Birdsall & Co. Houseplant Parenting Advice

Birdsall’s Annie Huston offers sage advice for becoming a proper houseplant parent.

Photo by Joni Schrantz.

Imagine one lonely tabletop versus one with the simple addition of a houseplant in a container that’s a perfect complement to the existing décor,” says Annie Huston, owner of Birdsall & Co., a fanciful gardening and home décor shop on South Broadway. Her enthusiasm, charm, and delightful French accent can convince anyone they need all the plants, but her knowledge and experience will lead you down the right path of being a proper “plant parent.”

If decorating with houseplants sounds appealing, Huston offers advice for choosing and caring for plants that fit your specific space, taste, and lifestyle. “Live plants are the most economical and high-impact design accents for an interior,” says Huston. “Since they come in every shape, size, texture and color, they are a flexible final touch to a space. They also add the biophilic touch we all need, now more than ever.”

Huston says shopping for indoor plants should be a fun, experiential outing. “And once you have a few plants,” she adds, “it becomes a social experience in which you can share your cuttings and knowledge with other like-minded plant parents.”

Photo by Joni Schrantz.

Choosing the Proper Plant

What’s the most important thing to consider when choosing houseplants? “Really evaluate yourself,” Huston says. “Are you the type of person who will mist their plants every day, or is it the survival of the fittest in your home? Answering this question honestly will help you make the best decisions about what kind of plants will thrive in your care.

“The best options for beginner plant parents also tend to be the plants that are most common.” Huston’s go-to recommendations for those who are just starting out with their houseplant collection include pothos, snake, and ZZ plants. These plants are forgiving of mistreatment and neglect.

Depending on the level of care and commitment, both in time and in money, Huston says plants such as ferns, calatheas, alocasias and crotons require more attention and offer a bit more of a challenge than your everyday houseplant. If you really want to get fancy, Birdsall often sells cuttings, propagates, and even full plants of some rare and sought-after plants—and their staff has the knowledge to give you all the advice you need to keep them happy and healthy.

Photo by Joni Schrantz.

Plant Parenting 101

Remember, you can get away with plants inside that you could never have outside because the temperature, sun exposure, and humidity are all more comfortable—and controllable— inside. “Most indoor plants will do just fine in most of our dry Colorado homes, but you’ll need to make adjustments for your thirstiest friends by purchasing humidifiers and adding misting to your routine.” Huston adds that if you’re not great at watering on time, avoid fragile ferns, calatheas, and smaller plants generally, as these dry out faster and struggle to bounce back.

Beyond that, Huston’s care instructions are simple. “Don’t water with hot water. Don’t put them in a closet. Do research the plant to make sure you have the conditions and the personality required to let your plant thrive under your care!”