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Unique planters can add a fun element to your design

Featured Article

Creating an Indoor Jungle

with Magnolia Garden Director Brooke Garcia

For this article, we caught up with K-State graduate, yoga teacher, and Magnolia Garden Director, Brooke Garcia.

What advice do you have for people who think they don’t have a green thumb?

In taking care of plants, you have to cartwheel past your comfort zone. There is a learning curve for everyone. 

There is a lot of perseverance in nature. Despite you almost killing it, it may come back. That’s such a cool lesson to learn from plants. Give yourself grace. You’re dealing with another living species.

What plants are good for people who are new to taking care of plants?

The pothos plant is really responsive. When it’s not getting enough sunlight, it’s going to have yellowing leaves. When it’s dry, you can see it’s wilted. It’s a good plant to learn plant communication from because it will teach you. The Chinese Money Plant, Silver Satin, Chinese Evergreen, ZZ Plant, Ponytail Palm, Snake Plant, and Monstera are all good starter plants.

How would you create an indoor jungle? How would you design a space where the plants are the focal point?

When designing with plants, you must first assess your lighting sources: where are the windows in the space? There’s going to be low light to high light, direct light to indirect light. Lighting will often determine where and how you place your plants. You have to get to know your plants. Understanding the needs of each plant will help you place plants in the right location. 

Once you’ve determined lighting needs, height and size become variables that are fun to experiment with. Statement, focal plants look best in a corner. On shelving, have a combination of upright and trailing plants. Make sure that upright plants have enough space to grow. I think it’s fun to have some really long trailers come from the top shelves, and some lighter trailing plants on the middle shelves. Trailing plants look great on top of a coffee table too. 

A lot of tropicals can be indoor plants, which can add to the jungle element. 

Starting an indoor jungle is a sensory experience. It’s a way to heighten your senses and become more attuned to nature. Plants can teach you to be more intuitive and follow your own senses.

How do you save plants that look like they're not thriving?

Accessing the situation and looking at the symptoms will help you become a plant expert. I always think about the acronym “W.I.L.D. - Water, Insect, Light, Disease”

  • Water, water, water! Underwatering or overwatering is oftentimes the #1 issue. 

  • Insect presence may often be the culprit of plant decline. I suggest using neem oil on a regular basis to proactively reduce and/or pest pressure. 

  • Lighting will oftentimes play a huge role in plant health. 

  • Disease / fungal issues may be an issue if the plant is being overwatered, such as root rot. 

Does talking to plants really help them grow/thrive?

Plants are incredibly responsive, and I like to believe that sending good energy to your plants is better than nothing! If it makes you happy, then why not?

You can follow Brooke’s journey @brookegarciagarden & @yogaflowerchild on Instagram and at, where you can find links to her yoga mentorship program, virtual yoga flow and yoga nidra classes, and workshops.

  • Play with height and depth as you design your indoor jungle
  • Mixing colors and textures adds dimension to an indoor jungle
  • Combine upright and trailing plants on shelves and tables
  • Unique planters can add a fun element to your design
  • Pothos plants are good starter plant for new plant owners
  • Start by assessing your light sources
  • Tall, statement plants work well in corners
  • Brooke (left) with Casey Ward (of Orange Sky Yoga and wood + wildflowers co.