The Best Plants For Your Kitchen + How To Care For Them

You already know the best plants to improve air quality, and how important plants are to remove toxins found in the home. Now we’re getting specific: The Best Plants for Your Kitchen. Between the heat and food spatters that come from cooking and the risk of potential smoke if you’re not exactly a master chef, it might seem like a finicky environment in which to raise a plant.

The good news is it doesn’t have to be. When you pick the best plant for a kitchen (an exercise apparently not as restrictive as one might think) and strategically position them in a safe location, the possibilities of a greenery-filled home are endless.

Today, were learning from the experts: Andrea Strauchler, the garden lead at Sprout Home, and Chris Satch, The Sill’s head of plant education. They’re going to share their tips on how to turn any kitchen into the houseplant nursery that dreams are made of.

What’s the one thing people should know about putting plants in their kitchen?

Strauchler: The natural light that comes into the kitchen will ultimately determine what plant will work best for the area. A sunny, well-lit kitchen will allow for the options of greens you can cook with (basil, mint, thyme, or rosemary, to name a few); there are few things more satisfying than harvesting a plant that you have grown yourself.

Kitchens that have less light may not work as well for herbs, but there are plenty of plants that thrive in lower-light situations like Sansevieria—otherwise known as “snake plants”—and ZZ plants.

Is there anything about a kitchen environment that plant owners should pay particular attention to?

Satch: Yes, definitely! Although the kitchen is more humid than other rooms in the house, it’s also the room in which the temperature swings the most… be wary of your plants’ watering schedules. It’s best to just check plants every few days and water accordingly instead of sticking to a set schedule. The heat of cooking may make some plants dry out faster.

Also, note that many kitchens have tile floors—in the winter, they can get colder than other rooms in the house because of that. Any plant on the floor should be elevated during the colder months.

Be aware of putting plants too close to the oven or stove, where the heat from cooking may be a bit much! A few feet away from the stove or oven should be fine. Generally, by the kitchen sink and windows is the best place for plants.

What are the best plants to keep in the kitchen?

Strauchler: Air purifiers! NASA completed a study for plants that can clear toxic chemicals such as ammonia, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde from the air. Sansevieria, Anthurium, Dracaenas, and Spathiphyllum all have wonderful air purification capabilities.

Satch: Herbs can double as fresh ingredients, so they’re always the best be. Kitchens tend to be rooms with higher humidity in the home, so houseplants that thrive in moist environments, like ferns, orchids, and air plants, are also great picks. Air plants are especially great if you’re limited in counter space; you can string ‘em up and let them hang around, or make use of wall space with air plant holders that attach to your walls. And don’t worry—they won’t spill your sauce’s secret ingredient to your guests! They’re great listeners but not great talkers.

How do you recommend displaying kitchen plants?

Strauchler: We love the look of trailing Spider plants, Burro’s Tail, String-of-Pearls, Pothos, and Philodendrons spilling over a shelf or hanging from the ceiling in a kitchen corner. For very bright kitchens with direct light, a variety of succulents (which require very little watering) or herbs grouped on a windowsill can also be quite beautiful.

Satch: Kitchens get crowded with too many cooks too easily. Opt for plants in hanging baskets or on stands so that you can see them and don’t bump into them. If you are blessed with ample counter space you’re good to put your foliage on display there. If you’re not, try a vining plant like a Pothos or Philodendron trailing down from the top of your kitchen cabinets or the fridge.

Let us know what you think of kitchen plants on Facebook or Instagram.

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