Asides from their many mood-boosting qualities, indoor plants with their vibrant hues have the ability to instantly brighten up a home or office. With so many to choose from, it can be difficult to know which variants to pick, how much water they require, where to place them and how to take care of them.
Here we’ve put together our ultimate guide to indoor plants, designed to make it easy for you to introduce them into your home or alternative indoor space.
What are indoor plants?
First things first – what are indoor plants? House plants come in a range of shapes and sizes, all of which are able to flourish indoors. Included in the list of plants available are a variety of tropical plants, such as palms and cacti.
Why invest in indoor plants?
Indoor plants are extremely popular, with many variants claiming to be almost maintenance-free. Asides from being relatively easy to take care of, they boast a number of health benefits and can be used to add embellishment to an assortment of spaces within the home and office.
They’re also the perfect option for those who have little outdoor space to play with, and for those who live in climates with severely harsh winters.
If you’re caring for indoor plants for the first time, it’s a good idea to read a variety of ‘how to’ guides to ensure you are giving your chosen plants the best care possible.
How do you plant indoor plants?
Depending on where you buy house plants, the majority will come housed in containers, so there is no need to replant them. However, if your plant outgrows its original vessel, you’ll need to move it to a larger pot.
Additionally, if you’d like to grow bulbs indoors, you will need to invest in a range of containers and plant the bulbs yourself.
How much light do indoor plants need?
The simple answer to this is that every indoor plant varies. The likes of cacti and succulents require continuous, daily sunlight. Plants with foliage necessitate at least eight hours of sunlight per day.
You should therefore take this into consideration when choosing where to place your plants. The amount of light needed depends on the plants you are growing, which is why it’s important to research the specific plants available, especially if the room you intend to grow them in benefits from little natural light.
What qualities make for a good indoor plant?
There are several qualities to take into consideration when investing in indoor plants. These include:
- A healthy root system: This is one of the most important factors to take into consideration when choosing a plant. Healthy roots appear both thick and light in colour.
- Foliage is another important quality: If you’re unable to see through the foliage, it is thick enough.
- Check for disease: The likes of a sticky residue on the leaves, white dots and a bad smell are all potential signs of disease.
Which house plants require low light?
Indoor plants that require little light are the ideal options for smaller, dimly-lit spaces. Some plants that are able to withstand lower light conditions include:
- Philodendron – This style of plant is very common for indoor use and is one specie that is rarely attacked by pests. It’s best described as a hearty plant that is able to adapt to most environments.
- Pothos (sometimes nicknamed the Devil’s Ivy) – A specie that boasts an array of colourful, vibrant leaves. This is another plant that is able to adapt to a variety of environments, including low, bright and indirect light.
- Dracaena – A prevalent indoor plant, embellished with elegant, green leaves. This plant requires a little more maintenance than others and pruning is required if the foliage gets too elongated.
- Peace Lily plants – This plant thrives when planted in moist soil, but you should avoid overwatering. Unlike the majority of plants, if you want the flowers to thrive, you will need to place your peace lily in a darker room.
Which indoor plants are the easiest to take care of?
Below are a handful of indoor plants that are easy to take care of – making them especially suited to an office enivornment.
- Most succulents
- ZZ plant
Which plants are considered indoor plants?
Plants that require a low amount of light and water to flourish are characteristically known as house plants. Some common indoor plants include:
- Hedera Helix
- Sansevieria Zeylanica Superba
What are the best indoor plants?
Quality indoor plants are able to endure lower light and high humidity, and are less likely to be attacked by pests. They also grow at a slower rate, which is usually a good thing, as many have smaller indoor spaces to work with. Some of the best indoor plants include:
- Aglaonema: This picture-perfect plant is able to withstand low light conditions, and grows at a steady rate.
- Aspidistra: This plant requires little water and is able to withstand low light. It is therefore a great option for those who are often away a lot or wish to invest in a low maintenance plant.
- Succulents: These species can survive indoors with minimal effort, as they’re adapted to survive in dry conditions – you can even forget to water them every now and again! They do tend to require bright light though.
How do you re-pot indoor plants?
Only re-pot your indoor plant if it has outgrown its current vessel. Characteristically, you won’t need to re-pot indoor plants.
How do you care for indoor plants?
Some top tips guaranteed to help you care for house plants include:
- Keep potting soil saturated but not too wet nor too dry.
- Whether it’s natural or artificial, it’s important to place your plant near a light source.
- Ensure the plant pot has drainage holes at the base of the pot.
- Research the plant species – this will ensure you are giving it the correct care.
