Jungle fever

Kirsty Maclean rounds up some expert advice on turning your home into a haven for houseplants…

House plants are increasingly popular in the UK but the practice of indoor gardening dates back to ancient times. Houseplants can transform any space and have been proven to reduce stress levels, lower blood pressure and increase productivity, whilst creating a feeling of calm. 

Just like creating an outdoor garden, the trick is to choose plants that will thrive in the local environment, lighting conditions and temperature match. Ensure proper drainage by using pots with drainage holes and remember to add a drip tray to catch any excess water. Water your plants according to the type of plant, avoiding both overwatering and underwatering. Regularly dust the leaves to keep them clean and allow for better photosynthesis. Misting, using a water spray helps to hydrate the leaves and regulate water absorption. Keep an eye on your plants for signs of pests or diseases and take appropriate action if needed.

Fiona MacDonald, of Rooted on Rosemount Place suggests Sansevieria (snakeplants or mother-in-laws tongue), Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily) and Epipremnum aureum (Devil’s Ivy or Golden Pothos) as ideal first-time houseplants. ‘They’re considered weeds in their natural environment as they are tough and vigorous plants, so they’re well suited to being houseplants. 

‘The Peace Lily can be a bit of a diva, though – she will droop dramatically when she needs watering clearly letting you know what she needs and it is amazing to see how her leaves perk up a few hours after watering. 

‘Plants are very therapeutic to care for and are nature’s art. They are beautiful to have in your home and add life to a space. Having greenery in your home is so good for the soul. Having greenery in your home also helps to get through the long, grey winters.’ 

‘Succulents have captured the hearts of plant enthusiasts and beginners alike over the past few years,’ explained Craig Troup of Highland Moss, the specialist plant shop on Constitution Street near the beach. ‘They are very diverse, low maintenance and come in all shapes and sizes. 

New hybrid varieties are continually being introduced, ensuring that the succulent world remains ever-evolving and exciting.

‘Succulents are perfect for smaller spaces as you can create a collection that fits perfectly on a window sills, shelf or desk. Their adaptability allows plant lovers in small flats or with limited space to cultivate a green oasis.

‘We have an online plant hospital packed with advice, a repotting service, creative plant workshops and our own moss pole supports. We pick the moss ourselves by agreement with local landowners where the moss will be damaged due to forestry operations, so it’s very sustainable. 

‘We also have lots of fascinating carnivorous plants in stock, as well as specimen houseplants, so there’s something for all ages and budgets.’

If you’re looking to start a collection, then interesting combinations such as Monstera, Asparagus Fern, Dracaena and Yucca will create a dramatic effect, or how about a trailing Bougainvillea and tropical plants for that holiday feel? Make sure your plants have adequate light, but avoid placing them in direct sunlight, as it can scorch the leaves. Rotate your plants occasionally to ensure even growth and prevent them from leaning towards the light source. Check the moisture level of the soil before watering and
adjust accordingly. Don’t use cold water on sensitive plants, as it can shock their roots. Room temperature water is generally recommended.

Taking your houseplants outdoors when the temperatures are warm enough is a lovely idea but you need to acclimatise them by doing this in short bursts otherwise you may send them into shock – most common houseplants come from the tropics! 

Katie Lindsay of Ben Reid Garden Centre added, ‘Houseplants needn’t be difficult to look after and they are a beautiful addition to our homes and workplaces. Whether a collection of smaller pots or a standalone piece, they lift your mood or create a sense of calm. Indoor plants also purify the air and have a positive effect in the workplace. 

‘We have an impressive selection of quality houseplants of all shapes and sizes. Their staff have the knowledge, experience and passion for houseplants to guide you to make the best choice and arm you with the tools for your plants to thrive and for you to enjoy them for years to come. They also have a great selection of ceramic pots, potting composts and plant foods, watering cans and misters.’ 

Start with one plant and before you know it, you’ll have a collection that will turn your home in to a lush green space that’s filled with interesting shapes and textures, enhancing your wellbeing and bringing joy. 

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