Year-Round Greenery with Houseplants

Jessie Jacobson of Tonkadale Greenhouse shares her tips for indoor plants.

Jessie Jacobson, owner of Tonkadale Greenhouse in Minnetonka, has advice for gardeners who want to bring some green out of the yard and into the home.

For Beginners

“The easiest houseplant in the world to care for and grow is sansevieria, also known as snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue,” says Jacobson. (“Sorry, mothers-in-law—we love you!” she adds.) “This succulent-type plant comes in stripes, variegated, silverfish and tone-on-tone greens, grows slowly, and can be easily transplanted and divided should it get too big for its pot or space.” Jacobson says sansevieria adds nice height and structure to a room and can stand alone or be grouped with other succulents and cacti. It also can tolerate a wide range of lighting conditions—from very low light to bright, indirect light.

No matter what kind of plant you choose, Jacobson recommends buying from a nursery or greenhouse that is tidy and well run; she encourages customers to make sure the plant has been watered appropriately and hasn’t been in the same pot for so long that it is outgrowing it.

After you get your plant home, make sure to put it in the right location. Too much light and it will dry out too fast and get a burned look around the edges; too little light and it will look droopy and tired.

For Experienced Gardeners

Looking for something a bit more challenging? Jacobson says that fiddle leaf ferns are all the rage right now.

“They are sensitive creatures, however, and a bit particular about light and watering requirements,” she cautions. “They like bright, indirect light and a consistent watering schedule.”

She also likes bromeliads for their variety and hardiness, and says that African violets are trending at the moment, too—but they can be tricky, and it’s difficult to get them to bloom.

On the Porch

As we look toward spring, Jacobson says that most of our houseplants can transition to a patio or porch when the weather warms up. Again, be mindful of location. Most leafy plants are going to want shade or only morning sun, for example. She suggests replanting a houseplant in an outdoor container with a few other plants to create variety and visual interest.

“My favorites include bromeliads, crotons, staghorn ferns, creeping figs and spider plants,” she says. And Jacobson’s final word of advice is to always remember that gardening is a verb. It’s an ongoing journey of trial and error. “I always encourage beginners to start small with something they can manage and go from there. Above all else: Plant plants. It’s important!”