Houseplants are a great way to add colour and life to your home, especially during the winter. We’ve touched on some of the benefits of houseplants before, so it might not come as a surprise to learn that keeping plants indoors is great for both your mental and physical health! Houseplants help to improve the quality of the air in your home and some studies show that they reduce stress levels and even increase productivity. Making the decision to buy a houseplant can, however, be a daunting task: especially if (like me) you have trouble keeping them alive! We’ve put together a handy guide on choosing the right houseplant for you so you can have all of the benefits with none of the stress.
Choosing a Houseplant
Choosing the perfect houseplant for your home can often feel a little overwhelming. There’s a lot of factors you need to consider when choosing a plant: how much light it needs, how much watering and how much space you’ve got. The best advice to follow if you’re new to house plants (or not feeling very confident) is to pick a hardy plant which doesn’t need a lot of looking after. The two most important factors you need to take into account when buying a plant is space and lighting.
Even the tiniest apartment can benefit from a selection of houseplants. If you’ve not got a lot of floor space, trailing plants like String of Pearls (Senecio Rowleyanus) or Hearts on a String (Ceropegia Woodii) are great for placing on a high shelf or hanging from the ceiling. Desks, workspaces and nightstands can benefit from small potted plants, and succulents or cacti are easy to care for and as well as being compact. Air Plants are also becoming more common: these miniature plants are fairly easy to keep alive and they don’t need soil, great for avoiding mess and saving space! Lucky Bamboo can be picked up in most garden centres fairly cheaply, and while it can grow to 3ft it can be easily maintained with regular trimming.
If you’re after a splash of colour, Polka Dot Plants and Flowering Kalanchoe come with vibrant leaves and blooms. You can also make the most of your space by investing in a window box for sun-loving plants. Houseplants don’t need to be purely decorative: you could also grow herbs, great for saving money and making tasty meals.
A tricky hurdle when choosing houseplants can be figuring out how much light your home gets. If you’re looking for plants for your home or office, you’ll probably need to find plants that thrive in low light or artificial light. While all plants need light to photosynthesise and grow, there’s still lots of plants on the market which are great for homes with low lighting levels or offices and workplaces with artificial light.
Aglaonemas are a hardy, leafy plant that copes well with low light. These plants can also grow quite large – great for filling a lot of floor space if you only want to buy one or two house plants. Devil’s Ivy, so-called because it can grow almost anywhere, will also thrive in the shade and is small enough to fit on a shelf or desk. If you’re after a plant that’s super-hardy and easy to grow, then Spider Plants are great for window sills and mantelpieces. If you’re looking for a way to brighten up your space at work, Bromeliads can survive on fluorescent light alone.
A big concern for households with pets or babies is toxicity. There’s lots of pet-safe plants on the market, and it’s a good idea to look up a plant before you buy it to double check if it’s safe for your family. There are a number of household and garden plants and flowers which are harmful to cats, so it’s good to check before introducing any if you’ve got cats or kittens.
To save having to google every plant that piques your interest (only to find that it’s not safe for Fluffy), we’ve put together a list of indoor plants that are both non-toxic and easy to care for:
- Spider plant – also known as chlorophytum comosum, Spider plants are a great choice for novice gardeners thanks to their bouncebackability.
- Chinese money plant – chinese money plants are easy to care for and requires less watering than many other houseplants. They’re also said to bring wealth if you plant a coin in the soil!
- Kenita Palm – a large palm great for growing indoors thanks to being super durable. When grown indoors, Kenita palms can grow up to 12 feet tall!
- Bromeliad – a colourful, trumpet-shaped plant that’s great for growing on a windowsill or mantelpiece. Bromeliads are non-toxic and can be found in most garden centres.
- Donkey’s Tail – also known as Sedum Morganianum, Donkey’s Tail is a small but hardy succulent that thrives best in a sunny spot, great for desks or bedside tables. It can also be hung from a hanging basket.
If you’re more worried about practicality than aesthetics, then simply buying the hardiest plant you can get your hands on might be the right direction for you. By investing in an easy, durable plant you can get used to sticking to a watering routine and gain more confidence before moving on to plants that are more impressive – but also more difficult to keep alive. Here’s a list of some of the hardiest plants that we’ve found that are great for first-time indoor gardeners.
- Aloe Vera – as practical as it is tough, the gel inside the aloe’s succulent leaves is great for treating burns.
- Zanzibar Gem – also known as ZZ Plants, Zanzibar Gems are incredibly hardy and make an impressive statement in your home. Be warned, though: these plants are toxic to humans and animals so aren’t suitable for houses with pets or young children.
- Snake Plant – this spikey plant is also called “Mother-in-Law’s tongue” due to its sharp shape. This plant needs little watering and grows very tall, great for adding colour to small spaces.
- Peace Lily – a popular houseplant, Peace Lilies are easy to care for and fairly low maintenance. They come in a lot of sizes, too, so they’re great for small and large homes alike.
- Devil’s Ivy – also known as Scindapsus, this trailing plant is great for hanging from a ceiling or placing on a tall shelf where it’s heart-shaped leaves can cascade down.
Lotti works with the Primrose Product Loading team, creating product descriptions and newsletter headers.
When not writing, Lotti enjoys watching (and over-analyzing) indie movies with a pint from the local craft brewery or cosplaying at London Comic Con.
Lotti is learning to roller skate, with limited success.