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6 High Maintenance Houseplants for the Overachieving Plant Parent

Houseplants are more than just decorations; they're companions that bring nature into our indoor spaces! While some opt for the ease of low-maintenance greenery, others thrive on the challenge of cultivating plants that demand extra attention. Maybe you've killed a plant before by over-caring for it, or you might find yourself wishing you could spend more time caring for your plants. Either way, if you're ready to embrace the challenge, these 6 high-maintenance houseplants will bring a sense of drama, rewarding your care efforts with their stunning looks!

 

Fiddle Leaf Fig

A green Fiddle Leaf Fig plant in a white pot

With its large, glossy leaves resembling a violin, Fiddle Leaf Figs demand the spotlight! Achieving its full potential requires careful watering, just-right sunlight, and warm temperatures to thrive. Fiddle Leaf Figs are also very sensitive to changes in their environment, and will dramatically drop their leaves when unhappy. While Fiddle Leaf Figs might be harder to care for, they can make a very rewarding statement plant to grow!


Our recommendations:

  • Avoid moving your Fiddle Leaf Fig; find a good spot and keep it there

  • Maintain temperature between 65-85F and 50% humidity

  • Water with lukewarm or room temperature water

  • Try to provide 6-8 hours of bright, indirect light per day

  • Regularly rotate the pot to provide light equally to all sides of the plant


Calathea

A Calathea Pilosa plant with green and yellow leaves in an orange pot

Calatheas are living pieces of art, with intricately patterned leaves that open and close in response to light! However, their dance requires high humidity, bright indirect light, and a watchful eye for changes in their well-being. The most common issue plant parents run into with Calathea is browning leaves - typically due to low humidity or inconsistent light. The effort you put in is rewarded with a mesmerizing display of foliage that transforms any space into a gallery of natural wonders.

Our Recommendations:

  • Maintain consistent high humidity (50% or more!) - a humidifier is essential

  • Keep the soil moist but not soggy during the growing season

  • Water with filtered or distilled water to prevent mineral build up

  • Try to provide 8-10 hours of light per day - a grow light can help out

  • Have your Calathea planted in a pot with drainage holes


Bird of Paradise

a greenhouse worker holding a bird of paradise plant with large, green leaves

The Bird of Paradise plant embodies the beauty of its namesake, with its banana-like leaves and ability to grow striking flowers. However, its beauty comes at a cost - it demands bright indirect light, regular feeding, and meticulous care. Bird of Paradise plants thrive with bright light and consistent moisture. They can be sensitive to changes in their environment and may require regular dusting of their large leaves. Yet this high level of care can reward you with a plant worthy of a tropical oasis!

Our Recommendations:

  • Bird of Paradise needs bright sunlight and can handle full, direct sun when acclimated

  • Regularly wipe the leaves with a damp cloth to keep leaves dust free

  • Allow a brief drying period between watering - water approximately every 1-2 weeks

  • Keep humidity high with a humidifier or pebble tray

  • Water with filtered or distilled water to prevent mineral build up


Stromanthe Triostar

a Stromanthe Triostar plant in a natural colored pot - displays pointed leaves in shades of green, pink, and white

Stromanthe Triostar plants showcase an array of vibrant hues on their foliage, making them an eye-catching addition to any space! But their colorful personality requires commitment; they crave high humidity, indirect light, and diligent watering practices. Stromanthe are especially sensitive to changes in water and humidity, frequently turning brown when conditions are not favorable. Nurturing a Stromanthe yields a living masterpiece of a plant!


Our Recommendations:

  • Maintain temperatures of 65-80F and 50% or more humidity

  • Keep soil moist but not soggy during the growing season

  • Water with filtered or distilled water to prevent mineral build up

  • Choose a location with bright, indirect light for 8+ hours per day

  • Protect your Stromanthe from both cold drafts and heating vents


Alocasia

An Alocasia Red Secret plant in a white pot - features large leaves in a shade of deep mahogany

Alocasias, also known as Elephant Ear plants, boast oversized, ornate leaves! But Alocasia plants have a reputation for being divas. They crave high humidity, filtered sunlight, consistent temperature, and a balanced watering routine to stay happy. Most Alocasia are especially sensitive to changes in temperature and water level. The challenge of keeping an Alocasia happy is met with the reward of an exotic plant that's hard to match!


Our Recommendations:

  • Place your Alocasia in a spot with consistent temperature and humidity

  • Provide 4+ hours of bright light per day, avoiding direct sunlight

  • Water when soil feels dry to the touch

  • Avoid cold drafts and sudden changes in temperature

  • Alocasia go dormant in fall & winter - cut back on watering during this time


Petra Croton

A petra croton plant in a brown pot, sitting on a wooden chair. It's leaves are multicolored with shades of green, yellow, red, and orange.

Petra Crotons are a burst of color, displaying leaves painted with a multitude of colors! Crotons are loved in fall for their colors, but can thrive year round with proper care. To maintain their vibrancy, Petra Crotons need plenty of sunlight, increased humidity, consistent temperature, and well-draining soil. The energy invested in nurturing a Petra Croton is repaid with a stunning plant that brightens up any space with it's colors!


Our Recommendations:

  • Avoid moving your Petra Croton; find a good spot and keep it there

  • Crotons prefer consistent temperatures of 60-70F

  • Plant in well-draining soil and water when the soil is about 50% dry

  • Provide 6-8 hours of sunlight per day - can handle direct light if acclimated

  • Try to maintain 40-80% humidity

 

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