What are the Best House Plants?

Growing plants inside can be every bit as challenging as tending your garden but is just as rewarding. It’s time to rediscover indoor plants. Plants have a few basic needs. They must receive light to photosynthesise and produce energy. Plus, they must have water, they must have nutrients, and many must have soil to anchor their roots in.

Within these boundaries, there are vast areas of difference. A desert cactus comes from a completely different world to a tropical plant. Yet, you can get both to grow in your house, possibly even next door to each other.

Plants grown in a pot are almost entirely reliant on you for all their water and food needs, while an indoor plant also relies on you for how much and what kind of light it receives. So how do we try to keep our long-term houseguests happy? In this post, I show you exactly how to pick plants that will thrive in every room of your home. So, what are the best house plants? This guide also includes lots of advice on where to place them, watering and general care. Let’s dive right in!

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Prayer Plant


Why not treat yourself to this Prayer Plant, which earned its name because of the way its leaves fold together at night like hands closed in prayer. Click on the image for the best price!

Indoor House Plants

House plants may once have had a dusty, old-fashioned reputation, but they are very much back in style. Not only can they look modern and chic, but we’re also discovering the benefits of growing indoor plants. Greenery in our homes can make us feel calmer and increase our sense of wellbeing. Houseplants also help to purify the air by removing the toxins given off by furniture, cleaning products and electrical goods. This is especially useful at this time of year when we keep windows closed. [bctt tweet=”Houseplants can remove up to 87% of the toxins in a room in 24 hours” username=”dianescorpion”]. You might think that house plants are hard to keep alive and healthy, but if you choose the right ones for the right spots and give them the growing conditions they like, they’re straightforward to care for. Use this guide to find plants that will thrive in every room of your home, making a welcome addition to your life.

Landscaping Ideas


The Eight Best Indoor Plants to Purify the Air in Your Home

  • Snake Plant
  • Pothos
  • Dracaena
  • ZZ Plant
  • Spider Plant
  • Rubber Tree
  • Bird’s Nest Fern
  • Peace Lily

#SleepHack: Pop a snake plant in your room to boost your bedroom’s night-time air quality. Unlike most other plants, which release carbon dioxide at night, this one continues to absorb it and release pure oxygen. It also filters out toxins.



The Well Jar: Biophilia is spreading in the workplace. But before you panic-dash to the doctor or call the police, this is neither an illness nor something disgraced TV presenters are accused of; it’s our need to be near nature. Those who work among nature report a 15% higher level of wellbeing and creativity; and cutting-edge companies have cottoned on. Amazon’s new meeting rooms house 400 different species of plant, and Apple is planting 8000 trees at its California campus. Bring this to your own desk with a pothos plant. It can survive in air-conditioning, grow in a jar, and absorb toxins. Plus, it’s hardy. So even you can’t kill it!

What are the Best House Plants?

Shady Corner

Verdant vs variegated: Peace Lily and Wandering Jew

Where: With their attractive foliage, these plants are great for brightening up areas away from windows, such as hallways or corners, as they can cope with less light than other houseplants. They like to stay out of the direct sun, and need to keep reasonably warm; ideally, the temperature shouldn’t drop below 10 to 12 degrees centigrade. Also, keep them away from any cold draughts.

Watering: Water regularly in summer, but don’t let them sit in water. Keep them on the dry side over winter, allowing the compost to dry out between waterings. During spring and summer, feed every three weeks with a houseplant fertiliser.

TLC: All of these like to have their leaves misted regularly.

Moving on up: These slow-growing plants are happy to stay in the same pot for several years.

What are the Best House Plants

Hot, Bright Windowsill

Stylish and easy to care for: Watch Chain Plant, Mixed Cacti, and Trumpet Jade

Where: Desert cacti and succulents are perfect for window sills where the sun comes in for part of the day. They love dry air and can cope with direct sunlight; conditions that wouldn’t suit many other houseplants. They need as much light as possible, so place them on a bright windowsill.

Watering: The easiest way to kill succulents is by overwatering. Never leave them standing in water and always let the compost dry out between waterings; push your finger down into the compost to check. In winter, water less frequently, allowing the compost to dry out completely before watering. Try not to wet the plants, as they’re prone to rot.

TLC: Water monthly with a cacti feed in spring and summer.

Moving on up: In spring, move any pot-bound plants into a container that’s a little wider. Use a specialist cacti compost.

What are the Best House Plants

Shady and Humid

Lush, lacy leaves: Delta Maidenhair Fern

Where: Indoor ferns are perfect for bathrooms and shady kitchens, as they like high humidity and some shade. Keep them away from windows and radiators, as cold draughts and hot, dry air will cause the leaves to go brown and wither.

Watering: They need moist, free-draining soil, so water every week or so. Water the compost directly and allow the water to drain away. Use a weak liquid houseplant feed every couple of weeks.

TLC: Fill a saucer with gravel or small pebbles and top up with water. Place the pot on top, making sure it’s base isn’t submerged in the water. This raises the humidity around the plant.

Moving On Up: Ferns should be happy in the same pot for a year or two. Repot in spring if roots are growing out of the base. Use a container just a couple of centimetres bigger, and fill with houseplant compost.

What are the Best House Plants

Bright and Warm

Year-round flowers: Moth Orchid

Where: Moth orchids are prolific and spectacular flowerers. They need a slightly tricky balance of lots of light but not direct sun. In winter, particularly they need plenty of light to encourage flowering. Place on or near a north-, east- or west-facing window, avoiding draughts and fluctuating temperatures.

Watering: Water into the top of the pot and let it drain away before placing back in the outer container. Do this frequently to keep the free-draining compost just moist. Lightly spray the foliage but never leave standing in water. Use orchid feed in spring and summer if a plant doesn’t flower.

TLC: If a plant doesn’t flower for several months, move it to a cooler spot for a few weeks.

Moving on up: Repot every two years or so when the bark compost is breaking down. Choose a pot that’s just large enough to fit the rootball and use orchid compost. Moth orchid roots benefit from light, so a clear container is best, with an outer glass pot. Moth orchids are epiphytic (growing on trees) so the roots are not covered by soil in nature.

What are the Best House Plants

Cool Windowsill

Delicate flowers for months: Cape Primrose

Where: Wild cape primroses grow in dappled wooded valleys and ravines in South Africa. The flowers are almost orchid-like. To grow them indoors, they need bright light but not the hot sun; an east- or west-facing windowsill is ideal.

Watering: It’s important not to overwater, so wait until the compost feels dry and don’t let the plant sit in water. Take care not to splash the leaves as this can cause brown marks. Feed every couple of weeks with a high potash fertiliser, such as liquid tomato feed, at a quarter of the recommended dilution. In winter, water less and don’t feed.

TLC: Older leaves naturally turn brown at the top. Remove the unsightly tip or the whole leaf at the base with secateurs.

Moving on up: Transfer into a slightly larger part each spring; not too big though, as these plants flower more when somewhat pot-bound. Use houseplant compost and add some perlite to improve drainage.

