Earlier this year, we had a look at the gardening trends set to sweep the gardening nation in 2018. Top of the list was the humble houseplant and indoor plants, or more specifically, the act of “bringing the outdoors in”.
The popularity of houseplants has waxed and waned over the past few decades, but indoor plants – particularly succulents – are enjoying a real renaissance at the moment. It has been suggested that with private outdoor spaces shrinking, homeowners and the younger (and extensive) renting generation are looking for ways to green up their living spaces. And what better way to bring the outdoors in, than with a potted houseplant, or two, or four, or ten…
Green your space with a houseplant
Of course there are some of us who are simply mad about plants, and will look for ways to fill any spare space with something green or blooming. Whatever your motivation for bringing the outdoors in and greening your indoor space, here are a few recommendations for vibrant and interesting houseplants:
Also known as the friendship tree or money plant, the jade plant is a succulent that produces small white or pink flowers. In true succulent style, they’re vibrant but undemanding – water only when the soil is dry, and be sure to provide them with plenty of light, ideally by a south-facing window.
Pink Princess Philodendron (Philodendron Erubescens)
This philodendron has speckled and variegated leaves that feature splashes of pinks and blush, and will happily grow in shadier indoor spots. Technically a vine, this houseplant will enjoy a little support to grow or scramble up.
Although also known as the zebra cactus, Haworthia is actually a succulent, with clustering leaves marked with horiztonal white ridges. It generally only grows between 6 to 8 inches wide and 3 to 4 inches tall. Drought tolerant, it doesn’t need much care and will brighten a sunny windowsill.
If you’d like to dabble in the world of bonsai growing, then the Ficus ginseng is a great houseplant to start with. It typically features a two-root “trunk” (aerial roots) and sturdy, green leaves. It likes a bright windowsill and is generally quite tolerant, only needing an occasional liquid feed and general watering.
Phalaenopsis (moth orchid)
If you’ve got a sunny aspect, then you’ve got the perfect spot for a moth orchid. The species comes in many different varieties, and thrives on good light levels in winter to encourage continued flowering. The moth orchid can flower at any time of year, often for three months or more.
And it’s not only lush leafy plants and prickly cacti that are capturing our attention. Dwarf citrus trees are also becoming more popular. If you’re tempted by the likes of a miniature lemon tree, be aware – they’re quite fussy and will need consistent, warm temperatures away from draughts and cold windows, high humidity, and around eight to ten hours of sunlight per day. Not always an easy feat in the midst of a British winter! Citrus trees can be placed outside in summer months, but will definitely need to be brought inside once there is a risk of frosts. Opt for a specialised citrus slow-release fertiliser, good drainage and mist daily. And good luck…
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