People have been decorating with indoor plants for millennia. But, in recent years, houseplants have enjoyed a surge in popularity thanks to the influence of social media. Hashtags such as #houseplantsofinstagram garner hundreds of thousands of posts each year, undeniably making houseplants one of the foremost interior decorating trends of the 21st century.
From tiny succulents to large indoor trees, there is so much to choose from to help transform the look and feel of your home with greenery.
Why you should be decorating with indoor plants
Not just a trend, houseplants have many benefits, such as improving your health! These benefits include:
Improving the appearance of your home
Using natural elements in your home can be pleasing to the eye, and plants are perfect for this. As plants exist primarily in the outside world, it can be unexpected to see plants in an interior environment, which creates a striking juxtaposition. In addition, the colour green, which is abundant in many flowering and, of course, foliage plants, evokes good health, harmony and prosperity.
Physical health benefits
The NASA Clean Air Study is a well-known project that uncovered the air purifying benefits of certain plants. We live in a modern society where industrialisation is taking place across the world, which means that the air around us contains harmful toxins that can cause health issues. By keeping plants in our homes, we can remove some of the toxins in the air that we breathe. Some of the plants found to have air purifying properties are:
- English ivy
- Peace lily
- Chinese evergreen
- Bamboo palm, parlour palm and lady palm
- Variegated snake plant
Mental health benefits
There are countless studies which show that plants offer mental health benefits, including relief from stress, anxiety, PTSD and depression. In addition, being in the presence of plants can increase creativity, enhance productivity and focus, and improve-self esteem.
A new hobby
If you’re in need of a new hobby, caring for plants might fit the bill. Different plants require different levels of attention, but all require at least some care (even the seemingly no-maintenance air plant). Once you get the hang of your plants’ needs, you’ll probably want to expand your collection, and before you know it, you’ll have a whole host of plants to maintain. Evenings spent watching TV could be better spent watching a new leaf sprout from your syngonium!
Large indoor trees vs smaller houseplants
If you’re interested in introducing houseplants into your home, you might be wondering which plants are best for you. There are many different categories of houseplants, but for ease, we’re exploring the pros and cons of indoor trees and small houseplants, as space is often one of the main considerations when buying decor for the home!
Sometimes, bigger is better – and indoor trees can make a big statement. If you’ve got the space, you could choose a tree that sits centrally in a room, or even one that spans two floors (if you’re lucky enough to have a gallery)!
If space is limited, many people place indoor trees against a wall or in a corner. This can still have a visually pleasing effect without being obtrusive.
Some houseplants are smaller in size, but can make a big impact, especially if you group several small houseplants together. You could even hang a collection of small plants from a wall or ceiling if you are low on space or want to create dimension in a room. Choosing houseplants with more interesting characteristics, such as a trailing habit, colourful foliage or profuse blooms, can also help boost your decor.
Small plants can often require a tighter watering schedule than large trees, as there is less soil to retain water, so consider this a disadvantage if you’re forgetful or very busy.
Tips for caring for indoor trees and plants: What not to do
As mentioned before, each tree or plant has individual needs. However, here are some general things to remember when caring for any houseplant:
- Don’t ignore lighting recommendations – if the plant requires indirect light, don’t place it in bright sunlight or a shadowy corner
- Don’t overwater – this is a common cause of houseplant death, and can be difficult to reverse. If you’re anxious about overwatering, place your plant in a container with good drainage, and sit the pot atop a dish full of pebbles. Excess water will drain through, and your plant should be free from the dangers of rot.
- Don’t overfeed – some houseplants benefit from feeding every couple of weeks during the growing season. However, overfeeding can cause ‘fertiliser burn’, which results in unsightly brown marks on the leaves.
- Don’t place plants above radiators – if you have a shelf above a radiator, or a radiator cover with a shelf on top, don’t put your plant on it. Heat from the radiator causes plants to dry out too quickly, and before you know it, you’re unable to save it.
Plants for people who struggle to keep plants alive
No plant is unkillable, but there is a range of plants suited to those who frequently forget to keep up with maintenance. These include:
- Snake plant
- ZZ plant
- Tillandsia (air plant)
- Peace lily
3 large indoor trees for your home or office
1. Rubber Plant
Rubber plants are a popular choice for indoor trees because they are relatively easy to care for and can grow quite large. With their large, dark green, glossy leaves, they’re truly impactful in any space. Rubber plants are fast growing, which is ideal if you can’t afford a fully grown tree (and have a bit of patience!). They are also known for their air-purifying properties, which can help to improve indoor air quality.
Height: Can grow up to 8ft tall
Light: Bright, indirect light
Water: Water once the soil is dry. Place in a pot with good drainage.
2. Areca Palm
A graceful plant with eye-catching fronds, areca palms are another popular choice for indoor trees. They are known for their lush foliage and can grow up to 6.5 feet tall in an indoor setting. Areca palms are also known for their air-purifying abilities.
Height: Can grow up to 6.5ft tall
Light: Bright, indirect light
Water: Water once the soil is dry. Place in a pot with good drainage. Mist the leaves a few times per week.
3. Ficus Benjamina
Ficus Benjaminas (or weeping figs) are elegant indoor trees that produce dark green or variegated leaves. They are beautifully bushy trees, which can grow up to 9 feet tall in an indoor setting.
Height: Can grow up to 9ft tall
Light: Bright, indirect light
Water: Keep the soil lightly moist but do not waterlog. To avoid this, place in a pot with good drainage. Mist the leaves a few times per week.
Which plants should you choose for your space?
The plants that will best suit your home will ultimately depend on how much care you are able to provide, how much space you have and what your personal preferences are when it comes to how you want your home to look. If you’re still struggling with which houseplants to choose, try looking in home decor magazines or on Pinterest to find inspiration.