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The One Plant That Should Be In Every Home

Summer Rayne Oakes, an environmental scientist and author, shares house plant shopping tips at Sprout Home in Williamsburg. Published: August 27, 2019

House plants have never been more accessible. Online retailers like The Sill, Bloomscape, and Horti will deliver whatever flora your heart desires straight to your door. The hashtag #plantsofinstagram has amassed over 3 million posts. “Plantfluencer” is now a word, according to The New York Times.

But all that online noise doesn’t make it any easier to buy a plant. “When people look for houseplant information, it's all scatter-shot across the Internet,” says Summer Rayne Oakes, an environmental scientist, author, and urban gardening expert. “A lot of times, people just regurgitate what is already out there, without ever having grown a plant indoors,” she adds.

With over 1,100 plants in her Williamsburg apartment, Oakes knows what it takes to cultivate an indoor green space. She says there are three main factors to consider before buying a plant: the light in your home, whether you’re a hands-off or hands-on gardener, and your aesthetic preferences.

For beginners, Oakes recommends a small succulent because they're easy to care for and relatively affordable. You could order one online, but she recommends going to your local nursery: “There’s nothing like being able to see something with your own eyes, touch it, feel it, have a selection before you.” In the video above, Oakes walks us through succulent basics while shopping at Sprout Home, one of her favorite gardening centers in Williamsburg. Watch to find out which succulent she ends up with.

Discover more home gardening hacks in Oakes’s newly released book, How to Make a Plant Love You: Cultivate Green Space in Your Home and Heart.

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Frances Thomas

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