The foolproof guide to greening up your home
Ready to grow your family with indoor plants? Here’s how to keep them thriving.
Indoor plants not only look great, but adding a splash of green to your house also has some worthy health and wellbeing benefits.
According to NASA, house plants can remove up to 87 per cent of air toxins in 24 hours.
Another study found indoor plants improve concentration and productivity up to 15 percent.
And the act of gardening itself is reported to have mental health benefits including reduced stress levels, heart rate and anxiety.
And the good news is, you don’t need a green thumb to keep your indoor plants alive.
With patience, the right light and a little maintenance, you’ll have a lush collection of best fronds in no time.
Plantsmith owner Liz Turner shares her top tips to get your green interiors started.
Autumn is the ideal time to plant
Summer is a growth season, leaving a jungle of thriving plants to choose from.
“Because we’ll soon be heading into winter – an indoor plants’ downtime – you can sit back, relax and enjoy your lush new posse,” Liz says.
Scout out the right location
Lighting, airflow and temperature are key factors when deciding on a new nook.
Liz says while it’s not the easiest to grow, the fiddle-leaf fig ticks all the style boxes for open living areas.
“Put it in a bright, warm position with good airflow and master the watering – not too much, not too little,” she says.
Sansevieria, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, is Liz’s pick for lower light areas such as bedrooms or hallways while ferns, mistletoe cactus (rhipsaslis) and devil’s ivy (epipremnum) are her recommendations for the bathroom.
“They love the humidity, and if you’re lucky enough to have a skylight you’ll create a mini jungle,” she says.
- Related: Jamie Durie’s indoor labour of love
Take note – and take care
Keep an eye on your plant and observe how it’s performing in its new home.
“Note how it looks when it’s healthy and move it if it appears unhappy,” Liz explains. “Don’t be afraid to touch it – you can learn a lot from the leaves. If they’re thin instead of plump it may be a sign of under or overwatering, or not enough light.”
Less is always more when it comes to watering.
“Most plants are killed by overwatering,” she says.
“Let them dry out a little between waterings, and water well from the top and the bottom instead of in small amounts regularly.”
From little things big things grow
Bringing a new addition into the family can be nerve wracking, and Liz encourages starting small to gain confidence.
“Begin with something not too temperamental or expensive,” she says.
“If something goes wrong it will be easier to learn from those mistakes and start again.”
She recommends a low-maintenance rubber plant (ficus elastica) for first-timers.
“You’ll get big bang for buck, they’re not fussy with their watering and they grow fast,” she says.
Plants to try
- Open living areas: Fiddle-leaf fig
- Low-light areas: Mother-in-law’s tongue
- Bathrooms: Ferns, mistletoe cactus, devil’s ivy
- Low maintenance: Rubber plant
Written by Jenna Meade.