Houseplants are the secret ingredient to making your home look Instagram-worthy and feel full of life. Merje Shaw, founder of Scandiscapes – a new dedicated online platform for Scandi design lovers seeking to reconnect with nature through stylish biophilic decor products – gives her top tips on how to look after houseplants.
- Know your plant: Research the needs of your new family member, as each plant is different. First of all, make sure you think carefully about where you put your plant. Most succulents, for example, like to be near a bright window and thrive in a warm environment (18C or higher). Other houseplants may like being in a bright room, but not like direct sunlight. Ensure you know how much you need to water the plant – it may be as much as once a week to as little as once a month. A top tip is being careful not to overwater your plant, as this can be fatal – remember, less is more when it comes to watering most plants. Instead, water them thoroughly and then let excess water drain away so you don’t accidently leave the plant with a soggy bottom. Scandiscapes lets customers know exactly how to keep their plant healthy and happy through step-by-step guidance, so even newbie plant parents will know how to care for their plant. For more advice on watering your plant, see here.
- Be attentive: Pay attention to your plant pal’s appearance and act accordingly. Check the soil and ensure it’s not soaking a few days after your last watering (if so, it’s been overwatered). If the soil is dry and crumbly give your plant a water until drops emerge from the drainage holes. Check the leaves; if they are thin and stretching towards the sun your plant needs more sunlight. For even growth, rotate your plant throughout the week. In addition to this, dust can build up on leaves so clean them with a piece of cotton wool dipped in water.
- Plant gang: Not only does an array of different plants in gorgeous pots or planters look super stylish, plants usually grow better when they are surrounded by each other as they create their own microclimate, meaning you need to water them less frequently. When grouping plants, think about their origins. For example, tropical jungle plants like peace lilies, calatheas, prayer plants and swiss cheese plants like similar conditions (warm and humid) so can live together happily, cacti can also happily thrive in groups as they all love hot and arid conditions.
- Show some love: This tip may seem strange, but a study by the Royal Horticultural Society discovered that talking to your plants really can help them thrive. They also discovered that plants grow faster to the sound of a female voice – so get singing and chatting and make your plant feel really loved and at home.
- Learn from your mistakes: Finally, if you have killed a houseplant before, don’t immediately declare yourself black-fingered and never try again. Learn from your mistakes and errors and keep going! There are plenty of plants which are very hardy and almost impossible to kill, so start off easy before adding to your collection. For absolute beginners, try peace lilies that will teach you about watering needs with their flopping and perking up. Other very robust plants include sansevieria, both the snake plant varieties and the african spear varieties, the rubber plant and the zz plant. These plants are all very tolerant of a multitude of lighting conditions though as with most plants will not want bright direct sunlight. They will also thank you for neglecting them when it comes to watering.