As it’s winter time there’s not much to do around the garden, so my focus has come indoors and my house is slowly turning into a mini jungle; which I love. It means when I don’t have any plants to tend to outside, I can turn my attention to the ones in the house. I thought I’d share a handful of the plants in my home and how to care for them. As I’ve built up my plant collection, it’s probably best to do in two parts, otherwise it will be more of a dissertation than a blog post!
I’m in a very fortunate position where I’m living in a house which allows me to have free reign on revamping and redecorating the place. As of recently I’m living with my boyfriend (ahhh, grown up moment), so we’ve started to put in some effort with making some changes in the house. He’s more into the manly DIY stuff, whereas I’m more about the interior look and feel. It’s exciting as I’ve hit an age where most of my friends are snapping up their own property and starting to develop an interest for interior design too. One of the items high on the wish list it seems, apart from all the IKEA goodies you can fit into a car load, is indoor plants.
There’s so many different plants which are suitable for indoor care, each one unique with different needs. I’m not that fussy with indoor plants, but my favourite is probably the Fern. I have a Boston Fern variety. It’s so bushy and wild which is great for filling space in your room.
It’s been quite easy to care for so far, but I have had a friend who has had 3 die on her, so maybe I’m just lucky? As with most indoor plants, they just need watering to keep the soil moist (not wet)- I’d aim for once a week. It’s super easy to tell if it needs watering by touching the soil with your fingers, if it’s dry, it needs water. If you can lift it straight out of the pot, it’s in desperate need of a drink! I tend to ‘mist’ my Fern too; which tops it up quite nicely. Ferns also need a constant temperature, and not too cool. Bathrooms are meant to be pretty good for Ferns as it’s generally warmer and more humid. Mine is in my living room as it’s always toasty in there, and away from the windowsill and direct sunlight. I’ve also put it in a place that it can easily trail over the edge of the pot once bigger.
The next variety finding a place in my home is a relative from the popular Mother in Law’s Tongue plant (see further down). They are known as Snake (Sansevieria) plants, probably due to the interesting and wild patterns of the foliage. There are many varying types, such as this Sansevieria cylindrica one, but they all have the same rule of thumb instructions to follow. They are also quite hard to kill which makes another easy to keep plant to add to the list! I water mine a little less frequently; maybe once a fortnight.
Probably the most popular and easy to look after indoor plants is the Cactus. On trend for the past few years, they seem to carry on creeping into every corner of so many homes. I’ve got three, and that’s plenty for me. I’m the most clumsiest of people and have pricked myself numerous amounts by dropping them or brushing my hand over them. They don’t need much watering or caring for, so are perfect for the amateur gardener or forgetful owner. You can get so many different varieties and they’re relatively cheap to pick up from any garden centre or your local B&Q. I think I got a pack of three for £4-£5.
I found some cute containers to pop them into (also B&Q), and they make a great addition next to some of my other favourites.
Keeping with easy to care for plants, is the for-mentioned Mother in Law’s Tongue (on the top below). This plant brings a lovely and unusual texture to the mix and doesn’t need much of my attention. With each plant you keep you need to check how often to re-pot. Some indoor plants thrive being pot-bound, some others will definitely perish from not having enough room to grow and establish. For example, the Mother in Law’s Tongue prefers a small pot and is therefore better off pot-bound. When you get new shoots busting out from every angle of the pot, you can divide them up and plant into new pots. My friend’s Aloe plant is very similar with new shoots forming – hint – they make great little gifts!
The other plant, which adds a completely different, tropical, feel to the home, is the Chamaedorea elegans (on the bottom below), part of the Palm family. My Palm is a relatively small one, but they can grow quite large. Again, with a lot of indoor plants, water frequently so they soil is kept moist. You may want to reduce watering over winter months though. Similarly with the Fern, the Palm prefers a humid habitat, so keep away from windowsills and cold spots.
And what would a December post be without a Christmas mention? Below is one of my favourite seasonal plant; the Poinsettia. I love a good Amaryllis and Hyacinth, but you can’t beat the red petals and dark green foliage of the Poinsettia. It adds such a warm, festive feel to your home and lasts a fairly long time (providing you don’t neglect it). Poinsettia plants enjoy the warm, so try to avoid keeping by a windowsill where it can get draughty and cold. However, keep it in a place which is nice and bright and water well.
With all of my indoor plants I top them up with feed as well as water. I use Baby Bio and use 5-10 drops in a big jug of water every time I water. You can also add a capful into water and feed every fortnight, or when you find appropriate. All of the instructions tend to be on the bottle, so it’s pretty straightforward.
What indoor plants do you keep? What problems do you have with yours and what plants do really well in your home? I’d love to hear from you. Keep in touch – Pt 2 out soon!