Houseplants are enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Sometimes I get that feeling of déjà vu when I see people posting their photos of them on Facebook and hear them talking lovingly about the newest plant to join their living room jungle.

Growing houseplants was a thing in the 1970s. I know, because that was my era and my thing. My mom was a gardener, but I can’t remember growing up with any plants in our house. She preferred growing them outside and still does, some fifty or so years later.

When I went off to college at Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne in the fall of 1974, I lived in an apartment with a roommate. IPFW was a commuter college at that time, with no dorms. Having an apartment was an incredibly large step and it was like playing house for real.

My parents required me to come home on the weekends, but during the week, life on my own was where I learned to be my own person and I got to make some new choices. Though my furniture was brought from home and our kitchen table was a card table, there was still that wonderful sense of independence that I hadn’t had before.

One of the first things I remember doing was heading over to Frank’s Nursery and Crafts on the east side of town, just up the road from K-Mart on Coliseum Boulevard. Frank’s was a fun spot, because you could get all kinds of quirky things for your DIY projects, decorations at Christmastime, and plants.

They situated the houseplants so that they were pretty much the first thing you saw when you walked in the door. I can still see the table they sat on, all green and cute and full of the promise that you could walk out with something that would really make your house a home.

The cacti fascinated me, but I don’t think I chose one of those. I got a spider plant, because who wouldn’t love living with a plant named for that thing that most people feared? And it shot out the cutest little baby plants that you could eventually cut off and pot up for free!

I also bought a small prayer plant, which had a couple of things going for it. I liked its unusual spotted leaves and when nighttime came, those leaves folded upward as if in prayer. How cool is that?

Finally, I bought a philodendron because I’d heard they were easy. If I couldn’t manage to keep the other two plants alive, maybe the philodendron would survive my novice efforts.

A year later, I would be a newlywed and those plants moved with me to our little house on North Drive in Paulding. I managed to not kill them and I was proud. I was also hooked. More houseplants came to live with us in the months and years that followed and though growing houseplants would fall out of vogue, such was not the case at our house.

I learned a lot about plants in general by growing them inside. Mom gave words of advice and the book I’d purchased about how to care for houseplants was a big help. Little did I know back then that I’d one day have a book about them that had my own name on its cover.

And now here we are, in the 2020s and houseplants are trendy again. This time around, we have more choices and while Frank’s no longer exists, we have a number of places where you can get them. You can often pick one up when you go to the grocery.

With fashion, it’s said that “if you wore it the first time, you shouldn’t wear it the second time.” Thank goodness it’s not that way for plants. If you are hesitant to get a houseplant because you think you’d kill it, don’t let that stop you. I’ve killed plenty of them in my lifetime, as most hortiholics have.

Winter is the perfect time to bring a plant home and add it to your décor. Dress it up with a unique container that adds some pop to your style. Be bold and get a trio of plants, place them in containers that are all the same color, and you have an instant collection that makes a statement.

This is the premise behind my first book, Indoor Plant Décor: The Design Stylebook for Houseplants. It features eight different decorating styles and shows you ways to use houseplants that enhance each style. Each chapter also has a DIY project if you want a more hands-on experience. Basics of growing are included, as well as a list of houseplants according to how easy they are to care for.

Studies have shown that live plants enhance a home and the work place in numerous ways. They convert carbon dioxide into fresh oxygen for you, and some plants even rid the air of toxins. They influence our mental health in positive ways too and who can’t use that little boost these days?