by STACY DOWNS | photos by ANNA PETROW
The slooooow start to the season has us pondering this question: What should you add to your home to shoo away blah weather and make it feel fresh like spring year-round?
The antidote and the answer: Houseplants!
However, most of us aren’t born with a green thumb. Sure, we could help solve that problem by reading one of the many books on the topic, but to make it easy on ourselves, we called an expert.
Jaclyn Joslin, Kansas City interior designer and owner of Coveted Home, has us covered. She fills her Country Club Plaza store as well as her clients’ homes and her personal abode with smartly placed plants.
“A place without plants looks like no one lives or works there,” Joslin says. “Just a few plants can change the feeling of a space. They bring it to life.”
Yes, there is such thing as a trendy type of houseplant. No doubt in the past few years, you’ve seen succulents. Everywhere. Even the grocery store.
“They’ll always be popular because they’re pretty low-maintenance,” Joslin says. “But a lot of people think you don’t have to water them. And even though they require a lot less water than most plants, they still do need some water and attention.”
Joslin waters her succulents every week or two.
This year, sculptural plants are taking center stage. Think the ones with the large fan-like leaves, such as banana trees or palms.
The most popular of the popular, though, is the split-leaf philodendron (Monstera deliciosa) with its heartshaped leaves that can reach more than a foot long and wide. As the leaves mature, they develop holes in the center that eventually elongate all the way to the edge of the leaf, splitting the leaf into smaller sections.
TRIED, TESTED, AND TRUE
If you’re looking for simple beyond succulents, Joslin suggests a pothos plant (Epipremnum aureum).
“They’re perfect for the office because if the leaves wilt if you forget about them for a while, they will pop right back up with a little water,” she says. “They’re a very popular plant, but beware: pothos is toxic if ingested by children or pets.”
Joslin also likes snake plants (Sansevieria). They don’t need much light or water – just water once every few weeks.
Another easy-peasy type is a rubber plant (Ficus elastica).
“It is versatile, and can do low or high light and is low maintenance in terms of watering,” she says.
The plant is so low-maintenance that Joslin waters only once every two weeks.
If you’re looking for a challenge…
Joslin often gets compliments from clients and customers on the showy fiddle-leaf fig (Ficus lyrata) at Coveted Home.
The fiddle-leaf fig is one of those tall, sculptural numbers you see on magazine covers. Its leaves are shaped like violins — that’s how it earned its name. Its waxy, dark, dramatic foliage provides a striking contrast to the light walls of sun-filled rooms.
“They’re popular, but I don’t recommend them to everyone,” she says. “They need a lot of sun and they don’t like to be moved. A lot of people end up killing them because they do take a lot of responsibility.”
But, in their defense, they are stunning.
There’s typically a plant in nearly each room Joslin designs:
• In the kitchen on counters and open shelving.
• In the living room on a coffee table.
• In the office on a desk.
• In a bedroom next to a dresser.
“Plants make good endcaps for bigger pieces of furniture,” she says.
Joslin loves adding tall plants to a room for height variation.
“They get bigger than your floor lamps,” she says. “It’s a great way to take your eye up and across the room.”
In rooms without much floor space, Joslin hangs plants from the ceiling.
Plants also can provide the panacea to odd nooks and crannies.
“There was a spot next to a fireplace that looked so dead,” she says. “I put a plant there and it finished that corner.”
Besides making a room look better, plants help a room feel good, too. They’re natural air purifiers, removing pollutants by absorbing them through their leaves and roots.
So after the disruption of construction in Joslin’s home, her plants provided an aesthetically pleasing and serene source of comfort.