Houseplants are in fashion and have been for a couple of years. More than just a trend, it’s a conscious movement in celebration of nature and one that we support wholeheartedly. You need only to look at the Instagram account of @hiltoncarter, aka the fiddle-leaf fig expert, with its 300,000 followers, to prove that interest in plants is at an all-time high.
The benefits of keeping indoor plants are many and varied, explains Lida Howe-Ely of Wildcat Indoor Plant Features. Some key perks are:
- They oxygenate the air;
- They remove toxins from the air;
- Most indoor plant soil contains a healthy bacterium which improves respiration; and
- They can help ease anxiety.
Surrounding yourself with, and caring for, plants also has psychological advantages. And then, of course, there’s the aesthetic swagger they bring to interiors – they’re beautiful and lend a certain lusciousness to any room, softening the space with their foliage.
THREE FAVOURITES AND TOP TIPS FROM THE PROS
1. Cart at Re-Trend: The Bamboo Palm
Because of its evergreen leaves and undemanding care, the bamboo palm is a great option for many homes and environments. This plant not only instantly provides a tropical look to your home but has natural humidifying benefits too, purifying pollutants from the air. During lockdown, these benefits help us to breathe better and soothe anxiety.
Care tip: Give your bamboo palm bright, indirect light or shade. They will grow in lower light conditions but will thrive in bright light. Water them thoroughly but never let palms sit in water.
2. Lida Howe-Ely of Wildcat Indoor Plant Features: The Zygocactus (Schlumbergera)
This humble cactus is going into flower at the moment in the most spectacular way. I have some in my home, as well as growing under a tree outside, and they definitely brighten the mood. Plus, chances are, they’ll remind you of your granny for their retro aesthetic.
Care tip: These plants are pretty forgiving - they just get on with it! Provide them with a weekly watering, a monthly feed and bright, indirect light and they will reward you with bright blooms year on year. Now that it’s autumn, move your plants nearer to a north-facing window, start feeding your plants less, or even stop completely, as we exit the growing season. Start misting, grouping plants together, or switching on the humidifier [in areas where] the air is getting drier and be very careful of overwatering.
3. Rhoda Kruger of Garden Bleu: The Cymbidium Orchid
Beside their spectacular flowers, their appeal lies in how exceptionally easy Cymbidiums are to keep. One could almost say that they “thrive on neglect”, with even the most uncared-for plant still having the chance to astound with its blooms.
Care tip: Cymbidiums prefer a sheltered spot outside, where they will receive at least a bit of morning sun, whilst avoiding the harsh afternoon sunlight. Bear in mind that they won’t flower if kept indoors permanently - the cooler weather and day-length shortening facilitates flowering. Ensure that your Cymbidiums only get water when the potting mix dries out. Now that it’s autumn, start feeding with an orchid fertiliser for flowering plants to guarantee an explosion of colour in winter. Once winter comes, all the love and care we have given our Cymbidiums comes to fruition in beautiful blooms.
4. Carolyn Ashmore of Atrium Plants: Philodendrons
My best indoor plant is any type of Philodendron — a large family of plants in the Araceae family, mostly originating from tropical regions around the world. Philodendrons are pretty tough and easy to care for. They have large, jungle-like foliage, which instantly provides a lush, tropical feel to a space.
Care tip: They’re pretty adaptable in terms of growing conditions, enjoy medium to bright light and like their soil to dry out 2-3cm before being watered again. Luckily, they won’t die on you if they dry out a little too long. Fertilise them every second month in the growing season with an organic fertiliser.