My love affair with plants kicked off a couple of years ago, when I visited an aquatic plant supplier in Denmark with work (also the start of my obsession with Scandinavia…). It introduced me to the world of aquascaping (underwater gardening for those who aren’t fish geeks like me!), and also made me realise that plants weren’t just something your Gran pottered about making cuttings of in the garden.
They can be a fantastic form of art and self expression, too. Not to mention the potential health benefits of keeping plants in your home. According to scientists, they have the ability to remove contaminants such as carbon dioxide from the air and boost oxygen levels. They have also been found to reduce stress and anxiety levels. But are these the only reasons we choose to decorate our homes with greenery?
In an ever increasingly urban world where both our gardens and time spent outside are shrinking, perhaps the reason we choose to introduce plants into our lives is that they are a reminder of the beauty of nature and the great outdoors. It’s not a surprise that the rise of the ‘urban jungle’ seemed to start in hip parts of Central London, where outdoor space is limited.
And the fact that this year’s Pantone Colour of the Year is ‘Greenery’ shows just how ingrained into society our desire to reconnect with nature has become.
So, whether you are a seasoned plant keeper, or considering adding one or two plants to your home, I thought I’d share with you my favourites!
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
Even if you are the most unseasoned gardener, you should find this hardy species easy to keep. They are excellent houseplants that do a great job of cleaning the air. Keep them in an area with low to medium strength light, and water when the soil has started to dry and the leaves start to show their tell-tale drooping. Look after this plant well and it will reward you with its beautiful white blooms. Be careful if you have pets though, as this plant is toxic to cats and dogs!
The ‘Parlour Palm’ (Chamaedorea elegans)
This particular plant has been popular in British homes since Victorian times. And it’s easy to see why with its beautiful, delicate fronds. A hardy and tolerant plant, the Parlour Palm will do well in most areas of the home. Keep in a spot with moderate but indirect light, and avoid very strong sunshine which can scorch the leaves. When it comes to watering, keep the soil moist but not wet to avoid root damage. This plant does grow relatively slowly, so don’t expect to see sudden increases in size! They usually reach a maximum height of 1.5M.
Bromeliad/Air Plant (Bromeliaceae)
The first house plant I ever owned was an Air Plant given to me by my husband. They come in many different colours, with a central bract that can vary from orange all the way through to pink. They enjoy bright indirect sunlight and should be watered directly into the centre/well of the plant. Soil should be kept damp but never wet. After blooming, the rosette will die. You can then re-pot any new shoots and they will usually continue to grow.
I hope reading this has inspired you to add a little greenery to your home, even if you do resort to the fake kind (I won’t tell, promise!)