Want to add colour and character to your home? Well, it is worth remembering that not all plants have to stay outside. Some can live indoors and perfectly blend in with your home’s decor, not to mention add colour and style. Geneva Vanderzeil, the author of ‘Home Is Where You Make It’ and blogger, has seven hassle-free plants that you can grow yourself and keep in your home.
As a bonus, Geneva gives us a few bonus tips without the need to re-pot your plants!
1# Zanzibar Gem
This is one of my favourite plants. Given half a chance, it will flourish in pretty much any space. The rich green hue of the leaves is the perfect complement to most decor schemes. It handles low lighting well and should be kept away from direct sunlight. It’s a tough plant when it comes to watering and likes to be kept on the dry side – you can even let the soil become dusty. It’s best to give the plant a thorough watering bi-monthly, but ensure you don’t allow it to sit in water afterwards because this will cause root rot and the leaves will turn yellow.
2# Snake Plant
Also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, this plant is a great indoor plant for beginners because it flourishes in any lighting condition from bright indirect sunlight to shade. It can go for up to a month without water, so make sure you keep the soil relatively dry – it’s better to underwater than overwater it. I give my snake plant a quarter of a cup of water every few weeks, making sure the soil has dried out between each watering. If the leaves are drooping and becoming slimy, it means that the soil is too wet, so remove any affected leaves and adjust your watering frequency. Occasionally, it may be necessary to prune the leaves, as the point of the leaf can be very sharp. Simply clip off the points whenever they appear.
This plant thrives on neglect and can grow under basically any conditions. It prefers moderate to low lighting conditions, even artificial office lights. The pothos flourishes with sporadic watering, making it very easy to grow. However, as with the snake plant, don’t allow the soil to become swampy as the pothos is susceptible to root rot. Check to see that the top 5 cm (2 in) of soil has dried out before watering. Each plant is different but if you notice that your pothos is wilted, yellow or spotted and doesn’t have much new growth, you’ll need to review your watering habits. The best features of this plant? It can grow in soil or in a vase of water, with its trailing vines reaching up to 2.5 metres (8 feet), and I’ve found it to be virtually unkillable!
4# Peace Lily
Peace lilies, with their distinctive white flowers and dark, glossy leaves, can usually tolerate low lighting, making them perfect for bathrooms and dark corners. If the leaves are turning yellow, it means the plant is receiving too much light. If the leaves turn brown or have brown streaks, the plant has been burnt from direct sunlight. Peace lilies typically require watering at least once a week and they like the soil to be kept moist. Note that they are potentially toxic to humans and animals, so keep them out of reach of children and your furry friends.
#5 Aloe Plant
Believe it or not, aloe isn’t just a sunburn soother. I love the dark leaves and it makes a lovely addition to lots of different rooms in the house. Place aloe in a sunny spot, otherwise, it will become dormant. Water the plant once every two weeks, and wait until the soil dries out before watering again – keeping the soil moist will cause the roots to rot. Limp or brown leaves also signal overwatering.
Dieffenbachia is an easy plant to grow and adds a lush, tropical look to a room. It grows best in bright, indirect light. While it can tolerate low light, note that its growth will slow dramatically. Once given more light, it will quickly begin to grow again. Dieffenbachia grows best in dry soil. Don’t water the plant until the top 5 cm (2 in) of soil is dry, then water thoroughly at the base of the plant. If the leaves droop, it’s usually a sign that the plant needs to be watered.
7# Spider Plant
The spider plant gets its name from the spider-like offshoots, or spiderettes, that hang from the mother plant, resembling spiders on a web. It’s known as one of the most versatile indoor plants and is one of the easiest to grow. Spider plants are suitable for a wide range of conditions and they don’t suffer from many problems, apart from brown leaf tips.
Easy planter ideas (that don’t involve repotting!)
Full disclosure: maintaining and looking after plants can be a lot of work – from watering to finding the right spot, to working out what’s going on when they suddenly wilt. Repotting is another task that I have to admit to not liking at all… it manages to rain on all my plant-buying parades. But pots are so key to the overall aesthetics of your plant and short of buying plants that are already in pots (very expensive!), you’re going to want to make a swap from that plastic brown one you get in the nursery. But sometimes you just don’t have time for repotting, which is where a few creative planters come in. Admittedly, most of these are temporary options and not suited to long-term use, but they’re ideal if you want to put off repotting.
The fabric wrap
Got a spare tea towel or piece of fabric lying around the house? Simply fold it in half or thirds so it’s the width of the pot, then wrap it around the pot, using a safety pin or two to secure it in place.
It will come as no surprise that I am suggesting using a basket. Sometimes I even prefer a basket to a new pot! Just remember to put the tray of your plant pot into the bottom of the basket so you don’t ruin the basket when you water your plant.
The dust bag
Have you noticed that dust bags have become a major part of the packaging for many items you buy online? Handbags, swimwear, jewellery – so many items now arrive in a dust bag. It makes sense because they’re lighter than boxes, less expensive to post and more sustainable. The best part is that they can be re-used. It does mean that you can be inundated with dust bags, but luckily they make fantastic plant bags!
You can visit her website collectivegen.com for more tips and tricks.
Images and text from ‘Home Is Where You Make It’ by Geneva Vanderzeil, photography by Geneva Vanderzeil. Murdoch Books RRP $35.00.
You can purchase the book here.