Tackling Pests and Problems

  • Greenfly and blackfly/aphids are best blasted off with water from the tap.
  • Powdery mildew is often caused by dryness and not enough air circulation.
  • Mealybug can be destroyed by dabbing with a paintbrush dipped in alcohol. Heavily infested plants should be composted.
  • Red spider mite thrives in a dry atmosphere, so mist the leaves regularly and use a biological control.
  • Scale has a waxy shell and clings to the plant. Destroy with alcohol or biological control.
  • Grey mould is often caused by too much humidity in winter. Cut off infected leaves and bin.
  • Whitefly are tiny white, moth-like creatures that suck sap. The biological control Encarsia is effective.

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Indoor Hanging Basket Plants

Hanging Garden Pots

Bathrooms, with their warm, humid atmosphere, make an ideal place to keep a houseplant. It will help to remove some of the moisture in the air. Subsequently, less frequent watering is necessary; a win-win situation! However, there can often be a smaller surface and floor space. The solution is to hang the plants from the walls or ceiling.

Choosing a Container

The 1970s trend for macrame (knotted string) potholders has recently come back into fashion. Still, there are also plenty of other more minimalist designs of hanging pots available. They can all attach to walls or ceilings. Outdoor hanging baskets, when lined sufficiently, are an inexpensive option that can hold several specimens in one container.

Macrame Hanging Garden

What to Plant

Refer to my Plant Files for examples of plants that will thrive in a bathroom’s microclimate – primarily all those that originate from jungle habitats. Avoid any spiky or scratchy plants, for obvious reasons!

Planting

As with standing pots, hanging containers can either receive the plant directly or house a plant that’s in a plastic pot. Take into account the weight of the plant and compost when wet, and avoid using heavy pots. Likewise, make sure that the wires or string and wall or ceiling fittings are up to the job and can take the strain.

Repetition and symmetry always look good, so consider having two identical planters and plants, such as spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) hanging either side of a window.

A Natural Screen

Use several long trailing plants, such as species of ivy (Hedera) or hearts on a string (Ceropegia woodii), suspended in a line at the same height to create a screen, perhaps in place of a window blind.

A Hanging Forest

Suspend a collection of plants from the ceiling. Hang them close together but at different heights, considering the heights and trailing habits of each plant, to display them to their best advantage.

Hedera helix Goldchild

This colourful evergreen climber will light up a partially shaded corner, even on dull winter days. Olive green, lobed leaves sport broad gold margins which reflect the light beautifully. Hedera helix ‘Goldchild’ is an attractive self-clinging climber, scaling walls and fences without the need for extra support. Perfect for creating a low maintenance, evergreen background for other shrubs and perennials. Height and spread: 3m (118″).

Click here to buy your very own gorgeous Goldchild! 

Hanging Plants Goldchild

Grow ivy in any moist, well-drained garden soil in a sheltered position, in full sun or partial shade. Ivy will perform exceptionally well on alkaline soils, although plants are also tolerant of a wide range of different soil conditions.

Prune your ivy plants to fit the space available. Plants can be trimmed at any time, although spring is the best for renovation pruning before the new growth starts. Caution; irritant to skin and eyes, harmful if eaten.

Maintenance

It is usually easier to leave a hanging plant where it is for watering, but if taking it down, stand the pot on an upturned bucket or put it on the edge of a work surface so that the trailing stems are not broken by being pushed horizontally.

Water thoroughly as usual, but pour on very slowly with plenty of pauses, to allow the water to seep in and avoid potential overflow onto the floor.

Grow Nine-Piece Zinc Planter Set

This 9-piece set of zinc planters is perfect for fulfilling all of your planting needs.

It is suitable for a range of different uses, from planting flowers, herbs and small plants to storage or as a desktop stationery holder.

Click here to buy your own zinc planter set!

Zinc Pots Set

Suitable for indoor or outdoor use, these planters have been designed without drainage holes so that they don’t leak water.

These durable planters are made from galvanised zinc for both durability and strength.

Kokedama and String Gardens

The Japanese art of kokedama (literally meaning “Moss ball”) involves no pots at all. Instead, plants grow from a ball of clay and moss formed around the roots, which can then be placed on a surface or suspended from the ceiling. This technique looks most effective when used on groups of the same plant – a display style called a “string garden”.

What to Plant

Almost any plant can be planted in a kokedama, but some work better than others. For temporary, easy-to-create displays, use flowering bulbs such as snowdrops and species of Muscari. More permanent plantings could be made from most perennials (although avoid those with large, leaves that will wilt quickly) and traditional houseplants. Many string Gardens are made using tree seedlings, which are ideal, as they are slow-growing.

Kokedama from Bulbs

Temporary plantings of bulbs (bare of any soil) need only be wrapped in a good-sized ball of moss and string, then misted thoroughly before hanging.

Method

Take the plant out of its pot and carefully put to one side. Fill the pot with two-thirds peat moss and one-third akadama (a specialist bonsai soil, available online).

Then, tip the mixture into a bowl and mix thoroughly with enough water to stick it together.

Crumble away the potting compost from the plant’s roots, then mould the kokedama mix around the roots, to form a ball.

Wrap the ball tightly in sphagnum moss (available in bags from garden centres and online) so that none of the soil mix is visible.

Use string to wrap the whole thing in a crisscross fashion. If the plant is to be hung up, add another long loop of string, carefully secured to the plant, so that the plant’s stem is at the top of the ball when suspended.

Landscaping Ideas

Maintenance

Check if a kokedama plant needs water by weighing it – the lighter it feels, the less water it contains. To water, take the plant down and submerge in a bucket of water for an hour, remove and let it finish dripping (hang it over the bath or sink) before returning it to its usual spot. A half measure of liquid fertiliser can be added to the water in spring and summer.

Supports and Training

Growing a climbing plant is a great way to fill your house with foliage without taking up a lot of floor space, as it grows from a single pot. They can be trained over archways, around windows, up a stairwell or around a conservatory. Provided they get the light and conditions they need, they can adapt to most situations. If you are looking for advice on the best tall indoor house plants, there are some suggestions below.

Training a Climbing Plant

It is always easier to put in the support system for a climber before the plant reaches the point at which it will need it, rather than trying to fiddle around supporting it after it has started to grow. The easiest way to create a training system is to use strong wires, stretched taught between eyelet screws and attached to a wall, staircase or the wooden trim of a conservatory.

If the plant is naturally twining, it will wind itself around the wire, and little intervention will be needed other than to tuck in a wayward stem here and there. Others will need regular tying in. How often you will need to do so depends on the plant, but, in general, ties should be placed at intervals so that the stem is not bowing significantly below the wire.

Use soft horticultural twine to tie in the stems using a figure-of-eight tie. Loop the twine around the stem, cross over the ends and loop around the wire, always tying off against the wire rather than the stem. Avoid tying the twine too tight; you should allow a little space for the stem to grow in thickness. Check ties regularly and replace them as necessary.

