If you’re missing colour this winter, cyclamens – with their dainty blooms in vivid red, pink, purple and white shades – will cheer up you and your home. They need plenty of natural light, so position pots near a window. While cyclamens need moisture, they don’t like to be watered from above, as this will rot the corm. Place a saucer under the pot instead and fill it with water. When the flowers are finished, cut them off to encourage more buds to form.
Also commonly known as Chinese evergreen, aglaonema is a wonderfully hardy and versatile plant. It looks great in a pot or, when placed in a hanging basket, provides vertical interest to a space. It prefers shady areas, so is ideal for rooms that receive little light in winter, such as a bedroom or bathroom that only gets filtered sunlight. Be careful not to overwater, as this can soften the plant and make it weak, which is very enticing for pests like the mealy bug. To promote vigorous growth, fertilise in spring and at the end of summer.
The striking, sword-like leaves of mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata) add a certain architectural style to a room, especially when potted up in a sophisticated black, glazed planter.
For a similar look, try the new Sansevieria ‘Uganda’ with mottled patterns over dark-green, slender foliage. Both varieties of sansevieria thrive in just about any light and they’ll live for many years in the same pot. When watering, don’t wet the foliage, as this can cause rot.
There’s a good reason Zanzibar gem is also known as the eternity plant – it lives forever! Well, at least for a very long time. It naturally grows in dry, shaded areas, making it a perfect indoor plant. It likes bright, filtered light, so will thrive near a window with a sheer curtain. Allow the plant to dry out after watering – once a month is usually sufficient – and feed during the growing season by sprinkling slow-release fertiliser around the pot in spring and late summer. You can also give it extra nutrients by spraying the foliage with a gentle seaweed tonic.
Add a tropical feel with the lovely lacy fronds of the parlour palm. It grows well in bright, indirect light, so it can stand in the corner of most rooms, and it’s at home in either a lounge room or humid environment like a bathroom. Make sure it’s kept away from heater vents, as they can dry out the plant. Plant in a white pot and mulch with matching white pebbles to really highlight the wispy green foliage.