Florist Tips: How to Care for Houseplants
Houseplants are not living indoors by choice. Ever since Victorian plant collectors brought home exotic tropical specimens, we’ve been coaxing warm-climate natives to thrive inside our homes.
Always popular, in recent years the trend for interior greenery has exploded. The rise in Scandinavian interior design, which has an ethos of bring the outside in to create relaxing and tranquil spaces, has resulted in plants getting their own Insta # (check out #plantsofinstagram for some amazing inspiration) and an increase in demand for buying houseplants from florists. When I re-designed my shop a couple of years ago (with the help of Morgeous), I installed a plant wall to accommodate the huge demand from customers.
However, not all of us have the knack of keeping houseplants alive, more often than not people give them too little or too much attention. But, with a minimum amount of love and care, a houseplant can thrive, making your home look super chic and giving you years of enjoyment.
I’ve picked out some of my favourite houseplants and given you some tips on how to keep them fed, watered and thriving in your home.
These popular house plants like a cool, light position away from direct sunlight, otherwise their foliage will fade and weaken. Water regularly during the summer but allow the compost to dry out completely between watering in the winter.
Spider plants are prone to tip burn, which can be caused by dry soil, low humidity, or a build-up of salt and chemicals that are found in some tap water. Avoid watering with fluoridated or chlorinated water and cut off brown tips if they do occur.
String of Pearls
Like most succulents, String of Pearls requires very little hands-on care.
String of pearls does well in bright light. Consider placing it on a sunny windowsill in average indoor temperatures away from drafty areas. Make sure there’s plenty of room for your plant to sprawl. It would look amazing in a hanging basket so tendrils can cascade downwards.
Like most succulents, string of pearls is drought tolerant. Make sure to plant it in a pot with a drainage hole and use potting mix suitable for cacti. Soak the soil thoroughly when watering, then make sure to let the topsoil dry out completely before watering again.
Chances are you’ve spotted Monstera’s graphic leaves on everything from throw pillows to wallpaper. In the wilds of the jungle, Monstera can grow to be enormous: dozens of feet tall with leaves that spread to nearly two feet wide. Unsurprisingly Monstera needs lots of space: put it in a statement-making spot in the living room, rather than in a tight corner or on a windowsill.
Find a balance between sun and shade. If Monstera is given too much sun, the leaves will yellow. If it’s left in the dark, the new leaves grow towards the dark. Water Monstera moderately and evenly, about once a week. Wait until the soil is fairly dry before watering again. Keep in a fairly humid environment. To curb excessive growth, avoid re-potting too often and prune regularly by pinching off new growth.
Aloe Vera is sometimes called the first aid plant because you can break off a portion of leaf to treat minor burns. It should be grown out of direct sunlight but in a bright position, ideally the kitchen. Keep soil damp but not wet and cut down on watering in winter. Make sure that the pot you have planted your Aloe Vera in has plenty of drainage holes, never let them stand in water - they won't like it! The most common reason an aloe plant dies is that the owners’ water it too often or do not allow the water to drain.
Succulents need plenty of light, but not too much direct sunlight otherwise they will scorch. They generally need about six hours of bright, indirect sunlight each day so place them near a window. Succulents need a surprising amount of water to thrive. However, they don’t like to be watered as frequently as most indoor plants. Grow them in gritty, free-draining compost, soak the roots completely and allow them to dry out properly before watering them again.
The Asparagus Fern is an up and coming houseplant, its soft, feathery leaves increasing in popularity. It thrives in dappled shade, warm temperatures and humidity so ideally suited to bathrooms and conservatories during the summer months. In terms of watering, it can cope with a bit of neglect - even when the leaves look a little dry, it will recover – but a daily misting, focussing on the arching stems, will see your fern thanking you with lush foliage. It also prefers to be pot bound, so don’t be too hasty to transfer it to a bigger container.
I hope my Houseplant Care Guide has shown you how easy it can be to create a plant-based oasis in your own home. If you’re looking for some inspiration to start your plant collection then head over to my online shop , take a look at Pinterest or visit us in store for some expert advice.
Photos courtesy of Jonny Draper