Once a climbing plant reaches the end of the support system (eg it has grown all the way over an archway or doorway), the growing tips will need regular pruning to stop it growing any further.

Indoor Trellis

Less vigorous climbers can also be trained over a trellis, obelisk or other wire structure that is secured within their pot. Try wiring two hanging baskets together and placing them in the top of a large pot. Train the plant (ivy, perhaps) around the structure to create a dome shape.

Supports for Tall Plants

Many tall palms and other plants will happily grow up without the need for supports, but others will need something to lean on. A bamboo cane is the cheapest and easiest option, and some plants will come supplied with a mossy pole in the pot (such as Monstera deliciosa, Swiss cheese plant), into which the plant can root and thereby pull itself up.

Alternatively, a small metal or wooden obelisk could be put in the pot for the plant to grow up and through.

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House Plants to Buy for a Spectacular Display

Using plants as decoration allowance for some really creative touches. It is a chance to express your personal style with not only the choice of plants but also how you display them. These suggestions are undoubtedly just a starting point, and websites such as Instagram and Pinterest can be fabulous sources for inspiring ideas. Generally, the more the plant is made part of the room, the better it will look. Here are some suggestions for house plants to buy to create a stunning display.

Landscaping Designs


A Lush Jungle

A great thing to do in an unloved corner of a room is to group a few large, leafy plants together. Choosing plants of different heights will create interest and allow plenty of light to reach all of them. Add in some other empty pots or baskets, a rug or a piece of sculpture (it needn’t be expensive; it could be driftwood from the beach).

Curated Collections

If you have a burgeoning collection, it is a good idea to select individual plants carefully and display them in rows in front of a painted wall. You could categorise your selection; maybe specialist plants or a particularly favoured species. Create labels that are as much a part of the display as the plants; for example, cover your pots in blackboard paint or use labels made from slate, wood or colourful plastic.

Statement Plants

Choose a large, single plant to create a focal point in a room. It could be on a side table or on the floor, or even on its own dedicated stand.

Shelfies

Plants can be dotted around the house on shelves or bookcases. They could be displayed alone or among other treasured possessions. Putting a few different plants in the same style of pot is an easy trick to create unity of design. Alternatively, group potted plants on a shelf in different-shaped containers that are of the same colour.

Kids and Kitsch

Get children involved in planting a miniature landscape for their bedrooms; perhaps incorporating plastic toys, such as dinosaurs in a mini-jungle. Fake birds, butterflies and bees dotted around evergreen foliage can add colour.

Kitchen Garden

Bring the garden into the kitchen with herbs, salad, edible flowers and micro greens, which you can then have immediately to hand for creating fresh-tasting, flavourful dishes. Seed merchants are always introducing new vegetable and fruit varieties suitable for container growing, and there’s no reason why those containers cannot be inside.

Seasonal Displays

These are ideal for rooms that require a bit of cheer all year round, or to brighten up desk space. A container of mixed seasonal plants can be created simply and affordably using plants widely available at garden centres and supermarkets.

Hanging Gardens

Plants don’t have to always grow up; they can also trail down. This is a particularly great way to introduce greenery to smaller rooms without taking up too much space. Wall-mounted brackets for pots are great for a hallway. You can also try using suspended containers to hang plants over bannisters. Hanging baskets can be used in the kitchen for edibles, such as strawberries, tomatoes or nasturtiums, or elsewhere in the house for permanent features of trailing foliage plants. You can even find hanging terrariums.

Sinking Moss Balls (Chladophlora)

Some of you may not even be aware that this unusual plant actually exists. It gets its name from its appearance, which gives the impression that it is a variety of moss. However, it is actually a variety of algae, often used to decorate aquariums. It forms a soft ball with a velvet feel and can look incredibly stylish when on display. A simple, clear vase will show it to its best advantage. They are also straightforward to look after. You just pop them into lukewarm water, preferably rainwater or filtered water, and turn them occasionally. This mimics the action of the waves lapping at them on lake shores where they are usually found. The water should be replaced when it becomes cloudy, which is generally every two weeks or so.

Indoor Plants on Display

Click here to buy your very own sinking moss balls!

Recycled Chic

Create individual containers that are also environmentally friendly by recycling old pots; collect a few matching ones for different plants, build little crates from bits of reclaimed wood, or paint or cover old pots and trays.

I hope you enjoyed my suggestions of house plants to buy for a great display.

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Bee Friendly Plants UK

Attract Bees

Plants that will attract these fascinating and useful garden visitors usually have simple, tubular or daisy-like flowers, especially in pinks and purples; avoid double-flowered varieties. Butterflies also like fruity scents. Remember that their caterpillar stage needs different food plants. Nettles are well-known as the food of tortoiseshells, but long grass and other weeds support many species.

Bees are necessary for gardens. They pollinate and bring life, playing an essential role in growing all sorts of crops.

Unfortunately, bees in the UK are under threat, so it’s down to us avid gardeners to help them out. There are ways in which we can prepare our gardens to attract bees, encouraging them to pollinate all the year through.

Here are the top bee and butterfly friendly plants that will attract the critters into your garden.

English Lavender “Hidcote

This compact lavender with thin, silvery-grey leaves and dark purple flowers is an evergreen shrub useful for edging. Dense spikes of fragrant, tubular flowers, borne at the ends of long, unbranched stalks, appear during mid- to late summer. Like all lavenders, the flowers dry the best if cut before they are fully open.

Bee Friendly

Click here for your beautiful lavender plant!

Aster “Andenken an Alma Potschke

This vigorous, upright, clump-forming perennial carries sprays of large, daisy-like, bright salmon-pink flower heads with yellow centres from late summer to mid-autumn, on stiff stems above rough, stem-clasping, mid-green leaves. Suitable for cutting, or in late-flowering displays. “Harrington’s Pink” is very similar, with paler flowers.

Daphne “Eternal Fragrance

Non-stop blooms from April to October make Daphne “Eternal Fragrance” unbeatable for flowers and fragrance. This rare semi-evergreen Daphne flowers on new growth, so they just keep coming! With a compact, slow growth habit and deliciously sweet fragrance, this elegant shrub is perfect for planting in containers close to a doorway, where you will fully appreciate the fabulous heady fragrance as you pass. Height and spread: 90cm (36″).

Bee Friendly

Click here to add this “eternal fragrance” to your garden!

Buddleja “Davidii

All cultivars of buddleja, the butterfly bush, are fast-growing, deciduous shrubs with a wide range of flower colours. As the popular name suggests, the flowers attract butterflies and other beneficial garden insects in profusion. The long, arching shoots carry lance-shaped, mid- to grey-green leaves, up to 25cm (10in) long. Conical clusters of bright, fragrant flowers, usually about 30cm (12in) long, are borne at the end of arching stems from summer to autumn; those of “Royal Red” are the largest, up to 50cm (20in) long. These shrubs respond well to hard pruning in spring, which keeps them a compact size for a small garden.

