We’ve all done it, playing the game where we unapologetically state our favorites. We play this game as kids for fun and as adults to get to know one another. What’s your favorite color? What’s your favorite food? What’s your favorite book, movie, or song? These are seemingly simple questions that we ask one another, and yet, the given answers provide us with great insight into who we are. And at its core, the game is a great way to celebrate our uniqueness as individuals. Unfortunately, this game can be overwhelmingly difficult for an indecisive person. I’m not particularly eager to pick favorites; it’s not really in my nature. Is it because I’m afraid of hurt feelings? Well, I did feel slightly guilty about that red crayon never coming out of the box as a kid-it just wasn’t my favorite color, but I don’t think that’s the reason. It is more likely that I have too many favorites, and picking “just one” is a near-impossible task.
So, during this winter season, when I was dreaming and planning next season’s garden, I thought it would be fun to play this game. I decided to challenge myself and ask one of the most difficult questions you can ask a gardener: If you could only grow one plant, what would you grow and why? I know, right? Like a gardener could ever answer that! Not me, and that is why I decided to break it into categories and limit myself to five answers instead of one. Hey, give me a break; I said I was indecisive. Baby steps, people!
Over the next three weeks, I will be picking my top five favorites in the following three categories: houseplants, flowers, and edibles. I will be candid and tell you that I don’t have all of my answers as I’m typing this. This game is going to be a monumental challenge. I’d love it if you’d like to play along each week and share your favorites in the comments below.
Alright, let’s get to it. First category: Top five favorite houseplants. Houseplants will be the easiest category for me because I narrowed the list down to the houseplants I currently have growing in my home. Then, I asked myself, if I only had room for five of these, which would I keep (the answer, of course, was I’d build an addition to the house and keep all 28 plus 12 more that I bought at the nursery). But, since this is an exercise in becoming a more decisive person, here are my answers.
- Goldfish Plant (Nematanthus gregarious): I am smitten with the adorable flowers on this plant that look like goldfish. When in full bloom, the plant seems aquatic, with a school of goldfish swimming around it. Having a plant that blooms regularly indoors is extra special in the winter months when I’m craving flowers and color. It’s even more special when those flowers look like fish!
- Blue Star Fern (Phlebodium aureum): The strappy leaves of this fern are gorgeous blue-green that tend to resemble the foam fingers you would get at a baseball game. In a light breeze, they look like they are waving hello. This fern’s unique leaf shape and color have won me over, and it quickly made my top five list.
- Croton’ Gold Dust’ (Codiaeum variegatum): This plant is stunning. The leaves each have a unique splattering of bright yellow spots that give the plant a cheerful vibe. The leaves look like they’re coated in paint splatter, something I’m drawn to as an artist. The fact that each leaf has a unique pattern makes it all the more exciting. This beauty easily sailed into a top-five spot on my list.
- Rex Begonia (Begonia rex-cultorum): I have lovingly grown begonias for many years, but this particular plant is my all-time favorite. I wish I knew the cultivar name, but sadly the tag simply said ‘Rex Begonia. If anyone knows the variety, please let me know. The speckled leaves in beautiful shades of pink and maroon are captivating.
- Monstera Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera adansonii): These plants have become very popular in greenhouses and floral shops for a good reason. Typically, plant lovers would be upset to find holes in their plants’ leaves- often evidence of insect damage. But, the holes in these leaves are intentional, developing in a process called fenestration. I find the fact that this plant intentionally grows a unique pattern of holes in its leaves both fascinating and endearing.
Phew, I did it. Those are my top five favorite houseplants that I am currently growing in my home. But, predictably, I also had to put two plants in the Honorable Mention category (because, well, I told you I was indecisive):
- Ladyslippers’ Grape Ice’ (Streptocarpus): Here’s another houseplant that continuously blooms indoors. This plant’s colorful purple flowers and velvety leaves make it deserve an honorable mention.
- Spider Plant ‘Bonnie’ (Chlorophytum comosum): I know this plant has fallen slightly out of favor for showier specimens, as it is considered a bit old-fashioned. But perhaps that is why I am drawn to it. My mother cared for her spider plant for 40 years, and I have fond childhood memories of that plant. Besides, the curly leaves of the ‘Bonnie’ variety make it anything but ordinary.
So, there you have it! Please feel free to play along and share your favorite houseplants in the comments; perhaps you’ll introduce me to a variety that will become a new favorite. Stay tuned for next week’s post on my top five favorite flowers to grow. Now that is going to be nearly impossible to narrow. Wish me luck!