Ready to talk about the perks of owning houseplants? We hope this article makes you feel pumped about your next trip to the garden centre.
Living in London or any busy city can have its challenges and making a rented house or flat a home can be difficult. I have lived in all sorts of places over the last 6 years, and trust me that conversation could go on for hours, but instead of talking about the giant rat fiasco of 2015, I will talk about the much pleasanter subject of houseplants.
We have loved owing beautiful plants over the last 2 and a half years. Moving in with Josh marked the grown-up first step of moving in together, and waving goodbye to the life of London house shares. This was an awesome step, being able to put together the flat how we wanted and for the first time invest in some nice homewares. Swapping the often unpleasantries of “housemates” with plants thus becoming our cool new flatmates, that brought us so much joy.
After getting settled in our humble London flat, buying the necessary bits like plates, chairs and a table, came the fun part. Curating our own space with old loved processions like guitars, books and photos, but something felt like it was missing. We are not really into buying things for the sake of having more stuff, but the flat felt like it was lacking some character.
Enter our plants. We decided we needed some nature inside via the natural green hues of houseplants. Green is coincidentally my all time fav colour, I am just drawn to it, So one lovely morning we walked to our local garden centre. Going to the garden centre always feels like a morning well spent. Looking around for a particular plant to catch your eye and they proudly bringing it home.
Over time we grew a lovely collection of plants that brought life to our one bed flat. We also spent some time looking for beautiful plant pots to keep them in, making them even more aesthetically pleasing.
Allow us to dig a little deeper and unearth the benefits of interior landscaping, you might be surprised to find they go beyond an alluring aesthetic. What are the benefits? Well, let us enlighten you.
Houseplants Are Good For Your Physical Health.
What could be more beneficial than that? Many houseplants improve the air quality inside our homes. Often the air indoors can become more polluted than the outdoors, this is especially true to city life. Pollutants can build up and be recirculated sometimes even trapped by poor ventilation. Plants offer a natural, sustainable solution to combat poor indoor air quality by releasing oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide. Thank you kind plant.
Often plants with large leaves are more effective at this, so definitely something to bear in mind when you are making your selection.
Don’t Forget About Your Mental Health.
Plants are not just good for your physical health but for your mental health also. We know that mental health in the modern world is super important, any help in this department is greatly appreciated. Well, plants have been directly linked to reducing stress levels, helping to boost our mood by creating a soothing environment. Who doesn’t want that?
They say it can be extremely therapeutic to keep plants, especially if you are going through a hard time such as loneliness or depression. They can give us a sense of responsibility, caring for a living thing gives us a purpose and is rewarding especially when you see that living thing bloom and thrive.
Studies suggest having plants around can improve concentration and productivity levels. Making them perfect for not just your home but at work too. Bonus.
Being More In Touch With Nature.
Life can get real hectic, sometimes we forget to take in the small things. We spend around 90% of our time inside, meaning plants are perfect for bringing a feel of the outdoors into our homes. Most of us know instinctively that being close to greenery and nature makes us feel more at ease. Personally, I feel there is something very calming about having them around, reminding me of the simple joys nature provides.
Trendy Interiors Forever.
I can confidently say that houseplants transcend trends. The benefits mentioned makes us consider them as much necessity as an object of décor. Plants are naturally very pleasing to the eye and offer an inexpensive way to jazz up even the most boring room. They add an effortless style to your living areas. Plants are pretty darn Instagramable. You can take lovely photos with them if you feel that way inclined. Clearly, we did.
I’ve listed below the plants we had great success with:
Peace Lilly – These can be big or small, we went for a big one, and found it really easy to look after. There is nothing quite as exciting as when a new flower comes through.
Aloe Vera – Now this is a great plant to have around. Often said to be a medicinal plant because of its healing qualities. Badly sunburnt? It’s got your back, cut off about 5cm worth of a leaf, open it up, run the gooey sap all over the affected area and you will feel an instant cooling sensation. Similarly, if you ever burn yourself while cooking. Aloe vera can be a lifesaver. Once I accidentally poured boiling water on my leg and it saved me from horrid blisters developing. Honestly, Aloe Vera is a miracle plant. Keep them near the sun and water every 2-3 weeks.
