House Plants..... Why I love them & 10 plants in my home.
I love houseplants, which is great because these days no home decor is complete without them! Indoor plants have made a big comeback in recent years and most of us have anything ranging from a couple of succulents to a whole range of shapes and sizes…. I myself have 46 at last count!
Not only do they look gorgeous, houseplants are good for us too! They create a more relaxing ambience in the home improving our mood, it has been proven that spending time in and around nature reduces stress levels…. In 2008 Dutch researchers carried out a study that showed that hospital patients with plants in their rooms reported lower stress levels than those without them….. Now I’m all about lowering the stress levels in a house full of teenagers….. In fact, having read about this I shall now be purchasing plants for all their rooms too in the vain hope that it will reduce eye rolling, tutting and general teenage stress related tomfoolery (who am I kidding!)
The other huge benefit of having houseplants of course is that plants purify the air ridding our homes of indoor toxins, a study by none other than NASA proved that many common house plants have the ability to reduce chemicals in the air in our homes, infact just one air purifying plant in every 100 ft of living space is enough to help purify the air…… I read about this a few years ago when my asthma was particularly bad and have had plants in my home ever since and I have to say I really do believe they help…. I have plants for about every 10ft of area in my living spaces which no doubt does make a difference…. So, not only are they bang on trend at the moment in interiors but they make us healthier- result!
There is a myth that its hard work looking after so many plants but of course if you pick the right ones it’s just not the case…. Though they can be like an extra pet, when we go on holiday for example I have to make sure I have someone to come in and water my plant babies! When it comes to watering it is in fact often over watering rather than not watering enough that kills plants, rotting the roots….. Some plants such as the Peace Lily even lets you know when it needs watering by drooping its leaves, which then go back to normal height within an hour of a good drink…. I’ll be honest this sounds a bit like me at 6pm on a Friday evening, though I wouldn’t recommend giving your plants a few large Friday night gins….
As well as having my potted plants in the kitchen I buy herbs which I keep watered in the bar sink (when its not full of ice and fizz.) Not only do they smell fabulous but I love the ‘green’ they add to the middle of the island, oh and of course I use them for cooking with too…. on occasion….
So, lets have a look at 10 of the plants I have at home…. I have gained a lot of the knowledge on each plant for you from the fabulous horology.co.uk
1- Monstera (Split-Leaf Philodendron)
The Swiss Cheese Plant was a 70's cult classic, its retro-chic appeal makes it just as popular today and rightly so. Its large, glossy, heart shaped, leaves add fantastic impact with their perforations and lobes, which develop as the leaf matures.
It is actually a climber, using its aerial roots in its native rain forests to scale to enormous (monstrous) heights. Grown indoors it needs space and looks great in a hallway, conservatory or a corner of a modern living space.
Monstera deliciosa is easy to care for so long as it has moist, warm conditions. It is sometimes known as the Fruit Salad Plant.
Light: Prefers bright, indirect light but will tolerate moderate shade. Avoid direct sunlight.
Water: Water when the soil has started to dry out.
Temperature: Monstera deliciosa likes warm conditions from 18-27°C. Anything lower than this will reduce the plant's growth rate. It will tolerate 12°C and above but keep away from cold draughts.
2- Ceropegia woodii - String of Hearts
Also known as Rosary Vine or Chain of Hearts, Ceropegia woodii is not truly a succulent, but it does store water in its stems and plant care is very similar to that of a succulent. String of Hearts is extremely easy to look after and very tolerant of neglect. It is a perfect plant for for hanging baskets.
Light: Bright light, including some direct early morning or evening sunlight, will enhance the colour.
Water: Drought tolerant, but for best results keep the soil lightly moist. Water sparingly in winter. Do not over-water.
Temperature: Normal room temperature anywhere between 18-24°C. Protect from draughts.
3- ZZ Plant
The ZZ Plant, or Zanzibar Gem, is an extremely popular and hip house plant. It's nonchalant care requirements make it a great choice for forgetful houseplant owners; whereas it's stunning and unique foliage give it eye-catching appeal. It’s often known as "the king of the indestructible plants.
It has small but wide, dark green, glossy leaves that zig-zag up tall, slender stems. The plant has air purifying qualities too, removing volatile organic compounds benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene.
Light: Shade tolerant house plant. Happy anywhere from low to bright light, however avoid direct sunlight.
Water: Water when slightly dry. Drought tolerant. Do not over-water.
Temperature: Average to cool room temperatures from 15-24°C but can cope with as low as 8°C.
4- Alocasia amazonica Polly - Elephant Ear
A gorgeous plant with stunning dark green leaves that really make the deep silver-white veins stand out.
Light: Thrives best in well lit, bright conditions, however direct sunlight will scorch the leaves.
Water: Keep the compost moist with warm water. Do not allow the soil to dry out. Little and often is a good approach.
Temperature: Needs to be kept warm, ideally between 18-22°C.
