How to Have a Green Thumb

There’s something to be said about the unique power that plants and flowers bring. Not only are they beautiful, but they can affect our mood…in the best way. I say this because when I did my apartment project, I initially stumbled upon “Edgar Allen Poe” and “Ernest Hemingway,” aka the names of my bird of paradise plants, in order to add fresh accents, intrigue and a steady presence to brighten up the interiors, but it’s also brought a calming feeling to my space. When the pandemic hit, I began to crave the beauty, lush foliage and serenity of nature even more. For that reason, I’ve been buying fresh cut local flowers and learning how to nourish the plants I have at home more consistently. (And yes, I can’t believe Poe and Hemingway are still alive?!) That’s why today I’m sharing some tips I’ve learned along the way that will hopefully help you cultivate a green thumb and an indoor oasis for yourself, too.

Tip #1 Fresh Cut Flowers 

Flowers add a touch of natural beauty and makes a space feel more inviting. When I buy flowers (I love going to my local shop Renny & Reed), I typically look for a variety of tropical blooms from parrot tulips to ranunculus paired against monsteras or banana leaves…and peonies whenever I can (depending on its season). I do this in order to stick to a mix of complementary colors with pops of green for texture. Then, I’ll cut the stems at an angle “about an inch from the bottom of the vase” for a natural look once they’re plopped into the vase. Don’t forget to add plant preservatives that may have come with your blooms, if yours didn’t come with one “a crushed aspirin will do the trick” too.

Lifestyle Blogger Stephanie Hill featuring How to Have a Green Thumb on The Style Bungalow

I learned that by starting with the biggest flower in the vase and continuing from there makes the styling easier.

Tip #2 Practice Patience

Whether your plans are to create a plant wall or add a handful to the corner of your space, it takes time for plants to adapt to the condition of your home (something, I didn’t realize at first!) as well as learning to care for each plant properly. That’s why I started with the bird of paradise, which is relatively easy to grow and lends to my tropical accent. This specific plant enjoys bright (indirect) light and prefers “rich, well-drained soil” in order for it to retain enough moisture. I used to be intimidated by this, but when it comes to watering I learned that regular watering is ideal. So, I chose one “plant watering day” each week in order to maintain consistency and so far Poe and Hemingway are blooming better than I anticipated…a new bloom every week and a half!

Tip #3 Simplicity is Key

Best advice: “Don’t overthink it.”

If it’s a floral centerpiece you want to add to the kitchen table or desk, work with what you have meaning always shop for what’s in season because it’ll be the freshest (and cheapest). Maybe that’s peonies in the summer or lilies in the fall. Then, I’ll always add greenery to really make the arrangement fuller.

Tip #4 Consistency

Apart from the above, make sure to change out the water from your vases daily, trim the stems and be mindful of the sunlight. By doing so, your flowers will continue to stay fresh longer. 

With plants, they adapt fairly well to the space they’re in so you can learn a lot by observing it and seeing when it’s thirsty. I’ve honestly stuck with my “plant watering day,” which has worked wonderfully. Most times when we think our plant is dying, it’s usually not the case — they’re a lot more resilient than we think. It probably just needs more water or less water depending on the leaves.

Tip #5 My Favorite Indoor Plants

Just in case you need a quick list of plants that can survive almost anything or a beginner’s green thumb, I’ve created a short one below!

Pothos. Don’t let this plant fool you. Even if your plant starts out small, the vines are known to trail over 10 feet long. Plus, it’s fairly easy going and will make a great addition to any home.

Rubber Tree. If you realize you tend to “forget” about your plant, this one’s for you. It needs some space, bright light and is a natural air purifier (removes carbon dioxide from home).

Kentia Palms. If your space is pretty big and you’re looking for an addition to fill it I’d suggest the beautiful fluffy Kentia Palms. Easily adaptable, this natural and elegant plant is happiest when there’s moisture in the soil, but never let it sit in water.

Last but not least, the bird of paradise plants. Cousin to the banana tree, this tropical plant can grow pretty rapidly indoors and is probably my favorite. Since I’ve had mine, I highly advise keeping an eye on any mealy bugs and mites because there aren’t any natural predators to keep them away while they’re indoors. If you spot any of these pests, don’t panic, scrub soap and water under the leaves to best control it.

Xo, Stephanie

P.S. I put together some of my favorite accessories I’ve discovered to pair with plants and flower arrangements below! Hope you enjoy the beautiful benefits these blooms bring.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.