Horticulturist Tammy Huynh of Leaf an Impression shares her top 5 easy-care plants for you to try growing at home.
Finding balance in these uncertain times can be challenging. But by simply including plants in your home, you instantly instil a sense of calm. Plants in the home help fulfill our innate attraction to nature – a phenomenon known as biophilia – and can help with cultivating health and wellbeing. According to a study conducted by Plant Life Balance, the maximum benefit of plants can be felt by including 5 medium-sized plants per 10sqm, so here are our top 5. And don’t worry, they’re easy care – we don’t need to add any more stress with high maintenance plants!
Mother-in-law’s tongue (Dracaena spp., formerly known as Sansevieria spp.):
If you want a near-indestructible plant, hands down, this is it. While it grows best in a brightly lit room away from direct sunlight, mother-in-law’s tongue is incredibly adaptable, so it will tolerate growing in dimly lit rooms. Water occasionally* and don’t overdo it, otherwise the leaves may become limp, marked with brown water spots or worse, rot and die. There are so many forms to choose from, so you’ll be sure to find one that suits your personality or the style of your home. From tall narrow sword-like foliage, compact rosettes to large paddle-shaped leaves, all in striking shades and patterns of green.
ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)
The ZZ plant is one of the most forgiving plants. It will tolerate growing in low light rooms and will not have a meltdown if you forget to water it for weeks. Ideally, a brightly lit room is best, but like we said, it’s not too fussy – it’s why you normally see it planted in offices and shopping centres. The glossy green leaves are the perfect statement piece of your office desk, hallway table or buffet. If you prefer things on the darker side, look for ‘Raven’ which has dark black-purple foliage.
Philodendron (Philodendron spp.)
This popular houseplant is available in so many different forms, all with interesting shapes, textures, colours and growth habits. There are certain varieties which are fussier than others, but the ones that are found in your local nursery are typically low maintenance. Give them a brightly lit room and water regularly for best results. Increasing humidity around certain varieties will also help. You can do this by grouping plants closer together or placing a shallow dish of water near the plants – as the water evaporates, it increases the humidity. For a jungle vibe, look for Philodendron ‘Rojo Congo’, P. ‘Imperial Green’ or P. callosum and team with the trailing foliage of P. ‘Brasil’ or P. cordatum.
Devil’s ivy (Epiprenmum aureum)
Insidious in name, but innocent in nature, this trailing or climbing plant is the ultimate beginner’s plant. It grows best in a brightly lit room but will survive (not thrive!) in lower light. Once established, it can also go for long periods without water, but it’s best to water occasionally. There is the classic green and yellow patterned variety, but if you like more variegated white and green forms, look for ‘N Joy’, ‘Marble Queen’ or ‘Manjula’. They look beautiful draping from a bookshelf, plant stand or hanging basket. If you want them to climb, insert a moss pole into the potting and gently attach the plant to it with garden ties.
Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
This plant is considered a weed in most gardens, which means it’s quite adaptable and tolerant of varying growing conditions, ergo, an ideal houseplant! Position in a brightly lit room and place it spot where its curly cascading foliage and pendulous flower spikes can spill over the edge of the pot – a hanging basket or plant stand is perfect. Water when the soil is dry. It will produce lots of ‘pups’ or baby plants, which look like spiders and can easily be rooted in water or in soil.
*Watering tip! To see if you need to water, check the soil. You can use a store-bought moisture meter or simply insert your index finger 4-5cm into the soil. If it’s moist, leave watering for a few days, but if it’s dry, give it a good drink.
Author: Tammy Huynh is the owner of Leaf an Impression (@leaf_an_impression). If you need help finding the right plants for your home or garden, get in touch.
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