THE VERY BEST INDOOR PLANTS & HOW TO CARE FOR THEM:
Introducing a few indoor plants into your home can make you feel more relaxed, creative and increase your overall positive mental health. Not to mention the other benefits of improved air quality,
WHAT ARE THE BEST INDOOR PLANTS?
Not sure which indoor plants would be better suited to your space? Below, our designers and horticulturalist share with us some of their all-time favourite plants that are best suited for West Australian homes.
Sansevieria trifasciata (mothers-in-law’s tongue)
What is old is new again! This old favourite has made a huge comeback in recent years for both indoor and outdoor landscapes. Sansevieria is the perfect choice for the darker areas of your home, thriving with lower levels of natural light. Variegated cultivars such as Sansevieria ‘Superba’ can be used to inject a little colour in to your décor.
Aspidistra elatior (cast iron plant)
This indestructible plant is yet another indoor classic that has remained popular throughout the ages. The Aspidistra’s glossy, dark broad green leaves can grow up to 80cm long, with some cultivars such as Aspidistra shooting Star’ being slightly smaller in size.
Epipremnum aureum (devils ivy)
Devil’s ivy (Epipremnum aureum), or pothos, should be on your wish list when you start on your indoor plant journey. Then there are collection-worthy varieties like variegated white and green ‘Marble Queen’ and lime green ‘Neon’ that definitely deserve a place in your indoor jungle.
Philodendron cordatum (heart leaf philodendron)
Philodendron cordatum (also known as Philodendron hederaceum) is native to central America.
A popular outdoor feature plant, the strikingly architectural Dracaena marginata is also perfect architectural plant to add interest to that dull corner of your home. Be on the lookout for the Dracaena ‘Black Knight’ with its dramatic flair or Dracaena ‘Colorama’ with its tones of variegated pinks greens and reds.
This tropical plant is native to South Africa and thrives on neglect. Being easy care, the ZZ Gem is perfect for those of us don’t have green thumbs.
Why not book a landscape design consult with one of our expert landscape designers? Not only can we design your dream outdoor space, we can also recommend suitable plant species and pots for inside your home or office. Click here to find out more
HOW DO I CARE FOR MY INDOOR PLANTS?
You have just returned from the nursery after selecting the best indoor plant and a perfect decorative pot to match. It looks fabulous in its’ carefully chosen position in your home. Now… how do you care for your new indoor plant and ensure that it thrives for a long time to come?
Whilst each individual species will have slightly different care needs, the basic fundamentals explored below remain the same for every plant. Take a little time to familiarise yourself with the fundamental care needs… your plants will thank you for it!
It might surprise you to hear that the largest killer of potted plants is overwatering! Especially for those planted within sub-irrigated pots.
Indoor plants must be monitored, preferably more than 3 times per week to prevent the growing media from drying out.
To determine whether or not a potted plant is in need of watering, place your finger into the growing media, to the depth of your second knuckle. The media should be slightly moist/damp to the touch (but not saturated), if not apply a little water evenly using a small watering can.
Self-watering pots are an excellent way of maintaining adequate moisture. If you intend to use them, keep in mind that frequent hand watering will be required (from above) until the plant’s root systems establish and are able to reach the water in the bottom of the self-watering pot.
Just like your outdoor landscape, your indoor plants will require basic chemical elements for plant health and growth.
Liquid fertilisers are the best way to deliver nutrients to your indoor plants. Plant roots take up nutrients in a liquid form, meaning that a solid fertiliser (such as a granular fertiliser) can be slow at delivering results.
Liquid fertiliser products such as ‘Seasol’ and ‘Nitrosol’ are perfect for use within your home. Simply follow the manufactures instructions and apply it to your plants once every 2-3 weeks. Alternatively, if you would rather something less pungent, a wide variety of quality, odourless synthetic fertilisers are available for purchase on today’s market (even from Bunnings).
The vast majority of indoor plants require a relative humidity level of between 40% to 55%. This is especially true during the summer months when the prolonged used of air conditioners has a profound effect on indoor humidity levels.
In order to combat this issue, use a spray pack (with a fine nozzle), filled with plain water to lightly mist all plant leaves. Two to three misting applications per week is usually adequate; though twice per day is recommended is extremely dry weather.
Most indoor plants require approximately 8-12 hours of filtered, natural or suitable artificial light per dayin order to thrive.
Specially designed LED grow lights can be installed above potted plant displays, in circumstances where natural light simply is not available.Depending upon their placement, as the plants grow, the height at which the lights are suspended from the celling may require some small adjustments.
For your convenience an artificial lighting system, can even be installed along with an automatic timer. This will ensure that your plants get the light they need every day, with no additional intervention.
When applying fertiliser to potted plant displays remember the rule ‘little and often’.
Once per week add only 10 ml of a liquid fertiliser solution to a small watering can, per litre of water and water in as usual. For an additional nutritional boost add 5 ml of solution per litre of water to a spray pack (with a fine nozzle) and lightly mist the foliage. This can be performed once to twice per week and is exceptionally useful during the growing season (warmer month) when plants require additional nutrients.
Pruning & Tidying:
Potted indoor plants typically require very little pruning and tidying. Occasionally, dead or yellowing leaves and flower head will need to be removed so that they do not decay and attract pests or disease.
Carefully remove any necessary foliage/flowers or desired branches with a clean and sharp pair of secateurs. It is preferable to cut the foliage on an angle above the ‘node’.
Any substantial inconsistencies in temperature will most likely result in noticeable damage to the leaves of your plant. By locating indoor displays away from entryways and windows you can limit their exposure to drafts and subsequent damage.
An excellent example of this can be seen on the ever-popular Ficus lyrata. It is notoriously intolerant of temperature variations.
Over time you will notice a build-up of dust over the foliage of your display. Not only is this unsightly, but it reduces the plants ability to photosynthesise (feed itself).
To remove this build-up, gently support the leaf with you hand whilst carefully dusting the foliage with a soft, clean cloth. Refrain from using leaf-shine products as these often contain petroleum and waxed based solutions that can block the leaves stomata.
Pests & Disease:
It is notably difficult to manage pests and diseases when it comes to potted plant displays. This in part is due to the enclosed indoor environment, sub-irrigated pots and sensitive tropical foliage; as a result, we are limited by control methods that both are safe for foliage and suitable for indoor use.
For these reasons, diseased or infested plant material must be treated as soon as possible. Suitable, effective products include the ‘Eco Organic Garden’ range of organic insecticides and fungicides. When using any chemical control, always read the label before use and follow manufactures specifications.
Unfortunately, sometimes there is no other option but to remove and replace the diseased/infested plant material, to prevent it from spreading to other plants.
Do you have a garden pest infestation or diseased plant that requires attention? One of the many landscaping services that we offer is expert, on site horticulture consultations with our fully qualified horticulturalist. During the consultation we inspect and identify the pastor disease, whilst providing detailed information on initial and ongoing treatment.
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