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A Seattle breakfast nook turned mini arboretum.

Image: Nelle Clark

After a winter spent swiping through shelfies—cascading vines and exotic cacti crawling all over your Instagram feed—it’s your turn to go green. Sure, you can’t even keep a cactus alive. But that’s only because you haven’t been following some of these beginner-friendly tips from three local green thumbs.

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The Experts: Shaun Murphy, Manager, Indoor Sun Shoppe; Katherine Anderson, Owner, Marigold and Mint; Rachel Taylor, Co-owner, Plantuary

Follow the Light

High-light plants, like succulents, need south- and west-facing windows. But don’t dismiss the morning sun in the summer months, says Shaun Murphy. “The beauty of the eastern window is that you don’t get so much heat.”

Think Seasonal

Keep plants closer to windows in the winter months and water accordingly. “You could water a cactus once a month early in the year and once a week in the summer,” says Murphy.  Keep track of when a plant begins to visibly dry out in between watering before setting a schedule.

Flowers, Just Because

Yes, florists still do business after Valentine’s Day. Make a habit out of visiting a local flower shop to introduce a weekly pop of color to your home. Prearranged bouquets have a lot of filler, so “don’t be afraid to take a peek at what’s behind the counter and ask for all yellow tulips,” says Katherine Anderson. 

Beautiful Impermanence

Anderson plants paperwhites and geraniums to “watch the bulb come up and bloom, and then it’s done. ” Fresh-cut branches from some fruit trees, like quince, flower indoors and add vertical lines—with an ephemeral touch—to a living room panorama. Or try cultivating a potted lemon tree for an annual treat.

Pick a Pot

Rachel Taylor prefers a more mismatched collection of vessels, but “the clean all-white look can be very striking,” if that’s your aesthetic. She recommends pulling plants out of nursery pots sooner rather than later, since many can be “root locked,” or too big for their vessels and unable to grow.

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