Best of SF: Top Tips for Your Casa Verde

Best of SF: Top Tips for Your Casa Verde

by Cynthia Cummins

Cynthia is owner and founder of Kindred SF Homes and a top San Francisco Realtor. Check out for refreshing reflections on the meaning of home and for more “best real estate advice” (since 2013).

Reading time: 1 minute 53 seconds

My mom always had (still has) lots of houseplants. She has a green thumb, and she cares.

As a young adult I aspired to emulate her but all the H2O-light-soil-dependent things I brought into my apartment died. They died quickly or they died slowly, but nobody made it out alive. I had a collection of pretty pots with skinny sticks poking straight up where orchids once twined. On the windowsills were samples of withered brown bits in moldy soil. Even succulents couldn’t make it – whether from too little or too much water I can’t say.

And then I got married and had kids, so houseplants and pets were off the menu. Until recently.

During the pandemic and with the boys all grown up, I decided to bring some green back inside my home. The results have been varied but not so dire as before. I have a small philodendron that hasn’t changed since day one; it’s not growing but it hasn’t met its demise either. Two shamrocks have gone yellow and dormant. I’m keeping two post-bloom orchids alive in the bathtub (at least I think they’re alive) and I haven’t given up on an amaryllis that didn’t bloom at all in 2020.

But my snake plant is thriving: Air cleaner; feng shui excluder of negative chi; organism that thrives on neglect. I highly recommend it as a cheerful addition to your home!

Follow my advice and go get a snake plant. Then find a nice pot for it; you’ll want a fetching one because the plan is unlikely to die anytime soon (sort of like an African Gray Parrot but without blatant emotional needs). With that in mind, here’s a roundup of great pots.

If Sansevieria trifasciata isn’t your jam and you need a little more pizzaz, try these indoor flowering plants. Or check out the phenomenal selection of possibilities at Flora Grubb Gardens. For learning more about how to care for your plants, I recommend Sloat Garden Center’s “Ask the Garden Guru” column.

Or – if you don’t want to get your hands even the least bit dirty – you can skip the whole houseplant thing and check out these amazing photographs of gardens under glass.

Photo Credit: Drew Beamer

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