PHOTO: With regular watering and proper sunlight, houseplants can thrive. (Courtesy: Jared Umphress)
By Priscilla Lee,
With over 5.5 million posts under #houseplants on Instagram and the number still growing, many Davis residents have hopped onto the trend.
Don Shor is the owner of the local Redwood Barn Nursery in East Davis.
“Houseplant sales had been increasing steadily for the last few years already, and really, really, really took off when the pandemic hit,” he said.
Luckily for people interested in getting their first indoor plant, taking care of it is “something that can be done by anybody with almost any skill level so long as they get a little guidance, stick to a simple schedule for watering, and don’t give up just because sometimes a plant dies. Even plant experts kill plants,” Shor said.
Plants from tropical regions are recommended for beginning growers because these are deemed the hardest to kill. The most common to start with are the Zamioculcas, the ZZ plant, or the Sansevieria, the snake plant, as they can handle relatively infrequent waterings every 7-10 days. These plants are also beneficial for the environment as they clean out volatile organic compounds and other air pollutants, according to a NASA study.
While cactuses and succulents, in general, may be appealing to those interested in growing indoor plants, these are not the best plants for beginners as they need to be placed in the sunniest place available, namely in the south side of the house, and must be grown in well-draining soil specialized for these types of plants, according to Davis High sophomore Jared Umphress.
Umphress bought his first houseplant, an “easy ZZ,” from the local nursery around a year ago, which ignited his passion for growing plants. During quarantine, he has enlivened his living space by expanding his indoor plant collection with Christmas cactus, aloe and poinsettia. He advises to water each corner of the pots twice and to let the soil dry out between each session.
In addition to tending to his plants, Umphress is an avid member of the DHS Environmental club and is the author of the blog “The Eco Soldier” where he writes articles regarding the effects of climate change on the environment and does his best to answer any questions his readers comment.
“Houseplants [are] more accessible for everybody […] which is great because […] when you’re growing stuff it also introduces you to environmental topics,” Umphress said.