Nurturing a plant and encouraging it to thrive is one of the most badass moves you can make as a grown-up. It proves that you’re a responsible human, capable of one day caring for a tiny person’s life. And while a big, green outdoor garden is the ultimate proof that you can adult, a few well-placed indoor plants are a more immediately achievable goal.
The fruitful rewards of indoor plants are plentiful. They’re the most effective way to purify the air inside your home, plus they’ll make any room instantly more inviting. So if you’re a novice to the indoor greenery game and want to invest in some leafy friends, consider this guide your who’s who of the plant A-list.
Peace Lily Varieties
The Peace Lily is the Paul Rudd of plants: inoffensive and apparently immune to ageing. A good gateway plant for practising your affections, Peace Lily varieties don’t require much watering or attention. Just make sure they have indirect light and a bit of water every now and then.
If you manage to keep the Peace Lily alive, then you’re ready to upgrade to something more fickle, like a fern. But if you’re still in doubt on plant care 101, our friends at Ivy Muse have some choice words:
“Research your plants and their needs. Make sure they're getting enough light and water, and keep checking in on them. If you're on top of what's happening with them, you can catch any problems before they really arise. Plus, getting to know your plants is good for the soul!”
This diva of a houseplant needs constant moisture and gentle, indirect light. It’s basically the fern equivalent of a drunk movie star who has to wear sunglasses at all times, even when inside. But despite its demanding attitude, a Maidenhair Fern has the potential to be a soft, lush and beautiful addition to your home.
It’s best suited to a naturally damp part of the house, like your bathroom. But if it looks like your fern has seen better days, Ivy Muse says to keep at it.
“Don't give up just yet! It can take a little while [up to 18 months] to grow back, but this tip may work: keep your plant in its pot and trim the fronds all the way back to the soil. Then place the fern outside in a shaded position. If you remember to keep watering it regularly, you might just save it.”
Fiddle Leaf Figs
This is the one you’ve seen standing alone in sparse corners of ridiculous homes on Grand Designs. It’s a statement plant, suited to those who care as much about the plant as a killer plant stand. Its capacity to grow might mean you'll invest in several pots over its lifetime, so be ready to have some fun buying equally beautiful pots for your Fiddle Leaf Fig to thrive in.
Succulents and Cacti
In terms of plant chill, there are none more relaxed than those in the succulent and cactus family. Our friends at Cool Cactus have also confirmed what we long suspected – cacti are hard to kill.
“So long as you do not overwater, the cactus is very easy to keep alive. It will thrive in a sunny position!”
Great news. And if succulents are more your speed, Cool Cactus suggests going for the sedum variety, otherwise known as the Jelly Bean Plant.
“(We) love its spreading habit, its bright colours and the fact that it really looks a bit like jelly beans. Who doesn’t love jelly beans?!”
Or plants that look good in shelfies, if you will. Our top picks are the Chain of Hearts and Pilea Peperomioides. Arguably the ‘it’ plant of 2016, Pilea Peperomioides is a jaunty little guy with large circular green leaves at the end of its bare stems.
It loves indirect light and, like all plants with large flat leaves, you’ll need to occasionally wipe off any accumulated dust with a soft cloth.
The adorable Chain of Hearts works well as a hanging plant, but will really come into its own on the edge of a shelf. It’s here that it can let its delicate vines cascade down into long, droopy tendrils.
If you’ve got an extra shelf to spare, try the Devil’s Ivy – a misleading name for what Ivy Muse pits as “one of the best for cleaning the air.”
This feature was originally published in Fashion Journal 163. You can read it here.