Interflora flowers

Hard to kill houseplants

If you think you can’t look after houseplants, or if your houseplants die on you, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing anything wrong. You simply may have the wrong environment in your home for the plants you chose, or you may just have picked plants requiring specialist care.
Just like people, some plants are very easy-going and put up with any sort of treatment, while others require special attention before they can flourish.

Some plants may experience a period of stress when you bring them home – being uprooted and transported is stressful for anyone after all. Don’t panic if leaves or flowers drop, but treat your plant normally and wait until it has settled into its new home before bombarding it with treatments.

Some plants can grow in very sunny hot dry areas, such as deserts and savannahs, and some can grow in very shady warm wet areas, like rainforests and jungles.  Although they like the extreme conditions they have adapted to, some of these plants and flowers can be grown indoors, if you give them the correct conditions that they require.

Why not try some of our recommended ‘fool proof’ plants to start with?

For hot, dry sunny rooms – Aloe, Cacti, Yucca, Agave, Mother in law’s tongue and Kalanchoë

These plants originally come from areas like South Africa, Australia, and Mexico and like a warm sunny place, with lots of light and air; some don’t even mind central heating. Kitchens are often good spots if the plants are placed away from cookers or boilers.  They often don’t mind the cold (as temperatures in deserts can fall below freezing), but really hate having wet roots. With this in mind, don’t forget to water them but make sure the soil includes sand or grit to help the water drain through.

Conservatories are notoriously hot, dry and sunny; but other rooms in your home might offer these conditions as well. For plants with large, flat, green leaves they can prove problematic – but for plants that are specially adapted to desert conditions your home might well suit them perfectly.

For dark, cool rooms – Aspidistra, Dragontree, Ivy, Ferns, Anthuriums and Peace lily

These plants come from countries like Malaysia, Brazil and Hawaii. Many plants that come from jungle areas adapt to these conditions and are used to living in crowded spaces, or even on the forest floor, where access to light is limited.

These plants like humidity – moist air – around them, so for the best results stand the plant in a dish filled with pebbles.  Keep the pebbles wet so the water can rise up as steam around the plant in the heat of your room.

Most do not like sunshine as they normally live on the floor of the jungle, so find a semi-shady spot for them which isn’t draughty or cold – a warm bathroom may be ideal!  Most tropical plants like to be watered regularly, but some – like orchids – live in tree branches and prefer dry roots.

What all of these plants like are damp leaves. Rainforest plants should be misted or sprayed with water often to keep their leaves damp.

Overwatering Plants - Arum, Azaleas and Papyrus

There are plants that naturally thrive in boggy, swampy, waterlogged areas and make fine houseplants for those of us a little heavy-handed with the watering can. If you have a tendency to overwater your plants – or even if you don’t, but fancy growing something a little different – these would be ideal for you.

A good tip for any plant that likes a damp soil is to ensure the soil remains ‘sweet’ by adding a little charcoal to it. A couple of spent matches, a chip from a cold barbecue coal, or the end of a drawing charcoal stick will do the trick.