Ideal indoor plants

in gardening  1 comments
Oct 29 2009
Ferns in the bathroom, via This Old House
maidenhair ferns in a bedroom, via Sidsel Zachariassen

Maidenhair fern via Sidsel Zachariassen

I have been wanting to add some indoor green leafy plants. I grew up in Malaysia, and while mum never had indoor plants, the foliage outside was always verdant green. Here in Australia, there is a long term drought, so things outside are brown and dry. I’ve been longing for some large green foliage so I went looking for some ideal indoor plants and found a few I thought I’d share.

African Violets

An obvious favourite is the African Violet.

My African Violets

My African Violets

I’m very proud of my two African violets. The pink one has been my friend for the past 3 years. The dark purple one is about 3 months old.

Just needs a suitable location, kitchen windows are popular since most offer good natural filtered lighting. The soil needs to be kept moist but not wet so I find it thrives in the plastic pots from the nursery and then in a pretty pot. When I water mine, I stand it for 5 minutes in the kitchen sink so that extra water runs off. I keep my purple one in a pretty vintage tea tin and the other in a Sylvac pink planter.

Angel Ivy

This plant is apparently popular because it’s able to be pruned and shaped into forms. I’ve seen many pruned into topiaries.

Bamboo

Lucky bamboo on the dining table

Lucky bamboo on the dining table

I kept a twisted bamboo plant in a tall glass vase for many years. Does not need soil, just water! How easy is that? The Chinese call it the Lucky Bamboo.

Ficus

Ficus topiaries in a lounge room, via Kelly McGuill

Ficus topiaries in a lounge room, via Kelly McGuill

Another plant that can be shaped is the ficus. There are many varieties but most are lush, shiny, green medium sized foliage. Apparently this is the best indoor plant because it will survive well even with long periods of neglect. They do enjoy full sun as well as part shade.

Ficus topiaries in three tiers, via David Netto

Ficus topiaries in three tiers, via David Netto

When they have outlasted their time as an indoor plant – after about 10 years – can be placed in the garden or given away as a gift to a very-special-10-years-in-the-making-friend with house and land! They can even be trained for bonsais (just rigorous pruning)…

Dieffenbachia, Camille

Dieffenbachia Camille plant with brilliant variegated leaves

Dieffenbachia Camille plant with brilliant variegated leaves

I’ve always wanted a big leafy plant in the bathroom and if it had the right amount of space, I’d love a Dieffenbachia Camille. It’s got these beautiful big cream and green leaves. During the months of active growth, they require just as much water as any other potted plant, but as soon as the cooler weather approaches watering should be kept to a minimum.

Gerberas, only when flowering

Yellow gerberas on my desk

Yellow gerberas on my desk

I had a pretty yellow Gerbera on my desk for a while while it flowered. Otherwise it needs to be outside. I just re-potted it and hopefully we’ll see more blooms soon!

Ferns

Ferns in the living area, via Kelly McGuill

Ferns in the living area, via Kelly McGuill

Ferns in the bathroom, via This Old House

Ferns in the bathroom, via This Old House

Very pretty, light green leaves… I am dying to get large planters!

The Peace Lily Spathyphyllum wallisii

The Peace Lily

The Peace Lily

The Peace Lily is voted one of the best air purifiers of all and boasts a beautiful large dark green shiny leaf and an elegant white flower. It will tolerate very low light conditions. But make sure you water only when the soil past your forefinger is dry… overwatering is often the cause of many a Peace Lily carcass.. It will show you quite firmly that it is not happy if not watered, as it will almost lay down in despair.

The Lady Palm Rhapis excelsa

Via kaylee Skylyn

Lady Palm Rhapis excelsa Via Kaylee Skylyn

This very dense displaying plant is very slow growing, but can make a super decorative statement with their fan-shaped leaves. The plants do not like drying out and are not ideal in areas with air conditioners, but if the air is humidified they will thrive, and will tolerate low light situations well.

