5 Trendy Houseplants and How to Care for ThemRachel Patey
What are the hottest houseplants of 2017? Rachel from Alexandra Palace Garden Centre, shares her top picks.
The ‘pass it on plant’
Pilea peperomioides, commonly known as the Chinese Money Plant, has simple lily-pad-like leaves on fine stalks that look perfect in a modern Scandi office or home.
A few years ago the Chinese Money Plant was almost impossible to get hold of, and ‘passing along’ the offshoots they produce, was the only way to obtain one – giving it the nickname the ‘Pass it on plant’. Thankfully they are more widely available now.
CARE: Pilea like bright, indirect light. Only water when the compost is dry and has started to pull away from the sides of the pot. If leaf stems start to drop off from the main stem, reduce watering. Feed bi-monthly spring through summer.
The air cleaning plant
Zamioculcas Zamiifolia, (the ZZ plant), is a firm favourite with interior landscapers and London urban stores. The ZZ plant is a perfect choice for the office as its air-purifying capabilities remove significant amounts of xylene, toluene, benzene and ethylbenzene.
CARE: This plant practically thrives on neglect. Its tolerance of low light and minimal watering (avoid strong sun) makes it a tough, low maintenance plant. Originating in dry regions of Africa, the ZZ plant cannot cope with wet feet. Over watering or sitting in water will cause rot, and the plant will eventually die. If stems come away from the plant – wet at the bottom, reduce watering.
The next big thing
Known as Elephants Ears, the Alocasia Zebrina is exclusively found on a single island in the Philippines. Until this year it was impossible
to get hold of from growers, and not even listed on the RHS website. Now it’s quickly becoming a feature of contemporary offices and homes.
Alocasia grow quite fast compared to other houseplants when looked after properly. Each new stem grows taller than the previous and they can quickly reach around a meter high.
CARE: Alocasia like a bright room with indirect sun although it will tolerate some direct sun. Water every two weeks or when the top 1cm of soil is dry. If water starts dripping from the leaf tips reduce watering. Fertilise monthly during spring and summer.
The big friendly giant
The Monstera deliciosa ‘cheese plant’ is still proving very much in vogue and a great alternative to the darling of the interior magazines – the Fiddle Fig.
As the name suggests, it’s a bit of a monster when it’s grown in happy conditions, able to reach well over 10ft. The distinctive ‘swiss cheese’ holes that appear in mature leaves allow the plant to cope with wind and heavy down pours in its native rainforest.
CARE: Cheese plants are easy to look after. They require a bright room, and the occasional wipe of the leaves with a damp cloth. Allow the top 1 cm of the soil to dry out between watering, and regularly feed in spring and summer to keep those beautiful big leaves green and glossy.
The happy cactus
Succulents have been the ‘in’ house plant for a while now, they are on our list due to their continuing popularity with adults and kids alike, particularly the adorable iddy ones in pots just 2cm tall – perfect for your desk.
The characterful face-pots pictured here, inspired by Stella Baggott’s ceramics, are a 2017 must have. Lying somewhere between whimsical and kitsch, each one displays a different personality.
CARE: Cacti need more than the ill frequent tinkle of water to ‘thrive’. When the compost has dried completely, give them a good soaking, leave them sitting in water in the sink for about 20mins or until the soil has totally rehydrated. Then allow the soil to dry out again. Smaller pots require more frequent watering. Fertilise with Cactus fertiliser through spring and summer.
A top-tip for busy gardeners; to help houseplants last longer we use Maxicrop Organic Flower & Houseplant Natural Fertiliser. Approved by The Soil Association, this product is made from plant extracts and seaweed – no animal products used here.
Seaweed stimulates strong healthy growth and improves the plants ability to withstand environmental stress together with the natural fertiliser from plant extracts.
Plants thrive on good food too!