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How to grow house plants
Most house plants are tropical or desert plants used to warmer, more humid or drier conditions than we can offer them in our gardens. However, with a little care and attention, they will thrive in our homes. Some indoor plants have evolved to cope with very little rainfall, while others need regular watering to survive.
Before you buy your house plant, check which conditions it needs to grow well and whether you can provide those conditions in your home. Most indoor plants thrive in bright but indirect light – a few feet from a window is ideal. No house plant will be happy next to a radiator, open fire or air conditioning unit.
Brush up on how to care for your house plant, as all have slightly different needs. For example, indoor plants are often killed by overwatering. As a rule of thumb, water only when the top 1-2cm of compost is dry. Many plants also need humid conditions so mist plants regularly, spritzing them with a misting spray to raise the humidity levels in warm, dry rooms. Feed regularly (around once a month) with a specialist house plant feed during the growing season, from spring to autumn. Many house plants cease growing in the winter months, so need less feeding and watering at this time.
Choosing house plants
When choosing indoor plants to grow in your home, take time to work out which conditions you can provide for them. There’s no point in buying sun-loving cactus plants if you have only dark rooms and north-facing windows to offer. Similarly, humidity-loving jungle plants are best grown in a bathroom and don’t thrive in other, drier areas of the home. Do a bit of research – if you fall in love with a plant, find out how to grow it before taking it home, so you can give it the best chance of survival possible.
We’ve picked 9 of our favourite indoor plants below, listed below.
Spider plants (Chlorophytum) are easy to grow and will reward you with frequent offsets that can be grown on and given to friends. As well as the variegated varieties ‘Vittatum’ and ‘Variegatum’, you could also grow ‘Lemon’, which has fresh green foliage. They look fabulous in hanging containers. Grow out of direct sunlight, and water and feed regularly while in active growth.
Buy spider plants from Primrose
Dark green leaves of Aspidistra elatior
As a testament to their toughness,they are commonly known as cast iron plants They’re hardier than one might think, too, capable of surviving temperatures as low as -5ºC. Lush, broad leaves make them great foliage plants. Grow out of direct sunlight and feed and water regularly from spring to autumn.
Buy Aspidistras from Waitrose Garden
One of the best-loved and most popular house plants, monsteras are exotic beauties that will reward the grower with broad leaves with little effort. Grow in a bright spot out of direct sunlight and water regularly while in active growth. Best grown with a moss pole so they can climb. Monstera adansonii is a smaller though no less attractive alternative.
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These twining evergreen climbers bear clusters of richly scented flowers, and enjoy growing in bright shade in a free-draining soil. Hoya carnosa and Hoya kerrii are perhaps the most commonly grown hoyas, but there are many more exciting and easily grown types to branch out into, too.
With masses of upright, divided leaves, Chrysalidocarpus lutescens is bound to make a statement. For a similar look, you could also try growing Howea fosteriana or Chamaedorea elegans, which have slightly larger leaflets. Grow in bright light out of direct sunlight, water well when in active growth and give it a good mist regularly.
Buy chamaedorea elegans from Waitrose Garden
Ceropegia woodii is a trailing house plant, which makes a fabulous vertical accent for growing indoors. The stems can quickly reach over two metres in length and look lovely draping over the edge of a bookcase or mantelpiece. Very easy to grow, as long as it’s not overwatered, it enjoys a bright spot out of direct sunlight.
Buy Ceropegia linearis subsp. woodii from Waitrose Garden
Pilea peperomioides is an easy-to-grow plant with distinctive round, succulent leaves. They’re constantly producing offsets so you’ll never be short of baby plants to give away as presents. Give it a bright spot out of direct sunlight.
Buy Pilea peperomioides from Primrose
The upright, sword-shaped leaves of snake plants (Sansevieria) are instantly recognisable. Sansevieria trifasciata var. laurentii has creamy margins, while Sansevieria zeylandica has lovely striated leaves. Sansevieria masoniana ‘Victoria’ has much broader leaves. Great for a bright location out of direct sunlight.
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The rabbit’s foot fern, Phlebodium aureum, has gorgeous, glaucous leaves. These are produced from creeping rhizomes covered in lots of small hairs, giving them a furry appearance. Very easy to grow if grown in bright, indirect sunlight. Keep well watered and mist the leaves regularly.
Buy Phlebodium aureum from Waitrose Garden