Bring more nature into your home with a statement plant for every room. Here are nine on-trend houseplants to greenify your living spaces and match with your favourite natural textures. Once you know your fiddle-leaf from your umbrella tree, you'll be able to choose the right indoor plants to suit your decor and green thumb level! Here are a few of our favourite varieties.
The royalty of indoor plants, a gorgeous fiddle-leaf fig gracing a quiet corner in a statement planter is a go-to for many interior designers. Endemic to tropical Cameroon in Africa, Ficus lyrata is a fig (Ficus) that belongs to the Moraceae mulberry family. Notoriously finicky when it comes to light and water, the fiddle leaf demands a bit more attention than other potted plants. Their natural climate is hot and humid, and it rains frequently but gently, while the sun swiftly evaporates moisture. They have massive green leaves with many cells that require a lot more light to produce enough nutrients, and they do not respond well to over-watering!
Light: Bright, filtered light - can tolerate early morning and late afternoon sun.
Water: Water consistently, especially when the top few centimetres of soil dries out.
Placement: By an east-facing window, in a foyer, hall or entranceway, or next to your favourite armchair.
NB: Tszuj leaves often, with a damp cloth.
This easy-to-grow plant has large, glossy dark green leaves that are an attractive highlight, enhancing any interior. Great in lower light areas, this air-purifying plant is ideal for potting. Native to South Asia, Ficus elastica is a member of the fig genus, and its milky sap was originally used to make latex, hence the name, 'rubber tree'.
Light: Bright, filtered light
Water: During the summer months when the air is dry, water enough to keep the soil moist. During the winter months, you should only need to water about once or twice a month.
Placement: By an east-facing window, or sunny spot shielded by a sheer curtain.
NB: Ficus can be fussy plants, and may suffer leaf drop if stressed. Avoid moving your plant once positioned.
The umbrella tree is a low-maintenance tropical-style indoor plant that's ideal for time-poor gardeners. Growing to roughly 2 m tall, the retro-chic umbrella tree (Schefflera actinophylla, also known as the 'octopus tree' or 'octopus plant') is great for making a leafy impression indoors. A delightful evergreen with glossy, umbrella-like foliage, the schefflera plant is perfect for low light areas in the home or office. Whether it's used to create bonsai or simply to perk up a dark corner, the Schefflera plant won't mind partial shade and will easily thrive.
Light: Bright, indirect light
Water: Water thoroughly when the top of the potting soil dries out, then let the soil dry before watering again.
Placement: Grow it tall in a sunny corner, or keep a dwarf umbrella tree compact on a coffee table or shelf.
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NB: Basic care and maintenance will keep your umbrella tree looking healthy and living a long life indoors. The umbrella plant doesn't mind a little neglect. When an umbrella tree matures it's likely to need to be supported with a stake or a moss stick unless it's pruned down and pinched. When growing umbrella trees, keep an eye out for spider mites or root rot.
Native to Central American rainforests, the Monstera is dubbed the "Swiss cheese plant", due to the holes or fenestrations in its wide, glossy foliage. With its distinctive Ace of Spades shaped leaves, this tropical plant is a favourite of interior designers and the urban jungle movement, as seen by the hashtag #MonsteraMonday. If you're looking for a funky new plant, the hardy Monstera is a reliably stylish option.
Light: Bright, indirect light.
Water: Water when the top few centimetres of soil dries out.
Placement: Monstera can be a feature in a bedroom, dining or living area. They do well in indirect sunlight but can struggle in bright, intense light. Keep away from air vents as that can dry out soil.
NB: Growing tips - if your parent plant gets too large for its pot, early spring is the best time to divide or propagate your plant. Monstera can be toxic if ingested, so keep well out of reach for children and pets.
Famously durable, fast-growing and low-maintenance, the Philodendron plant type contains hundreds of beautiful green-leafed varieties. Their typically large, verdant foliage brings a touch of tropical flair to your decor. Philodendrons consist of two species: vining and non-climbing plants. Growing to several feet, the vining variety usually requires something to climb on, such as a trellis or basket. Non-climbers make excellent tropical plants for containers, and their easy-care routine will suit novice plant parents.
Light: Low to bright, indirect light.
Water: Water when the top few centimetres of soil dries out.
