It’s a Monday Rewind! Yellow Brick Home has over 11 years of archives, so from time to time, we’ll be sharing our favorites from posts past. This tutorial was originally published in November 2019. Enjoy!
In 2014, we installed a Wooly Pocket (now WallyGro) in our home studio. While the name has changed, the construction remains the same from what we can tell. The wall-mounted planter (similar) has seen a few planting iterations, but it has always served as a huge statement piece in our studio. Recently, a reader reached out hoping for an update on the planter after more than 5 years of use:
I love the living wall planter in your home! I know you installed it several years ago, so I would love to read an update blog post on how you have enjoyed it, which plants have worked well and which ones didn’t, and any other feedback. Love your blog!– Ashley
As we’ve learned what works, what doesn’t and what downright thrives, we thought we’d take this opportunity to answer this and round up some other easy plants and planters that make adding greenery to your home a snap!
Each of the five segments of our WallyGro has an internal divider, so we’ve used a mixture of regular potting soil and succulent soil. This space receives indirect bright light throughout the morning and intense direct light from the west all afternoon. Our most successful iteration of our pocket includes a handful of ZZ, African Milk Tree, a small fern and a very happy trailing Pothos. The WallyGro is very settled and with minimal maintenance, we’ve watched our plants continue to grow and flex.
Overall, care for this planter is easy: Kim waters the back panel slowly every 2 weeks, and the recycled felt fibers help disperse the moisture. There’s a military-grade liner that protects our drywall from getting wet, although if we over water, it may drip out of the bottom (so we’re just careful about that). It’s pretty simple, and we still love it!
Our Favorite Low-Maintenence Houseplants
Snake Plant (Sansevieria, multiple varieties)
One of the most common houseplants available, Sansevieria comes in more shapes, sizes and colors than we can even begin to process. We love snake plants because of their large sculptural leaves, easy availability and simple care. They seem to actually thrive on neglect. Our home is currently occupied by multiple Sansevieria varieties. A few favorites that we’ve had luck with are Moonshine, Metallica, Masoniana/Whale Fin and Trifasciata/variegated. We especially love snake plants at our Michigan Tree House, since they can go for weeks on end without attention. Because there are so many varieties, we tend to gravitate toward the weird and rare ones. I’m not ashamed to say that I was once on a six month quest for a Metallica (above) until I then found multiple specimens in a the span of a few weeks!
ZZ (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia)
Much like the snake plants described above, ZZ’s also do well with proper
neglect care! They’re drought tolerant, can survive in almost any light conditions and don’t require much in the care department. Those who follow plant ‘trends’ have likely seen the recent rise in popularity of the ZZ ‘Raven’. This new color variation requires the same care as the standard variety ZZ, but the Raven has striking purple-black foliage. I’m on the hunt!
Pothos (Epipremnum Aureum)
Pothos is yet a third contender for the easiest houseplant of all, which is sort of the theme here, right? Pothos have large, shiny, heart shaped leaves that come in many color varieties from variegated to neon yellow/green. Our Pothos regularly grow so long in our WallyGro (above) that we take huge cuttings to root and propagate into entirely new plants. If they start to droop, a big drink of water will perk them up almost instantly. They’re happy. We’re happy. It’s a match made in heaven!
Philodendron Hope (Philodendron Bipinnatifidum)
The Philodendron in our living room is one of our favorites in the whole house. (In fact, we’ve named him Phil, as one does.) Phil loves indirect bright light, and when we feel that the soil has gone dry, we’ll give him a fresh drink of water – about 3-4 cups. He’s large and in charge, and he adds a big splash of personality to our otherwise fairly neutral living room.
African Milk Tree (Euphorbia Trigona)
Our African Milk Tree was an awesome gift from equally awesome friends, and we’ve found ours easy to grow and care for. It’s almost doubled in size since we’ve had it (at least 3 years now!), and we’ve even added a few similar friends to the base. It’s lived at the top of our stairs since Day One, and because he’s doing so well, we haven’t moved him. As he grows, he moves and bends, and so we use a stick to keep him propped up! Fair warning: The ‘milk’ or sap that emerges from these plants can be very irritating to the skin and eyes, so take precaution when handling.
Friendship Plant (Pilea Peperomioides)
Our Pilea is a new addition to our home and it’s literally growing like a weed! It started much, much smaller in our bathroom renovation, and as you can see, the plant is thriving. It has more than doubled in size after spending time on the built-in bathroom ledge and windowsill, and just last week, we noticed an entirely new stalk shooting up. We keep an eye on the leaves and give it a bit of water when we notice them starting to droop. That’s it! It’s thriving in bright, indirect light in the bathroom, but apparently they’ll tolerate slightly dimmer conditions as well.
This random assortment of succulents has been in front of the french door in our kitchen for years. We’ve added a few plants here and there, but it continues to explode with growth. We love how all the varieties tangle themselves together, and they seem content to receive the east-facing bright morning light from our kitchen.
The little spiky ground cover guys even throw out alien looking flowers which is always fun! Do you spot them above?
Planters We Love
The right plant is nothing without the appropriate planter. For example, some plants, like ZZ’s and Sansevierias, actually prefer their root systems to be crowded. Many horticulturalists actually recommend keeping ZZ’s in the same plastic pot until the roots begin to crack the vessel! Below, we’ve rounded up a handful of great planter, grouped by size for easy navigation. You might notice that we’ve included a few of our own – hello, #13 and #26!
