24. Kelly says:

    Fitness group? Yes!

  25. Abbie says:

    I’ve had two rosemary plants (not topiary) alive in pots for three years – inside when below 32 F and outside for the rest. They seem to need quite big pots as I had a couple die before that in smaller pots.

    I also have aloe because it is so low maintenance and I have a devil’s ivy that I mostly ignore also.

  26. Pretty plants! Is the one in your living room baby tears? I really like that one and think I have the perfect place for one. We used to have a house full of plants but now only have two…a spathiphyllum (peace plant) that was sent to us when my mother died in 2006 and it is still flourishing…and a Croton which was once a beautiful variegated green, red and yellow plant but is now all green. I have had the Croton for about 15 years. It has been in the same pot for about the last 5 and really deserves a new pot. I have changed the soil in it, so I’m not really a plant abuser. Ha! I wish the variegation would return. Should really research to find out why it changed.
    Thanks for posting this. I used to love lots of plants but didn’t have time to take care of them. Now, I am retired and you have inspired me to invest in a few more. They add so much to the home.

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