During the lockdown, I discovered a deep passion for plants. And if social media is to be believed, I am not the only one suddenly inspired by forced isolation to embrace my inner gardener.

Social media is rife with #plants posts and certain plants seem to be more popular than their leafy counterparts. Believe it or not, some plants have “celeb status” and keep popping up on Instagram, making appearances on TikTok, and even the pages of home decor magazines.

So here are social media’s five hottest houseplants of summer 2020.

String of Pearls

Trailing plants that cascade over the edge of a shelf, mantle, or hanging planter are having a huge moment. One of the most popular trailing varieties of summer is the string of pearls plant which can grow 2- to 3-foot-long tendrils as it matures.

String of Pearls like bright indirect light, so if you are placing them outdoors, see that you keep them in a shaded area with some direct morning light or bright indirect light, and if they’re kept indoors, be sure to place them near a window with strong natural light. They don’t like direct sunlight however and will get burnt easily.

Image courtesy Planterina.com

The plant’s water-storing abilities means that you only need to water it thoroughly one week and then leave it be for the next week or two. Watering too often can increase the chances of root rot. So be sure to let the soil dry out at least half an inch or so between waterings.

Olive Tree

Olive trees are having a huge moment this season. Traditionally a symbol of peace and friendship, an association that began in ancient Greece, as early as the fifth century, olive trees are ancient plants.

Because they don’t thrive indoors over the long run, it’s best to move potted olive trees outside or plant them in the ground. If you grow an olive as a houseplant, choose a dwarf variety. Dwarf olives can grow to 6 feet, but you can prune them to keep them shorter.

Image courtesy Williams Sonoma

Established olive trees require fertilizer to stay healthy and produce every year. They need a balanced fertilizer with a 16-16-16 nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium ratio or similar.

If possible, your olive tree would greatly benefit from being washed down every few months, completely, including the underside of the leaves where pests accumulate.

Monstera

Its large tropical leaves have earned this plant the nickname “Swiss Cheese Plant,” monstera deliciosa continues to be one of the stars of social media. Check out any home decor blog or interior design influencer’s Instagram, and you’ll likely spot one. 

The Monstera deliciosa can improve the quality of the air you breathe, inducing feelings of calm, trapping dust and helping you feel alert. NASA’s rule of thumb is to have one air-purifying plant for every 100 square feet of space. Large-leafed philodendron plants, including the trendy monstera are said to be one of the most effective plants at reducing air pollution.

Your Monstera can grow just about anywhere in your home. It tolerates low light, but grows faster and becomes more dramatic in a bright spot. That said, avoid strong, direct sunlight because it may burn the leaves.

Calathea

Calathea are popular indoor plants and are generally easy to care for. Just keep the soil moist but never soggy and allow the top 2-3” to dry out before watering. Never let a Calathea sit in water and feed it with fertilizer monthly in the spring, summer, and fall with a balanced plant food diluted to ½ the recommended strength.

Image courtesy Beards & Daisies

Calathea’s help purify the air and make for great indoor plants. You can also observe the plants circadian rhythm as it closes its leaves at night and opens them again in the morning. As an added bonus, it is also pet-friendly, which is important if you have four-legged kids running around the house, looking for things to chew on. 

Coffee Plant

Part of what makes this plant so irresistible is that it combines everyone’s two favorite things: houseplants and coffee!

Considered to be among the easiest and hardiest of houseplants, coffee plants are great for both experienced and beginner gardeners. Not only is coffee plant care easy, but the plant itself is lovely and makes a wonderful addition to the home.

When growing coffee plants, the soil needs to stay moist, but not soaking wet. Also, make sure that both the soil and the pot your coffee plant is growing in has good drainage. The humidity around the plant will need to stay high as well. Setting your coffee plant on a water-filled pebble tray will help with humidity.

How many of these trendy #HousePlants do you have? So far, I have a monstera and hope to get a string of pearls when I next visit the nursery.