Bottlebrush Plant “Callistemon Citrinus

This attractive cultivar of the crimson bottlebrush is an evergreen shrub usually with arching branches. Dense spikes of brilliant red flowers appear in spring and summer, amid the grey-green, lemon-scented leaves which are bronze-red when young. Grow at the base of a sunny wall to give protection from the winter cold.

Bee Friendly

Click here to attract bees to your bottlebrush plant!

Caryopteris x Clandonensis “Heavenly Blue

A compact, upright, deciduous shrub, grown for its clusters of intensely dark blue flowers which appear in late summer and early autumn. The irregularly toothed leaves are grey-green. In cold areas, position against a warm wall.

Daphne “Perfume Princess

Pretty pink springtime flowers clothe the stems of this robust shrub and fill the garden with an exquisite perfume. Although slow growing, Daphne “Perfume Princess” is well worth the wait, forming a medium-sized shrub with an attractive rounded habit. This hardy evergreen shrub has increased in popularity in recent years, providing year round interest as a specimen plant in borders and containers. Height and spread: 120cm (47″).

Bee Friendly

Click here for your very own “perfume princess“!

Gardenia “Kleim’s Hardy

Exotic single white blooms with an intoxicating fragrance that is simply divine. Gardenia “Kleim’s Hardy” is the first of its kind that can be grown outdoors all year round. Its glossy evergreen foliage provides the perfect backdrop for the beautiful blooms in summer. A beautiful, compact shrub for sheltered borders and containers. Height and spread: 90cm (36″).

Bee Friendly

Click here for this exquisite bloom!

Hardy Gardenia “Crown Jewels

Who’d have imagined you could grow a tough, hardy outdoor Gardenia a few years ago? Large pearly white, waxy double blooms, contrasting dramatically against rich, glossy evergreen leaves. This hardy shrub will be a prized specimen from the moment it’s delivered to your door. And do not underestimate the fragrance, Gardenia “Crown Jewels” has one of the most reliable, most intoxicating scents that will fill patios, gardens and your home all summer long.

Bee Friendly

Click here to add some “crown jewels” to your garden!

Patio Lavatera Mallow “Barnsley Baby

These upright and showy, flowering shrubs with stiff stems and sage-green leaves usually bloom from midsummer to autumn in pinks and purples. Although they are short-lived, they proliferate on any well-drained soil, including thin, dry land, which makes them a welcome addition to any garden where quick results are desired. They also perform well in coastal areas, being able to tolerate salt-laden winds, but the shrubs will need staking if grown in a site exposed to wind. In cold regions prone to severe frost, plant them against a warm, sunny wall.

Bee Friendly

Click here to order a “Barnsley baby” for your patio!

Dwarf Patio Lilac “Palibin

Dwarf Lilacs are like a dream come true; compact, bushy plants, smothered in tiny scented flowers from late spring. The “Palibin” stays small and neat, making it perfect for patio pots and small gardens. The abundance of fragrant spring flowers is astounding. Position them next to well-used doorways where the sweet fragrance will be really appreciated. Height and spread: 1.5m (4.9′).

Bee Friendly

Click here for a dwarf lilac!

Share Your Story

Are you aware of the necessity of bees in your garden? Did you know they were under threat? What plants do you grow to attract them? If you have any thoughts or questions, please add them below, and I will get back to you a soon as possible. Happy gardening!

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How to Propagate House Plants

Creating Plants

The act of growing more plants is known as propagation. Some houseplants will do most of the work of propagating themselves. Others will readily grow into new plants from cuttings or a piece of root. Alternatively, use external sources, such as a new pack of seeds.

Here are some of the simplest ways to create more houseplants, which will produce a clone of the original. This is a great way to bulk up stock, replace older plants or make a lovely, personal gift.

Succulent Pups

Many succulents, such as Aloe, Agave and Echeveria, produce miniature versions of themselves, which grow from the side of the main plant. These baby plants are called “offsets”, or “pups”. You can sever them from the main plant and put into their own pot to grow and mature.

Creating House Plants

To propagate, simply cut away the pup, trying to keep as much root attached to it as possible, and plant into a small pot of compost and grit.

Spider Plantlets

The long, dangling stems of mini plantlets are characteristic of the spider plant. In the wild, these would be looking to root themselves into something and grow into mature plants. To replicate this process at home, put a small pot of multipurpose compost under the first plantlet that attaches to a strong-looking stem (known as a “runner”) and cut off the rest of the stem beyond that plantlet.

If the plantlet sits comfortably in the compost, it can just be left. Otherwise, pin down the stem with a hairpin or half a paperclip, which will keep the base of the plantlet just under the surface.

Creating Plants

Keep the compost in the pot moist, and the plantlet should root into it relatively quickly. Once the plantlet roots correctly into its own container, cut off the stem or runner from both the mother plant and the plantlet. Pot on into a larger pot as it grows.

Ginger Roots

It is easy to grow ginger from “roots”; bought from a supermarket. Use the plumpest, freshest-looking roots. Organic ones are preferable because commercial growth inhibitors are sometimes used on non-organic roots which can stop them sprouting once planted. You may find there are already some swollen buds visible.

Creating Plants

Plant in a shallow pot in multipurpose compost, so that the root is about half submerged in the compost. Keep the compost moist and the pot in a hot place (ideally 25 to 28 C). Shoots should sprout from the root. Once it is established in the shallow container, it can be potted up to a larger one. In the autumn, cut back the old stems as they die. Ginger always prefers a warm room and does not tolerate lower temperatures.

Discover the Summer Rose Festival here!

Pelargonium Cuttings

A cutting is simply a small piece of a healthy shoot that is cut off from the main plant, which you insert into a pot of compost. It then produces roots and grows into a new plant. You can create several new plants from a single original plant.

Scented pelargoniums are one of the most natural plants from which to take cuttings. The type of cutting used for pelargoniums is called a soft-wood cutting, as they are taken from the soft, flexible stems of the new growth.

Creating Plants

Take pelargonium cuttings from healthy, well-watered plants in spring or summer. To increase your chances of success, cut a few shoots, but be sure to cut only leafy material; there should be no flowers or flower buds. Each cutting should be about 10cm long.

The base of each cutting should be just below a leaf joint (“node”). Remove the leaves with a sharp knife to leave a clear piece of stem at the base and a few leaves at the top. You can also pinch out the soft tip of the shoot.

Prepare the Pot

Prepare a small pot with compost, large enough for a few cuttings to be planted. Clear a hole in the compost using a pencil, to avoid damaging the end of the cutting. Several cuttings can be spaced evenly around the edge of the pot. Once the cuttings have produced roots and are growing into their own plants, they can be potted up.

Water the pot and label it. Keep it in a warm and humid environment, with good but not direct sunlight. Use a covered heated propagator or fix a plastic bag over the top of the plant (with support so that the bag is not touching the cuttings themselves), ensuring the cuttings are ventilated for a short while a couple of times a day. Alternatively, mist regularly.

