An Idiot's Guide To The Best Plants For Every Room In Your House

If you are like me, buying plants can be intimidating if you're not the most green fingered of people. When it comes to styling your home, adding foliage is a crucial step to completing the look yet choosing greenery based on appearance can be a mistake. Different plants need different environments to thrive and knowing the basics, and the best varieties to use is essential to ensure they stay alive, and you don't end up endlessly replacing them! We've selected our favourite plants for each room, so even if you are a total novice, at least you can buy in confidence and care for them correctly.

Living Room  - Ficus Benjamina

  Image:  Patch.garden

Most people have those broad-leafed tropical rubber plants in a living room, but we've chosen a different plant which is very popular right now - The Ficus! The Ficus Benjamina in particular, is a member of the Mulberry family, and has a generous head of leaves and will grow within the size of the pot you plant it in, so if you want it to grow from a shrub into an indoor tree, you can! We do like a Ficus as they are much more natural-looking and come in a variety of coloured leaves and types of trunks (straight or twisted). especially as traditional rubber plants will give your home a boring, corporate office feel.

Light Levels: Moderate sunlight
Care: Keep soil moist and feed once a month

Avoid: Draughts and Doorways, the sap can be poisonous to pets and children

The Bedroom - Mother In Law's Tongue

  Image: Flower Council

Image: Flower Council

Sanseveria or Snake Plant has many names, but it's widely known as Mother In Law's Tongue (perhaps not the best name during the #MeToo era but horticulture doesn't seem to be a field that keeps up with the times). It is an eccentric, decorative plant with a sweet smell and is one of the best air purifiers for your home. We recommend them for your bedroom but could also be used in the living room, as these are ideal if you find it hard to sleep, as they balance out the humidity, helping your skin, hair, eyes, and airways replenish themselves and even converts poisonous substances into oxygen. Most of all, they are very robust plants and easy to look after. There are over 70 varieties of Mother In Law's Tongue, so hunt around for one you like, be aware they can grow quite quickly but tend to stop around the metre high mark. The spiky leaves will become lighter or darker depending on how close to the window you place them.

Light Levels: Moderate but loves the sun.  
Care: Roots need to stay damp but dry in the winter months

Avoid: Overwatering.

The Study - Air Plants

Air plants or Tillandsias come from South America and don't need soil to grow. They survive by anchoring their small roots to the branches of trees and get their nutrition from the air, rainwater, and decomposing matter caught in the roots and leaves. These are very popular right now, and even Tom Dixon has a range of glass containers specifically for this type of houseplant. We love the idea of using these in your study as they have a calming presence to them. You can place these on a bookshelf, wall stands, or hang them from the ceiling in a terrarium. Believe it or not, you can even glue air plants to rocks with liquid nail glue! 

Light Levels: Moderate indirect sunlight.
Care: Mist them regularly, and soak them in a clean water bath for an hour once a week. 

Avoid: Chlorinated or softened water.

Children's Bedroom - Cactus

You might be surprised at this suggestion but children love interesting plants, and as much as I would love to suggest carnivorous plants like a Venus Fly Trap which are high-maintenance, cacti are a great option when it comes to introducing plantlife to a child's room. Cacti are surreal looking plants and choosing the right variety can be something you can do together as a family, children will learn very quickly to respect and care for it. As it's a hardy plant it needs little water, also it's not the end of the world if they get neglected either, which will happen! We love the Pin Cushion, but its good to buy many different types for your collection and there are so many varieties out there. Did you know the thorns of a cactus create its own ecosystem? A fantastic plant which provides a wealth of facts and information to keep kids (and adults) fascinated for days. 

Light Levels: South facing windows or places which get a lot of sunlight
Care: Water sparingly, and buy specialist cactus soil for them
Avoid: Not suitable for under 5s. Avoid varieties with tiny needles if you're worried children will play with them.

The Kitchen - Succulents

  Image: One Seed

Image: One Seed

I love succulents, with so many varieties and colours available, the miniature size of these plants make them adorable additions to any busy room. As they don't take up much space, they are ideal for your kitchen. Succulents are easy to take care and are low maintenance if looked after well. Like cactus and aloes, they tend to store water, allowing them to survive in dry climates with little water. There are over hundred different succulents available to buy so you will easily find colours and shapes that compliment your interior design scheme. 

Light Levels: South facing windows or places which get a lot of sunlight
Care: Water sparingly, and plant in
cactus soil to ensure proper drainage
Avoid: Overwatering and areas where the temperature fluctuates.

The Bathroom - Boston Fern

Boston Fern.jpg

Bathrooms take on a new form when you add plants to them, and our current favourite is the Boston Fern (Nephrolepis). Big and bushy and loves humid environments. This plant will flourish if looked after correctly, so give it plenty of space. Perfect for that jungle feel, you can also hang them to let the leaves hang over. Just pop it under the shower head when you need to water it. Easy.

Light Levels: Indirect light
Care: Loves a cool place with high humidity
Avoid: Don't place it near heated towel rails and radiators, if the leaves go yellow, you need more moisture!

The Multi-Room Plant - Aloe Vera

  Image: bakker.com

Image: bakker.com

If you're wondering what plant to give someone but not sure which kind to get or what room in their home they need to decorate then an Aloe Vera is the perfect housewarming present. It thrives in a variety of conditions and climates and has incredible healing properties as its sap can relieve burns and its leaves purify the air around it, so good in fact, NASA uses them on board their spacecraft! Aloe Vera is a very hardy plant and so easy to live with, you may prefer them to your housemates, it's thick blue-green leaves are perfect for modern interiors, and the spikes can even grow to a metre in length. A houseplant this resilient can get through any Winter or dry period, so ideal for any person prone to killing plants.

Light Levels: Bright areas or indirect sunlight
Care: Don't overwater, every week or fortnight will do
Avoid: Too much water, toxic to pets and children

If you want to get a good range of starter plants for your home head over to Patch, a fabulous website for the house plant novice, they even give their plants human names to make it less intimidating!

Love Omar x

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