Whether you’ve got a green or black thumb, plant parenthood can really induce zen — especially when you can’t step outside for a mood-boosting dose of nature. Though an oft-referenced NASA study on the air-cleaning benefits of houseplants has been debunked, other studies have proven that indoor greenery can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and encourage you to chill out. But if the idea of leaving the house isn’t exactly bringing calm, or there are slim pickings at your local nursery, relax — you can get a new plant baby delivered straight to your door via the internet.
The best online plant delivery services offer something for every climate and lifestyle, from pet-friendly sprouts and low-maintenance greens for busy renters, to indoor trees that’ll turn your living room into a jungle-like retreat.
What Are the Best Indoor Plants?
For expert advice on shopping for houseplants, we turned to Erin Marino, resident plant expert and director of brand marketing at online plant retailer, The Sill. Here, she shares the things you’ll need to consider before you buy plants for your home or office.
Natural lighting: “Our number one rule of thumb is picking a plant that can thrive in the level of light your space receives,” explains Marino. She suggests considering the cardinal direction that your windows are facing, as well as anything that obstructs access to natural light. You’ll also want to determine if you have direct or indirect light. “If indirect, is it bright, medium, or low? Once you narrow it down, it’ll be much easier to choose the best plant varieties for your space.”
Your lifestyle: You’ll also want to consider how often you travel. “Most common houseplants can get by a week or two without water, but if you travel often for longer periods of time, you’ll want to opt for a plant that is also considered a drought-tolerant succulent,” Marino says. She’s careful to point out that “succulent” is usually used as “an umbrella term that can be used for any plant that has evolved adaptations to survive arid environments. Most common succulents can go a month or more without water.”
What Causes Indoor Plants to Die?
Having trouble keeping your plants alive? These are the things to avoid once you bring your greenery home.
Overwatering: “It’s better to underwater than overwater, [which is] is one of the easiest ways to kill a houseplant,” Marino says. “You may be tempted to water your plants on a strict schedule, but the best bet is to only water when needed,” she adds. To avoid overwatering, always check whether the soil is already moist; if so, hold off on that aqua. Seasonal changes outside can also affect your indoor watering schedule. “For example, most houseplants need less water in the winter when they’re semi-dormant, but if you’re blasting your heater all winter long and the air is dry, their soil might dry out quicker and they might need water more often,” she explains.
Unstable environments: Temperature fluctuations could also be to blame for plant issues. “Just like us, most houseplants are comfortable between 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit,” Marino says. “Extreme cold or hot fluctuations in temps can stress them out. Do your best to avoid placing plants near temperature hazards like vents, radiators, and exterior doors or open windows, which might create hot or cold drafts of air.”
Too much TLC: “It might sound silly, but less is more when it comes to most houseplants,” says The Sill’s Marino. Plants are hardier than we think and can tolerate a bit of neglect. They might even appreciate it!” For instance, indoor tropical plants are usually dormant during long winter months, so they’ll need less water. Don’t worry too much if you notice a few lost leaves; Marino chalks it up to a “natural, seasonal shedding process that happens when plants don’t get enough sunlight to support their summer foliage.”
Repotting too soon: If you bought a pre-potted plant and you intend to keep it in its original container for at least a year, “the best bet is to let it acclimate to its new environment) for two weeks before repotting it,” Marino explains. “It can already be slightly stressed from its travels, and now that it is in a brand new space (with different light levels, different temperatures, etc.), it might show some natural signs of stress, like leaf loss, while it adapts to its new home. To help set it up for success, let it go through a period of adjustment more before repotting it.”
Where to Buy Plants Online
In addition to The Sill, we’ve rounded up other great places to buy plants online. Whether you’re looking for mini blooms like succulents, medium plants like the oh-so-‘grammable monstera deliciosa, or leafy floor plants, check out our favorite spots below.