A Helping Hormone

Before potting, you could dip the base of the cutting in hormonal rooting powder (available below), which will help the cuttings root.

Skelly Tray and 12 Bio Pots

There is a positive pressure and desire to reduce single-use plastics now, and these compressed peat Jiffy Bio pots are perfect, giving three to four months of growing plants in them as they slowly degrade. This means, once the plant has rooted, you can add the entire pot and all directly into your garden or planter. Recently launched at the UK’s premier Horticultural Trade Show, it won Best New Professional Product.

Biopots

A brand-new product saves single-use plastic pots and allows roots to breathe.

Unique ‘skeleton’ design exposes bio pots to the air, which ‘prunes’ the roots, giving more compact plants.

The bio pots allow any plants to be grown in them for 3-4 months before they degrade naturally.

Once rooted through plant the whole bio pot straight into the ground for zero transplant delay.

Supplied as a tray pre-filled with 12 x 8cm diameter bio pots – top-up packs available.

Discover the eco-friendly way to garden here!

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Flower Bulbs to Plant in Spring

Flowers to plant in spring

As we are heading for better weather, I have moved away from my indoor house plant ideas and ventured into the garden. Here are my suggestions for the top 10 flowers for planting in spring.

Trachelospermum Asiaticum ‘Pink Showers’

The first ever evergreen Star Jasmine with pink scented Flowers; now available to UK gardeners.

This climbing plant is a hot, fragrant favourite, and an exciting breakthrough in colour breeding.

With its typical jasmine fragrance filling the garden with a seductive perfume, you’ll be transported to a tropical paradise.

Top tip; although hardy, when in unusually cold areas, Trachelospermum is best grown in containers which can be moved to a protected position over winter, as it dislikes cold, drying winds.

Flowers to plant in spring

Click here to fill your garden with the most fantastic perfume from this rarely available pink jasmine!

Callistemon Viminalis ‘Hot Pink’

A fabulous new colour addition to the fantastic bottlebrush family.

Usually red, this is the first widely available pink, and what a neon pink it is too!

Each flower is made up of thousands of thin petals, each pollen-rich, so they become a mecca for bees and butterflies early in the season.

Top tip: Callistemon will flower best when grown in full sun in moist but well-drained soil, in a sheltered position away from cold winds.

Flowers to plant in spring

Click here to see why it’s called a Bottlebrush Plant!

Canna ‘Canasta’

Here is this exciting new seed-raised compact Canna variety, the result of years of breeding and selection.

Canna is a real summer dazzler; their exotic and exuberant coloured flowers are set off by lush, jungle-like green or purple and brown leaves, giving a real taste of the tropical, yet they are very tough and hardy.

‘Canasta’ is a dwarf series, reaching only 60cm or so tall, so are perfect for planting in big pots. Canna will form tubers over two to three years, so give them space; for colossal impact, plant all six in a 30 to 35cm diameter pot.

Flowers to plant in spring

Click here to add colour in high summer displays!

Mediterranean Flowering Oleander Collection

Summer-long flowers, fully hardy; perfect for your patio!

One of the UK’s favourite exotics, Oleander adds a real Mediterranean feel to your patio.

Sweetly perfumed pink, red and white blooms stand out against their vibrant green, glossy foliage.

Top tip; best grown in a large pot, in full sun, so it can be moved to shelter in winter to keep looking at its best.

Flowers to plant in spring

Click here to see a plant which looks stunning in a terracotta pot!

Bottlebrush Plant Callistemon Citrinus

This unique exotic ‘bottlebrush plant’ has the most eye-catching fluffy red cylindrical flower heads during late spring and summer; hence the name!

It produces the most delicious lemony citrus scent as you brush past it; a fragrance so different from other common plants in the garden.

It’s a very versatile plant and perfect as a specimen in the lawn, against a wall or fence, or looks stunning planted in large pots as a tropical feature on the patio.

Flowers to plant in spring

Click here to add a delicious scent, loved by bees and butterflies!

Musella Lasiocarpa: Hardy Golden Lotus Banana

Grown for its fabulous, large, paddle-shaped leaves as an architectural focal point.

The toughest and hardiest of all the ornamental bananas in the UK.

Does not produce fruit though, but does create an exotic yellow flower after five to six years.

Top tip; it is much shorter and less vigorous than other banana plants at around four to five feet tall maximum, making it ideal for large pots in small gardens. Grown in full sun or shade, it makes a great talking point.

Flowers to plant in spring

Click here to add to your sunny, warm spots!

Pink Oleander Standard 80 to 100cm

These Mediterranean beauties will add height, colour and sweet fragrance to your garden for years!

A riot of gorgeous pink, sweetly scented flowers and rich evergreen foliage!

Flowering all summer long, they are wonderfully exotic, yet can survive a UK winter to minus five degrees too.

Flowers to plant in spring

Click here to see how they literally thrive on neglect!

Callistemon ‘Bottlebrush’ Standard

Fabulous bottlebrush-like brightest red flowers in late spring and summer; stunning detail on each strand.

A magnet for bees and butterflies when in flower, which need attracting to our gardens to pollinate food crops.

This standard form on a clear stem looks excellent in a big pot, on the patio.

Flowers to plant in spring

Click here for your lollipop-form tree!

Hardy Bromeliad Fascicularia Bicolour

Fasicularia bicolour is an unusual and attractive plant which will be a talking feature in your garden.

Its brilliant colours erupt along with the leaves, giving this hardy plant a tropical appearance.

This unique evergreen plant produces bright red leaves leading to the rosettes of colourful blue flowers.

Flowers to plant in spring

Top tip; it grows to about 50cm, so it is perfect for containers or pots; put it in a sunny spot on your patio, and it will thrive for years to come.

Click here for the ‘Chilean Hardy Pineapple’!

Architectural Banana Plant Collection: Three Varieties

Bananas have become very popular in the last few years, mainly for their large architectural leaves.

Wonderfully exotic, and great for adding architectural impact to gardens, this trio of banana plants will look especially impressive.

Create a unique, tropical jungle look to your garden, while you sit back and enjoy the warm, summer sun.

Top tip; the red banana is borderline hardy, so they’re best grown in pots and moved indoors over winter.

Flowers to plant in spring

Click here for fabulous architectural foliage to create dramatic tropical display!

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What are your suggestions to add to the top 10 flowers for planting in spring?

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House Plant Bulbs

Spring Bulbs

Bulbs make rather good houseplants, albeit temporary ones. When grown in a clear glass container without soil, the developing roots can also be seen. This can also be an excellent way for children to have an interest in plants and gardening. The white roots on show also have a light, fresh appearance. Layering several bulbs between compost will mean a longer-lasting display because the lowest bulbs will take longer to get to the surface and flower. For a maximum-impact display, pack single layers of bulbs in the pot so that there is hardly any compost visible.