Rubber Plant – These are super easy to look after, water them every 1-2 weeks when the soil gets very dry, about half a glassful, depending on the size of the plant. The deep green leaves are particularly beautiful.
Cactus – It doesn’t get much easier than a cactus, the less water you give them the better. We have to admit to having a favourite, this cactus has been an absolute beauty, it has grown so much we cant believe it. It was a tiny little thing when we bought it, we looked at it one day and realised it had doubled in size and it just kept on growing.
Succulents – There’s wide variety of succulents you can buy in all shapes and sizes, so they are very versatile for all spaces.
Sadly I lost a lovely succulent due to rotting. I watered the plant from the top and expected the water to get down to the soil. Instead, the water sits in the base of the leaves and starts to cause rot. There is no saving a plant once this happens in my experience. Don’t make the same mistakes as me, always put the water on the soil, where it can be absorbed. If that sounds obvious, I am sorry, clearly, it was not to me.
Round-Leaf Calathea – This one is a bit special, there are many different kinds of Calathea plants, ours was one of the lighter green ones. It is just so pretty. Again quite easy to look after. This tropical beauty doesn’t like much sun on its leaves, so shield it from direct sunlight. Water them enough to keep relatively moist but never saturated.
Top Tips We Have Learnt:
Be Careful Don’t Over Water Plants
The most common mistake I have made while keeping plants and have learnt the hard way to stop doing is loving them too much. Plants are not like us they don’t need watering every day. Overwatering plants has been my downfall. Effectively drowning them. Every plant likes a different amount so best to do your research for each individually.
If you notice any of your plants starting to wilt a little, just give them a good slug of water straight away. They should perk back up in no time. Most plants recover ok from under watering, but rarely from overwatering.
Beware of Too Much Sun.
Most indoor plants don’t like direct midday sun, so be wary of this when choosing a spot for your lovely plant. Too much of a good thing can be bad for us all, they will give you warning signals if they are not happy somewhere, such as leaf burn, spotting or sudden leaf-fall. Most plants can be easily rescued though, so don’t panic.
Draining is Important.
This one is quite important, before replanting your plants into new pots you want to add a layer of small stones or broken tiles into the bottom of the pots to allow the excess water to drain away. This will stop the plants from becoming waterlogged and will keep them happy as Larry.
Reuse Your Old Plastic Pots.
If you’re like us you and buy nice new pots for your plants, keep the plastic pots they originally came in. You can use these for trying your hand at growing your own plants from scratch. It is well worth a try, there is no feeling more satisfying. If you don’t fancy this, make sure to recycle them or you can donate them back to the garden centre.
Give Your Plants An Occasional Dust.
Plants flourish best when they are not dusty, so make sure every now and then to wipe the leaves down, either with your hand or a damp cloth. This helps them to photosynthesis more effectively, allowing it to live its best life and reaping the benefits back to you.
Plants Make Great Gifts.
Great for a friends housewarming pressie and get well soon pick me ups, or maybe you are struggling to know what to buy your mother-in-law for her birthday? You can not go wrong with a lovely plant. Plus they can last for years, making them the gift that just keeps on giving.
We recently moved away from London meaning we needed to donate all of our plants to our close and trusted friends, the flat felt very lifeless once they were gone. On the positive side though now we know they are in safe hands and our friends will be able to enjoy all the benefits. Luckily we will be in the countryside where we will have access to cleaner air and more nature readily available.
If you would like to read more about our green-fingered attempts we have a post all about visiting our friend’s allotment. We hope to have inspired you to go to your local garden centre and purchase some lovely new green friends, tell us about your experiences with plants.
Love, Lottie xx
Into The Eco
Photos by Josh John Photography, we had a bit of fun taking these quickly before our friends came to adopt them. Message us if you have any photography needs.