My Chinese money plant (Pilea peperomioides) has already made another plant since I bought it in July. Its tendency to produce offspring is what gives it a second common name of friendship plant. Kylee Baumle/Paulding County Progress
As we enter that time of year where we’re forced to take our gardening game inside, some of our plants are ones we’ve owned for years. We obviously love them, they’re doing well, or they serve some other purpose for us, such as being a decorative item, or we wouldn’t bother.

But just as we like to try new things in our outside gardens, sometimes we like to shake it up a bit with our indoor ones. And just like the popularity of certain plants makes the rounds in our perennial gardens, there are those non-hardy plants that reach “it” status, too.

When I attend industry trade shows or garden shows, it’s always fun for me to pay attention to what‘s being used in displays and what’s being promoted. More times than not, a few plants stand out because they’re being featured by several different vendors.

When I attended Cultivate - the largest all-industry trade show and convention for the green industry - in Columbus this summer, there were a few plants that stood out. Particular attention was given to the plant known as a Chinese money plant. Botanically, it’s Pilea peperomioides.

Of course, I wanted one right away and while sometimes vendors will give away or sell plants at the end of the trade show, not this one. I was warned that they would be expensive if found in a garden center, and at the time, I felt that was true. I’d actually seen one in a garden center a few weeks before and it was about $40 for a small one. I wasn’t willing to pay that much.

But on our way home, we stopped at a garden center in Columbus and what do you know? We found oodles of them and they were not only a reasonable price ($14.99 for a small one), they were 40% off. So, I snatched one right up and splurged on a new self-watering container for it.

Another plant we saw quite a bit of was the fiddle-leaf fig (Ficus lyrata). This has long been a good choice for a houseplant, but not always readily available. It’s come into favor again, so they should be easier to find. A friend happened to offer a couple of rooted cuttings from her large one, so I gave her one of my extra Norfolk Island pines. Pass-along plants are the best!

With much larger leaves than the Ficus plants most of us are familiar with, it also isn’t nearly as finicky as Ficus benjamina, which has small green or green and white leaves. Benjamin figs are notorious for dropping their leaves at the slightest draft or change in location. The fiddle-leaf is much more forgiving, in general, as is another popular large-leaved fig, Ficus benghalensis ‘Audrey’.

Hoya plants, typically a vining plant by nature, are on the rise in popularity, with the curly-leaved Hindu rope vine (Hoya carnosa ‘Compacta’) being seen in fashion circles. Another easy grower, it has waxy leaves that come in solid green as well as a variegated variety. The foliage alone is attractive, but the clusters (called umbels) of flowers on hoyas are stunning. The individual florets in the cluster are waxy, pale pink, and star-shaped, and their centers remind me of seed beads.

As hoyas are succulents, be careful with watering. Too much and they’ll rot. In winter, when growth slows, cut back on watering even more. These like to be root-bound in their containers, so keep this in mind also if you decide to grow one.

Those of you who grew up in the ’70s, guess what? The prayer plant is back! Maranta leuconeura occupied a spot on my apartment windowsill when I was a student at IPFW. I remember being fascinated by its spotted and veined leaves that closed up at night, as if in prayer.

I hadn’t seen any in forever, but came across one in Fort Wayne several years ago and had to have it for nostalgia’s sake. They’re increasing in popularity now because of their unique characteristics and because they too are easy to grow. I still have the one I found in 2012 and it surprised me by even blooming off and on.

And just to tell you how easy it is to grow, earlier this year, it lost every single one of its leaves because it got neglected for a while, but once it was watered with regularity again, it immediately grew a bunch of new ones. Not many plants can handle that.

It seemed as if houseplants fell out of favor for a while, but they’re one of the top garden trends. Everything old is new again, you know, but what I’m seeing this time around is that the ones that are selling best are the ones requiring the least care. It makes sense, since most people are busy and don’t have the time or energy to take care of fussy plants.

Don’t be afraid to try one or two. Houseplants are known to improve the quality of the air inside your house, due to their ability to convert carbon dioxide to oxygen. Studies have also shown that having live plants around you improves your mood, too.

If they die after even just a few months, they aren’t that expensive and it gives you a chance to try something else. Plants aren’t inanimate pillows, after all, but they can add a lot to the style of your home. I mean, pillows come and go when you get tired of them, right? Be adventurous and pick up a plant next time you’re out and about.

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