There’s nothing quite as beautiful as a home filled with plants. Introducing greenery in your home can have an incredible influence on the room’s atmosphere, not to mention your state of mind, it can lift the mood almost immediately.
First things first.
Keeping a collection of plants alive and healthy takes time and care but not too much effort that the benefits seem worthless. When it comes to choosing indoor plants, the most important thing to do is think about your lifestyle and how certain plants can fit in it seamlessly. Some plants require constant attention, watering and pruning, while others get on with very little of it. Choosing the right plants for you and your home means they will not only thrive but you will get the best out of them too.
I saw this plant on Instagram...
Instagram and other social media platforms like Pinterest are incredibly useful and inspiring visual resources when it comes to choosing how to curate your own indoor garden. Same thing goes for botanical websites; garden centres, gardens, and interior magazines can also guide you when it comes to incorporating the right plants into your home.
What to remember.
Once you start curating your own collection, it’s important to follow some steps to ensure you get them settled and ready to go.
Remember that specific types of plants call for specific care, and you might to do some research beforehand.
Prepare the space your plant will be settling into. That means making sure it’s big enough to accommodate a big plant or finding a spot where tiny hands or paws (!) can’t reach.
Lighting: Each plant has different needs and that includes how much light they like to be exposed to. Check each plant and research before picking their space, making sure you’ve found the perfect spot! Remember there’s no harm in swapping them around and rotating them every couple of months.
Shower: Always wash your plants thoroughly when you bring them home. There may be bugs or pests you can’t see but can easily transfer to your other plants, which can turn the whole thing into a headache. I always put them in the bath and give them a good shower, followed by a spray of a Neem oil solution and a rinse. For the Neem oil solution, combine a ¼ teaspoon of kitchen soap with 400 ml water and ½ teaspoon of raw cold pressed Neem oil in a spray bottle, shake and there you go. This tends to get rid of mites and other annoying pests by creating a film that makes the surface slippery for bugs and mites. Use the solution within 2 days.
Nurture: Pick a good and reliable plant food – you will need to feed your plants every couple of weeks during the summer months. (Always read the instructions carefully)
Repot: Every now and again it’s good to give your growing plants a bit more room. If you are looking to grow your plants, think about upgrading them into a slightly bigger pot than the one they were in, so you increase the size of the pot little by little. Never replant to a bigger pot if you rather the plant didn’t grow in size too much.
Clean: As dust settles in our homes, it tends to land on our plants’ leaves, which is not very nice since it can stop them from breathing properly. Make sure you clean and dust leaves often. Feel free to mist some water over it to give increase the level of moisture.
Prune: Keep your plants happy and growing consistently by picking dead leaves and cutting small branches here and there to give it more room and space. This promotes growth, especially with herbs and fruit trees!
- We asked a couple of our favourite industry experts to share their most useful tips for anyone looking to learn more about house plants.
Like many Londoners, I don’t have a garden, but at the same time, I need plants in my life so indoor plants are the only way for me.
I am the supervisor of a pretty big glass house with plants from all over the world, with many different shapes, colours and sizes… so it is quite hard to choose a favourite one for me!
I have got my “houseplant heroes”, though. There is a plant for any space and purpose; if you are not quite green-fingered but you like the idea of something quirky, Tillandsias might be a good option.
They are pretty low maintenance, just spray them 2 times a week, they can fit small spaces like a small glass vase, they are suitable for pets and kids as they are not toxic and you can have them in your bedroom as, unlike the majority of plants, they produce oxygen at night.
More or less the same can be said about Cacti. Again, a good option for bedrooms and quite low maintenance, they like sunny spots and in many cases, they are showstoppers, with their quirky appearance and architectural shapes.
Cacti are not exactly kids and pet-friendly, though! If you are too scared of spines then go for gentle succulents like Lithops (stone plants), colourful Echeverias or Aloes.
Images credit: RBG Kew
Otherwise, a classic and classy choice are Orchids. They can be very rewarding with their stunning flowers, but some of them require a bit of extra skill.
The moth orchid, Phalaenopsis, is very popular and for good reasons. It is easy to look after, likes a bright windowsill and a good soak once a week or every two weeks. Just don’t give up on it once it has stopped flowering, it will flower again the year after. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, try Oncidiums or Dendrobiums. They both have super colourful flowers and they are not too tricky to look after.
If you have no pets and a generous space, then Aroids are for you. They have the most amazing architectural leaves, they are all so green and lush, quite low maintenance and versatile in terms of positioning in the house. Some can be put on hanging baskets to create a “jungle effect”.
No matter what you choose, plants will always improve your space, they are great living things, they help clean the air and they will often reward your care with flowers or new leaves. Not to mention they add a gorgeous splash of colour to any room, making your house a home.
Follow Eli on twitter: @BiondiEli
The single most important thing to consider first is light. How many windows does your room have? Is there a lot of light, or are you endlessly putting on a side lamp?
Whip out the compass app on your phone and point it towards the best natural light source in the room – if your space faces north, you’ll have less light than if it faces south.
Be aware that you’ll need to keep the watering can close at hand if you place your plants near drafts, radiators or air conditioning units as these will more quickly dry your plants out.
Got a dark space? No plant can tolerate being permanently without light, but as long as you rotate plants around a darker room and keep them close to the best natural light source you have, you’ve got plenty of options.
Patch helps you choose the best plants for your home or office and delivers them to your door.
Images credit: Patch Garden