Today, as I wait for spring to arrive here on the Maine coast, I am sharing my favorite easy-care house plants. Plus, my tips on plant care, where I buy plants, and how to choose a container. And bonus, the recipe for the “chickpea salad melt” sandwich, which many of you from Instagram asked for.

Spring on the Coast of Maine

Well, April is upon us.

That means it is well and truly spring.

Except not really.

If you have been with me for a while, you know that spring is my least favorite season here on the coast.

We have a lot of wet.

And a lot of gray.

Plus, things really don’t start to green up here before late May.

Until then, I have to rely on my indoor plants, with their fresh burst of color and energy, to get my spring fix.

So, today I am sharing my favorite easy-care houseplants. Plus, my tips on plant care, where I buy plants, and how to choose a container.

Other posts on plants and gardening

What are the Benefits of Having Houseplants?

There are many year-round benefits to having and caring for plants in your home.

Studies show that houseplants can reduce stress levels, promote a sense of well-being, and boost creativity and focus.

They also improve air quality and create a more healthy indoor environment.

And from a design standpoint, they add texture, color, and beauty to a space.

Both literally and figuratively, they bring life to your home’s interior!

Caring For Your Houseplants

I would hardly say I am blessed with a green thumb.

Since moving to Maine, though, I have had more success keeping houseplants alive — sometimes even helping them thrive.

Here are my easy-care tips for keeping your plants healthy.

NOTE: I am not a plant expert! But these are things that have found generally work for my plants.


I figure if I could raise three humans and keep multiple pets alive and healthy, I can do the same for plants.

While certainly not as needy as humans and pets, plants do require care. They also need love, and sometimes a few kind words!

I find it definitely helps to keep plants in rooms which you frequent. Otherwise, for me it can be out of sight, out of mind.


Again, while they don’ t require as much time as children or pets, you do need to make the time to water and care for your plants.

Over the last few years, I have amassed over 20 plants in my home. Watering them can be a bit time consuming, so sometimes I need to make a point of scheduling it into my day.


Plants have certain requirements for light, air humidity, and temperature.

While I don’t make a deep dive into the needs of each plant I bring home, I believe the success I have had is largely due to the fact that I have placed my plants in a spot that is generally favorable for the majority of them.

Light: Most of my plants are situated right in front of a window to maximize light.

The big windows in the house face southeast, so they get direct light all morning long.

Humidity: Many plants favor a high-humidity environment. Fortunately the air on the coast tends to be fairly moist — all that fog…

Even in the winter our house does not get dry since we have radiant heat.

Always avoid placing plants next to forced air heating vents!

Temperature: Plants generally prefer temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees.


If anything, I have a tendency to under-water my plants. (See the “Time” bullet above…) I aim to water them every 7-10 days. If I notice one is looking droopy, I give it an extra drink.

I bring my plants in batches to the “dog shower”, where they get a good soaking — both the soil and the leaves.


I feed my plants once a month.

Recently I made the switch from Miracle Grow crystals to Living Acres Sea Cure, a liquid made locally with fresh Maine seaweed. I feel better about feeding my plants something that is natural. And you know I always love something local!

Clean Kelp looks like a similar product sold on Amazon.

My Favorite Houseplants

How I Choose My Plants

Just as with home decor, I take color, pattern, and texture into consideration when choosing plants.

I look for plants with a variety of:

  • leaf colors: bright or dark green, yellow, even pink, red, and purple!
  • leaf patterns: I love to add in variegated, striped, or spotted
  • leaf shapes and sizes
  • plant shapes and sizes — short, tall, wide, narrow, compact, upright, trailing

I tend to stick to pretty basic or “easy” plants.

Through trial and error, I have learned which plants are happy in my home.

These are some of my favorites!

ZZ Plant

Easy-care plants, ZZ Plant

I picked my ZZ plant up at Trader Joes.

It sits in a Northeast-facing window and receives my standard care.

I love it’s graceful arching branches.

It has grown to 26 inches tall now.

Fiddle Leaf Fig

I ordered my Fiddle Leaf Fig from Etsy several years ago.

I know! Who knew you could order plants from Etsy? It arrived beautifully packaged and looking healthy.

I placed it in a northeast-facing window, give it my usual care, and it has been very happy.

It makes quite the statement at approximately 6 feet tall now!

Philodendron Selloum

Easy-care houseplants, Philodendron Selloum

I have had my Philodendron Selloum for years.

I bought it for its beautifully-shaped leaves.

When I brought it home it had a lovely open shape with long twisting leaf stems. The growth is more dense now, similar to this photo here, which I don’t like as much.

Recently I tried thinning it out a bit. We will see how it does going forward.

It stands about 20″ tall and gets southeast light.


Easy-care houseplants, Schefflera

I have two Schefflera plants — a plain one in the dining area and a variegated in the bedroom. I find the variegated more interesting.

They are super easy to grow.

The one in the bedroom is almost 4 feet tall!

They both get southeast light.

Money Tree

Easy-care plants, Money Tree

I brought a Money Tree home from a local nursery last fall, and I have to say it might be the easiest and fastest growing plant I have.

It has a beautiful tree-like shape with its twisted trunk, and has grown to 4 feet tall.

Choose this plant if you want a large plant that makes a statement!

It gets indirect southwestern light for most of the day, except when the sun is setting and then it gets direct light.

Calathea “Rattlesnake” Plant

This is a fairly new plant, that I bought on a whim at Lowes.

I couldn’t resist its stunning “painted” leaves, with their ruffled edges!

Mine is very small. I am hoping it grows and does well.

I am recommending it before I have much experience with it, because it is unusual and so very beautiful.

