Choosing the right
House plants make our living spaces attractive and happier places to be. Get the best out of them by thinking about the environment in which they’ll be kept and making sure it’s the right one for their particular needs.
Plants, like people, have various likes and dislikes, many of which are down to the conditions they’re used to in the wild.
Houseplants for your conservatory
Succulents such as Echeveria, from Mexico, and Aloe vera from the Arabian Peninsula, are used to being in warm places with little rainfall, with their leaves perfectly adapted to take up and store moisture until it is needed. That’s why a sunny windowsill or conservatory in which the temperature doesn’t fall below 13C, along with a cautious hand on the watering can, is key to them thriving. Other plants that like good light include Yucca, which will thrive on a south-facing windowsill.
Some plants need good light together with humid conditions, which means they’ll cope well in a conservatory with an occasional misting to maintain air moisture. These include Monkey Mask Monstera obliqua, Croton, also known as Codiaeum; various types of Philodendron and Scindapsus aureus. The Money Tree, Pachira aquatica, and Chinese Evergreen Aglaonema do well in either a light or partially shady room with regular misting's.
Houseplants for dark or shady rooms
On the other hand, many houseplants originate from the under-storeys of tropical forests and are used to growing in dappled shade. Keep them in a room away from direct sunlight, although bright enough to read a book, and look to keep their compost moist.
Those that can cope in shadier conditions include Sansevieria laurentii, various philodendrons, Scindapsus ‘Aureum’, Draceana, Aglaonema and Kentia palms Howea forsteriana.
Houseplants for sunny rooms
Zamioculcas, or ZZ Plant, and the fiddle leaf fig Ficus lyrata will perform well in warm rooms that are either well-lit or with low levels of light, as will the Swiss Cheese plant Monstera delicosa, which enjoys an occasional misting. The peace lily, also known as Spathiphullum, does well in semi shade over the summer months and bright light in winter, with the temperature no lower than 13C. It also benefits from an occasional misting to increase humidity.
Houseplants for your kitchen and bathroom
Several plants respond well to an occasional misting with water to increase levels of humidity, with some doing especially well in steamy kitchens and bathrooms. These include the sword fern Nephrolepsis exalta, Clusia rosea, which grows as a tree in the warmth of its native Caribbean; Cycas revoluta, Tradescantia zebrina, Alpinia zerumbet ‘Variegata’, Kentia palm Howea forsteriana and Alocasia zebrina.
Choose the environment for your house plant carefully to increase the chances for a long and happy relationship.