Outside In: A Modern Man’s Guide To Houseplants
We’re not sure about you but lockdown has really got us in the mood for houseplants. It was a pre-lockdown proliferation of giant ferns and cheese plants all over Instagram that originally pique our interest, but after being cooped up inside for months now our love of indoor gardening has really taken off.
The benefits are there for all to see. Plants can transform a space, adding style and a sense of homeliness, but the psychological advantages shouldn’t be overlooked either. Tending to plants can be a relaxing addition to any daily routine and studies show that being surrounded by plants can improve mental wellbeing. Here’s our guide to bringing the garden indoors.
Where To Buy
Needless to say, there’s a wide array of places to buy houseplants both in person and online. For the finest quality product in-person, it’s worth checking out boutique plant shops of which there are many across the UK. Staff are always extremely helpful in pointing you towards the right plants to suit your home and they’ll also have helpful care tips, especially for more exotic and alternative choices.
A few great boutique shops that come to mind include Conservatory Archives (London), Botanic (York), Flourish (Manchester) and Tuck (Glasgow). Online companies such as Twisted Leaf and Vine, Patch, The Ginger Jungle, BloomBoxClub and PlantJunkie provide a similarly wide array of species, including a few more eye-catching options. After something a bit simpler and cheaper? Look no further than your local garden centre or supermarket.
Plant Types Cheat Sheet
Let’s start with one of the most bulletproof plants out there. Aloe Vera is ideal for beginners and can be found in most garden centres as well as some supermarket plant sections. It’s highly tolerant, requires very little upkeep and although it originally hails from the Sahara Desert, it’ll happily flourish in your bathroom or on a shelf out of direct sunlight.
You’ve undoubtedly seen the big ones. The Swiss Cheese Plant, also known as the Monstera, has the potential to be a substantial interior feature in every home, with only a moderate level of care required. The plant will prosper in comfortable indoor temperatures and requires regular watering as well as a dusting of the leaves from time to time.
One of the hardier ferns out there on the market – mainly because it’s not actually a fern, but part of a different plant family altogether. A dynamic plant that will do well in both bright sunny spots and shadier corners, helping to purify the air in the winter. Keep it moist with a daily misting and ensure it’s well watered.
An easy one to pick up in garden centres and supermarkets all year round, the Money Tree is the perfect gateway plant for delving into the world of succulents. Another foolproof choice as long as it’s kept dry, the money tree is a cheap option to kickstart an indoor collection.
The rule of thumb for a Yucca is thriving on neglect, rather than flourishing with too much attention. Less is more here. The plant is available in most garden centres and also supermarkets in a range of sizes, making it a good interior addition for a shelf or floor pot.
Sunny corners with low humidity suit the Yucca down to the ground and as long as you’re modest with watering, they should be fine.
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If you think this is going to be the easiest of all plants to look after, you’ve been misled by the name. Granted, members of the Tillandsia genus don’t require soil to grow but you’ll still need to soak them and mist them often depending on where you keep them and the conditions in that area.
If you’re looking for an interior showstopper, air plants can be mesmerising additions to any space, best suited for mounts and glass enclosures.
Another easy-to-grow staple of any indoor plant collection. The humble spider plant, when left to its own devices with a modest amount of care, will provide good growth and make a fresh addition to any space.
Always at their best when hanging from height, the spider plant’s air-purifying abilities have been certified by NASA.
If you’re looking for a touch of bloom and purity to add to your houseplant setup, we’d recommend picking up a Peace Lily or two. Tall and beautiful, these plants are easy to find in garden centres and unlike others won’t struggle as much when over-watered.
Keep them in a humid environment with plenty of misting and away from direct sunlight.
Moth orchids are the most popular here in the UK, but most types are relatively easy to grow and result in rewarding exotic blooms. They do best in bright but indirect light, with their foliage regularly misted and careful watering – making sure you’re checking the wetness of the soil throughout the pot.
Another plant that will reward good upkeep with beautiful displays of tumbling fronds, but beware, it’s all about finding the perfect spot. The Maidenhair Fern is sensitive to bright light, draughts, smoke, gas fumes and dry soil, to name but a few irritants, make finding the right spot vital.
That said, with the former in mind and the ideal location secured, they’re resilient little plants and a stylish addition to any room.
Last but not least, the Oxalis: a delicately leafed plant commonly found in Japan. Grown from bulbs, the plants themselves are harder to find than others on the list (and therefore will set you back a bit) but in our opinion they’re thoroughly worth it.
Bright light that’s not direct and moist soil are what keeps them happy and it’s worth mixing and matching on varieties to create a stylish display.