15 September 2022 ·

Plant expert reveals top 10 house plants and how to care for them

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Gemma aka @theplantparlourgram is a London-based urban jungle blogger and plant stylist. She demonstrated the green potential of our one-bed apartments at Kingston East, in New Malden, by adding some of her favourite indoor plants. Here are her top ten plant picks, with tips on where to place them and how to care for them…

Not only can indoor plants bring your home to life, they also offer a host of physical and mental benefits. Studies have shown that having plants in your home can boost productivity and creativity, while reducing stress and fatigue. They can also work effectively in purifying the air by absorbing toxins, increasing humidity, and producing oxygen

1. Anthurium Crystallinum Silver Blush

A popular house plant thanks to its beautiful dark green leaves and silver veins. Originating from the Caribbean, it requires medium indirect sunlight and a spot near other plants to really thrive. It’s a great addition to any living room, in the right spot!

It doesn’t like being sat in water for a long time, so always let it dry out completely between watering, and keep it in a pot that drains well.


2. Philodendron Gloriosum

An eye-catching plant with heart-shaped leaves and a velvety touch, the Philodendron originates in Colombia and can grow its leaves to widths of more than 26-inches, making it the perfect plant for a large living room or kitchen corner.

This philodendron is easy to take care of and prefers indirect light, as too much direct sunshine can burn its leaves. It thrives at room temperature, making it the perfect plant for any home.


3. Peace Lily

Spathiphyllum, popularly called a Peace Lily, is aptly named for its white flower which most commonly symbolises peace, purity, healing, and hope.

Its natural habitat is on the rainforest floors of Colombia and Venezuela, protected by the canopy above, and therefore prefers indirect light. It’s a great house plant which helps filter the air and increase humidity levels, helping you breathe better. It also aids sleep by absorbing airborne mould spores.

The perfect home for a Peace Lily is on an east-facing windowsill where it can enjoy the gentle morning sun, so if that’s the position of your bedroom, then there’s no better place for it.

Peace Lilies can be toxic to pets, so be mindful about where you place it.


4. Calathea Makoyana

This shade-loving plant, native of Brazil, is also known as a ‘Peacock Plant’ due to its large oval leaves and fan-like display, not forgetting its colours: pale greens, deep reds and rich purples and greens. A mature plant can grow to around two feet tall, occasionally blooming tiny white flowers if you tend to it carefully.

It prefers bright yet indirect light, so avoid placing too close to a window, instead on a larger item of furniture, such as bookshelf.

When it comes to watering, the Makoyana can be a little high maintenance. It needs to be well hydrated, so make sure you water it when the top inch of soil feels dry, however it can be damaged by water containing fluoride; to avoid damage you can either collect rain, use filtered tap water or even boil the kettle and leave to cool.


5. Caladium Miss Muffet

This variety of caladium is a popular choice for those wanting to add a unique display of colour in their home. Its pastel-green leaves and fuchsia pink speckles create a vibrant contrast making it a hard plant to miss.

Originating from the tropical forests of Central and South America, where they experience wet and dry seasons, house plant care should follow natures pattern. Accustomed to having a tree top canopy protecting it from the sun, it prefers indirect light, which also prevents its pink markings from fading. The ideal spot would be on shady shelf or coffee table.

Caladiums go dormant from Autumn, so watering should stop, or be minimal until Spring. Otherwise, ensure it's watered before the topsoil is bone dry. It likes to stay slightly hydrated but never soggy – the best way to accomplish this is to mist it with water between watering.

6. Pilea Peperomioides

Also known as the ‘Chinese Money Plant’, this plant originates in south west China and is believed to bring good luck, money and fortune to its owner. Their large, circular leaves stacked on top of each other, give the illusion of piles of coins.

This plant prefers bright, indirect light, so place on a shelf a little distance from a bright window in the bedroom, office or living room. You should also water this plant approximately once a week, but make sure that the soil is dry to the touch before doing so. You’ll know if the plant has been overwatered as its leaves will turn yellow or fall off, equally, you’ll know it needs a top up when the leaves begin to sag.


7. Calathea Warscewiczii

The ‘Jungle Velvet’ is a stunning floor-growing plant that is native to South American rainforests. It gets its nickname from its soft leaves, which are velvety to the touch, it’s also described to have a fishtail pattern.

Enjoying temperatures between 15-25 degrees, it doesn’t like drafts or heaters, so place away from open windows, doors, and radiators. It thrives in high humidity, so it’s happiest place will be on the floor in a kitchen or bathroom away from direct sunrays, where it will still enjoy plenty of natural day light.

Water when dry to the touch, but place in a pot that drains easily so it doesn’t get waterlogged.


8. Oxalis Triangularis

Known to many as ‘False Shamrock’ due to its triangle young clover-shaped leaves, it’s a beautiful plant for any home and a great choice for those wanting to add a bold splash of colour, thanks to its deep purple hue. Though the uniquely coloured leaves are the star of the show, the False Shamrock can also produce small, trumpet shaped flowers in pink or white.

Its leaves open during the day and closing during the evening; it can handle several hours of direct sun light, so a south east facing window ledge would be ideal.


9. Snake Plant

Known as the Snake Plant for its stiff, sword-like leaves, this unique houseplant is arguably the most tolerant house plants out there. Native to the dry terrains of Africa, the Snake Plant can withstand strong sunlight or low light conditions, so a great all-rounder which can find a home in almost any room of the house.

It’s an ideal choice for beginners due to its hardy nature; it can go two months between waterings in the winter months.


10. Philodendron Micans

Native to the tropical regions of Mexico and the Caribbean, the Philodendron is known for its soft heart-shaped leaves and trailing growth habit. Philodendron Micans’ new growth is velvety and golden before it turns dark green, which makes it a visual delight.

The Philodendron is easy to care for and excellent at climbing or trailing from surfaces, appreciating bright, indirect light and regular watering. The best place for this plant is on a high bookshelf where it can trail, or as a floor plant, providing it’s been potted with a structure to climb.

Note that this variety of house plant is considered toxic to both cats and dogs, so perhaps not the plant for you if you’re a pet owner.