Growing plants indoors has become hugely popular in recent years. This may be due to smaller outdoor areas in modern homes, more people living in apartments or having less time to spend outdoors. Many recent studies have shown that indoor air is more polluted than outdoor air due to the toxins given off by carpets, furnishings, paint, cleaning products etc. The studies also show that by introducing plants, these toxins can be significantly reduced and the air cleaner. This is why we feel less stressed when surrounded by plants – they help us to breathe easier!
However, choosing indoor plants may be a little daunting for those of us with little experience so we asked our resident Bambury green thumb Steph to share her favourite indoor plants and her hot tips on how she keeps them alive!
I love my indoor plants, they bring so much peace and calm to my home now but trust me, when I first started out I had more then my fair share of casualties…..sorry Mum!
So here is a quick guide to what I have learnt along the way through a bit of trial and error. Hope it helps!
How to select the right indoor plant?
Careful consideration is key when choosing the right indoor plants for your home and goes well beyond what may look nice. The most important initial questions to ask yourself are:
- How much light does the position get?
- How would you rate your ‘green thumb’?
- How big is the space?
- What is your design style?
The most critical consideration when choosing an indoor plant is how much light the position receives. Is there direct sunlight and for how long? Is it a bright spot all day? Is it relatively shady most of the time?
It may take a couple of days to observe the light conditions of the position. That becomes the starting point of which may be suitable. A plant needs to have appropriate light conditions to stay strong and thrive.
If you’re new to indoor plants or gardening in general, it may be wise to choose plants which are relatively low maintenance (for example, ones which require less regular watering). Watering once or twice a week during spring and summer is essential, and the best way to do this is to buy a small indoor watering can with a small spout. During autumn and winter you can reduce the frequency of watering to once every two to three weeks. Applying a slow release fertilizer will also keep them ‘fed’. If in doubt, check with your local plant nursery. They can advise you specifically on how to care for your choice of plant.
At this stage consideration should be on how you will be using the plant. Will it be in a pot on a shelf? Hanging on a wall? Or in a large pot or container on the floor? If so, how much space is available? Did you want your plant to provide height or texture? Other considerations would be to consider the aesthetics of the foliage, colour of flowers (if applicable) and the colour and the aesthetics of the pot/container. But be adventurous – there’s no right or wrong!
Indoor Plants I am loving right now!
Rubber Plant (Ficus Elastica)
This Rubber Plant stole my heart on our recent Summer 2020 photoshoot and I couldn’t wait to grow one at home! They are slow growers so if you are patient you can buy a small one but I went for a more mature tree for an instant statement. These plants love lots of bright sunlight but not direct light so protect them from really strong light through the window with a plantation shutter. They like their soil well drained so don’t let the soil get soggy especially when they are dormant in winter. I give mine a mist on its leaves if the air is too dry and believe it or not they prefer it if the water is room temperature! Pop in some indoor plant fertilizer during the growing season and your rubber plant will love you.
Monstera (Monstera Deliciosa)
The monstera plant is native to the tropical rainforests of southern Mexico so it loves a warm, humid shady indoor environment. I love them because they have a really sculptural leaf shape and are actually quite hard to kill!
They still need light to grow so pop them in a part of your house that is well lit but out of direct sunlight. Give them a water once a week or when the soil starts to look dry and don’t forget to wipe over those beautiful leaves with a damp cloth so the plant can breathe.
Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus Lyrata)
I struggled with this one at first but I persevered because I really love the height it creates in my living room. Originally from West Africa these trees can get up to 15 metres tall in the ground so with the right conditions they can be a really strong feature plant in your home. I learnt the hard way that these plants don’t like to sit in wet soil so I give mine a good soaking under the shower when the soil feels dry and then let it drain thoroughly before popping it back in the living room. They do not appreciate hot blasts of air from heaters or chilly air from air conditioners so find a well ventilated sunny spot (no harsh direct sunlight through windows) where they can rest.
Chinese Money Plant (Pilea Peperomioides )
There is something really fun and playful about this plant that makes me smile everytime I look at it. I have quite a few of them dotted around my home because once you learn how to look after them they grow really quickly and they have little babies that you can transplant into other pots and share with friends. The Pilea plant doesn’t like to sit in soggy soil so make sure you have good drainage and let it dry out a little between waterings. Put them in a spot that gets a lot of light and they will be super happy but make sure they are protected from any really harsh direct light or they will burn.
Golden Cane Palm (Dypsis Lutescens)
Nothing says beach house like an indoor palm. They are relatively low maintenance and they bring a really natural, serene feel to your space. I love watching the fronds on my palm sway in the breeze from the open window, it transports me to memories of tropical holidays in a second.
The golden cane palm is a clumping palm so it stays a manageable size indoors. They are pretty tolerant of being a little dry and root bound so I keep mine in a lighter plastic pot inside a bigger decorative planter. That way I can easily take the palm outside and give her a good shower in a shady part of the garden without having to worry about dragging a big heavy pot around.