How to Find the Best Houseplant for Your Space

Valerie Braverman of Maplewood's Brave Floral breaks down the maintenance levels of four beautiful indoor plants.

Florist Valerie Braverman of Brave Floral in Maplewood
Florist Valerie Braverman has a guide for plant lovers of all levels. Photo by Andy Foster

Valerie Braverman, owner of Brave Floral in Maplewood, says that houseplants can breathe life and bring a sense of nature into a space.

“A lot of people have plants that were in their homes for generations—they become part of the family. They just make you happy,” she says.

Here are a few of Braverman’s favorites.



Fernwood mikado plant

These snake plants are a low-maintenance option. Photo by Andy Foster

Sansevieria varieties are best sellers because of their sleek, modern look and perky fountain-like shape. These are compact, hybrid snake plants that have dark-green leaves with striking, light green, tiger-print striping. They don’t need to be watered a lot and are tolerant of different light levels, making this a super-easy choice for plant lovers of all levels, says Braverman.


Ficus Tineke plant

These plants can last for generations—but they need bright light and consistent watering. Photo by Andy Foster

Also known as a rubber plant, this is a popular and easy-to-grow species. Its variageted, colorful leaves make it an interesting-looking plant. These are the types of plants that stay with families for generations. Braverman says one customer told her that her grandmother had passed along one that was over 35 years old. Centuries ago, these plants were used to make rubber products. These are great, low-maintenance houseplants for beginners looking for a splash of color, Braverman says. But they need bright light and consistent watering. Keep them away from cats and dogs—they are toxic to pets.


Black Raven ZZ plant

These varieties make ideal housewarming gifts, Braverman says. Photo by Andy Foster

This is one of the more unusual varieties of ZZ plants, aka Zamioculcas zamiifolia. It’s a tropical succulent that sprouts lime-green leaves, which then turn a deep purple-black as they mature. Braverman says her customers love these plants for their ease and versatility. They are low maintenance and hardy, and the leaves stay shiny, even without a lot of care. They make beautiful housewarming gifts, says Braverman, especially when you don’t know the lighting conditions of a new home. These plants are relatively slow growing.


Fiddle-leaf fig plant

These plants are high maintenance, but beautiful. Photo by Andy Foster

A beautiful plant, the fiddle-leaf fig is also one of the more fickle specimens because it has very specific watering and light requirements. Braverman says many customers inquire about this plant, but these large-leafed beauties don’t thrive easily because they don’t like change. She doesn’t recommend these for someone who can’t provide a lot of care, adding that, when moved to a new spot in someone’s home, it will frequently show signs of stress by dropping leaves.

Brave Floral, 87 Baker Street, Maplewood, 973-761-0026

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