A beginners guide to some user friendly houseplants
Don't panic. If the calathea you bought wilted woefully after a week, or if that cactus someone got you for secret Santa went dodgy and droopy by February, it doesn't mean you have the deadly, dreaded, death touch. The truth is, some houseplants are just a lot more demanding than others. Throw a busy routine into the mix, juggling work, the gym, and other living things like kids and pets, it can be easy to forget about that indoor jungle you've been dreaming of, and keeping it from turning into a sad mush can feel like a daunting task.
We've picked out some low maintenance plants to give you great looking, hassle free indoor greenery that you've always wanted.
Scindapsus aureus (Devil's Ivy)
Commonly known as Devil's Ivy or Golden Pothos, this trailing plant is one of the easiest and most rewarding houseplants to look after. It's winding stems and variegated golden-green leaves, make for a manageable, attractive plant that looks great hanging from high shelves or macrame.
Devil's Ivy is happiest in bright, indirect light and likes to be watered once the top layer of soil is dry to the touch. Best to water once a week in the summer and once every two weeks in the winter. The soil doesn't like to be too soggy, so just be careful not to overwater!
Devil's Ivy is really easy to propagate in water. You can cut off a stem, just below a node (the area where a leaf shoots off the stem) and put it in a bottle of water and it should start to root after a couple of weeks. Once little roots start to shoot off, you can put it in some soil and you'll have a new plant!
Sansevieria (Mother in law's tongue)
This hardy West African plant is one of the most robust options available. It's one of the least needy plants there is, making it ideal for beginners.
For people with busy schedules, this plant won't interfere too much. In the summer you can give it a water once a month and in winter, it's possible to only water it once in the season. When the leaves of the Sansevieria begin to wrinkle and look a little less plump, this means it is beginning to get dehydrated. Wrinkling is a sign of steady dehydration with most succulent plants, and is always a good indicator that watering maybe needed.
Sansevierias can tolerate a range of different light levels. They will grow quicker in a bright position and more steadily in light shade.
Zamioculcas zamiifolia (Zanzibar Gem or ZZ Plant)
An unusual, but beautiful and hardy plant from Kenya, the Zanzibar Gem's drought tolerant, chunky stems hold plenty of water, making them a top choice for the busy houseplant owner. The ZZ Plant is very popular in homes and offices across the UK because they're so easy to take of. The thick stems, and potato like roots hold onto plenty of water for a long time meaning you rarely need to water them. We tend to water ours once a month in summer, and once or twice during the winter time. Just like the Sansevieria, wrinkles forming and a lack of plumpness to the foliage and stem is an easy and clear indication that the plant needs a little drink.
Another similarity the ZZ Plant has with the Sansevieria, is it's adaptability and ease to acclimatise to a range of light levels. They are content in full sun, or would happily brighten up a more gloomy spot with light shade.
Monstera deliciosa (Swiss Cheese Plant)
A very popular tropical vining plant that's nice and easy to look after, and equally rewarding as it vigorously grows into a spectacular, expansive shape. This is a great option if you're looking for a focal, feature plant in a space.A Swiss Cheese Plant likes bright, indirect sunlight and consistent moisture in it's soil. Give it a water once the top level of soil is dry to the touch. It's worth getting a Monstera on a coir pole if you want it to look more structured but if you want it to be a bit more expansive, keep it in a corner and let it climb!