Spring Bulbs

Generally, bulbs are ideal for a temporary indoor display. You can then plant them out into the garden after flowering. In autumn, plant bulbs into a pot of multipurpose compost. Keep the container moist, but not wet and in a cold or cool place (ideally outside). Once the leaves start to show, keep in plenty of light. Bring into its display position once the flower buds have formed; the cooler this spot is, the longer the flowers will last. Keep well watered. A fertiliser is not necessary. At the end of flowering, (remove spent flowers if there are more still to come), plant the bulbs in the garden or dispose of in the compost heap.

Amaryllis (Hippeastrum)

A classic bulb planted alone in a pot and bought for Christmas displays. Usually red or white flowers, sometimes with several per stem. Leaves appear after the flower spike.

Amaryllis

Click here to buy your own Amaryllis “Sonatini”!

  • Very free flowering – each bulb will yield multiple stems – the mix comes in a wide array of dazzling colours.

Hyacinth (Hyacinthus)

A couple of these flowers will be sufficient to scent an entire room. Available in a range of colours and shades. Traditionally, hyacinth is a bulb for indoor display. A popular variety is Hyacinthus orientalis “Blue Jacket”. This navy-blue hyacinth is a bulbous perennial bearing dense, upright spikes of fragrant, bell-shaped flowers with purple veins in early spring.

Daffodil (Narcissus)

Specific daffodil varieties have been developed that are ideal for either forcing (such as “Paper White”) or small pots (“Tete-a-tete”). Small and miniature daffodils make good spring-flowering, bulbous perennials for both indoor and outdoor displays.

Spring Bulbs

Crocus (Crocus)

The sweet fragrance is gorgeous up close, and so a pot or two of these small flowers are worth growing. It is even possible to cultivate saffron in a bowl, using Crocus sativus bulbs. Spring-flowering crocus are indispensable dwarf perennials as they bring a welcome splash of early spring colour into the garden.

Snowdrop (Galanthus)

Minute variations of green patterns can appear on a snowdrop petal, but even the most basic form, G. nivalis, brings a welcome sign of spring. A popular variety is Galanthus elwesii. This robust snowdrop is a bulbous perennial that produces slender, honey-scented, pure white flowers in late winter, above the bluish-green foliage.

Spring Bulbs

Tulip (Tulipa)

The simple form of the tulip flower works both in isolation (a forced bulb in a single vase) and in a group. Dwarf forms are available for small spaces, but many of the varieties will not flower again for the following year. A popular variation is Tulipa clusiana. This yellow-flowered lady tulip is a bulbous perennial which flowers in early- to mid-spring. The star-shaped flowers, tinged red or brownish-purple on the outsides, are produced in clusters of up to three per stem, above the linear, grey-green leaves.

Click here to buy your tulip and daffodil bulb planter!

Bulb Planter
  • Long handle saves bending to prevent backache
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Forcing Bulbs

Most flowers that can be forced have flower embryos already formed within buds, scales or tunics ready for emergence when they receive the right amount of heat and moisture. If these flowering initials are not present, then no amount of forcing will produce a flower.

Some plants have a relatively uncomplicated programme. Lily of the valley, for example, can be brought into flower at any time of the year as long as the rhizomes are chilled immediately before subjecting them to warmth. Many spring-flowering bulbs will behave in the same way and can be brought into flower early by artificially simulating a season at the wrong time. Daffodil and tulip bulbs are subjected to cooling treatment, and hyacinths to heat treatment, which results in their flowering weeks before untreated bulbs.

Spring Bulbs

Hyacinths, daffodils, crocuses and several tulips can be mildly forced by plunging them in a cool place after planting to let them develop an adequate root system before they are forced by heat. To do this plant the bulbs as soon as they are obtainable in pots or containers. Use ordinary potting mix if the pots have drainage holes; if not, use bulb fibre which contains charcoal. Plant the bulbs with their tips at the surface of the mix. Ideally, they should then be buried in the garden under 15cm (6in) of soil or ashes with each pot wrapped in newspaper.

Cellar, Cupboard or Cold Frame

If this is not really possible, then they should be kept in an unheated cellar, cool cupboard, or cold frame, wrapped in newspaper to exclude light. If the containers were well packed and the mix well-watered beforehand, the bulbs should not need any attention until about eight weeks later when they should be checked to see if they have pale shoots protruding about 2 to 5cm (1 to 2in) above the surface of the mix. The buds of tulips or hyacinths must be well clear of the neck of the bulb before they are brought into subdued light at a temperature around 10C (50F).

Spring Bulbs

Water as required to keep the mix moist. When the leaves are green, and the flower bud can be seen swelling inside them, move the bulbs to a warmer room to hasten flowering. Once the bulbs have finished flowering, the flower heads (not the stalks) should be removed, and the bulbs should be planted in the garden to recover. It may take a few years before they flower well again in the garden and they should be allowed at least three or four years to recover fully before forcing is attempted again.

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Mix different bulbs in assorted containers for a springtime display. What are your favourite bulbs? Which ones make you smile?

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House Plants That Like Sun

These plants need a good level of light, but not direct sunlight. The ambient temperature is, therefore, lower than for the plants in my “Sunny Spots” section, and although again they do not generally require high humidity, some may benefit from an occasional misting.

Pineapple (Ananas comosus)

It is possible to buy ornamental pineapples that sometimes bear small fruits, but its cheaper and more fun to try rooting the top of a fresh pineapple purchased from a local grocer or supermarket. Twist off the top and remove the lower leaves. Suspend the bare stem in water and wait for roots to appear before potting in a 50/50 compost and grit mix. Water as required and feed in the summer. But, prune only to remove dead leaves.

Buy a Pineapple Plant

Click here to get your own Edible Indoor Pineapple Plant!

  • Grow your own delicious fresh pineapples on your windowsill, and from the same plants used for commercial pineapple production in South America!

Bird’s Nest Fern (Asplenium nidus)

The bird’s nest fern is a very tolerant plant, therefore making it an ideal beginner’s houseplant. The large flat, glossy leaves are mid-green and have an attractive black midrib and crinkled edges. Pot using a mix of 75/25 multipurpose compost and grit, and water as required. Clean the leaves regularly to keep them clean and shiny. Prune only to cut out dead leaves to the base but brown edges can also be trimmed. New leaves will unfurl from the bottom of the bird’s nest fern.

Plants for Bright Spots

Dwarf Mountain Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)

A staple of home stores and garden centre houseplant sales, the dwarf mountain palm makes an attractive houseplant and is usually available to buy in various sizes. The long, pinnate leaves are borne on slender stems, earning the plant its “elegant” name well. Water regularly in summer, sparingly in winter. Feed monthly in summer. Prune only to remove dead leaves.

Dwarf Fan Palm (Chamaerops humilis)

This palm is fully hardy but also grows well indoors (it can be moved outside for the summer). It is squat rather than elegant, and has fan-shaped leaves on spiny stalks. Older specimens will have a fibrous trunk. Water regularly in summer, sparingly in winter. Feed monthly in summer. Prune only to remove dead leaves.

