We water them, move them to interesting parts of the house, feed them and buy them fabulous pots. Even with all that attention our botanical friends can sometimes appear a little despondent.
But, we keep trying to get it right because there is something wonderful about being surrounded with beautiful plants. Not only do they create an environment of tranquillity they can also turn the drabbest of rental accommodations into a vibrant and inviting home.
Houseplants do more than just brighten a room with color and living energy. They are purported to bring real health benefits to our bodies. According to many health journals, complaints about headaches, stress, heart/circulation-symptoms and colds decrease when indoor plants are present. They can also help to keep the air clean and full of oxygen. In fact, a NASA report stated that house plants were able to remove up to 87 per cent of air toxins in 24 hours.
We know why houseplants are good for us, but how do we choose the right ones for our home?
Suzanne Schwarz, from Vigoro Nursery, says the first thing to consider is the intended location of the plant.
“When someone asks me to recommend a good houseplant, I always ask where it will be situated and how much light it will get,” Suzanne says. “The most important consideration when choosing your plant is getting the right plant for the available light.”
Most houseplants will thrive on a “good watering” once a week, but, again, it depends on the species. Although most plants come with instructions, it is always a good idea to check with your local nurseries for the best possible care. Even plants of the same species can vary from region to region, so local knowledge is invaluable when growing plants in a particular environment.
“One of the most common reasons why houseplants fail to thrive is overwatering,” says Godfrey Dawkins, from Green Thumb Nursery.
“Soil should be moist but not soggy and don’t leave water standing in the saucer, unless you let the pot rest on pebbles so that the roots aren’t in contact with the water.”
On the other hand, Godfrey says irregular watering can result in burned tips.
“When the soil dries out between waterings, salt builds up in the soil, which burns the tips of the plants,” he explains.
“If this happens take the plant to the sink and run water through the soil, flushing out built-up salts. Consistent watering is very important for maintaining plant and soil health.”
Air is the third necessity for plants and humidity can sometimes effect whether a plant thrives. Although temperature isn’t a factor, houseplants do enjoy a humid environment. Air conditioning won’t necessarily harm a houseplant but they may not grow as well in a constantly air conditioned home.
Both Vigoro Nursery and Green Thumb Nursery recommend Zamioculcas zamiifolia (ZZ for short) as a hardy houseplant suitable for beginners.
It’s time to get back to nature – in your own home.