The new year is the perfect time to detox your home and start afresh. One way to do this is to introduce an array of house plants which are known for their uplifting and mood-boosting benefits. Our green-fingered friends at Conservatory Archives have created a list of 5 of their favourite plants and have even recommended where they should be placed in your home. Handy or what? Read on for more.
The Japanese have known for years that spending just three days submerged in nature can detox your mind and body. But there isn’t always time or access to ‘forest bathing’ (a mindfulness practise that originated in Japan where people spend time in forests to reduce stress and relax your body) within some of our biggest cities. As our access to wild spaces decreases and much larger global natural tragedies take place, we desperately need to keep in touch with the natural world and take our ‘forest bath’ in whichever small way we can. Over recent years house plants have been branded as a ‘millennial trend’, and we at Conservatory Archives believe indoor gardening has a much more significant role to play. Bringing plants into our homes can help reconnect us with the natural world, teaching us to nurture, take time and cultivate a curiosity and appreciation for lands and worlds we may never have experienced.
We don’t deny that caring for indoor plants can sometimes be frustrating – they can be fussy, stroppy and simply just do not want to live – but don’t give up. Use every mistake, murder and every one of your black or green thumbs to learn all about the wonders of house plants.
Here are some of our favourite unsung heroes of the house plant world and where we recommend to place them in your home…
1. The Forgotten Corner Plant – Spathiphyllum ‘sensation’
We see a lot of lovely peace lilies at Conservatory Archives, but this giant glossy leafed Spathiphyllum ‘sensation’ is the best plant for transforming that forgotten corner of your home. It’s the largest peace lily growing up to 8ft tall and also one of the easiest house plants out there to look after.
It likes medium light, but will tolerate (and even flower in) low light with not too much fuss. Just remember less light = less watering – which is a good tip to remember when caring for all plants.
This plant will let you know what it needs and when it needs it. A dehydrated Spathiphyllum will droop its leaves dramatically, giving you a very clear sign that you need to water it.
Watch out for yellowing leaves as this is normally a sign that you need to cut back on the watering.
2. The Book Shelf Plant – Hoya linearis
We love no fuss plants and the Hoya linearis is just that. Not only does it hardly ever get pests or diseases, but it can survive under watering, dark and bright spots.
Hoyas will grow better and even flower in bright light, but they will also sustain life in medium and low light areas, making them perfect for a book shelf.
This plant has lovely long trailing stems with lots of little leaves running along it. When nicely hydrated the leaves will stand at a 45 degree angle to the stem; when dehydrated, the leaves will lie flat against the stem. Watch out for these tell tail signs and you can’t go wrong with watering. When it’s dehydrated, place the plant in the sink with the water filled up to just below the rim of the pot and let it drink for an hour, really saturating that dry soil. Then place back on the shelf and wait until it dries out again.
If your plant get too long for its location (although we hate the idea of cutting a plant) you can trim back your Hoya and even propagate the cuttings to get more Hoyas. Hoyas for everyone!
3. The “Wow What’s That In The Window” Plant – Hildewintera colademononis (Monkey tail cactus)
This is my personal favourite plant so it had to make the top 5. Not only is this a fast growing cacti with curling tail like stems but its white/gingery spines really are as soft as they look, making it the loveliest cacti to work with and have in your home.
Cacti need bright light to be at their best – if not given enough light they will become thin and misshapen (which can also have its charm).
You want to let the soil dry out completely in between watering, mimicking their natural dry habitats. Once the soil is dry, place in the sink with the water filled up to just below the rim of the pot and let it drink for an hour – really saturating that dry soil – then place it back to bask in the sun. During the winter months reduce the watering significantly. Interesting fact – most cacti can take very low temperatures but they don’t like being wet and cold (who does?).
If you have caressed the monkey tail too forcibly and find it has snapped or broken, don’t worry, you can let the broke piece dry out for a week or two, allowing the wound to callice over and then propagate it by inserting the broken end into soil or water.
4. The Classic Plant – Sansevieria
This is perhaps not an unsung hero of the house plant world as this family of plants are still the most popular house plants, just as they were back in the 70’s, and with good reason – they thrive off neglect.
The Sansevieria will take whatever you throw at it – low light, half light, bright light. Except for no light, nothing will survive without light.
Water well just once a month to ensure you don’t over water. This is a great plant for travellers and forgetful waterers amongst us.
5. The One That Got Away Plant – Brighamia insignis (Hawaiin palm)
In Hawaii these lovely little plants are known as ‘Alula’ and they once covered the island. But as human populations grew and people began bringing over non native plants and plant eating animals, the numbers of Hawaiian palms dropped dramatically. Realising this special native species was on the brink of extinction, conservationists collected seeds in the hope of cultivating to reintroduce them back into the wild. Cultivation was so successful they are now widely sold as house plants but sadly they are extinct in the wild. This sadly is the truth for many of our much loved house plants. But through understanding, nurturing and loving our plants hopefully we can engage with the problems that face many plants and delicate ecosystems around the world.
Written by Frances Fay Davies @Conservatory ArchivesCREATE YOUR OWN MINIATURE DESERT » READ OUR SMALL SPACE LIVING TIPS » SHOP POTS AND PLANTERS »