Rat-tail Cactus

Rat-tail cactus, via Flickr: pat626

Rat-tail cactus, via Flickr: pat626

If you’re into slightly freaky plants, I did see this along a wooden planter set next to a bathroom window on an episode of Greenest Homes. It makes a statement to be sure, with the tail bits hanging down along the planter…

Mother-in-law’s tongue

Mother-in-law tongue, via Erinn Valencich

Mother-in-law tongue, via Erinn Valencich

Also known as Sansevieria or Snake Plant; makes an ideal indoor plant. It produces elegant variegated foliage, yet is an easy to care for plant. I am not a fan, since I don’t really like spiky-shaped leaves…

Chinese Evergreen

Chinese evergreen, via Flickr: ctmarie3

Chinese evergreen, via Flickr: ctmarie3

I’m going to have to get one of these! The Chinese Evergreen is good for those that don’t have a lot of light in their home or are gone a lot with the lights out as the plant does not need much light to flourish. The plant needs to get kept in a warm area and the leaves will turn brown or black in cold atmospheres. Everygrowing.com suggests that you make sure the soil is dry between each watering to avoid killing the plant.

Cast Iron Plant

Cast iron plant

Cast iron plant

It may have an interesting name for a plant but the Cast Iron Plant is an easy plant to take care of and an ideal indoor plant. It requires low light, can handle drafts and is known for being the most cold tolerate indoor plant.

Clivia

Lovely orange Clivia in Tyra Bank's office

Lovely orange Clivia in Tyra Bank’s office

I have two orange Clivia plants courtesy of my mother in law’s and she’s just scored another younger one for me. They look lovely in the garden but they flower only but for a short time and only flower annually – beginning of spring. I have never tried them indoors but they do make a spectacular display when flowering and their dark green, simple foliage does make for a good indoor plant. Might see if I can score more at garage sales around for my lounge room.

Orange clivia on staircase

Orange clivia on staircase

Clivia miniata is both beautiful and indestructible. Deep green, straplike leaves arch 2-3 feet above the crown. Clivias require very little care, growing larger and more impressive with age.

Orchids

Beautiful pink orchids

Beautiful pink orchids

These plants thrive in Malaysia where I’ve grown up so this has a special spot in my heart. So far I only have one, a lovely delicate green orchid given by a dear friend and it lives outside when not in flower. I’ve just got my first green bloom yesterday after a year of inactivity so it will go on my piano on Sunday when most of the buds would have bloomed.

white orchid in red study, via Robyn Karp

via Robyn Karp

Dracaenas, the happy plant variety

Dracenas happy plant

Dracenas happy plant

Again, large green leaves … but this time, on a thick stalk. I do like this one too. Nice for an area that has loads of low furniture as it’s got a fair height.

Rubber tree

Rubber tree

Rubber tree

Popular in clinics and hospitals, in my experience! This indoor/patio plant can grow very large… so contain it by prunning, or repot into bigger containers. (Whatever you do, don’t plant them in your garden, unless you know where your pipes are!)

Monstera Deliciosa

Monstera Deliciosa, via Jason Unbound

Monstera Deliciosa, via Jason Unbound

Now this one I do like too… it’s got interest, with the large bright green leaves. They’re also known as the “fruit salad” plant due to the odd-shaped fruit it produces. It’s got a hard shell, and you have to wait till it opens by itself before harvesting the edible parts.

Kalanchoe

My flowering Kalanchoe in a hanging basket

My flowering Kalanchoe in a hanging basket

These have dense, small coloured flowers with succulent leaves. These hang down, so suit planters that are set way above the ground on a tall side table or hanging. I have about 5 of them around the place, but none indoors yet. I have a desperate lack of suitable planters! These do not thrive in the cold or moist areas (many of mine died indoors) … but thrive in warm spots. I love growing these because like most succulents, all you do to have another plant is to break off a branch with leaves and flowers and stick them in another pot!

Golden Cane Palm

Golden cane palm

Golden cane palm

A more delicate leaf palm that clusters from the base. The more light it is exposed to, the more golden it will become. Goes well indoors only with very good light.

Moss

It’s quite attractive, having planters covered with this mossy green fluff. I do like it…

Well I hope I’ve given you some ideas to breathe in more fresh air indoors… and to add that beautiful green touch to your indoor space.

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