Placement: Avoid intense sunlight as this can burn the leaves. It will do well under bright fluorescent light, so ideal for office spaces and can tolerate shady spots too.
NB: Best planted in the spring, but can be started with success at any time of year. Toxic to pets and humans if ingested.
For those looking for a distinctive and unusual interior tree, consider one of New Zealand's native outdoor plants, such as the kauri. Known as the ancient giant of Aotearoa's subtropical forest, kauri has a straight trunk with smooth bark and foliage made up of tiny, black leathery leaves. Keep in a pot to bring a clean green New Zealand vibe to any room.
Light: Prefers direct sunlight but can adapt to filtered light.
Water: Allow soil to dry out between waterings throughout the warmer months. Reduce watering during the cooler months.
Placement: Make a statement in a formal area, bedroom or living space with this elegant rainforest treasure.
NB: Juvenile plants take about 30yrs to reach a height of 10m, with this pyramidal form lasting for more than 50yrs.
Many ferns will thrive indoors, adding a lush accent to any room. This diverse plant family includes delicate, feathery fronds as well as smooth, robust leaves in a variety of colours and textures. Try a maidenhair fern or string of pearls plant to soften a living space, blurring boundaries between outdoors and in.
Light: Bright, filtered light.
Water: Water regularly, as ferns like wet soil.
Placement: Add interest to a corner nook, bathroom, countertop, bar cart or shelf.
NB: Ferns are among the world's oldest plants, having survived for 300 million years and growing in a diverse range of habitats. They've been cultivated for centuries as houseplants.
Orchids are popular flowering plants, and while there are several types, they all share certain characteristics. Orchids are easily identified by their arcs of branches known as spikes, which are covered in gently coloured blossoms in solid hues or speckles. Their petals and sepals (innermost petals) are usually seen in threes. The petals of an orchid might have ruffled, curved, or notched edges depending on the varietal. To avoid water loss, orchid leaves are covered with a thick waxy layer. Some orchids grow quicker than others, so choose the type that will suit your purpose.
Light: Strong, indirect light.
Water: Orchids require little water and plenty of soil drainage. Their roots are highly specialised organs that absorb water swiftly. They require repeated periods of dryness followed by periods of intense watering.
Water weekly throughout summer. Allow the water to soak the roots and fill the pebble tray. Some people recommend soaking the plant in the kitchen sink every now and then letting it dry out afterwards. Root and stem rot can affect orchids which are over-watered.
Keep your plant warm in the winter and reduce watering to once a month or so. Mist it occasionally to keep your orchid moist, but wipe away excess moisture.
Placement: Orchids thrive in sunshine, so choose a sunny spot that gets indirect light, such as near a north- or east-facing window. Orchids look great in bathrooms.
NB: Scientists know of over 25,000 species of wild orchids, and nearly 10 times that number of hybrid varieties.
Add a pop of the tropics, a Zen accent or a beachy vibe with succulents. Succulents are plants that have leaves and/or stems that retain water. They are amazingly adaptable to difficult regions where water is limited or only intermittently available. Succulents come in a wide variety of colours, forms, and sizes, will grow almost anywhere, and don't require much care, making them ideal for rookie plant parents. In terms of Feng sui, succulents represent new growth and life, so are a thoughtful choice when looking for new plants for your home or workspace.
Light: Succulents love full sun.
Water: Choose a container with drainage holes, and ensure you water according to the season. Once every couple of weeks in warmer months, and rarely if at all in the colder months.
Placement: Succulents are so much fun to decorate with. Place in a terranium or use a wool macrame plant holder to add interest to a corner space, conservatory, bathroom or studio. Avoid places with cold drafts and instead choose spots that enjoy warm temperatures.
NB: Another great characteristic of succulents is their ease of propagation. As a result, you can multiply one plant into many and grow your plant collection for free.
House plants, particularly the green varieties, offer a wonderful living adornment to any room. They bring a natural, dark or bright green complement to the color tones and textures of your interiors. Whether you opt for a plant type with variegated leaves, the tight clusters of succulents or a gracious indoor tree, fresh house plants help filter the air and add beautiful silhouettes and depth to interior design. Make growing season year-round at the home or office with vibrant indoor plants. Invest in a collection to complement your sheepskin furniture, add a little neem oil and you'll soon have your own urban jungle.