How do you prune indoor plants?
If you have little reason to prune plants, there is no need to bother. However, if you notice your plant is getting extremely tall and skinny, it’s recommended you prune them.
What are some of the common reasons indoor plants die?
Some of the most common reasons plants die include the following:
- Too much water or under watering
- Light Levels (too little light or too much light)
- Neglect – always invest in a low-maintenance plant that requires little care and water if you intend to be away a lot.
How long do indoor plants typically live?
On average, the majority of indoor house plants (when cared for correctly) last between two and five years. After this much time, indoor plants tend to stop thriving. At this point, it is a better idea to invest in a new plant.
Which interior plants improve air quality the most?
All indoor plants can act as air purifiers. However, some species are more beneficial than others. Some of these variants include:
- Red-Edged Dracaena
- Bamboo Palm
- Weeping Fig
How do indoor plants affect people’s mood?
Asides from improving air quality, indoor plants are also able to improve people’s moods. They help to reduce both noise levels and stress levels in the workplace and in the home environment.
Are indoor plants expensive?
The majority of indoor plants are very affordable. In general, the rule of thumb is: the smaller the plant, the less expensive it will be. This does depend on the specie of plant. It is therefore important to research the various types of plant available prior to investing in one particular type or size.
Which indoor plants work well for small living spaces?
The following plants below are ideal for those living in apartments or those wishing to embellish a small office.
- Succulents (but only if the space offers a good light source)
- Devil’s Ivy
- Hedra helix
What is the best kind of indoor plant fertiliser to use?
Most garden centres stock fertiliser specifically designed for indoor plants. They will likely have the word “indoor plant” on the label. Typically, you will use less fertiliser for indoor plants in comparison to outdoor plants. Read the instructions on the label if you are unsure of the measures required as these can vary from plant to plant.
How do you get rid of pests and bugs on indoor plants?
Bugs and pests on your indoor plants can be extremely bothersome! If you spot bugs, invest in an insecticidal soap – this can be purchased from a garden centre or online, and generally comes housed in a spray bottle for ease of use. If you notice bugs, spray the entire plant immediately – covering the stem, undersides and tops of the leaves. Repeat this every two weeks until the problem pests have dispersed.
If you are unable to eradicate the pests and your plant is dealing with a severe infestation, throw away the plant. This will help you to prevent the disease from spreading and infecting any nearby healthy plants in your home or office.
How do I know when to water my indoor plant?
Over-watering is a common mistake that can cause detrimental damage. There are many ways to check whether your plant requires water, including using the likes of a soil probe. This will help you to draw out the soil, which will in turn help you see how dry the soil is beneath the surface. Another tool you can use is a moisture metre.
Alternatively, lift the plant up – Heaviness is a sign the plant has enough water. Lightness, on the other hand, indicates the plant is dry and requires more moisture.
Signs your plant needs more water
- Wilting – Wilting characteristically occurs when the plant is lacking in water.
- Tipping – If the leaf edges begin to show a brown hue and look a little on the crisp side, it’s likely the plant needs water. However, if the leaf edges are brown and mushy, the plant is likely saturated.
- Yellow leaves – Yellow leaves signify the plant has too much or too little water.
Where to buy indoor plants
There are many places where you can buy indoor plants, including homeware stores, garden centres and online. If you wish to have the plants delivered to your door, ordering them from an online florist is a great idea. This is particularly useful to those who are unable to transport larger indoor plants from their local garden centre to their home and for those who wish to buy an abundance of plants at the same time.
Best small indoor plants
Smaller indoor plants are perfect for the likes of windowsills, desks, table tops and shelves. The majority can be purchased in plant pots. Alternatively, you can choose a quirky container to house them in, such as an old watering can, a wellington boot, a teacup or a glass jar.
A few of the best small indoor plants to invest in include:
- Asparagus fern
- Snake plant
- Cast-iron plant
- Peace lily
- Christmas cactus
Best large indoor plants
When buying large indoor plants, it’s wise to measure the area you intend to place them in. It’s also a good idea to research their growth rate – this will likely play a major part in deciding where you put the plant and also, whether you purchase it or not.
In terms of large indoor plants, there are numerous options to choose from, some of which include:
- Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata)
- Rubber Tree (Ficus elastica)
- Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla)
- African Candelabra (Euphorbia ammak)
- Triangle Ficus (Ficus triangularis)
- Parlour Palm (Chamaedora elegans)
- Tree Fern
- Umbrella Tree (Schefflera amata)
Sources: ambius.com, rhs.org.uk, rhs.org.uk/advice, bioadvanced.com
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