Ah, we're back in lockdown level 4 again for a few days. You know the last few months have seen a boom in house plant lovers, and our leafy companions have gone from a funky trend to a near necessity during the lockdown.
Whether you are a sucker for succulents or mad about Monsteras, filling your home with greenery is a bulletproof wellbeing boost.
Research has shown that owning house plants improves physical and mental health, increases productivity and reduces stress, whilst improving air quality - or in other words, the perfect companions for lockdown.
What is the easiest plant to look after?
The easiest possible plant that I would suggest is a plant called Zamioculcas Zamiifolia, more commonly known as ZZ plant. It is not fussy about light and doesn't need much water. It's just perfect for plant killers.
Why would you encourage people to collect house plants?
With a lot of people living in homes without gardens, having some greenery inside does make you feel a bit more grounded, improves your wellbeing and lightens the mood. Also from a decor point of view, they soften edges and look attractive.
Quite a lot of people use them as a sort of meditation. Caring for your plants and nurturing them is a nice relaxation. There is quite a community about, with lots of forums and groups.
Should you care for your plants differently in the colder months?
From March to September, it is best to cut down watering a little bit as it is winter and the plants are dormant.
Heat pumps or heaters can dry out the leaves a lot, so think of your watering in two different ways; do the foliage watering and then the root watering, just misting the leaves if they are dry and the soil is not."
Do you have any tips on re-potting?
When you repot a plant, it is better to only put it up a few sizes than put it in a huge pot, as the soil will hold loads of moisture and this could cause root rot. Plants come out of dormancy and start actively growing around September time, so this would be a good time to re-pot, but that doesn't matter too much.
What is the worst place you can put a house plant?
Above a heater or next to a fireplace as this will cause the plants to go brown and crispy.
What is the best place you can put a house plant?
Foliage plants prefer to be on the west or east-facing windows, for more hours of dappled sunlight. Cactus and succulents like to be in really bright spots, so a nice south-facing window would be good.
What would you say to worried beginners?
Just get one. Choose the low maintenance one first. Benefit from the natural wellbeing of having them in the house. You don't have to have a difficult plant and worry about watering it, a lot of house plants quite often thrive on neglect.
Warning: Strong chance of obsession/addiction.