Here’s a safe space for those of us who’ve committed negligent planticide but are ready to try again. Staffers make realistic recommendations on green things that fit customers’ lifestyles, based on schedule, budget, space, and light. 4601 N. Elston Ave., Albany Park, plantshopchicago.com
- For the amateur botanist: Ferns thrive on high humidity, which means they require frequent misting and watering. They also need to be pruned often. But, says Plant Shop owner Ozzy Gamez, their elegance and variety of colors, textures, and leaf styles make them worth it.
- For the garden-level apartment dweller: The Zamioculcas zamiifolia (a.k.a. the ZZ), a tropical plant with glossy leaves from East Africa, can survive in just about any nook or cranny of the house, no matter how little light it gets. “It’s a set-it-and- forget-it plant,” says Gamez.
- For the absent-minded dabbler: The snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata), a tropical plant with long, bright leaves, is about as easy as it gets. It’s also known as mother- in-law’s tongue “because it’s a plant you can’t kill.”