Have you ever noticed how much calmer you feel after you’ve spent time in the company of plants? Yes, they’ve been scientifically proven to boost our mood and general wellbeing, so is it any wonder we’ve embraced the houseplant trend so wholeheartedly?
Learning to nurture plants in your home brings you a sense of mindfulness and a visible reward as they grow over time. They bring a space to life, soften hard edges and clean our indoor air.
As an avid plant lover, I’ve picked up some pretty fool proof advice over the years – here are my five top tips for caring for your houseplants.
Easy To Grow, Daylight Loving Plants
Most houseplants can be divided into two groups, those that prefer dry conditions, and those that like a moist and tropical environment. If you’re new to plants and want a fairly safe bet, let me introduce you to the cactus and succulent family. These plants, such as Aloe, Jade and Echeveria have chunky, thick leaves built for storing up water. These varieties benefit from a well-draining, gritty potting mix, watering only when the soil is dry.
Tropical varieties such as Monstera (cheese plant), Philodendron and palms can grow to large, architectural proportions and make a real statement. These varieties grow happily in a moist, multi-purpose compost with a regular feed – I use liquid seaweed once a month during the growing season in summer but any houseplant feed will do. For the rest of the year, make sure they don’t dry out and they’ll love you back.
Top Tip: Did you know that you can also use coffee grounds and diluted coffee water on your plants? Used as an occasional treat, some plants feel the benefits of a caffeine boost!
The Right Conditions
All plants need daylight to truly thrive, but in varying degrees. I like to use ‘right plant, right place’ as a pointer and it’s worth doing your research to make sure you have the right conditions for the plant you’ve got your eye on.
Corners with soft, dappled natural light are ideal for frondy ferns, whilst a sun drenched room with a large window is perfect for tropical varieties like the Ficus (rubber plant) and Monstera.
Remember, not to put them in direct sunlight as this can burn the leaves and try not to keep moving them once they’re happy – a subtle change in conditions can be unsettling!
No Space? No Problem!
If you have limited floor space, look to the walls instead. Lush trailing plants such as Pothos or the delicate String of Hearts add texture and interest to a shelf. A mini cactus garden on a kitchen windowsill will give you something other than the washing-up to look at.
There’s always one awkward corner in our homes where furniture just doesn’t look right. That’s because it’s waiting for a plant! Stairwells are ideal places for a bit of greenery in a light and airy spot.
Pots of Style
Now you’ve found your perfect plant and placement, don’t forget to treat it to a pot that compliments your interior style. Consider matte or glazed terracotta, cast concrete or even woven rattan baskets- but remember that these most definitely aren’t water-tight.
No plant likes to sit with its roots in water for too long as they’ll start to rot. For that reason, try and look for pots that come with a saucer so that you can drain off excess water.
If you’ve got your eye on something without drainage holes, use it as a cover pot to stand your plant inside instead. Make sure the pot your plant is sitting in has good drainage so excess water can escape and, if you see the outer pot filling up with water you can simply empty it.
Top Tip: Worried about over-watering? Sit your pots in a tray of water and remove them when the soil is moist. Self watering pots are a brilliant alternative too, allowing the plant to take in only what it needs.
Propagate! Grow Your Own
Did you know that you can grow new plants from the ones you already have at home? Get this one right and you’ll never have to buy a plant again!
Whilst some adult varieties will grow offshoots without any intervention, you can also encourage others to root with some gentle persuasion.
If you have succulents, gently twist off the larger, lower leaves from the base of the plant and leave them out on the soil to dry out next to the mother plant. Eventually, you’ll start to see roots emerge which can then be planted into a separate pot.
You can also root cuttings in a vase of water. I’ve had great success with mature Monstera leaves, carefully removed at the base of the plant and simply left in the water until it roots.
If you would like to find out more about the Benefits of Daylight, click here to read more.
This post was written in collaboration with VELUX. All views are my own. Pictures from VELUX.