Rediscover the beauty and benefits of indoor plants. Plants are natural living decor, bringing a room to life, changing the mood, and adding colour and texture. They are also good for us, by cleaning the air and helping us to relax. Here’s how to use indoor plants to create a beautiful, tranquil space.
There is nothing more graceful or elegant than Phalaenopsis (moth orchid). Grow plants in glass containers to display the roots. Plants flower for up to three months and are easy to care for. They need strong, bright indirect light, and high humidity for the best growth and flowers. Drop two ice cubes on the top of the plant once a week; this will supply enough water. Alternatively, run water through the potting mix for one minute every three to 10 days, depending on the season.
You don’t need green fingers to keep anthuriums alive. They last indoors for many years, needing bright indirect light in a warm room. Let the soil dry out slightly between watering and don’t let the plant stand in water. There are large as well as dwarf varieties in a great colour range from dark red/black, to salmon, pink, yellow, shades of red and white as well as bicolours.
Peace in the home
The peace lily (Spathiphyllum) not only removes certain household toxins but also filters unpleasant odours and produces clean oxygen. This compact, well-shaped plant fits into any decor style. Needing only low light to grow, it’s ideal for bathrooms, bedrooms and kitchens. Water once a week, and don’t overwater. It is sensitive to cold.
Good for beginners
Sansevieria “golden futura” always looks elegant, doesn’t wilt, and doesn’t take up much space, which is why it has become such a popular indoor plant with interior designers. It is happy in a well-lit room or home office, and only needs watering when the potting mix feels dry.
The dark side
ZZ plant (Zamioculcas) grows just about anywhere, including in areas of low light, although it does better in brighter light. It is also valued for its air-purifying qualities. Plants can survive an amazing amount of neglect, because they need very little water, especially if grown in low light. Let the soil dry out between watering. A spritz of water on the leaves helps with humidity and removes dust. Give them a liquid feed once in spring and again in summer.
Indoor trees are the hottest trend in interior scaping. Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina) is a popular indoor tree, growing up to 2m, with arching stems and glossy green leaves. Good for a light corner, on either side of a window, well-lit passage or patio. Plants need moderate watering, and liquid fertiliser once a month in summer. Spritz the leaves to keep them dust-free. Light green leaves indicate a lack of nutrition. Leaf drop may be caused by under- or overwatering or a change in temperature.
Tips for indoor plants
• Don’t overwater. More plants die from overwatering than underwatering.
• Keep plants away from direct sunlight. Most do well with bright, indirect light.
• Keep plants out of draughts and away from heaters in winter.
• Don’t let pots stand in water, as the roots will rot. Rather place the pot on a bed of pebbles, so that the water is away from the base.
• Spritz or wipe the leaves every now and them to improve humidity and remove dust from the leaves.