Homelife has made going green in your home easy with this simple guide for the best indoor plants to have in your home. There are so many reasons to invest in some greenery for your humble abode, they act as an air purifier, are good for feng shui bringing life and vitality into a room, and also de-stress an environment. Plants have an ability to lift the tone of a room instantly, they are one of the best features in a room and can be relocated quickly to spruce up a space for a dinner party or tea.
Purify the air: Adding a few indoor plants to your home or office filters out toxins from the air that are given off from carpet, furniture, paint and even cosmetics. They discovered indoor air is more polluted than outdoor air and just one plant per room can help purify the air. This is why we feel more relaxed when surrounded by plants; they help us breathe better air.
Look at the light: For rooms with low levels of light, choose shade-tolerant plants – those with large dark green leaves photosynthesise better than others, which means they need less light to live. These include Zanzibar gem, Chinese lucky plant (Aglaonema), kentia palm, cast iron plant (Aspidistra, above), lady palm (Rhapis excelsa), happy plant (Dracaena sanderia, below), and peace lily (Spathyphyllum ‘Sensation’). In areas with bright light choose plants with coloured or patterned leaves, including tropical plants, which usually grow in dappled sun conditions. Plants such as colourful bromeliads, prayer plant, dumb cane and zebra plant are good choices.
Water and care: 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. A controlled-release fertiliser in granule form is the easiest way to feed them. Apply a six-monthly granule feed twice a year, in spring and autumn. Pick off older leaves to allow new ones to grow and every month add some seaweed solution to their water for optimum health.
The best indoor plants are:
- Aloe Vera
- Areca Palm
- Baby Rubber
- Bamboo Palm
- Boston Fern
- Chinese Evergreen
- Mass Cane
- Pygmy Date Palm
- Ficus Alii
- Gerbera Daisy
- When re-potting indoor plants use the best quality potting mix available.
- Clean leaves by wiping with a solution of milk and water (50:50) to keep the leaves glossy, free of dust and healthy.
- Keep an eye on plants placed next to windows during summer, as strong sun will often burn the leaves of fragile indoor plants.
- Fibreglass pots are a great choice as they make it easier to move them around when redecorating your home.
- Brown tips on leaves may mean too much water or too little, only you will be able to answer that.
- Don’t leave plants near heaters during winter; they get too hot and the leaves will burn. Move them to the furthest spot from the heater during this time.
- Don’t leave pots in saucers full of water for long periods or the plant will rot away.
- During holidays put all indoor plants into the bath on newspaper and add a few inches of water.
- Only some plants can tolerate air conditioning. I recommend large-leafed plants such as the peace lily, Chinese lucky plant, parlour palms and Philodendron ‘Xanadu’.
- Add water crystals to the potting mix to help the plant survive long periods without water, such as when you’re on holiday.