House plants are having a bit of a moment right now. Lockdown saw plants sales soar as we fell over ourselves to forge a connection with the outside world.
They didn’t do any harm for our mental health either. Studies have shown that taking care of plants and having them in our home can help us to feel more calm and relaxed, and reduce our levels of anxiety. With not everyone lucky enough to have a garden or outdoor space, indoor plants have enabled us to recreate an oasis of tranquility within our own four walls.
So if you’re looking to bring the outdoor in this spring, but are feeling nervous about the prospect of plant parenthood (the responsibility is not to be underestimated!) check out our list of hardy, low maintenance plants that are guaranteed to brighten up your home…
The snake plant, which is also cheekily referred to as “mother-in-law’s tongue”, has been described as almost unkillable and thrives in most light conditions. Perfect for brightening up slightly darker rooms, it’s no surprise that this is a popular choice loved by many.
Also known as a Swiss cheese plant, the mini Monstera is instantly recognisable with its luscious heart-shaped leaves. It prefers moist environments so the bathroom makes a pretty ideal home for these! They also tend to get a bit wild from time to time so will need trimming back or repotting if it outgrows its surroundings.
Don’t be fooled by the slightly sinister name – devil’s ivy (or Epipremnum aureum) is a low-maintenance dream. This one isn’t fussy about light conditions and only needs watering when the soil is dry. Perfect for newbie plant owners who are looking for an easy-peasy plant.
Who doesn’t love a palm? Transporting us to tropical climates, kentia palms are great for bringing a little sunshine into our homes. This one likes medium light, so keep it in a nice bright spot but out of direct sunlight.
Fun fact: the sap from rubber plants, which contains latex, was originally used to make actual rubber back in the day. It also boasts thick, glossy leaves that look beautiful in any room. These like medium light and will benefit from a regular spray with a mister.
Unfortunately the name has nothing to do with “money growing on trees”, but instead, refers to the shape of this plant’s leaves which look like flat, round coins. This one is ideal for those constantly on the go and busy city dwellers, as it prefers medium light and only needs to be watered when the soil is completely dry.
Despite its commonly used name, this is not technically a palm but it does come with its own ponytail of leaves! You’re sure to instantly fall for its kooky character and what’s more it survives well in warmer climates (including centrally heated rooms) which makes it an all-round winner.
The asparagus fern is a fantastic decorative plant that also looks great in a hanging basket or sitting pretty on a mantlepiece. Don’t be fooled by its delicate and soft exterior though – this is a tough cookie that enjoys most light conditions and a little humidity between watering.
Also known as Epiphyllum anguliger, this one is probably the coolest looking of the lot with its jagged stems and wiggle edges. You’ll need a bright room for this one but it only needs to be watered very lightly. Once mature, it produces beautiful white flowers too!
If you’re looking for a shade-loving plant then the peace lily is the one for you. It thrives in partial shade and also likes a bit of humidity. It only needs a light watering and is good at coming back to life, even if you forget to water it. It sure is a survivor!
Once you’ve chosen which of these guys you’re going to bring new life into your home, take advice from East London florists and plant-whisperers Grace & Thorn to keep them looking their best:
1. Try not to overthink care
People overcomplicate how to look after a plant – don’t panic when you see a brown leaf. It’s not dying. It’s almost like having a split end; just cut it off. Same with watering – if you touch the soil with your finger and it’s dry: water it. If it’s not, don’t. There are a couple of exceptions: for example, ferns do love to be moist but don’t drench them. Drainage balls or gravel can be useful to draw water away from the roots.
2. Deal with pests
If you notice something is nibbling at your plants, or a sticky substance starts to appear on stems and the back of leaves, you may have got yourself a pest. A spray mixture of water and vinegar (at about a 5:1 ratio) is a good way to keep these in check!
3. Give them space to grow
If you repot and give the plant a bit more room then it will grow bigger, otherwise you’re restricting growth. We also recommends repotting plant with new soil after purchase as it is highly likely that it will need refreshing – soil is plant food, so get a little bag and, every spring, go round and put some topsoil on top of your plants.