There’s nothing like some wild-looking house plants to bring some boho vibes to a room. And is there really such a thing as too many plants (… Ask The Jungalow!)? If you’re worried that you’re an innately bad plant mamma, I am here to give you faith. The plants on this list are especially resilient and easy to look after so there’s hope for you yet!
House plants for the shady places
Swiss cheese plant
I’m beyond pleased that these gorgeous plants are having a renaissance. It was looking like they were going to be stuck in the 80s time warp forever, but happily they are everywhere again. These babies are my absolute fave choice for the living room. They make great features – they can get past two metres if you pot them big enough, but you can keep them small if you contain them in a smaller pot. The leaves are beautiful: really large and striking (but toxic to cats & dogs so don’t let them nibble!).
TIP: when potting a new plant, always make sure to have 10-15cm of drainage material at in the bottom of the pot before you put soil in. You can use gravel, stones, or even those little wiggly S-shaped polystyrene pieces. Basically, you need a layer that excess water can escape into when you over-water the plant, otherwise the bottom layer of soil becomes water-logged, which will rot the roots of you little green baby & cause him to die!
I’ve heard some people call these plants ‘Mother-in-Laws Tongues’ which is slightly sinister and not very #grlpwr so we’ll stick with Snake Plant 😉 They are great because you can get them as small as you like to sit on a shelf or table but they can grow up to a metre and a half if you want them to so they can be feature plants too. The leathery leaves grow straight upwards so they’re great for tighter spaces & corridors.
TIP: plants will always be happier if they’re fed as well as watered, especially in the winter – so treat them to some Miracle Grow or Baby Bio every once in a while!
Plant-killers, this one’s for you. The Aspidistra is also called ‘the Cast Iron Plant’ because of how difficult it is to kill. They’re pretty persistent even when neglected, so could be a good starting choice if you’re feeling like it’s all a bit too much responsibility. They a good medium-size choice, reaching about a metre at full height.
TIP: although plants need sunlight, there’s such a thing as too much! Just like us fair skinned Irish folk, some plants are more sensitive than others, and can get burnt in direct sunlight for too long (watch out for dry, brown ends!).
House plants for the sunny spots
One of my all-time faves and my first ‘proper’ house plant (if cacti don’t count). Kentia palms really command attention in a room: they take up a good bit of space (give them a metre diameter) and their arching fronds give a space a feeling of life & movement. They also clean up your air, removing CO2 and volatile organic compounds (from synthetic materials) – what heros.
TIP: to see if you plant needs watering, stick your index finger down into the soil up to the knuckle. If it feels dry at the tip of your finger, give your leafy friend a water.
The Philodendron Scandens is nicknamed the Sweetheart after its lovely heart-shaped leaves. It’s a climbing plant, so you can grow it up a pole in a plant pot for a dense column of leaves, or allow it to climb up something else (a wall or bookcase perhaps?). I love the look of them trailing out of pots high up on shelf – so many options!
TIP: although each plant has it’s own requirements, a good rule of thumb for watering plants is to pour in water until the pot is about to overflow, then wait 30 seconds for the water to sink in and repeat the process again.
Cacti & Succulents
The old failsafes. I’m not going to say it’s impossible to kill them because I actually have myself (a terrarium that only had a small hole and got too humid… Anyway-), but they require very little looking-after. They’re great because there’s so much variety – tiny ones for shelves, ones that grow metres high, with flowers, without flowers, spiky, smooth… There really is a succulent or cactus for everyone.
TIP: most plants don’t like drafts, so keep them away from draughty areas and AC units.
Of course if you’re really worried about entrusting living things to your own hands, you can always go artificial. You can get surprisingly good fake plants these days, spending anywhere from £5 – £500. I recently picked up good artificial bamboo and grass plants, both ‘potted’ super cheap from Clas Ohlsen. (Gimmie a break, my bathroom doesn’t have any windows..!) I’m looking into trialling some cheapies from Ebay and Amazon too, so I’ll let you know what I think of those. Nothing worse than awful fake plants amirite??
Got any top tips for keeping house plants alive & lush-looking? Share the love & advice below! You may also like my post about how to find your interior decor style.