Houseplant recommendations for beginners to provide green space during winter

Avery Hough, Life and Arts Reporter

When Melissa Hagen feels stressed about politics or general world events she takes to the garden, often beating bags of soil and potting houseplants.

“(Planting) is my therapy,” Hagen said. “I don’t know how I would have gotten through the last couple years without it.”

Caring for houseplants acts as a remedy for the mind and correlates with reduced stress levels and boosted productivity. As winter draws near and finals season looms, houseplants can serve as an ideal addition to a room for students to maintain high spirits and increase efficiency on assignments.

Hagen manages the houseplants of Tillery Street Plant Company, a local plant nursery in Austin, and owns hundreds of houseplants at her home. With eight years working in the houseplant business under her belt, Hagen prides herself on personally nurturing most of the plants she now sells at Tillery Street Plant Company. The botanist recommends two houseplants for those wanting to brighten up their space.

“Snake plants … come in a lot of different colors,” Hagen said. “They’re for plant (parents) who don’t want to pay too much attention and coddle their plants a lot. …You water it maybe once every two weeks, and you let it dry out between waterings.” Also known as Sansevieria, snake plants present a unique stripe pattern on their leaves and come in a variety of heights, shapes and colors.

For bright rooms that get a lot of sun, Hagen recommends the popular Monstera plant.

“(Monsteras) are also another great plant for just how tough they are,” Hagen said.  “It’s really hard to kill them. … They’re just easy going plants.”

Psychology junior Morgan Lamsfuss spent his whole life around plants. Growing up, he found his passion when his mother cultivated plants all throughout their home.

“(Plants) just give me a little bit of joy in life,” Lamsfuss said.  “When my life isn’t flourishing, at least their lives are.”

Undeclared freshman Lexi Mounger collects houseplants for the aesthetic and pure joy of watching them grow.

“Every room that I look at I’m like, ‘Oh, this needs a plant.’ It just makes a room a little bit brighter,” Mounger said.

Mounger owns a lucky bamboo plant that she has taken care of for two years. She said she advises people wanting to get their first houseplant to find experts and not to shy away from asking questions.

As Hagen continues to sustain her houseplants, she said she hopes more people can learn to appreciate their positive impact.

“We all joke that the nursery is nature’s xanax,” Hagen said. “Plants promote wellbeing, and who doesn’t need that in this day and age?”