Care Tips: Alocasia have a dormant period where leaves will fade and die so do not be alarmed when this happens. During this period, the plants will require less water, so simply moisten the soil from time to time.
5- Ficus elastica -Rubber plant
Rubber plants are one of the best natural air-cleaners out there and are one of the easiest plants to grow, as they thrive even in dim lighting and cooler climates. The low-maintenance plant is a powerful toxin eliminator and air purifier. You should only water it when the soil is dry. Rubber plants have the added benefit of being one of the best natural air-cleaners out there.
Light: Prefers bright, indirect light but does cope quite well in lower light conditions.
Water: Water when the soil starts to become slightly dry at the top. Keep the soil moist at all times, but do not over water as this will cause leaf drop.
Temperature: Ideal temperatures are 16-24°C. Avoid cold draughts.
6- English Ivy
English ivy is easy to grow and use as a decorative element in your home. It grows quickly and likes part sun and part shade, so it's a good plant to have indoors. Have it as a hanging plant or a floor plant. Grow in moderate temperatures and medium sunlight, watering and misting during the winter will keep it healthy.
NASA scientists listed the English ivy as the number one best air-filtering houseplant, as it is the most effective plant when it comes to absorbing formaldehyde.
7- Calathea orbifolia
Calathea orbifolia is a beautiful houseplant highly sought after due to the exquisite beauty of its large, round leaves and its air-purifying qualities. This beautiful foliage is subtly striped with pale silver-green markings, with the undersides of the leaf also being a pale silver-green.
The Calathea orbifolia is bound to add dramatic interest to your houseplant collections and is very much on trend.
Light: Calathea need plenty of diffused light however direct sunlight will cause the leaves to fade and lose their markings. They can tolerate some degree of shade, but the better the light conditions, the more you will be rewarded by fine foliage. Experiment in your home to find the perfect spot for your plant.
Water: Calathea must be kept in damp soil at all times, but definitely do not allow the plant to sit in water or in very wet soil. Think little and often as a watering policy.
Temperature: Prefers warm to high temperatures, ideally between 18-23°C but can cope with as low as 15°C. Avoid draughts and ensure the plant has reasonable ventilation.
8- Spider Plant
I have four of these and want more….. Not only are they air purifiers and are effective at fighting pollutants the fast-growing shoots actually produce little babies which you can leave hanging or can re-pot for added greenery elsewhere. Bright, indirect light and occasional waterings make the spider plant one of the easiest to care for.
Light: Bright, indirect light. Will tolerate some shade; however, this will slow its growth rate and it may lose its stripes. Avoid direct sunlight.
Water: Keep well-watered, with moist soil, throughout the growing season. Less water is needed in the winter.
Temperature: Average household temperatures are fine (above 16°C). These are fairly tough plants so should survive temperatures above 8°C in winter if the soil is kept fairly dry.
9- Areca Palm
The Areca Palm is a truly elegant indoor palm. Multiple stems emerge from its base, with numerous long, gracefully arching fronds growing close together along the stems. Leaves are pinnate, ie feather shaped. It is one of the top air purifying plants and a natural humidifier that will improve the air quality of your home or office as well as adding a relaxing tropical feel.
Light: Tolerant of both light shade and bright, indirect light, however avoid excessive amounts of either.
Water: Water well, keeping the soil moist at all times. In summer, Areca Palms can be thirsty, particularly if located in a warm spot, however less water will be required during the winter. Do not overwater. Ideally let the soil dry out slightly at the surface before re-watering.
Temperature: Average household temperatures between 15-25°C are fine, although the warmer the better. Will not tolerate temperatures below 10°C.
10- Peace Lily
One of the few houseplants that will bloom indoors, the beautiful peace lily plant is a wonderful low-maintenance flower to keep in the home. Peace lilies do well in shade and cooler temperatures, and they can reduce the levels of a number of toxins in the air.
The peace lily offers elegance and beauty with a unique look. It prefers bright, indirect light but also does well in medium, indirect light. When it needs water, it will tell you by getting droopy leaves. After watering, it perks back up in response. You can also mist it occasionally for added humidity.
Light: Moderate to bright, indirect light preferred. Will adapt to lower light levels.
Water: Keep the soil moist at all times. Allow the top of the soil to dry out slightly before watering. The plant will start to droop if it needs more water. Ensure adequate drainage.
Temperature: Average room temperatures from 18-24°C but can cope with as low as 12°C in winter.
Although i’ve already mentioned 10 I couldn’t go without mentioning Cactus and succulents…..
The beauty of succulents is that they are low maintenance requiring next to no care and are almost impossible to kill…. though of course you can kill a cactus by overwatering! Another mistake is not giving them enough sunlight….
So there we have it…. I hope my home and plants have inspired you to add more plants to your home and please do check out the fabulous plant filled instagram accounts I’ve mentioned.
As always thanks for reading and if you have anything you’d like me to write about on the blog just let me know!