Indoor plant sales are up 15% year on year as the physical and mental health benefits of bringing the outside in have been recently proven by NASA’s clean air study. Low maintenance, high impact plants that can be kept on your office desk, grouped together in colourful containers or even displayed in an indoor vertical wall garden – here is a guide to 5 of the best.
1.) Fishhook Cactus – Ancistrocactus Megarhizus
Native to the Americas and Mexico this little cactus favours desert conditions so it enjoys dry gritty soil that drains well. If you are planting it in a planter without drainage holes then we recommend an inch layer of gravel at the bottom to prevent root rot, otherwise a sandy soil with a little topsoil and compost will work a treat. Being from the desert, these cacti love the light so the brightest windowsill in the house and it will thrive. Watering – please take note as this is often where people go wrong. Do not overwater these plants, especially in winter when the temperatures are cooler and they are even slower growing. Allow the soil to fully dry out in between watering’s, you can wait until the soil is so dry it is very slightly starting to come away at the edge of your pot. If these cacti are happy and flourishing they can flower in early Spring with a beautiful bright yellow bloom.
2.) Money Tree – Crassula Ovata
In it’s natural habitat of South Africa this plant can grow into a small tree or shrub. However, with its roots contained, it will be happy to stay in the same pot for years. This plant needs very little attention and is tolerant to both low light and drought conditions so a bit of neglect and it will still look at its best, it will look even better in a bright window sill though. Propagating new plants from stem cutting or leaves is easy so be sure to give it a go. We will give propagation advice in another blog so watch this space! If your plant is happy then once a year you will see a pinkish-white flower often in summer and to really get the best flourish, a slightly larger pot and new soil once every 3-4 years will see the Money Tree at its best.
3.) String of Hearts – Ceropegia Woodii
Now these look at their best in baskets and wall planters so you can truly show off their cascading dainty heart-shaped leaves. A pretty plant that likes a lot of light so be sure to put it in your sunniest room but otherwise minimal care is best, overwatering is a common mistake so if you put them up on a vertical wall garden then they are out of the way and stop you watering too frequently! If the leaves are turning a bit yellow then this can be a sign that you have over watered them or possibly that the temperature’s a bit cold. If the vines are getting a bit leggy then they will benefit from being pruned back. You can then propagate these cuttings by inserting the cut end back into moist soil, so again you can create more of the same plant for free, winner winner!
A beautiful tight rosette of dark, mottled, olive-green leaves that is small and slow growing. These beautiful succulents require a sunny warm spot in your house to really thrive and that will also increase the deep reddening that you will see through the leaves. When watering, be careful to water the soil and not the plant as if water sits in the rosette it will cause the leaves to rot or become prone to a fungal infection. The new growth of the plant comes from the centre of the rosette and you will get the older leaves around the edges dying away – make sure you remove these quickly to avoid unwanted bugs bedding down underneath the fallen leaves. Some varieties will produce reddy-orange flowers that sprout on a curved stem up to 20cm tall.
5.) Zebra Cactus – Hawthoria Attentuata
Often mistaken for Aloes, these miniature Hawthorias have become increasingly popular due to their attractive zebra stripes and tolerance of neglect. As with other succulents be careful not to overwater as they suffer from root rot, in the summer months when it is warm an sunny this plant requires watering every 2 weeks but in the colder winter months then once a month is sufficient. To make the stripes be even more striking these plants look great in bright coloured concrete pots that really accentuate the distinctive pattern. Around the summer solstice these plants will flower if they are doing well although it is quite underwhelming due to the dormant nature of the Hawthoria. The offsets, or puppies, from this plant can be removed and replanted so you can propagate your own Zebra forest.