Although Scotland is often spoken of for its inclement weather, many plants thrive here, houseplants included! The perfect addition to a home, they bring beautiful, lush life to a space and have a number of recognised health benefits. There are so many houseplants that make a big impact but are easy to care for – these are the top five that I recommend for people just starting out on their houseplant journey.
When someone says houseplant, the first thing we think of is a Monstera, Monstera deliciosa, or Swiss Cheese Plant as it’s often called. Known for their beautiful fenestrations (natural holes in the leaves), these plants are incredibly rewarding because they grow so quickly!
They are very versatile in their preference of positioning, because they can tolerate anything from bright indirect light to medium-low light, as long as their watering pattern reflects their level of sunlight. For best results, I recommend bright indirect sunlight and a thorough watering every 7-10 days or when the top 2-4 inches of soil feels completely dry, and feeding twice per month in the summer. The monstera is another houseplant that is quite toxic to pets and humans alike.
A staple of any home, the Spider plant, Chlorophytum comosum, is a great one for beginners. These beautiful green leafy plants are very easy to care for and really thrive in an area of medium sunlight, making the perfect addition to any kitchen or bookcase. Water them once per week or so, and be sure not to let them sit in direct, bright sunlight, as this can burn their leaves.
These plants reproduce very quickly, and grow long stems that host mini spider plant babies. These babies are very easy to detach and grow on as new plants, so they are a great one to share with friends and family. Spider plants are non-toxic to pets, but are considered a mild hallucinogenic for cats if ingested in large quantities.
The Zz, Zamioculcas zamiifolia – I have affectionately renamed it the Apocalypse Plant because it can survive just about anything. These guys can happily tolerate some pretty extreme neglect, and only need water every 3 weeks or so in the summer, and effectively not at all in the winter. They survive happily in low light areas, and are perfect for a shady hallway or bathroom.
It is important not to over-water these plants, as the tuberous rhizomes in their soil which store their water can become soft and cause root rot if supersaturated. These plants are also known for their air purifying qualities and ability to filter volatile substances in particular. Like so many houseplants, the Zz is toxic to pets and humans.
The perfect viney jungle plant, the sweetheart Philodendron, Philodendron scandens, really brings a wow factor to your space while requiring only a very minimal effort. There are many types of philodendron vine, including the Philodendron brasil, the Philodendron micans and the sweetheart philodendron, but they all have the same care requirements.
They prefer bright indirect to medium sunlight, watering once per week or so, and feeding twice per month in the summer. These plants grow very quickly, and are very easy to propagate from cuttings in water. They can be trained to climb or trail, depending on your space, and the styling you would prefer. All varieties of philodendron are unfortunately toxic to pets and humans but can be kept out of the way on a high shelf.
Bird of Paradise
Queen of the statement plants, the Bird of Paradise Palm, Strelitzia reginae, never fails to impress. These striking beauties can grow up to 3 metres indoors if space allows, and have incredible bird-like flowers that begin to bloom once they reach maturity.
These plants thrive in conditions of bright sunlight, and need watering roughly once every 5-7 days in the summer, and far less in the winter months. I feed my bird of paradise palms once per month during its growth period to promote new growth, and let them dry out slightly in between waterings. This low-maintenance plant will immediately transition your home into an indoor jungle. This plant is considered toxic to most pets, and can cause gastrointestinal discomfort in humans.