The Best Indoor Plants and How To Care for Them
Have you struggled to keep your houseplants alive? It can be disheartening when, no matter how hard you try or how much love and attention you give them, your succulents, orchids or spider plants start to droop and lose their colour.
Here are a few tips on how to care for your floral friends; including how often to water them and where they’ll be happiest in your home, so they’ll be flourishing in no time.
The Jade Plant, Crassula Arborescens, or Money Plant is a decorative foliage plant, which has become popular due to its striking features. As they mature, they make a great addition to a sunny windowsill or as a centrepiece on a coffee table.
Initially keeping your Jade Plant in the garden during the summer months will toughen up the stems and improve the leaf colour. Once back inside, they’re happiest on a sunny windowsill. Make sure to keep the plants cool in winter – around 10°C is ideal for them.
Only water the plant when the top half of the compost is dry, although water liberally during the active growing season. Between spring and early autumn, well-established plants will benefit from a feed every two weeks, with tomato fertiliser being a particular favourite of theirs. If the roots are starting to push through the drainage holes, then the plant would benefit from re-potting.
Succulents have become a very fashionable addition to a living space in recent times. They come in all shapes and sizes so there’s one to match any individual’s tastes.
Giving them lots of light is the best way to keep your succulents thriving. However, they may suffer if left on a windowsill for too long, as they could become sun burned during the summer or feel the chill during the winter months. Look out for signs such as your succulents becoming taller and stretched out, as this means they are searching for more light that may not be there. If your plant has a number of leaves and they’re dispersing more than usual, this is another sign that your plant is in need of some more daylight. Try moving them to a south-facing window and rotating weekly to ensure they grow evenly and not bending one way more than the other.
Over watering is the easiest way to mistreat your succulents, but when you know what to look for, it’s a lot easier to keep them happy. Use gritty, free-draining compost when planting, making sure that the soil dries out before watering them again. If they’re left to stand in water, they won’t be happy at all! So getting this balance between under-watering and over watering is essential for a healthy plant.
A key reason for Geraniums being a lovely addition to your home is that certain varieties will release a beautiful scent into your living space. The lemon-scented Pelargonium Citronellum or rose-scented Pelargonium Capitatum will add a fresh aroma to your home whilst producing a beautiful pop of colour.
Place your Geraniums in a position with lots of light, but avoid places where they will feel the full strength of the midday sun.
If your home doesn’t have access to an abundance of light, many types of fern are more forgiving when it comes to being in the shade for a while. Different varieties such as the Maidenhair and Sword ferns make good house plants if you want to add some green to your kitchen or bathroom.
Whilst these ferns don’t mind being shaded from the midday sun, they do grow best in bright light. They will put up with poor light for short periods, as long as they have some access to artificial light periodically throughout the day. Ferns enjoy a normal room temperature, although anything below 10°C and your fern will likely perish.
The variety of cacti you can purchase is what draws many plant lovers to them, as they have an almost collectable quality to them. That, coupled with their low maintenance nature, means that they are a popular and stylish feature for a room. If a more colourful cactus takes your preference, then the Moon cactus is firm favourite, especially with children. This is due to their small, round top, that can bloom in a variety of colours, such as red, yellow and orange, atop a taller green base. If a more neutral plant takes your fancy, then the Opuntia cactus, also known as the Prickly Pear cactus, and the widely recognisable Barrel cactus are both very suitable alternatives.
However, there are a few things that your cactus will need to stay supple and healthy. As with succulents, over watering is the main thing to avoid when it comes to tending to your cacti. They’re happiest in a really sunny spot (as you’d expect given their natural desert habitat), so they’ll appreciate a spot on the windowsill that gets the sun for most of the day. As long as these two criteria are met, they can withstand most maltreatment, so for the most part you can just sit back and enjoy their quirky good looks.
Very gritty and free-draining soil is once again the compost you should look to keep your cacti in. Water sparingly, making sure to use lukewarm water once the soil has completely dried out from your last watering. Cacti only need enough water to stop them from shrivelling, so it is important to remember to only water them once the compost is totally dry.