Houseplants can bring life and colour to your home but, unfortunately, they can have the opposite effect if they don’t get the exact care that they need.
For those that are aspiring amateur gardeners but do not have the time, energy or green fingers to make your flora flourish, we’ve compiled a list of the top, fuss-free plants for your home that (almost certainly) won’t wither on you.
Low Light Tolerant
The Lucky Bamboo plant is perfect for adding a highly decorative but low-maintenance touch of greenery to your home. It is more tolerant of too little light than it is too much; keep it out of direct sunlight to avoid scorching its leaves. Lucky Bamboos can either be grown in soil or, hydroponically, in a vase with enough water to just cover the roots.
Lucky Bamboo can be very sensitive to chemicals and bacteria in water. If growing hydroponically, it is wise to change the water once a week and to use distilled or bottled water that is not heavily chlorinated (like tap water can be).
Spider Plants are a houseplant staple! They flourish in moderate light, only require their soil to be kept moist and will produce mini plants, or ‘spiderettes’, when thriving. They prefer humid environments so keeping them in a steamy bathroom is perfect for this happy houseplant. However, they are relatively tolerant of most conditions so place them where they will receive plenty of indirect light, and water once a week (taking care to avoid waterlogging them).
The Snake Plant is a hardy, resilient plant, making it a strong contender for thriving (even with the most forgetful owner). Technically a succulent, meaning it can retain water within its leaves, Snake Plants benefit from infrequent watering. Allow the soil to dry out between watering as overwatering can cause the roots to rot and will quickly kill your plant.
Native to Africa, Madagascar and Southern Asia, Snake Plants can handle full sun as well as low light, however indirect sunlight is what your plant will flourish in. Although they are robust, they prefer warmer climes, so keep them away from air conditioning units or drafty windowsills. Snake Plants can grow up to 70cm (30in) in height, so make sure you plant them in a sturdy pot that will support their growth.
As with succulents, there are many different varieties of cacti, and caring for them will differ from plant to plant. Used to desert terrains and climates, cacti are relatively resilient when it comes to extremes of temperature and a lack of water. In fact, weekly watering could be too much for certain species.
Keep your cactus in a bright, warm environment but avoid scorching windowsills during the height of summer. Water when the top centimetre (half an inch) of the soil is dry and ensure that the plant has proper drainage. Like succulent plants, cacti will rot quickly if watered too often or if left to stand in water.
Another member of the crassula family, Jade Plants do not require vast amounts of watering as they are also very susceptible to root rot. However, they are less tolerant of forgetful watering than other succulent species. In fact, a Jade Plant should not be allowed to dry out completely.
Water your Jade when the top layer of the soil is dry to the touch. Keep the soil moist, but not wet and avoid water pooling on the leaves. If your plant begins to shed its leaves, or if brown spots are occurring on them, then this is likely a sign that it is not getting enough water. Increase the amount of water you give it carefully to avoid overwatering and the fatal root rot. A happy Jade plant can grow tall and live for a long time, so make sure you plant it in a sturdy pot that will support its tree-like structure.
Low Maintenance Tropical Touches
Urban jungle interiors and ‘jungalow‘ aesthetics are all the rage at the moment, because of this, there has been a resurgence in popularity of the faithful Palm plant. Parlour Palms are your best bet for no-fuss houseplants; they like indirect light conditions and prefer their soil dry out a little between waterings.
The Parlour Palm grows much more slowly than other palm varieties too, often taking years to reach its potential of 3-4ft, meaning it doesn’t require much repotting or supervision. As with many of our other houseplant suggestions, err on the side of underwatering as waterlogging will be fatal to your palm.
Create your very own tropical interior with one of these glossy-leaved beauties in your home. The Split-Leaf Philodendron is native to the jungles of Mexico, India and Panama and are therefore happy in low-light conditions. This plant also grows rapidly, with little attention needed, and once it begins to mature, can have leaves up to 3ft long and 2ft wide. If your Philodendrons growth begins to get out of hand, cut the longer stems at their base and place them in a small vase of clean water (where they will keep for a couple of weeks).
If you are really struggling with your green-fingered abilities and have even managed to wither one of our hardiest houseplant suggestions, you can always turn to artificial plants! Modern faux-plants far outdo their plasticky predecessors. In fact, these days many artificial plants are virtually indistinguishable from the ‘real deal’.
Keep your home looking leafy and lush all year round by filling it with ‘fauxliage’. Alternatively, if your house doesn’t lend itself to nurturing a variety of different houseplants, try mixing in a few ‘fauxs’ amongst your regular plants to boost its urban jungle appeal.
Many of the houseplant species listed above look highly realistic as artificial alternatives. Other convincing options include Aloe Plants – the smaller they are, the more realistic their appearance, Fiddle Leaf Figs – their glossy leaves can often make even the living version seem artificial – and Air Plants – look for flocked varieties for the most authentic appearance.
When it comes to nurturing plants, it can often be a little trial and error before finding the right variety that will flourish in your home. However, choosing a more resilient plant variety is the best way to set yourself up for green-fingered success, and will hopefully grow your confidence as well as your urban jungle!
Remember if you have pets and children to make sure the plants you choose are safe for them too!