Written by Ingrid Hoff
Now is the time of year that I start thinking about getting a little hygge. Just in case you don’t know what hygge (pronounced “hue-gah”) is, it’s the Scandinavian idea of comfort and contentment that you feel when you are in a cozy and enjoyable atmosphere, usually indoors in the winter time. It’s being wrapped up in a soft warm blanket, sipping a warm cup of tea/hot chocolate, in front of a fire when it’s raining/snowing outside. Oh, and there is usually a tasty baked good and some candles (or maybe that’s just me). But if I had to choose just one thing to create a bit of hygge in my home it would be adding tropicals. There is just something so rewarding to caring for my plants and being surround by their lush green growth when the weather outside is dreadful.
If you need another reason to start filling your home with greenery then look no further than the many health benefits. There have been oodles of studies showing plants increase air quality and have positive effects on mental health. We all need cleaner air and something to lift our spirits in the grey days of winter. But if I am going to get cozy I also want to do it with a bit of style and luckily indoor tropicals are all the rage right now. A quick look at Instagram and you’ll find lots of examples of artfully placed and perfectly curated topical plants. The amazing thing is it’s so easy to replicate yourself, just head down to GARDENWORKS to get yourself some stylish containers and Tropicals of your choice.
Just in case you are looking for some help in choosing, here are my five top tropical plants that are hygge worthy and can make you and your home, feel and look like an influencer.
Sansevieria, or snake plant, this plant is the darling of Instagram, for good reason. It has such a beautiful structural appeal, and it’s dead easy to grow. A perfect plant for beginners. The minimalist architectural leaves are often variegated and rise up from the soil looking very much like snakes. Able to thrive in a variety of lighting conditions (bright or low light) they are also drought resistant for the forgetful waterer. When watering, try to avoid getting the leaves wet and make sure not to overwater. Available in a variety of sizes (from dwarf to a couple of feet high) as well as different colours and patterns, make sure to look around and find the right one for you.
Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum), I love the retro vibe this plant gives off. I dare you to put one in that macrame hanger and not start humming a few lines of Staying Alive. If you liked that look then the good news is it’s back in a big way, oh so trendy and bohemian. The reason this plant was, and still is, so popular is they are extremely adaptable to most growing conditions and therefor easy to grow. Best in bright indirect light, water them well but let them dry out between watering. They come in both green and variegated. You can sometimes get browning on the leaf tips from neglect but just prune those out and try to pay better attention to it in the future. Just in case you were curious, this plant is called spider plant because of the spiderettes that dangle on long stems from the mother plant. They start off as white flowers and then turn into little baby plants you can give to friends or repot.
Philodendron, I have yet to meet a philodendron I don’t like. These are trendy, easy to care for plants with large tropical-looking glossy leaves. You can find ones with frilly-laced leaves (‘Hope’), striped leaves (‘Birken’) or even silver leaves (P. hastatum ‘Silver Sword’). This is also a good confidence building plant for the beginner. Easy to grow and their glossy tropical looking leaves will liven up any spot with medium indirect light. Keep the soil moist, they like high humidity and won’t enjoy drying out. These are fast growing plants, some are climbers and others have an upright habit, so make sure to read the label before you buy.
Fiddle-leaf fig (Ficus lyrata) I call this plant the “gateway tropical” since I have seen it be the plant that “opens the door” to previous “I don’t have a green thumb” people and turns them into certifiable plant collectors. The giant leathery, heavily veined, glossy violin-shaped leaves of this plant have also made this plant the “it” plant with designers and influencers everywhere. If I’m being honest, it has a reputation for being fussy, but I don’t feel they deserve that reputation. Give them the right growing conditions and both you and your fig will be happy. In the wild they grow in warm humid climates where temperatures don’t fluctuate much. So, avoid drafts, and don’t put it near a heat source (vent, heater, fireplace, etc). Make sure to give it filtered light (an east or shaded west facing window is perfect) and also avoid both overwatering and under-watering. Something else to remember is this is a tree and if given the space it can grow to 1.8m or 6 feet tall, so make sure to give it some space. If you have a place in your house that will make this plant happy then you should get one.
ZZ plant (Zamioculus zamifolia) is another great plant for the beginner with striking structural foliage. The succulent stems emerge from the soil with equally succulent leaves that look like “puffy” palm fronds. Ridiculously easy to grow, they can handle a variety of light conditions which makes them the perfect choice for a shady low light corner. They are also tolerant of infrequent watering, so they will pretty much put up with neglect and keep growing. ‘Raven’ is a black cultivar worth keeping an eye out for if you like something a little bit different (hint it really pops with a white background).
So, this winter lets head inside to get cozy and avoid the weather, but do it with a little bit of freshness and style. Just because we are hunkering down inside doesn’t mean that our green thumbs need to be tucked away. Because to be honest, one can only enjoy so many baked goods and candles before you start to miss the verdant greens of spring and summer.