Giving your home a bit of a spruce-up is honestly one of the most gratifying things in the world. It’s easy to get bored looking at the same interior every single day and when your four walls start to feel a bit like a design version of Groundhog Day, it’s time to shake it up a bit. For some of us that means some killer new wallpaper or beautiful art, for others it might mean a new couch or dining table. But what do you do when the piggy bank is barer than your bum in a pair of arseless chaps a’la Prince? You fill your joint with plants – and lots of ’em.
Why plants? Well, they’re relatively cheap and make a big impact super quick. Not only does the greenery make your house look fresh and jazz up those blank spots of nothingness, they also release life-giving oxygen into the air while soaking up the carbon dioxide that we def don’t need.
The thing is, some of us (read: ME) are indoor plant serial killers. I have ONE plant that has survived in my house and funnily enough, it was gifted to me from Brooke, Monty and Stace about three Christmases ago. It has been knocking on death’s door several times over those years, but it has managed to survive some pretty severe neglect and the ‘indoor elements’ like heating and cooling.
So, if you’re like me and don’t know your indoor plants to save yourself, let alone them, here’s a quick run-down of the fail-safes that will make your home look gorge and are harder to kill than keep alive.
The only plant I have ever managed to keep alive. These babies are actual no-brainers, ‘cos when they’re in need of a drink they’ll let you know via some droopy leaf action, which a spritz with a spray bottle will rectify. They’re also great air purifiers, so perfect for any room in the house but particularly bedrooms.
Look how pretty this one is. The Calathea enjoys humid environments and isn’t a big fan of direct sunlight as it can cause the beautiful leaf markings it’s known for to fade. A bit of water once a week should keep this girl happy, but go easy – she prefers to be moist and not wet. Dirty bird.
Boston Ferns have delicate foliage that do not enjoy direct sunlight, so this is a great option for a corner of your home that doesn’t get pounded by rays. Indirect sunlight can give them a bit of a pep-up when they’re looking a little worse for wear and they’re great on decks and covered outdoor areas too.
Not to be confused with the bearded music duo ZZ Top, the ZZ plant is as set-and-forget as you can get. If you always forget to water your plants, this dude is a winner because it really only needs a drink once a month. The dark green, shiny leaves may need a little dust once in a while to keep them looking pretty, but because they’re technically a succulent, they will withstand dry air, low light and those annoying bugs that like to zoom around.
MOTHER IN LAW’S TONGUE (OR SNAKE PLANT)
Ok, so I’ll admit that I actually HAVE killed one of these, but its demise came after my son kicked his footy into it and the leaves were ripped out of the soil. These actually don’t need much attention at all and only require watering once the soil is dry to the touch. When you do give them a bit of H2O, try watering around the outside perimeter of the soil and not directly into the middle. This one is also great for purifying the air of nasties.
If you enjoy neglecting your plants as much as you do your legs in the wintertime, then this cat is for you. Available in a range of sizes and shapes for those Goldilocks-types who are looking for one that’s just right, this is your best bet. The Philodendron isn’t a fan of direct sunlight and requires watering no more than once a week, making it the no-brainer that you need in your life. For a bit of extra TLC, wipe the leaves down with a microfibre cloth to keep that dust at bay and keep the leaves shiny.
Multi-purpose AND interesting to look at, Aloe Vera is the ‘medicinal’ plant of your dreams. If you keep her out of direct sunlight and give her a good drink every couple of weeks, she will reward you by cleaning up your air of toxins like formaldehyde and benzene. Snap off a leaf and extract the jelly goodness held inside and it can help soothe cuts and burns the natural way.
Look, it goes without that the Fiddle Leaf Fig is the prettiest house plant of them all, but they can be a biatch to keep alive and thriving. We’ve got a whole post devoted to how to care for them here.
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