Dwarf Fan Palm

Click here to get your own Dwarf Fan Palm!

  • Ideal hardy palm for UK patios and smaller gardens, it is very compact growing, weather tolerant and hardy.

Natal Lily (Clivia miniata)

Strappy, dark-green leaves are the perfect foil for the bright orange and red tones of the flower spikes on a Clivia. The flowers, borne in spring and summer, are lily-like, and the plant needs a colder spell to produce them, so a conservatory with more seasonal temperature variations is ideal. Water regularly in summer, sparingly in winter. Feed monthly in summer. Prune only to remove dead leaves and flower spikes. Clivia’s bright flowers are offset by its glossy dark leaves.

House Plants for Bright Spots

Arabian Coffee (Coffea arabica)

It is unlikely that coffee grown as a houseplant will actually produce any useable beans, but regardless, the plant is attractive with glossy, crinkled leaves and an enjoyable curio. “Grow your own coffee plant” kits and packets of just the seed are available from online suppliers. Alternatively, buy a ready-grown plant. Pinch out the growing tip of young plants to encourage bushy growth. Water regularly in summer, sparingly in winter. Feed monthly in summer. Prune only to remove dead leaves.

Madagascar Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata)

Madagascar dragon tree is widely available either in its basic form, which has green/red leaves or as the “Tricolor” variety, which has cream-edged leaves. Both bear clumps of arching, strappy leaves atop a slender trunk, with plants usually sold with two or three trunks per pot at different heights. Water regularly in summer, sparingly in winter. Feed monthly in summer. Prune only to remove dead leaves. If the room is very dry, an occasional misting will help.

House Plants for Bright Spots

Flat Palm (Howea forsteriana)

One for a larger room, as it can reach sizeable proportions, but its young growth is relatively upright. The broad leaves are divided (i.e. pinnate) and borne on slender stems. Water regularly in summer, sparingly in winter. Feed monthly in summer. Prune only to remove dead leaves.

Four-Leaved Pink Sorrel (Oxalis tetraphylla)

Some Oxalis species are serious garden weeds, but contained as a houseplant they are rather pretty. Their clover-like leaves are sometimes supplemented by red/purple flowers in summer. Water regularly in summer, sparingly in winter. Feed monthly in summer. Prune only to remove dead leaves and flowers.

House Plants for Bright Spots

Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata)

Mother-in-law’s tongue grows as an upright clump of lanceolate, fleshy leaves that are predominantly green but have yellow margins and some yellow patterning. Pot in a 50/50 compost/grit mix (plants can be easily divided if getting too big for the space). Water regularly in summer, sparingly in winter. Feed monthly in summer. Prune only to remove dead leaves. It is named as its leaves are seen to be sharp and persistent, just like a mother-in-law’s tongue!

House Plants for Bright Spo

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii)

The peace lily forms clumps of dark green, ovate leaves and white flowers (spathes). All parts of the plant are extremely toxic. Water regularly in summer, sparingly in winter. Feed monthly in summer. Prune only to remove dead leaves and flowers. It will benefit from an occasional misting.

House Plants for Bright Spots

Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae)

Bird of paradise plants are aptly named and make a spectacular houseplant. Bright orange and purple flowers emerge from tall spikes with beak-like buds, set off well by the slightly glaucous paddle-shaped foliage. Water regularly in summer, sparingly in winter. Feed monthly in spring and summer. Prune only to remove dead leaves and flower spikes. Mist occasionally.

House Plants for Bright Spots

Cape Primrose (Streptocarpus)

This plant has a primrose-like flower borne on delicate stems above long, slightly furry, dark-green leaves. Varieties available can include pastel-pink, blue or purple flowers (visit a specialist nursery for the best choice). Best watered from a saucer to avoid rotting leaves, but do not allow to stand wet. Water regularly in summer, sparingly in winter. Feed monthly in summer. Prune only to remove dead leaves and trim flower spikes back to the base.

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House Plants That Like Humidity

The following plants all need good light, but not direct sun, and high humidity, so a bathroom or kitchen windowsill would be a good choice for them. Boost the moisture, if needed, with regular misting sprays. The constant humidity which circulates in a bathroom is ideal for many of the following plants.

Tail Flower (Anthurium andraeanum)

An unusual plant, with its waxy, tail-like flower, which is long-lasting and usually brightly coloured, supplemented with glossy, dark green, heart-shaped leaves. Flowers appear in spring and summer. Water regularly in summer but sparingly in winter. Mist as necessary to maintain high humidity. No pruning required; simply remove any dead leaves and flowers, and repot in fresh compost every other year.

Humid Plants

Zebra Plant (Goeppertia zebrina)

Formerly classified as Calathea zebrina, zebra plant has unsurprisingly stripy leaves in dark green and purple tones, which are red-purple on the underside. Water regularly in summer, sparingly in winter. Give a weak dilution of fertiliser in the summer. Prune only to cut out dead leaves.

Humid Plants

Venus Fly Trap (Dionaea muscipula)

The Venus flytrap is a useful if temperamental house plant. A brilliant curiosity, but be aware that carnivorous plants are challenging to maintain. Refer to specialist websites and books for further care instructions. Keep compost moist and mist regularly to maintain very high humidity. Do not feed with fertiliser. Do not tempt the leaves to snap shut without a fly inside, as this will harm the plant.

Humid Plants

Missionary Plant (Pilea peperomioides)

Produces saucer-shaped leaves and, in summer, tiny pink or white flowers. The stem joins in the middle of the blade on the underside. Leaves and stems can trail over the edge of the pot. Water regularly and feed monthly in summer. Prune to remove dead leaves and flowers.

Humid Plants

Common Staghorn Fern (Platycerium bifurcatum)

An epiphyte, best grown in a mix of woodchip and moss, such as an orchid potting mix. It can be mounted on a wall, fixed to a piece of cork or similar, with sphagnum moss packed around the root ball. Prune only to remove dead leaves. Feed during the summer. In a pot, water freely in summer, sparingly in winter. For wall-mounted specimens, water by soaking the base and feed by adding fertiliser to the soaking water.

Humid Plant

African Violet (Saintpaulia)

A mini flowering house plant and ideal for small spaces. Flowers can last for months, and available colours range from deep purple-blue to pink to white. Although they require some humidity, misting can cause the leaves to rot. Water regularly in summer, sparingly in winter. Feed monthly in summer. Prune only to remove dead leaves and flowers.

Boston Ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata)

This is an extremely popular houseplant and will thrive in the humid atmosphere of a bathroom. However, ferns will need extra attention if the heating is switched on during the winter, misting lightly once or twice per week will help. You could also stand their pot on a container filled with pebbles and water. A Boston fern’s number one enemy is dry soil, it needs to be checked daily, adding water if necessary. The entire pot can be soaked in lukewarm water. If the leaves start to turn yellow, this is a sign that more humidity is required.

