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Go Green with House Plants
Green fingers elude you? Never fear, as houseplant guru, Sophie Lee from geo-fleur.com, is on hand with tips for keeping it green indoors.
1. I'm not green fingered at all! What are the easiest house plants to grow for a beginner?
The best plants for a beginner are Philodendron scandens and Monstera deliciosa. These are both easy-to-keep, house plants that create instant greenery and require minimum care, just watering once a week with 100ml of water. Most people will know the Monstera more commonly as the Swiss cheese plant and recognise its popularity from the 80s. Philodendron scandens is sometimes called Devil’s ivy – it’s a great trailing plant and we sell a similar once called Scindapus pictus which will also trail beautifully down a bookcase or off a window sill. (They are good at telling you when they need more water as their leaves go slightly wrinkly).
2. I want a big, statement floor plant for my lounge - what do you suggest?
A Monstera deliciosa or a Euphorbia triangularis (a traditional cowboy cactus) are perfect statement plants. Maybe go for the Monstera if you have little children as the Euphorbia is a little bit spiky! A Monstera can grow up to 6 ft tall but you can propagate them by taking cuttings and splitting the plants under the node to give you double the greenery. There’s more on propagation in my geo-fleur book ‘Living with Plants’. I have a variegated Monstera deliciosa (which is super rare nowadays) in my conservatory where it thrives. I also have a white variegated euphorbia triangularis which I had from a cutting I took five years ago and is now 4 foot tall! We sell a variety of different plant pots and we also offer a planting up service to get your plant all ready for the home.
3. My kitchen doesn't get much light, can I still grow herbs?
Yes, but start from seed, in spring, and keep them well hydrated and misted. Don’t let them catch any cold with drafts. Basil and rosemary are good choices as they can add flavour to any dish you’re cooking. Self-watering plant pots are great; or just use terracotta ones with a drainage hole and saucer and then water from the bottom which helps to prevent root rot. Keep herbs inside for winter and spring but feel free to put outside in summer time.
4. I love the trend for hanging plants. What should I try?
Hanging rhipsalis and philodendrons are great for instant greenery as you can just plant them up in a macramé holder or a ceramic plant hanger. We sell a selection on our online shop – the fishbone cactus is a really good choice as it grows so easily. I recommend odd numbers – a grouping of 3-5. I have so many hanging plants in my own home as they are a great way to add texture – and I like giving the spider plant babies to friends to propagate!
5. Are plants in the bedroom a no-no?
Oh, definitely not. Plants in a bedroom are a definite yes yes! Pick air purifying plants such as Devil’s ivy, spider plants and Sanseviera which convert carbon dioxide into oxygen at night and help you sleep. Read NASA’s amazing report on air purifying plants for more.
6. Is there one book you'd recommend for a plant enthusiast?
My books has lots of how-to’s – from making your own terrarium and macramé hangers plus tips on how to resurrect unhappy plants.
For more going green inspiration visit geo-fleur.com or their instagram page @geo_fleur.