This is the third myTake I've written, and there is a huge list of things I want to cover here so, uh, don't expect reams of writing contest gold, okay?
Alright then. Let's start.
Jade plant, Crassula ovata
This is certainly the one you all know, or at least saw in the garden centre the other day. The jade plant can be grown to a variety of sizes from small to tree-sized and is covered in deep green, fleshy leaves. One of the best things about jade plants (or succulents in general) is that they're incredibly easy to propagate from cuttings. I often find leaves that have fallen off the plant sending out roots and becoming plants on their own!
One of the reasons these things are so popular is that they're so easy to care for, and can really take a beating. However if you want to be nice to yours, it would appreciate as much sun as you can give it, and watering when the top layer of soil is dried out.
I have a handful of jade plants growing around the house, but I keep the "hobbit" variety in my room, which I've taken to calling "Shrek's ears" :p
Sensitive plant, Mimosa pudica
I picked up one of these today at a garden centre. (I grew one when I was about 10 but went on to kill it, obviously) Sometimes referred to as the touch-me-not, these charming little plants have the super cool ability to close up their leaves in seconds when touched, only to open up again a few minutes later. They also close up every night and open in the morning. Science is yet to put an exact reason to why they close, but most think it's to protect themselves from damage from destructive weather, pests or angry toddlers in garden centres.
The plants like a moist growing medium, but not waterlogged, or you'd be risking root rot. They also like bright, indirect sunlight and diluted fertiliser weekly when they're growing. Also, as they hail from South America, they need to be kept above 18°C, or 65 degrees for the yanks among us.
A plant that goes to sleep when you do. Perfect for a bedside windowsill!
Asparagus fern, Protasparagus setaceus
The fine feathery leaves of the asparagus fern just beg to be touched! This thing will grow very quickly if given the right conditions, that is a shady spot with moist soil, and daily spraying to keep humidity up. I have one in a short, wide pot next to the TV at the end of my bed. Shortly after putting it there, it shot up, and now rests on the top of my TV! The dense, arrow shaped leaves give the impression of a tiny forest growing at the end of my bed.
I haven't written much on it, but I really cannot recommend this plant enough, the only problem I've had with it is that it's growing too much :D
Air plants, Tillandsia
These neat little things are air plants, a group of about 600 plants, again from South America. What's so special about them is that, you guessed it, they don't need any soil to grow (the fancy word for that is epiphytic). They are covered in tiny scales (which is what gives them their silvery sheen) that help them absorb water and nutrients from the very air itself. A great thing about not needing a pot is that you can get creative with mounting these bad boys. Sometimes they're sold in glass bulbs that you can stand or hang, or they can easily be mounted with a piece of wire.
As there are so many types of air plant, care instructions can vary. However they need regular misting every few days, and a soak every 1-2 weeks. The spinier ones such as Juncifolia need less frequent watering, whereas the fleshier ones such as Bulbosa are a bit thirstier. As for light, they will burn in direct sunlight during the summer months, but definitely need a good amount of light. As the name suggests, air plants need good air circulation to stay healthy.
Carnivorous plants, Drosera, Sarracenia, Nepenthes, Dionaea, Pinguicula (the list goes on............)
As some of you may (or may not) know, I am a bit of a carnivorous plant nut >:D
Carnivorous plants are some of the most interesting to keep and are very likely to spark a conversation with visitors. Not to mention that they'll kill and eat any pesky bugs in your house! Most, if not all of you will be familiar with venus flytraps, but there are other options, such as the sticky tentacles of the sundew or the humongous jugs ( ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) ) of the tropical pitcher.
I've already done a Take on the general method of keeping carnivorous plants (which you can find riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight here) but the general idea is lots of rainwater and as much sun as possible, although this varies from plant to plant.
If you're looking for a carnivorous plant that's more showy, then a butterwort might be what you're looking for. These things have "buttery" feeling leaves that catch tiny horseflies, midges, etc. and are known for their dainty flowers :)
Staghorn ferns, Platycerium
Staghorn ferns are comprised of 17 different species, and are essentially the equivalent of mounting heads over a fireplace, but for vegetarians :p Staghorn ferns have a tendency to look magnificent wherever you put them, whether that be a wall mount, or in a hanging pot. And the bigger they grow, the better they look.
Shade is preferred for these plants, and whatever you put them on has to be kept moist. Mounting is a must with these, as unlike air plants, these need something to hold on to. When the plant gets big enough, it will produce "pups". These are basically baby plants that you can cut off with a clean knife and grow into another plant, or give to a friend! (this also applies to air plants)
I hope you enjoyed my little bit on cool houseplants. Horticulture seems to have this....stereotype lumped on it- everyone who is into plants is either a 70 year old woman or a giant nerd who squeaks with terror when you touch him. Well I'm here to say, I am not some effeminate, basement-dwelling neckbeard, nor am I a 70 year old woman- I am a (relatively speaking) normal teenage boy. I also enjoy growing plants.
I'm not sure if they're your kind of thing, but I think it's something you should try out if you have a few minutes to spare. You'll be surprised by the enjoyment you get back from them :)
I could have done at least double this many plants, but I have school tomorrow and frankly, I need to get ready. Now go out there, and put an end to the age of "that-one-dying-orchid-in-the-corner-of-the-room"!