Houseplants have always been an integral part of interior design. Their live element lends depth, cleans the air, and provides natural color. As with all facets of interior design, styles trend and plants do too. Read on to find out which plants you’ve been seeing in home decor and how to make them your own.
SANSEVIERIA (SANSEVIERIA TRIFASCIATA)
The delightfully evocative common names—snake plant, devil’s tongue, viper’s bowstring hemp (the fibers were used for bow strings), and mother-in-law’s tongue—are not what make Sansevieria a hit on the houseplant trending charts. People love its structural, vertical form (it can grow as tall as twelve feet) and range of colors. In addition to the green variety (dark- and pale-green markings enliven the foliage), Laurentii has cream colored leaves with dark-green, horizontal patterns.
Tough as nails Sansevieria thrives in difficult situations, including low light, dry air, and neglect. Put it in bright light if you can, water it once or twice a month, dust off the leaves once or twice a year, and don’t worry about misting—the plant loves dry air. As a bonus, NASA has identified Sansevieria as one of the top air purifying plants, capable of removing at least 107 pollutants. It is a great warrior against “sick building syndrome.”
CROCODILE FERN (MICROSORIUM MUSIFOLIUM ‘CROCYDYLLUS’)
Be gone boring Boston ferns. The latest trend in indoor ferns is the wrinkled, puckered crocodile fern. Despite the textured appearance resembling crocodile skin, the large, glossy, pale-green leaves with dark veining are ruffled, giving the plant a delicate and graceful appearance. At maturity, the plants are two to five feet tall and wide. Water when soil feels dry and feed with diluted water-soluble all-purpose fertilizer or fern fertilizer once a month during spring and summer.
Crocodile fern will grow in bright or low light, but it needs humidity. Either mist regularly or set it on a tray filled with gravel and water. It is susceptible to fern scale. If you notice flaky, white spots on the foliage or stems, apply insecticide oil to the affected leaves. (The high humidity that makes these ferns thrive also encourages fungus growth.) To avoid fern scale, trim off crowded fronds to encourage airflow and don’t overwater. If you still have a problem, fungicide foliar sprays and soil drenches can help.