If you are looking for that single, secret ingredient that has the ability to make just about any room look better, it’s a plant. The humble house plant is well and truly back on trend, and for good reason. A splash of healthy greenery instantly lifts a space to make a room feel fresh and welcoming. On top of that, indoor plants are great for purifying the air and creating a healthier home. If you feel like one of your rooms is lacking a little something, try adding one of our favourite plants for the home.
1. Fiddle Leaf Fig
Ask anyone who owns a Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata) about their plant and, chances are, they will tell you how much they adore it. Fiddle Leaf Fig mania has taken the interior design world by storm in recent years. Loved for their large glossy, leathery leaves, they make great house plants. They are fantastic as larger specimen plants – in a large container they can easily grow to around two metres tall.
Great for: This plant adds a sculptural element and wow factor to a room.
Light: Place near a window that gets bright filtered light but keep away from harsh direct sunlight to prevent leaf burn.
Water: As they hail from a tropical climate, most experts advise keeping this ficus steadily moist and in a warm room where possible.
Tip: Do not allow it to sit in too much water or it can suffer from root rot.
2. String of Pearls
With its long tendrils of trailing foliage covered in pea-like beads, the unique String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) creeping succulent is an ideal plant to add to a quirky room. Pot in well-draining sandy soil and place in a spot where its trailing foliage can hang down and cascade freely.
Great for: This odd-looking plant makes a great talking point and can be easily shared with friends. Place a cutting or two in a spare pot of soil and they will easily take root.
Light: This plant likes bright light, including direct sunlight.
Water: Give it a drink every two weeks in summer and once a month in winter.
Tip: Keep in a spot out of reach of drafts, open windows and air-conditioning vents as the cold air can cause leaf drop. String of Pearls is considered to be somewhat toxic so keep out of reach of children and pets.
3. String of Bananas
The more slender cousin of String of Pearls, this trailing succulent produces long tendrils of tiny green banana-like leaves. String of Bananas (Senecio radicans) looks great planted on its own and pruned every so often to grow full and thick. It is also beautiful placed in a pot with other succulent varieties.
Light: This plant enjoys filtered sunlight.
Water: Water when the soil is dry to the touch. This drought-tolerant succulent likes porous soil with good drainage.
Tip: Keep away from children and pets who might be tempted to munch on it, as it is toxic.
4. Devil’s Ivy
Many of those who bemoan their black thumbs are delighted to find they have success with Devil’s Ivy (Pothos). This trailing lush leafy vine will put up with infrequent watering and neglect. In its native tropical jungle habitat, Devil’s Ivy can grow to 12 metres in length, but in the home a couple of metres is common. They are some of the best plants for purifying indoor air.
Great for: Those who don’t have an interest in gardening will like this plant. It adds an inviting, homey touch to a room.
Light: Devil’s Ivy can tolerate low-light areas.
Water: Once a week will do nicely.
Tip: Prune for a fuller-looking, robust plant. Keep out of reach of inquisitive babies, dogs and cats, as this plant is toxic.
5. ZZ Plant
With its exotic looks, glossy green leaves and ability to tolerate neglect, the ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) has been the pride of many a black thumb. A tropical perennial plant hailing from eastern Africa, it is hard to kill, slow-growing and ideal as an office plant or table centrepiece.
Great for: Homeowners looking for a very low-maintenance plant will like this one.
Light: This plant likes bright, indirect light.
Water: Give it a drink every two weeks.
Tip: Keep out of reach of inquisitive babies, dogs and cats, as this plant is toxic.
6. Madagascar Dragon Tree
With its low light and water needs, and compact, structural shape, the hardy Madagascar Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata) is hugely popular and great for adding impact and texture to a clean-lined room.
Great for: Contemporary and modern interiors will benefit from this tree.
Light: A bright spot by a window is ideal.
Water: About once a month, when the soil feels slightly dry, water thoroughly until the water drips through the drainage holes. Discard water in the drainage saucer where possible – do not allow plant to sit in water otherwise the roots will rot.
Tip: To control the height and create a bushier plant, simply prune the top. You can grow a new plant from a cutting by dipping it in rooting hormone and placing in water – in a few weeks two new stems will grow from the cut, creating thicker-looking foliage. It is then ready to be planted in soil.
7. Maidenhair Fern
While they are not the easiest house plants for beginners to master, the Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum) can be a wonderful addition to a home with their beautiful softly textured foliage. It needs to be kept moist, so it isn’t for the forgetful house plant gardener. But, if you can remember, it can reward you with beautiful greenery for years to come.
Great for: These plants add softness and texture to a traditional or retro room scheme with their delicate-looking foliage.
Light: Place the fern in a brightly lit position clear of draughts.
Water: Keep moist. A great idea to keep your indoor Maidenhair Fern from dehydrating is to plant it in a self-watering pot which allows the plant to take up as much water as it needs. You just need to remember to top up the reservoir.
Tip: Apply diluted liquid fertiliser, such as fish emulsion, regularly. Do not allow to dry out even for a day or two.
8. Mother-in-law’s Tongue (Snake Plant, Saint George’s Sword)
Named for its long, sharply-shaped leaves, this structural plant with its strong, elongated leaves has shed its daggy ’70s reputation. These days, Mother-in-law’s Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata) is enjoying a massive resurgence as an on-trend indoor and architectural plant. One of its best features is its incredible hardiness.
Great for: It adds structure to modern, contemporary, retro and eclectic interiors.
Light: Although Mother-in-law’s Tongue is forgiving and can tolerate many conditions, it prefers full, bright light.
Water: Water only once a month. The only way to kill this hardy plant is by overwatering.
Tip: This plant can be divided and shared easily with friends and looks great massed with other indoor plants, like in this home.
9. Umbrella Tree
Chances are you might recall this plant from its retro era days. This hard-to-kill houseplant is now making a comeback, loved for its pretty foliage and hardy nature. Umbrella Tree (Schefflera actinophylla) will flourish if it receives plenty of water and regular fertilising.
Great for: It adds life and impact to a corner of a room, as the height of the plant is one of its great features.
Light: Indirect sunlight is best.
Water: These plants love humid environments and moist soil, so water weekly and spray frequently.
Tip: The Umbrella Tree loves warm humid conditions. Fertilise in its growing season with liquid fertiliser or slow-release pellets.
10. Air Plants
While they are called Air Plants (Tillandsia), one of the most common urban legends is that they do not need to be given any water. Incorrectly, many people believe they can thrive on air or humidity alone and do not need any care. Air Plants grow differently to most other house plants as they are covered in suction scales that capture moisture. They can only obtain water if it is on their leaves through dew, rain and fog. As house plants, they can thrive given regular water misting with a spray bottle.
Great for: They add interest to walls or placed in glass globes hanging from the ceiling.
Light: Bright, filtered light is ideal. Keep Air Plants that are placed in glass globes away from direct sunlight.
Water: If you are growing Air Plants indoors and the air is dry, mist two times a week with a spray bottle and submerge the whole plant in a container of water for three hours every one to two weeks. If grown in a glass globe, mist with water with just one spray for tiny globes and two or three for larger globes. Over-misting can kill the plant.
Tip: After submerging your plant to wet it thoroughly, turn it upside down and gently shake to avoid water collecting near the base, which can be detrimental to your plant’s health.4
Source | Houzz