Why house plants are the perfect lockdown friend
- Credit: Kate Wolstenholme
The last few years have seen a boom in house plant lovers, and our leafy companions have gone from a funky trend to a near necessity during 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 a third national lockdown.
The winter months used to mean packing away the gardening gloves, but the rise of indoor plants has changed that.
Kerri Notman, from Leslie Terrance in Norwich, gave us some tips on growing our interior jungles.
What is the easiest plant to look after?
"The easiest possible plant that I would suggest is a plant called Sansevieria, more commonly known as Mother-in-law's tongue. It is not fussy about light and doesn't need much water.
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"There is a study from Nasa to see which plants give out most oxygen, and Sansevieria was one. People suggest putting them by your bed to help you sleep, as they are a desert plant, so give out most oxygen at night."
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 September to March, it is best to cut down watering a little bit as it is winter and the plants are dormant.
"Central heating 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 then 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 March 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 radiator, as this will cause the plants to go brown and crispy."
What is the best place you can put a house plant?
"Cactus and succulents like to be in really bright spots, so a nice south-facing window would be good. Foliage plants prefer to be on a west or east-facing window, for more hours of dappled sunlight."
What would you say to worried beginners?
"Just get one. 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."
Leslie Terrance Home Gift and Garden is continuing to do online orders during lockdown, via its website.
Warning: Strong chance of obsession.