Notes on Houseplants
Keeping a houseplant alive doesn’t have to be a daunting task. In fact, studies have shown that not only can indoor plants improve the overall look of a space, they can also improve how we feel. The act of caring for something can help us slow down, connect and appreciate the world around us. This will ring particularly true for those whose homes have become their place of work in the past year - spaces that we once associated with calm and relaxation are now littered with meeting notes and computer equipment, making it difficult to switch off.
Some of the proven health benefits of plant ownership include:
- Improved mood, creativity and productivity
- Reduced stress and fatigue levels
- A mindful and therapeutic practice
- Improved indoor air quality
Tending to a plant - whether it lives on your desk, your balcony or in your flower bed - is a symbiotic relationship. Needless to say, seeing your plants flourish and grow is immensely rewarding, while nursing them back to health if you’ve been away, or have been a bit too generous with the watering can, brings great satisfaction.
At The Garden, our collection of indoor houseplants changes from week to week, all depending on what’s in season and what our growers have to offer. Typically we carry a large selection of cacti, ferns, philodendrons, succulents and orchids and plant them in terracotta pots or decorative planters with our favourite John Innes compost.
To choose the right plant for you, think about the natural light conditions in your home and how much time you’re willing to commit to your plant’s care. For example, if you opt for a robust cactus, you’ll only be called on to water it once a month. If you choose a more delicate fern, you’ll need to mist it every other morning.
Mark’s top tip for caring for your plants at home?
"Rather than drowning a plant once every few weeks, try watering a little more regularly. Pick a particular day to do it so you remember e.g. bin day or the day you do your weekly shop."
Read The Garden’s full house plant care guide below:
- Most plants need to be watered about every 5-10 days, this mostly depends on the type of plant (some plants like cacti and succulents require less), but this also depends on the soil quality and light and air conditions where the plant is kept.
- Most of the time, we find that people are concerned they aren’t watering enough, when in fact they are watering far too much. Most of our plants at The Garden like to be watered thoroughly, and then we let the top few inches of the soil to dry out before watering again. As a general rule of thumb, this means in summer, when temperatures rise and light levels return, we water more often, about every 5 days, compared to in winter when we reduce watering to about every 10 days.
- Cacti and succulents, along with some others, enter a dormant period in winter so watering should be reduced to a very small amount, about monthly, until spring when you can water more often and feed with liquid fertiliser.
- If your plant stops growing, is showing signs that it’s not happy with limp or discoloured leaves or if the soil is drying out too quickly and not retaining moisture, the soil on the plant might need to be repotted into a bigger pot with fresh compost.
- We recommend keeping your plants leaves and pots clean by giving them a wipe when watering, this helps the plant to absorb the light more easily.
Photography by Doreen Kilfeather