Tabletop Planters | 7″ or Smaller
1. speckled stoneware | 2. ceramic cylinder | 3. planter + drainage tray | 4. grecian bust | 5. white ceramic | 6. petrol blue turned wood | 7. gray stripe | 8. face pot | 9. coal clay (similar) | 10. fox | 11. unglazed cement | 12. banded porcelain
Mid-Size Planters | 8″ – 17″
13. turned leg stand | 14. dotted terracotta | 15. gray w/brass stand | 16. two tone w/stand | 17. oiled finish metal | 18. fluted crystal gold | 19. belize low bowls | 20. athlone pot (out of stock, similar)| 21. kronos (multiple sizes) | 22. footed planter (similar)| 23. roma terracotta | 24. wicker w/stand (out of stock, rattan alternative)
Large Planters | 18″ or Larger
25. white zen | 26. iris + chevron stand | 27. sphere | 28. hex w/walnut stand | 29. maya green ceramic (out of stock, similar)| 30. round fiberglass | 31. clay hex (out of stock, similar) | 32. tall square | 33. copper banded
Pothos are the besttttttttt. Virtually indestructible. Can tolerate low light but put them in the light and watch them explode with growth. And rooting cuttings is so easy! And you don’t have to pot them in soil, you can just let them do their thing in water! I love trailing plants so I have as many varieties of pothos and philos that I can get my hands on. Have you guys considered: the neon pothos/philodendron (bright neon green leaves), the silver satin pothos (thick, dark green and silver leaves), or the golden pothos (deep green leaves flecked with gold)? They’ll add a ton of interest to your existing plants, and they get dramatic when they need water, so you always know when they need a little care.
Also, where do you guys get your plants? I make the rounds to the home improvement stores because sometimes they know not what they have and you can get a relatively rare plant for cheap, but there are a few Chicagoland nurseries that I like to frequent as well. I just got a monstera adansonii the other day and he is yet another amazing trailer! I could talk about plants all day hahaha.
Hey Kathy! Our local favorites (in no particular order) are Adams & Sons, Christy Webber, Sprout Home and Plant Shop! We’ve definitely found some hidden gems at Lowe’s as well!
You’ve gotta check out Botanical Cafe on Lincoln in North Center. Such a cute coffeeshop and a ton of great plants at really good prices!
As a plant lady, I loved this post! I’ve also found that it depends where I buy my plants. Some that are supposedly easy to care for might not be great quality from one store, then I bring it home and it dies. But buying the same plant from another store, it does well.
We have noticed this as well, but can’t seem to determine the symptoms or the cause. We’ve definitely had plants from high-end nurseries wilt and die after a few days. We also have plants from big box stores that are thriving to this day. We tend to just go with our gut regarding the overall health of the plant and hope for the best!
I have loved your site for so long and you always have the best tips! As a plant enthusiast, I have plants all over the place and I needed help with container ideas so thank you!! I just bought the Wally Grow containers recently for my in my home and I can’t wait to put them up but I’ve also been eying the Wolly Pocket for so long. I’ve been hesitant to get it due to the moisture on the wall concerns. Any issue with mold or anything behind the pockets or did you install liner behind the pockets? Thank you so much!!!
NO issues whatsoever! 5 years later, and I can sort of pick up the pocket and look behind, and the drywall is perfect. The water barrier inside the pocket(s) is pretty amazing!
Thank you so much for taking time to respond! Now, I will have to pick up some Wolly Pockets too!! PS. I can’t get enough of seeing Lucy on your blog and feed!!
I’d love to add more plants to my home, but am nervous about keeping the pets away. Have you ever had issues with pets getting after leaves and such? Advice for keeping them safe?
We’ve been really lucky that our pets have zero interest in our plants. None. Not even a little. But because we like to play it safe, we did ask our vet about plant safety, and what she said always stuck with me: Basically, munching on leaves might give your pet a bellyache, but he/she would have to consume their weight in leaves to get ill.
I think that only you know what’s best for your pet. If you have a plant-snacking cat or dog, make sure to keep the plants out of their reach! Stick to tabletop planters or trailing plants (like pothos) and keeping them up REALLY high.
Awesome roundup of planters!! Thank you. Do you have any favorite hanging planters? I’ve been on the hunt and have come up empty handed!
Great question! Maybe we’ll add some hanging planter picks in an upcoming Weekender?
Yes, please! I’ve been on the hunt too!
I’d love to see your roundup of hanging planter picks also! And wall planters too! Love the ones you chose for Tree House!!
Hi! It looks like you have a couple new pillows that aren’t linked in the Shop Our House section and I looooooove them. Do you mind sharing where they are from? The one on the leather chair and the textured one on the couch.
Hi, Michelle! This is the one on the leather chair (it’s two sided, and I have the velvet side facing out), and the big textured one on the couch is new – this guy! I’ve added both to the Shop page. :)
Your milk tree looks pretty low to the ground — do you do anything in particular to keep Lucy from touching the sap / prickles (at least it looks prickly?) or does she just know to keep her hands off?
We’re lucky in that Lucy hasn’t shown too much interest in our houseplants. Especially the prickly ones!
This is probably an odd comment, but I just came across this listing of a free vintage concrete laundry sink in Peoria, IL. Not by me but thought someone in your neck of the woods might want it. https://www.ebay.com/itm/FREE-Vintage-Concrete-Double-Bowl-Utility-Sink-Pickup-only/383250185568?hash=item593b7dbd60:g:Pa8AAOSwq-BdwGjT