No fashionable home is complete without a houseplant or two. Not only do they look great, but they are great for both your health and the environment. Kirsty McLean of The Garden Design Company Scotland shares how to choose the best house plants for your home…

Houseplants reduce carbon dioxide and pump oxygen into the air. Some act as air filters, increasing humidity and absorbing volatile chemicals such as toluene, xylene and benzene, which are emitted from furnishings and household cleaning products. Just having a plant on your desk can reduce airborne dust levels, reduce stress levels, increase work productivity, reduce blood pressure, increase attention span, and even reduce fatigue and headaches. All that and they look great!

Here’s my pick of houseplants that are easy to look after and can be found in most garden centres…


Spider plant
Once you have one spider plant, you’ll soon have many more as you can repot the baby spiderette plants that grow from them. Spider plants are happiest in shade, partial shade or indirect sunlight. Don’t overwater. 

Monstera
Monstera can grow very tall and is also known as a cheese plant because of the holes in the leaves. Prefers bright but indirect sunlight. Water once a week and spray the leaves. 

Dracaena or dragon tree
Another plant that can grow up to 8 feet tall. Dracena likes a bright spot in indirect sunlight.

Ficus or Weeping fig
Ficus likes bright but indirect sunlight away from drafts. It will sulk if you shift it around as it reacts badly to change.

Rubber Plant
Another old favourite. Look for one with variegated leaves for extra interest and keep it in good light. Keep the soil moist and spray leaves every now and again.

Hedera Helix
Hedera helix is an ivy, which is easy to grow and works well in a hanging pot or where it can grow up a support. It prefers cool moist air and needs to be protected from drafts.

Boston fern
Another good choice for hanging pots. The Boston fern’s airy foliage likes a cool position with high humidity and indirect light.

Mother-in-law’s tongue
The spiky Sansevieria prefers shade or partial shade. Keep it damp but drier in winter

Bamboo palm or lady palm
This one is great for a well-lit bathroom as it loves a humid atmosphere.

Peace lily
The peach lily need to be kept moist and well drained. It’ll also need feeding around every six weeks

Common aspidistra 
Totally retro, slow growing and much loved by the Victorians. It can be tricky as it shouldn’t be allowed to dry out but also dislikes been overwatered.

Kentia palm
This palm prefers bright indirect sunlight but will tolerate shade.  Allow the top of the soil to dry out before watering, do not overwater.

Lavender  
Fills the air with perfume and needs as much natural light as possible. Drench when watering but drain completely and allow the soil to become slightly dry before watering again.

Aloe Vera
Best kept in a sunny location and don’t overwater.

Cacti & Succulents
Come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes, but mustn’t be over watered. Ideal for people who go away of business trips or forget to look after their plants as they will survive without water for some time.

Whether you have a tiny space of a windowsill, or want to fill a space with a huge specimen, there’s a houseplant that will suit you.

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