The past few years have seen a huge surge in popularity for the humble houseplant. And there’s little doubt why we’re all turning green-fingered. Houseplants boast a range of feel-good benefits and are an economical and versatile way to revamp our home decor. If you’re a fan of this botanical trend but are left baffled by how to care for your new plant friends, this guide is for you. Inspired by our own Green & Wild collection of houseplants and accessories, we’re sharing how much (or little) water and sunlight each popular plant type needs to thrive.
Popular Indoor Houseplants and How to Care For Them
String of Hearts - Rosary Vine - Ceropegia Woodii
A lovely trailing houseplant with heart-shaped leaves, the String of Hearts or Rosary Vine is originally from South Africa.
- Watering: String of Hearts is a semi-succulent, meaning that it is more likely to tolerate under-watering than over-watering. Water and wait until the compost dries out and the leaves are a little soft before watering again.
- Light: This plant likes bright light. You’ll find the stems growing towards the light and a lack of light is shown by large gaps between the leaves.
Swiss Cheese Plant - Monstera
A very popular choice, the Monstera grows large leaves with splits and holes, giving it its Swiss Cheese Plant nickname.
- Watering: Allow the top few inches of soil to dry out between watering. This plant likes a humid environment, so it’s often recommended to mist the leaves.
- Light: Too much direct light can damage the leaves, while too little light can slow down growth. Aim for bright shade.
Kentia Palm - Howea
Slow-growing and easy to manage, the Kentia Palm is also a great air purifier. Unlike many of the plants in this list, it also thrives in lower temperatures and humidity, although it’s best to avoid rooms below 10°C.
- Watering: Allow the top of the soil to dry out between watering.
- Light: Avoid direct light. While it can tolerate low light, a lack of new shoots may indicate a lack of light. On the other hand, too much direct light will cause the Kentia Palm’s leaves to yellow.
Aloe Vera is known around the world for its therapeutic properties, but its characteristic long and spiky leaves make it an attractive, easy to care for houseplant.
- Watering: Avoid overwatering. Let the soil dry out completely between watering and don’t let the plant sit in water. During the winter, Aloe Vera goes into a state of dormancy and does not require much water at all.
- Light: Aloe Vera needs a lot of light to thrive, but importantly, not direct sunlight.
Haworthia - Zebra Plant
Haworthia or Zebra Plant is a striking succulent with green leaves featuring white stripes.
- Watering: With succulents, overwatering is one of the most common killers. For a happy succulent, choose a pot with a drainage hole, use well-draining soil and water the soil directly (not the leaves or rosette). Let the soil dry out completely between watering and reduce watering in the winter.
- Light: Bright, but indirect light. If your plant is not getting enough light, the lush, green colour of its leaves may fade.
Cacti come in many interesting shapes and sizes and are generally easy to care for and able to withstand some neglect. Like succulents, a key characteristic of cacti is their ability to store water in their leaves or stems to survive in warm, arid climates. This means overwatering is also a common cactus-killer.
- Watering: Allow soil to dry out between watering and decrease watering during the winter months. The growing period is between April and September when cacti should also be fed once a month with liquid houseplant or cacti feed.
- Light: Cacti like bright light and can survive on windowsills.
Dracaena originally comes from Madagascar and in addition to being fairly easy to care for, it’s also an air purifier. Though, bare in mind that they are toxic to cats and dogs.
- Watering: Water with purified water (dracaena is sensitive to fluoride). Mist the leaves and only water when the top of the soil is dry. The Dracaena requires less water than many houseplants and good drainage is important to avoid root rot. Drooping yellow leaves may indicate poor drainage or over-watering. Although, bare in mind that it is normal for bottom leaves to fall off to allow new ones to grow.
- Light: Indirect, filtered light, for example a semi-shaded spot or placed in front of a sheer curtained window, is a good option for Dracaena. Direct sunlight may scorch a Dracaena’s leaves.
And What About Humidity?
In terms of humidity, most houseplants from warmer, tropical climates prefer a more humid environment. If the care tips above are still not leaving you with a lush and healthy plant, consider the temperature of the room - try to avoid cold draughts and increase humidity with a humidifier or putting the plant on a bed of pebbles in a dish and adding water to evaporate around it.
Feel-Good Benefits of Living with Plants
If you needed more motivation to try your hand at some indoor gardening, here are some of the benefits of living with plants:
- Plants add interest to your home decor and are a great way to bring the outdoors inside for those without a garden - just search #jungalow on Instagram for inspiration!
- Some sources say houseplants can reduce stress and improve mood
- Certain houseplants can help purify the air and remove pollutants
Now you know how to care for some of the most common and popular types of indoor plants and why they give us the feel-good factor. Visit us in-store to choose your next plant pick and its perfect pot to start creating that #jungalow style at home.