UPP Guest Blog: The It Girls of the Plant World

We’re calling it now: the theme of Spring 2019 is Fun and Flirty. Not one or the other. Both. And we know that because, well, the world kind of sucks right now and we’re putting all our eggs in one Easter (or non-denominational) basket.

So whether you’ll be decorating your fallout shelter with the fetchest—we can bring this word back thanks to Ms. Grande—jungle vibes or you just really want to make your frienemy Kylie jealous, we’ve compiled a list of the new “it girls” of the plant world. So to Monsteras and Fiddle Leafs, we say: thank u, and next.

Rubber Plants

  • Ok yes you’ll die if you don’t use one (…and my editor says this is the last Mean Girls reference allowed) so we think that’s a great reason to get one. Rubber plants are so effing cool it’s just upsetting. How do they maintain that glossy Pantene sheen we ask collectively. How is it that they have just enough red to go with terra cotta pots and just enough dark emerald tones to make you gasp a little each time she catches your eye. And how did they know to come in a variegated varietal for your super-extra friend that thinks Christmas cacti are “so gorg.” We just don’t get it and we love them even more for it. Fun fact: scratch a rubber tree and what comes out? Rubber! Well…kind of…rubber trees have a really fun history. These fig trees are native to the Amazon (plant bedroom goals), and before nasty chemicals poisoned the earth, they were used for their latex sap which was processed into rubber. Poke a needle in a larger rubber tree trunk and feel the way the sap turns to a pencil eraser consistency. If you google it, it actually looks like someone is tapping maple syrup from a tree but accidentally did it in Wisconsin and got milk instead. Soon people noticed their natural beauty, brought them inside for bedtime tea, and they became an inspiration for all future house plant parents.
  • Fun: √ provides natural rubber; flexible color schemes
  • Flirty: √ brings an outdoor vibe to an indoor space
  • Perfect for 2019: We’re leafing behind last year’s baggage and focusing on *looking good* this year


Prayer Plants

They sound like an accessory for your next dual yoga-mindfulness class, and they might as well be because these prayer plants actually move with intention to the changing of the light. Each night the leaves fold up in “prayer,” likely to pay their respects to mother Gaia, and then extend out in sheer rhapsody (we assume) every morning. Not only do they love overwatering, they don’t even really care about low light—a north facing window works great. Mood lighting is the definition of fun, so Marantas get a bonus point. They are tropical beauties as well, so they don’t like a cold home (never below 60°F please), but then again, who does? We don’t necessarily condone staring aimlessly at your plants the way I do #alldayeerday but we’ll give you a pass for the Maranta because she’s beauty and she’s grace.

  • Fun: √+ bright colors and a statement piece for a side table; propagated by cuttings
  • Flirty: √ only moves with purpose and not because you tell her to
  • Perfect for 2019: We only do what we want to do this year, and if we need space to recoup and be mindful, then make room.

Snake Plants

  • Unique Sansevierias. Look I know, I know, I can’t believe I wrote it either. They’re literally everywhere; they haunt you at the dentist office and they form the barrier to block you from your ex at True Food/your Soulcycle class/any international airport/people-who-shop-exclusively-at-IKEA’s homes. And every plant “beginner” is all like “omg a snake plant is so sexy and avant-garde, have you seen one with these stripes though?” Yes I have. Ten seconds ago at Anthropologie. I typically hate Sansevierias, but I have to give them credit. My bedroom is windowless, or might as well be because the window in it opens up to a suuuuuper scenic alley that faces northwest and is blocked by our trashcans. Yet here’s this lil sansevieria bb (I was gifted and promptly relegated to the dungeon) who has tripled in size in a year. So even without ideal (read: any) light and a watering schedule entirely determined by my hormonal flux, this thing will. not. die. And 2019 is for survivors, so we’re highlighting the Sansevieria. Here’s the thing: there are some sleek Sansevierias out there and this is where you should kick off. The Whalefin Sansevieria is just this majestic, gigantic leaf sticking out of your pot and everyone thinks it’s fake or a sculpture but it’s really just there cleaning your air. All Sansevierias share a plant family with asparagus and are native to Africa. As a result, they can handle a drought no problemo. And because Africa is harsh to nature, they learned to propagate reallllly well, so you can divide their roots by hand or just put a cutting in a glass of water. So I will relent that if you go out and get a Whalefin or maybe a larger S. cylindrica, I won’t hate you this spring. But do something flirty with it OK, like leveraging the subliminally phallic nature of these weird flowering plants and putting it next to the rubber.
  • Fun: √ comes in so many different varieties and shapes and colors you can play with
  • Flirty: √+ will not die.
  • Perfect for 2019: Tolerant of all types of sunlight, water, and people.


About our guest blogger Cam Mazza:

Cam’s first time was back in 2012 with a pothos he met at Safeway. Ever since, he’s become a total addict—now housing over 72 plants in his sunny San Francisco sunroom. In his spare time, he’s twice raised emus from eggs he bought on eBay and now performs with the SF Civic Symphony (average age from 62 —> 60.5 thanks to him) four times a year. One day he’ll be a nurse practitioner, unless you view his posts enough so he can wax poetic about indoor plants for a living.


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