1. The Sill
The Sill is known for its stylish plant-and-pot pairings that include sleek ceramic planters in cool colors, and you can choose from pet-friendly greens to blooms that are best for low or bright environments. The company’s site is pretty straightforward and also has faux and preserved options, and its brick-and-mortar locations in New York, L.A., and San Francisco offer online order pickup. You can also attend online workshops (IRL services are on hold for now) and soak up tips on seasonal plant care and more.
Snake Plant Valentii, $40, available at The Sill
On top of providing a variety of greenery that arrive in EcoPots (which are made of ocean-bound recycled plastics), Bloomscape has a slew of support options for seasoned and soon-to-be plant parents, including personalized assistance from its Plant Mom team. We like the Dutch company’s Vera app for keeping track of watering schedules and learning new plant care tricks (including how to properly repot and trim), and you can even log the statuses of your greens in its journal.
Bloomscape Pet Peromia Collection, $65, available at Bloomscape
3. Pro Plants
Pro Plants is owned by well-established floral delivery company FTD, so you can order everything from money trees and “zen” greens to flowering plants alongside bouquets for every occasion. The brand is committed to working with farms that provide safe and ethical working environments for its employees. Its 24-hour online chat also makes it convenient to get customer service when you need it.
Braided Money Tree in Southwestern Print Basket, $60, available at Pro Plants
4. Léon & George
The socially-conscious company says it works with U.S.-based growers that grow “in native climates to ensure happy, healthy plants.” Its team of “plant doctors” offers personalized support, and the brand ships its greens via carefully-wrapped packaging or white glove service. We like that Léon & George’s donates to nonprofits that support reforestation, criminal justice policy reform, and public media.
Léon & George Golden Petra Small, $74, available at Léon & George
5. The Bouqs
The hip floral delivery company is known for its sustainable bouquet subscriptions and partnering with local florists for its on-demand service, and it also stocks a range of eco-friendly living plants that can be sent as gifts. The Bouqs also offers one-on-one flower care help via chat.
Bouqs Anthurium Flamingo Flower, $65, available at The Bouqs
Terrain shares a parent company with Anthropologie, so you’ll also find the gardening-focused emporium within some of the bohemian retailer’s locations. It offers a full range of indoor and outdoor plants (which come in cool rustic pots), fresh flowers, dried stems, faux blooms, and more alongside landscaping supplies and tools, furniture, decor, and home goods. Its outposts in Connecticut and Pennsylvania also offer curbside pickup for online orders.
Monstera Deliciosa Plant, $48, available at Terrain
7. Nature Hills
In addition to houseplants, the massive online nursery stocks everything from bulbs and trees to outdoor living furniture and gardening supplies. Nature Hill’s informative online resources (think plant zone maps and a video library) make it a cinch to become a plant pro, and you can also shop by phone if you have questions as you’re picking greenery to buy.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant, $74, available at Nature Hills
The online company makes it easy to shop for leafy greens by size, room, lifestyle, and more categories. If you want a pet-friendly bloom for your bedroom, hanging plants for the bathroom, or even stems to give our living room a feng shui upgrade, then Plants.com is the place to go.
Boston Fern Hanging Plant, $45, available at Plants.com
9. Soil & Clay
Soil & Clay specializes in low-maintenance plants, and you can shop by size, frequency of watering, light tolerance, and pet-friendly greens. The company also stocks stylish pots, plant care tools and accessories, and clever apparel for showing off your proud plant parenthood.
Maranta Prayer Plant, $27, available at Soil & Clay
10. 1-800 Flowers
The phone order-turned-online service doesn’t just offer same-day arrangement deliveries — you can also shop for indoor and patio greenery such as succulents, flowering plants, air plants, and more in classic and modern pots, terrariums, and hanging planters.
Cactus Dish Garden, $40+, available at 1800Flowers
More from Rolling Stone
See where your favorite artists and songs rank on the Rolling Stone Charts.
Sign up for Rolling Stone’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.