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WORDS: ALICE SPENSER-HIGGS – IMAGES: SUPPLIED & SHUTTERSTOCK

Plants help us to feel more cheerful and connected with nature. They’re easy to move around for a change of mood or style – an affordable way to revamp a room. Best of all, indoor plants purify and improve air quality, which is now more important than ever before!

Colour therapy

Indoor flowering plants add visual warmth to a room, doing double duty as long-lasting flower arrangements that add to our feeling of well-being. Here are a few options:

  • Cyclamen is a traditional indoor winter flower for decorating a coffee table, windowsill (that doesn’t get direct sun), patio, or mantelpiece.
  • Sizzling shades of pink, deepening into burgundy, are the new colours for mini arum lilies (Zantedeschia). They enjoy a warm, sunny room as the plants can take some morning sun.
  • Mini butterfly orchid has triple the number of flowers on each spike, compared to larger varieties. A compact plant, it fits easily into small spaces. It tolerates neglect, needs minimal watering (once a week) and can flower for up to three months in a position that gets bright, indirect light.

Begonias warm up a room with their rich colours and showy flowers. They’ll last for two to three months as an indoor flower arrangement. The plants like a warm room, with bright, indirect light.

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So much more

The scent of spring: Fill the family’s favourite room, patio, or kitchen windowsill with fragrant indoor spring bulbs. Bright and fragrant, daffodils, hyacinth and tulips are sure to banish winter blues. They all do best in a cool, well-lit room.

Natural air fresheners: All leafy plants improve the home’s indoor air quality, but some, like the peace lily, are more effective than others at absorbing carbon dioxide. It filters unpleasant odours and produces clean oxygen. Needing only low light to grow, it’s ideal for bathrooms, bedrooms and kitchens

Sweet dreams: Enjoy a good night’s sleep with a bird’s nest fern (Asplenium) on the bedside table. It helps to humidify the room and the leaves absorb carbon dioxide and other harmful gases.

Indoor climbers: Vigorous vining plants like the tickey creeper, golden pothos, and Philodendron scandens, also known as the sweetheart plant for its heart shaped leaves, are easily trained as indoor climbers on a wall trellis or frame, up a staircase, on room dividers, and balconies. String of beads looks good trailing from a hanging basket or tumbling down from the top of a bookcase or cupboard.

Best for bathrooms: A humid bathroom offers the perfect micro-climate for indoor ferns, like the button fern, maidenhair fern or rabbit’s foot fern. Ferns like being suspended over the bath or in the shower so they can soak up the humidity.

Green is a colour too!

It’s almost impossible to go wrong when using green because it harmonises with everything. Use large plants to fill bare corners, such as delicious monster, a graceful bamboo palm or indoor Ficus trees. If a mature plant is beyond your budget, start with a smaller one and display it on a shelf, on a bar stool or side table or even suspend it from the ceiling in a hanging basket.  

Brighten up your home office 

Choose long-lasting flowering Anthurium, or plants with interesting leaves like ferns, Peperomia (rumpled leaves) or the ZZ plant (Zamioculcas) that grows in low light or just artificial light and low humidity, with minimal watering

For glossy leaves, feed with a pot-plant food once every six months. Put together a collection of plants with different leaf patterns for a striking display.

Quick care tips

  • Most indoor plants do best with bright, indirect light, not sun
  • Let plants dry out moderately before watering
  • Don’t let plants stand in water
  • Clean dusty leaves by spritzing or wiping
  • Feed with a liquid fertiliser in spring
  • Plants grouped together stay healthier and dry out less quickly than those kept apart
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See for yourself

Indoor plants are available from supermarkets, garden centres and some hardware stores.

For more information visit plantimex.co.za.

 

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