Humid Plants

Maidenhair Ferns (Adiantum)

This is a graceful plant which enjoys bright light and is not difficult to care for. It has attractive light green, feathery foliage and is the source of oil commonly used in shampoo products. The black stems have been used as a dye in the past, and Native Americans used the plant as a poultice, to help wounds to stop bleeding. It should be grown in small pots, and not re-potted if possible. If its surroundings are of low humidity, it should be misted daily, and the soil should not be allowed to dry out, but not overwatered either.

Humid Plants

Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

This plant can purify the air and strip out toxins such as formaldehyde from materials in your home. Pothos works quite well in a hanging basket, with its trailing stems or can be trained to climb up a trellis or other supporting object.

Humid Plants

Orchids (Orchidaceae)

This beautiful plant is notoriously difficult to care for, with overwatering being the most common reason for harming them. Despite the fact they originate from rainforests, they should not be left to sit in water, as this causes the roots to rot. An innovative idea is to place ice cubes on the soil, under the leaves to ensure the correct amount of water is dispensed slowly. You can also add fertiliser in this way. They should be misted at least twice per day, preferably with distilled water. They prefer a constant temperature and can actually burn when placed in direct sunlight.

Humid Plants

Peace Lilies (Spathiphyllum)

This plant is straightforward to grow and has curving white blooms that are very pretty.

Humid Plants

Snake Plants (Sansevieria trifasciata)

Also known as Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, this plant is super easy to cultivate, and its variegated leaves grow in an upward direction. Some of the leaves have white or yellow edges, and it has small white flowers, but rarely blooms.

Humid Plants

Bamboo (Bambusoideae)

Although it prefers to be outdoors, it is possible to grow bamboo as a house plant. There are many varieties but the one thing they all require is plenty of light, and they will benefit from occasional spells outside in the garden in bright sunlight. High humidity is another necessity, with misting needed daily, preferably accompanied by the use of an oscillating fan to keep moisture in the air. Yellow leaves are actually quite healthy and not a sign of ill-health, but curled up leaves do indicate stress. The plant will eventually need to be divided up.

Humid Plants

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Do you have any plants in your bright and humid spots, whether they be in your bathroom or kitchen? Do you have any tips for their care and maintenance? If you have any questions or comments, please contact me below, and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

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Air Plants Care Instructions

Air Plants

Tillandsias have undoubtedly fascinated me ever since I first saw them. These “air plants” from the subtropical and tropical New World are simultaneously adorable and bizarre. With over 550 species and counting, deciding on which air plant to grow can be a daunting task. Luckily, air plants are easy to grow, and if you read this article and follow the instructions, you should not have that many problems growing your first air plant, even if it’s your first time.

Air Plants

Selecting Your First Air Plant

There is a good chance that you probably ordered your air plants from the internet which means they will have been in the dark for at least a couple of days, so it is vital that they ease into their new surroundings properly. This is the only challenging stage of air plant care. Slowly allowing air plants to acclimatise to the abrupt temperature change (from box to air conditioning or heat) can be made earlier with these quick tips.

Air Plants

Acclimatising Your New Air Plants

When you initially take them out of their box, do not be tempted to set them directly in front of an air conditioner, heater or fan and leave them

To lower the plant’s stress, give them a bath for 20 to 30 minutes. Just soak them in a warm bowl of water. (Even if they came from your local market, be sure to soak them first).

Next, you should lay them out drying completely

If you are planning on displaying them in maybe a glass terrarium, a pretty wall hanging display or any kind of enclosed container (or in a hole to stand them up), it is essential that you allow them first drying out completely

Do not plant your air plants in soil, ever, as that would lead to rotting

And, do not let them stay wet for long periods to avoid spoiling

Yes, you may cut the unsightly roots off and peel off the brown leaves. An air plant gathers nutrients through its leaves (or body) and has no use for soil. Roots are nature’s way of attaching air plants to their rock or tree host.

Air Plants

Understanding Air Plants

These are the immediate steps to take upon the arrival of your new plants. There is more to know to provide healthy lives for your air plants and their pups (yes pups), like air, light and fertiliser.

But don’t fret. Once you get the idea that these are not earthbound, root dependent potted plants, you view them with a whole other understanding. And, you will see how natural, independent and care free these tree-dwelling, rock hanging beauties can be.

Air Plants

Air Plants as a Display

In the wild, air plants, such as Tillandsia, grow without soil and attach themselves to trees, rocks and other supports. Their dull-grey/greenish-blue foliage has no distinct leaves or stems and is covered in tiny pores that allow them to absorb moisture and nutrients from the air. The various species of air plant, rosettes or stringy, lend themselves to being displayed in different ways, but they are at their most natural as hanging plants. However, air plants can be housed in almost anything, such as empty seashells.

Air Plant Maintenance

Place air plants in a spot with proper ventilation in bright, but not direct, light. They will need a minimum temperature of 12 C and relatively high humidity. Water by plunging into tepid water (preferably rainwater or soft water) two to three times a week (unless in high humidity, in which case allow drying between watering). A specialist orchid fertiliser can be added monthly to the water (leave the air plant in the water for a few hours when feeding). Rosette-forming plants should be allowed drying facing downwards so that water does not pool in the leaves. Prune only to remove dead leaves and flowers.

Air Plants

The Air Plant Family

Tillandsia Cacticola

This plant is named for its habit of growing among cactus and has a tall, projectile inflorescence (a group or cluster of blooms arranged on a stem) with lavender flowers. It is actually quite a rare species, as it only produces one or two “pups” or offshoots, once the flower has died away. It is more at home in bright and warm areas. A problem to look out for is if the edges of the leaves begin to curl upwards more than usual. This is a sign that it requires fully submerging in water for up to 12 hours, to restore its former glory.

Tillandsia fasciculata

This species blooms within the spotted, thorned, stiff leaves of a billbergia, another bromeliad family member. It is also known as a giant air plant and is native to Central America and Mexico. In the wild, they grow in vast quantities on tree trunks, especially in rain forests. It can have as many as 50 leaves, which form a rosette shape, and is an epiphytic organism, which means it grows on the surface of other host plants.

Air Plants

Aeranthos

Originating in South America, specifically in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, Aeranthos is an epiphytic air plant that grows mostly on trees. They can grow both as a single plant or groups of between two to 12 plants. Aeranthos is characterised by long grey leaves which are incredibly pointy. They produce a beautiful deep blue three petal flower and can form many pups. This plant tends to thrive in an area with low humidity and can survive in colder temperatures and is one of the most natural air plants to cultivate although it is relatively slow growing.

Air Plants

Bergeri

Originating in Argentina, Bergeri is an epiphytic air plant that grows on rocks near the ground. Bergeri produces pups or offshoots throughout the year and is the fastest growing air plant available. It rarely flowers but can produce attractive blue blooms.

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Have you tried growing air plants before? Do you have any tips for their care and maintenance? Please leave a comment or question below, and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

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