You only need to scroll through Instagram to see that indoor plants are an interior design trend that’s here to stay. From unbelievably tall Fiddle Leaf Figs to giant Monsteras, houseplants have become one of the most coveted possessions for the interior conscious these days. And we can understand why; adding greenery to your home can create a beautiful aesthetic that not only gives off a super homely feel, but can also create harmony and cohesiveness with other pieces in your space. Plus, they’re pretty good for your home’s air quality, too.
But the reality for many of us is keeping indoor plants alive and thriving is easier said than done, resulting in a sad mix of wilted or sunburnt plant babies looking more than a bit worse for wear. “Being a green thumb doesn’t have to be difficult, it all starts with choosing the best plants for your environment and understanding how to care for them”, says Jactina, owner of Elsk Botanical, a Brisbane-based plant sourcing, styling and consultation service. Jacinta works with people like us (self-confessed black thumbs) all the time, so when it came to choosing the right plants to get us on track to achieving Insta-worthy greenery at home, we thought who better to ask!
Read on for Jacinta’s choice of tried and tested indoor plants that even a complete plant beginner can keep alive.
Zanzibar Gem is the ultimate beginner house plant (Zamioculus Zalmiofolia). This was my first house plant and it is still going strong 10 years on. This plant thrives on neglect and the glossy green leaves add vibrant colour to your space. The other great thing about a ZZ is that it will survive in lower light conditions, so, it’s a good solution if you have a space with reduced natural light, like a bedroom. ZZs only needs a water once a month in summer, and even less over the colder months (their tube-like roots store moisture).
Goodness has this plant had a comeback from the 70’s! It is very easy to love with different variations in colour and endless styling options. The ivy (Epipremnum Aureum) has lovely trailing vines making it great for a hanging planter and also the perfect shelfie. Again, Devil’s Ivy can tolerate a lower level of light, but also lots of bright light (and will grow much quicker in these conditions). Devil’s Ivy can be pretty forgiving if you forget to water it, and gives you really obvious signs when it needs a drink, as its leaves will droop. I love that you can trim the vines and easily propagate in water to share these with your friends.
This beauty will develop long vines with deep-green, heart-shaped leaves (Philodendron Hederacium). This guy will thrive in varying levels of light, but will burn in direct sunlight. An easy house plant that makes for the perfect shelfie or statement piece in a beautiful hanging planter. The Heart-Shaped Philodendron is also easy to propagate, so you will be sharing cuttings with your fellow plant parents in no time at all!
Check out the triangular-shaped leaves and cool white veins in the stems. Excellent for indoor pots or it can also be planted outdoors in warm, tropical gardens! Alocasia’s (Sarian) prefer a brightly lit position (partly sunny to full shade), and they also love heat and humidity, so keep the soil moist (especially if indoors when air conditioner is on). Make sure to use a regular liquid fertiliser to help with growth.
AKA the Mother-in-laws tongue - there are so many great varieties of this plant. As the name suggests, once you have one of these, they are hard to get rid of! I love the dwarf varieties for the bedroom and bathroom (Dwarf Sansevieria); and the larger varieties are amazing for instant stying in the living room. The deep green foliage is really striking, and these guys don’t need too much water and will cope with lower light conditions. These are also one of the top plants recommended for purifying the air = win-win.
Hot Potting Tip
If you’re potting directly into a planter, make sure it has a drainage hole and tray to catch the water. When potting, don’t forget to use quality potting mix, a liquid fertiliser to give your plant a boost, and then water with the soak and drain method (water the pot over a sink, or outside, giving it a good soak). Allow to drain well before placing it back onto the tray. This means that the water can get to the whole root system and you won’t end up with soggy feet and water pooling on the tray.
Need more help and don’t know where to start? Check out Elsk Botanical’s services (for Brisbane and beyond!) and find out how Jacinta can help you achieve your greenery goals and ensure those new plant babies survive long-term.