Rex Begonia

Easy-care houseplants, Rex Begonia

I am including the Rex Begonia in my list even though mine doesn’t always look great, because there are so many varieties, and the foliage is absolutely beautiful.

So give one a try!

Honorable Mention

Grape Ivy: I have two of these. I love the shape of the leaf and their slightly wild growth pattern. But sometimes the leaves don’t look great for me. That said, I do have two!

Pothos: These trailing plants are easy to grow, but I just don’t think they are anything particularly special. They can be a good addition to the mix, though. I hope my pothos doesn’t read this post, ha! Please don’t tell it I called it ordinary…

Geraniums: I always like to bring one or two of my summer geraniums in for the winter. Sometimes they do well, and sometimes they don’t. This year I have two, and at the moment each has several blooms. It makes me so happy to see this little bit of summer in my home when it is chilly and gray outside.

Houseplants That Haven’t Worked For Me

Sometimes a plant just isn’t happy in your home.

Or maybe it requires more care than you are able to give it.

In that case, i have learned, you need to be able to cut your losses and just get rid of it.

Don’t get me wrong. I always feel bad doing this.

But, a plant is supposed to bring you joy and enhance your life. And a sick half-dead plant just isn’t doing that.

Some plants that haven’t worked for me:

Myrtle topiaries: I have tried these several times and they are always a big fail. They dry out easily and last year mine ended up with some kind of white fungus growing on the stems. It was nasty. And really, they are a bit formal for my relaxed coastal style. I will always admire them in other people’s homes, but don’t let me bring any more into mine!

Maidenhair Ferns: Another fail for me. If it doesn’t dry out (seemingly overnight!), my cats eat them to a nub. It is too bad, because I love their delicate beauty. Especially in combination with larger-leaved plants. Alas, I don’t have the discipline to keep these alive.

Boston Fern: I know these are supposed to be easy to grow. I brought one in from outside once and it shed brown leaves constantly. I finally had to kick it out of the house to its doom in sub-freezing temperatures. Sorry, Boston Fern.

A Few Final Words on Houseplants

Where to buy

I have gotten my plants from numerous sources — online, grocery stores, garden centers, big box stores, and small specialty shops. I have had both success and failure with all of them.

Of course it is best to buy in person. That way you get to pick out your actual plant and you can see if it looks healthy.

My first local choice is always a small specialty shop. They tend to have a thoughtfully curated selection of plants. And you can usually get care tips there too. I even had one owner offer for me to send her photos of a plant I got from her last year that isn’t thriving so that she could help me figure out what is going on. That’s service!

Next I will shop the local garden centers and then the big box stores. Lowe’s and Home Depot have quite large selections which include standard and even some exotic varieties. Some of their plants tend to be in pretty rough shape, though, so beware!

And if I can’t find what I am looking for locally, I will search online. As I mentioned, I have had success buying from Etsy.

Amazon also partners with some smaller plant retailers. I have never bought through Amazon, though, so can’t vouch for the quality of the plants.

When I make the trek to Trader Joe’s in Portland, I always stop to see what plants they have. I only wish they weren’t two hours away!

Pots and Planters

Once you have selected a plant, be sure to choose its pot or planter with care too. They play a role similar to the perfect accessory for an outfit!

Many people like to go with a unified look.

Like all white pots for a clean fresh look.

Or, terracotta is a classic. In the bedroom I have a mix of weathered terracotta pots.

Downstairs, though, I like to mix and match! Some blue pots. A few baskets. And my favorite — old faux woodgrain painted buckets and picnic tins.

As usual, I encourage you to get creative and think outside the box. And always keep your eye out at thrift and antiques stores for that special something that will make a unique container for a plant! Even if you don’t have the plant yet!

This Week Into Next

We have had such miserable weather this week.

Last weekend we had snow turning to freezing rain. And then just plain old cold rain.

There were power outages and dangerous driving conditions all weekend, so we didn’t get to visit the maple sugar shacks as planned.

On Monday I ventured out to meet my good friend Ann from Dabbling and Decorating to do some antiquing and get some lunch. I always enjoy spending time with Ann. We have so much in common! Did you know we first “met” on Instagram?

Be sure to check out Ann’s fun and informative blog post Antiquing 101: A Guide From the Trail, which includes a section on our outing together!

She also shares a sneak peak of what I came home with. I finally figured out what I am doing with the walls in my bathroom! It is such a great feeling when inspiration strikes from something I find while out on the “trail”!

The rest of the week it has been chilly, rainy, and raw.

Thus, today’s blog post…

In Zoe’s Kitchen… and mine too

This week in her newsletter Zoë is talking breakfast — Baked Oatmeal and Healthyish Breakfast Sandwiches.

The other day I whipped up some of this NYT Cooking Chickpea Salad. Kind of like tuna salad, but with chickpeas. And instead of mayo for the dressing, a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, tahini (sesame paste), and garlic.

The NYT Cooking recipe is for a sandwich with tomato, avocado, and sprouts.

I chose to top it instead with tomato and cheddar cheese and stick it under the broiler for an open-faced “melt”.

Therefore, I left out the grated parmesan the recipe calls for. I also halved the amount of olive oil, skipped spreading mayo on my bread, and added some dill pickle relish to the salad for a little zing. So good!

Next week I will be posting from D.C., where I will be to celebrate sweet Poppy’s first birthday. She has been waving her way through Italy like the Queen.

I can’t wait to get her in my arms!

Happy Easter to those who celebrate!

Be well, friends!


Highlighting coastal decor and lifestyle, Maddie and Cisco, and the way life should be...