Top six houseplants


We love to be surrounded by greenery. It is synonymous with serenity and good health. It provides us with oxygen. Green is a peaceful colour.

With so mich emphasis on cleaning up the environment, the spotlight is on adding more green to our lives. Plants not only feed oxygen to us, but they also remove toxins from the air.

I love to put the key in the door at the shop in the mornings, and see all my beautiful plants – succulents, cactuses, palms, ficus, dracaenas, ferns and philodendrons adorn the window and shelves.

So my top six are:

  1. First place in houseplants has to be the spathphyllum, or peace lily, as it is commonly known. This is an amazing plant, with elegant, deep green, shiny leaves and white blooms. It can be kept moist, and it tolerates shade.
  2. The spider plant. This is a robust plant that sprouts little baby plants in the air, easy to repot at this time of year. I have one hanging from my ceiling in the living room, and itt’a enormous.
  3. philodendron scandens, with its heart – shaped leaves. Tall plants on moss poles are great for corners, and aren’t too wide. You can also have the trailing/creeping version
  4. Cactus plants are fascinating! They are sculptural, and come in all shapes and sizes. They require good natural light and very little water I owned a collection of 24 cactus plants when I lived in Stockholm, and they flowered in July while I was on holiday, then shed the flowers all over the window ledge before I returned.
  5. Succulents, including the crassula, (money plant), echeveria and of course, aloe vera. It’s a useful one to have on the kitchen window ledge in case of burns!
  6. Stephanotis (jasminum). I love the scent of jasmine! You can train these plants to grow around a window. When they are not flowering, the beautiful leaves are enough

Top tips for houseplants

We’ve seen a huge increase in the sale of houseplants this year, so here are our top tips on how to choose the right plants.

There is a current high demand for cactuses and succulents. Lots of the homeware shop chains are selling little terrariums. The advantage of these plants are that they need little water, so forgetful people are not disappointed to find withered blooms after a couple of weeks without water. What they do need is good natural light. They are reasonably priced, so even if they only survive a few weeks, due to lack of light, they are a cheaper proposition than cut flowers.

If you fancy something larger – maybe to hang from the ceiling, or trail down from a high shelf, spider plants, (chlorophytum comosum) are great. They have stripey green and white long, thin leaves and produce babies, which can easily be cut off and re-potted. They have been cited as one of the top plants for cleaning the air. Toxins are absorbed by the leaves and are used to feed the roots. They also emit oxygen. “One man’s meat is another man’s poison”! water weekly, and allow to dry out between waterings.

The Boston fern (nephrolepis exaltata) is an elegant, trailing plant. ferns like moist air, so bathrooms and kitchens provide a good home. They are a strong green, with no variegation.

If you’re looking for a plant that can cope with little natural light, go for a Peace lily, (spathiphyllum). They produce white, sail-like flowers constantly, and have beautiful, shiny, dark green leaves. You can spray with leafshine if you like the shiny look. Don’t worry about clogging up the pores – they breathe from the underneath of the leaf. The Peace lily is also a top air purifier. They like to be moist at all times, reflecting their swamp-like, natural habitat.