A week rarely goes by that I don’t end up welcoming a new plant into the family. Every time I visit a shop I somehow seem to come away with a plant, or something plant-related.
Lots of people seem to be put off the idea of houseplants, thinking that they are going to kill them. But caring for plants is actually a lot easier than you might think. I have put together some tips and care guides for some of the best houseplants you can get.
Otherwise known as the Swiss Cheeseplant, the Monstera has cool leaves and work as a larger, statement plant in your home.
They prefer a bright spot with indirect light, but can survive alright in a shadier position. I give my Monstera some houseplant fertiliser every month or so to keep it growing well.
The Monstera has these funny looking aerial roots that grow out. Do not cut these! If you don’t like the look of them, just tuck them into the pot. Alternatively, you can use these aerial roots to help train a Monstera up a structure or wall if you want!
Aloe wants lots of direct sunlight. You need to let the soil completely dry out between watering, underwatering is definitely better than watering too soon.
My first ever aloe died a horrible death from being overwatered – I didn’t know so much about plant care back then, and it became a pile of mush! But if you keep them somewhere sunny, and don’t water too much, they’re actually super easy to look after!
My Calathea is probably my favourite houseplant, but it is also one of the hardest to care for.
It wants indirect light and continually moist soil, without being left sitting in water, as that can cause root rot. It doesn’t like being near radiators or warmth, and can’t be left in really bright sunlight – like on a windowsill. Basically, she’s a fussy one!
As far as plants go, it’s still easy enough to deal with, but out of all my houseplants the Calathea is the most temperamental! If you don’t water it enoug it gets droopy, but too much and the leaves go yellow – sometimes it is hard to win!
Also known as the money plant, jade is one of the easiest plants to keep. It likes to be in a bright location and be watered every week or so, but otherwise it needs very little maintenance. I mostly just leave it to do its own thing!
Hedera, or English Ivy, is a pretty easy plant to take care of. It likes being moist, and can survive in both bright or shadier spots.
Ivy is a good indoor plant as it purifies the air. It can also be trained to grow along poles and shelves, which can create a pretty cool effect.
A super low-maintenance houseplant, you could leave this without water for a month and it would still be happy. It likes being completely dry before being watered.
It likes being in the light, but won’t die if it’s not in direct sunlight or in the shade.
Palms have an air-purifying effect, so they’re a good plant to have in the house. I keep mine in the bedroom to help improve the air where I sleep. My palm is very easy to look after, it can handle periods of drought and is pretty easy-going in terms of positioning in the light.
The dracaena is my most recent addition to my houseplant collection. The one I got was rescued from a bargain home shop, where it wasn’t being kept right, so mine is currently on a journey of recovery!
So far, I’ve learnt it likes to be in the sun, but indirectly, and with periods of drought between waters.
Cacti are a great choice for those who can’t seem to keep anything alive. You can largely leave them to it, and they’ll do ok. I keep mine on the windowsill where it is sunny and give it a water every couple of weeks.
Another super easy to keep choice is succulents. Succulents are a category of plants that include things like echeviera, gasteria, sedum and snake plants, as well as aloe and jade plants.
You want to keep these in a bright spot, limiting watering to every week or two when the soil has dried out.
Houseplant Care Tips
Worry Less About Watering
I think a lot of people worry that they’re not watering their plants often enough, but usually the opposite is true. Most plants can go about 10-15 days without needing water, and can suffer quit badly if they’re left in soggy conditions.
Overly watered plants can get diseases and root rot, and they are more likely to die from that than from not being watered for a few days! Unless a plant’s care details say otherwise, you should only really be watering a plant every week or two.
Don’t Let it Sit in Water
Plants should ideally be kept in a pot with a hole in the bottom, placed on a tray. Water the plant at a slow, but consistent pace, and stop when water starts coming out from the drainage hole.
If your pot doesn’t have a hole in it, then I usually place a small container underneath to raise it up within the pot, so it doesn’t sit in any water.
Watering should usually be reduced in the winter months.
Keeping it Light
Light is another important thing to consider with houseplants. Most plants need a couple of hours of light each day, which usually requires positioning them in a place where light from the window reaches them.
Some plants need to be in direct light, while others can survive in darker spots. While you might think bad light would kill a plant, for a lot of plants, inadequate light conditions would just stop a plant from gaining new growth, rather than actually dying.
Wipe Down Leaves
You need to wipe your plants leaves every now and then to remove any dust or dirt. If the leaves get too coated with dust, then it impairs their ability to take in light and air, so keeping them clean helps!
Rotate Your Plant
Plants tend to grow towards the light, so if one side faces the light and another is in darkness, your plant will start leaning and one side might not grow enough. It is worth turning your plant every now and then to let it get an equal amount of light.
Where to Buy Houseplants
You can find houseplants in a lot of places nowadays. If you have something specific in mind that you want, then a garden centre will be your best bet.
I’ve actually found a lot of my smaller houseplants in supermarkets, and I find Sainsbury’s especially good for cute little succulents and palms!
The thing I’d say about buying from supermarkets and bargain home stores is that often the soil quality isn’t very good, so I usually repot mine in some fresh compost to give it the nutrients it needs to grow properly.
Can’t Keep Anything Alive?
So you’re a nightmare with plants? Maybe you travel too much or are just too forgetful to manage even the hardiest of plants!
There are still ways to get some ‘nature’ into your life!
- Dried flowers, like grasses or lavender can be an exciting decorative element when popped into a fancy jar, vase or jug! You can find some incredible dried bouquets these days.
- Fake plants – don’t be afraid to spend a little more on something that doesn’t look completely plastic, it’s not like it’s going to die!
- Crocheted plants – our first place was a bit dark for plants, so we have some crocheted cacti, complete with pins for prickles!
Do you have houseplants? What are your favourites, let me know in the comments below?!