Indoor plants not only make the home look beautiful and green. It also includes health benefits such as air purification; moisture release, which increases humidity and keeps respiratory distresses at bay; and decreases the chance of fatigue, sore throats and flu-like symptoms.
Here is a list of five commonly available indoor-friendly plants and how to look after them.
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum vallisii)
Native to South America, the Peace Lily (also known as White Sails) can grow up to 90cm and is perhaps one of the easiest indoor plants to care for. It has glossy, lance-shaped leaves and produces large white flowers, which should be cut off as close to the base when it starts to fade. Whilst it tolerates low light, it may bloom poorly, so it is best kept in an area with bright light (but not direct sun). Keep the soil moist, but well drained. Make sure it is kept away from pets or children who may be tempted to chew it, as the plant is poisonous and may cause severe discomfort if ingested.
Don’t be intimidated by the Bromeliad. Although once regarded as a plant for the advanced gardener, these beautifully coloured rosette-forming perennials make for easy, low maintenance houseplants. When indoors, they need medium to bright light (but not direct sunlight) and do well in shallow pots with fast drainage. You can water the plant by filling the central cup (otherwise known as the tank) of the plant once a week during the warmer months and less during winter. Make sure you flush it on a regular basis to prevent water stagnation. As they are not heavy feeders, you can drop a slow-release fertiliser into the cup of the plant or mix it into the soil, once a season.
Mother-in-law’s Tongue (Sansevieria)
Originating from Southern Africa and Asia, another low maintenance houseplant is the Snake Plant, otherwise known as Mother-in-law’s tongue. The name refers to the pointed tips of the leaves, symbolising the sharp tongue of the Mother-in-law. This upright, succulent plant can grow up to two metres and is extremely hardy. It takes a lot to kill it, so this is another great option for those who tend to neglect their plants. It should be placed in bright light with some direct sun for several hours a day. It will tolerate shade, however the plant will take longer to grow. Moderate water is required, with the root ball remaining slightly damp in summer, but dryer in winter to avoid rotting. Don’t overwater, as the plant would prefer to be too dry than too damp.
This stunning plant not only looks great, it has been hailed as being ‘almost indestructible’ and is perfect for those who tend to neglect their plants, as it is drought resistant. Native to Africa, it has deep, green glossy leaves and is able to survive a long period without water. The reason the Zanzibar Gem is so hardy is due to its ability to store water in its potato-like tuber. To care for your Zanzibar Gem, don’t over-water it or sit it in water. In fact it thrives on neglect and prefers you don’t water it too often. Once a month is enough. It’s best placed in a bright to light shaded area, however it will tolerate a shady spot, but will just take longer to grow. Keep it out of direct sunlight as the plant can burn. You can add a slow-release fertiliser in spring and re-pot if you notice the root starting to bulge.
These popular indoor plants originally from Columbia, feature long, dark-green leathery leaves and produce beautiful, red, pink and white heart-shaped ‘flowers’ that can last for weeks. The ‘flowers’ are actually spathes, which are a leaf-like bract that surrounds a cylindrical spike. In order for the plant to bloom, it requires bright light (but not direct sun). It can grow up to 45cm high and soil needs to be kept evenly moist from spring to autumn and slightly drier in winter. The Anthurium benefits from being fertilized every two weeks in spring and summer with a high-phosphorus liquid fertiliser.
If you’re feeling a little unproductive in the office, then you may want to consider adorning your desk or cubicle with a few plants. A recent study conducted in large commercial offices in The Netherlands and the UK revealed that office workers’ quality of life was enriched by office landscaping, therefore allowing them to work more productively.