That fresh air feeling that houseplants bring to a home is hard to beat. We’re told they clean the air, help cut odour, and do it without the use of chemicals, so that’s reason enough to invest in a couple. However, sometimes the care, maintenance and fear of killing them (and wasting our money while we’re at it) puts people off.
Here’s 8 reasons why house plants are worth the effort and some tips for planting success.
As many of us are living in more urban environments (read increasingly cut off from nature) the desire to add some greenery to our indoor spaces is growing. Like pets and kids, plants also provide us with an opportunity to nurture something and that’s never a bad skill to improve on.
Like any pet, or person, plants have needs, and like pets and people they thrive when their needs are met and don’t when they’re not. So the place to start when purchasing houseplants is to consider their needs, says Jehna Chrysler , florist, plant specialist and owner of Vancouver’s beloved Hilary Miles Flowers .
Most indoor plants need good drainage, filtered light, and not to be overwatered, says Chrysler. In fact they like to dry out between waterings, which means watering them once a week.
Keep it simple: Succulents
For those who feel they lack a green thumb, cactus are a good first step, says Chrysler, followed by a succulent , or Jade . If these survive, she says, you can try an “easy fern” like a button fern , and once you’ve mastered that maybe move on to a ficus or something more delicate like a maidenhair fern.
Avoid the stuff of banks and malls
The typical variety of snake plants (or sansevieria) are often seen in banks and malls, says Chrysler, because they’re incredibly tolerant (i.e. hard to kill). She suggests trying more interesting varieties of these plants, like cylindrical, boncel (also known as starfish) or masoniana (whale tale).
Mixing it up
Orchid plants are a great addition to any home, says Chrysler, but you don’t need to go with “white on white on white”, instead try a variety that has a splash of colour and try grouping a few mini or medium sized orchids in the same container.
“This is a great look for an apartment or quiet corner of the home,” she says.
To the pots
Don’t worry too much about getting the right or wrong pot. Choose one you like the look of and have fun with it. Plants bring personality to any space and you can express some of own personal style with the pot you choose.
Large, statement houseplants are very popular at the moment, says florist Amanda Langerak, founder and owner of Vancouver’s Forage and Bloom . Trees like Ficus Lyrata , with their “violin shaped leaves”, and large tropical plants like Bird of Paradise and Elephant Eared Philodendrons all have that incredible eye-catching quality with their giant-sized leaves, she says.
Hanging plants can add a dramatic element to your space, says Langerak, and suggests String of Pearls and String of Hearts as two examples. Hoyas are another great hanging plant, she says, with their exquisite pink and cream leaves and flowers that “make them look like they are made of ceramic.”
“I love to be surrounded by nature, so I like the idea of bringing some nature into my home. They have a calming, relaxing effect and of course release oxygen into the air, which is so good for you. I find them beautiful to look at and they make me happy,” she says.