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Boost your wellbeing


Find the right plant for every room

Simple & stylish decor projects

Be inspired by amazing interiors

Succulents, cacti, ferns and palms – help them thrive

Make a terrarium, create an edible wreath and display leaf art

Discover the beautiful homes of houseplant super-stylists




My ’70s childhood was filled with houseplants. An enormous Boston fern was much prized by my Mum, and even my dolls’ house had its own plastic Swiss cheese plant. I now find myself in a city-centre flat with no outside space to call my own, so houseplants are even more important to make me feel at home. And I love the ritual of caring for them, even if I do have to store tools and compost in a wheeled storage box nicknamed ‘the under-bed potting shed’. I don’t think this love of plants is entirely down to upbringing. It’s far deeper, something more like a remnant of an ancient instinct. And there’s a scientific link between plants and our health and happiness. Living With Plants is your guide to choosing the right plants for every room of your home and making them look stylish. Begin with one plant today and you’ll be starting the best new obsession.

Jenny Dixon, Editor


Illustration: Getty Images; Cover photography: Joey L






Watering, repotting and other essential info explained

66 12




06 Why live with plants?

12 Make plants a part of the

Bring the outdoors into your home

furniture in your living space

KITCHEN 38 Why your kitchen is the perfect place for your plants

30 Summer Rayne Oakes

14 The magic of terrariums

40 Good enough to eat!

Meet the Brooklyn-based houseplant advocate and author

The fertile history of the terrarium – and a guide to creating your own

Green ideas for the kitchen, including a delicious lettuce wreath

52 Hilton Carter

24 Floor fillers

45 Upcycled stands

‘Wow factor’ tips from the US-based plant stylist extraordinaire

Creative ways to display your favourite floor-standing species

Storage shelves for pots are transformed into houseplant holders

78 The power of green

27 Wall-to-wall heaven

46 Sitting pretty

Incorporate the colour in your home

Paper your living space with a nature-inspired design

A hand-picked selection of stylish pots to show off your best plants

28 Field notes

48 Field notes

The best advice for keeping plants in your living room

Great tips and tried-and-tested techniques for kitchen plants

98 Botanica Studios Alice Dobie shares her experiences of running a houseplant business

115 Plant inspiration Green Instagrammers to follow


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HORTOLOGY Save on your shopping today! 4





86 50

PLANT GUIDE Your pull-out guide to easy-care plants for your home

88 BEDROOM 60 Choosing plants to create a healthy and restful room

BATHROOM 86 The best plants to help you relax and revive as you soak in the tub

SMALL SPACES 104 Small spaces offer big opportunities when it comes to keeping plants

62 Monstera and me The influence of one super-sized plant

88 The art of kokedama

106 Hidden corners

65 Hanging about

An introduction to these intriguing Japanese hanging plants

Ideas for displaying plants, from rails and ladders to pegs and mirrors…

92 Hang out

109 Inspiring workspace

Creative ideas by Camille Soulayrol

Add a boho vibe to your bathroom with these cute suspended holders

Keep motivated with a plant or three on – or above – your desk

70 Off the wall

95 Look up high

110 Playful pots

Smart vertical displays for your plants

Make the most of limited space by showing off plants up high

Fun and creative pots for displaying your plants when space is tight

A project by Hilton Carter

96 Field notes

112 Field notes

76 Field notes

A trio of great ideas to keep plants fresh and thriving in the bathroom

Top advice for getting the best out of small spaces

Keep the bedroom uncluttered

66 Decorating with foliage

72 Make a plant hammock

Know-how from the experts



What is it that makes people want to bring the outside in? And could a houseplant habit be good for you? We find out‌ Words: Julia Wills Illustrations: Aleksandra Stanglewicz



ur love of houseplants has deep roots. History has recorded that the ancient Greeks filled their villas with violets in terracotta tubs, while the Romans preferred blowsy roses in marble urns. The Chinese grew miniature trees in dishes. The Pharaohs soothed sunburn with aloe vera. Medieval books show monks spending hours hunched over pots of herbs, tending ingredients for salves and cures. A few centuries later, explorers like Columbus brought back dazzling new species from the Americas and plant fever raged – orangeries sprang up across Europe as botany boomed. From the glittering glass palace of Kew through a million Victorian parlours, indoor plants colonised our homes and hearts. Succulents and cacti turned the grey-glassed offices of the 20th century green, and by the ebullient ’70s, rubber plants and Swiss cheese plants thrived in every home, civic space and Columbo movie. Clearly, our passion for indoor plants has never waned. And now it’s blooming again. Why? Turns out all those interiors magazines showing gorgeous botanical prints on wallpaper, curtains and cushions were trying to tell us something about the real living things. Recent surveys show that houseplant sales are booming – a trend largely driven by city-dwellers, millennials, hipsters and renters. Studies also reveal that although the biggest reason for buying is home styling and decoration, it’s closely followed by people who want to improve their home’s air quality and their personal wellbeing. Instagram is jungle-lush with the trailing, the spiky and the fronded, and houseplant-themed retweets run daily into the thousands. But before you rush to the garden centre, think about why you’re embracing indoor planting. RHS Chelsea Flower Show gold medallist Ian Drummond believes that while the Victorians loved displaying solitary diva plants that were exotic and remarkable, and the ’70s were about joyful abundance, today’s trend is much more environmentally aware and mindful. It’s all about considering our displays and being conscious both of the effects we want to create in our homes and understanding the nurturing benefits of our choices. In his book At Home With Plants, Ian together with co-author and interiors expert Kara O’ Reilly, suggests we’re now seeing a backlash against everything pale, neat and minimalist and, in its place, a rekindling of




thinking of our homes as sanctuaries. For Ian, plants personalise spaces, making them welcoming places to return to, relax in and recharge. But as experts on biophilia (the benefits of people connecting with nature), Ian and Kara are also keen to emphasise how much houseplants give us in return: they boost our moods and help concentration; they refresh oxygen levels and cleanse the air of nasties, converting them into their food supply. As Ian and Kara neatly put it, “It’s a win-win situation.” Fran Bailey, author, florist and creator of the amazing houseplant emporium Forest, in Deptford, would be the first to agree. “Our connection with plants is primal,” she writes in her book, The Healing Power Of Plants. “We depend on them for our basic human needs, from the air we breathe to the food we eat. Today we have a greater wisdom of their healing power and their extraordinary range of properties. They help us keep alert, calm us when we feel stressed and bring joy and beauty to our work and living spaces.” SO, WHERE DO YOU START?

Fran, who together with horticulturalist Zia Allaway wrote The Royal Horticultural Society Practical House Plant Book, suggests linking plants visually, using their shape, colour, texture or scale. Connecting through harmony and repetition of these elements, say Fran and Zia, creates balance; juxtaposing for contrast builds drama. So if you’re looking for something to calm a busy hallway, try same-scaled plants, perhaps a row of kentia palms in matching pots. For more impact, mix things up using texture and shape – maybe devil’s ivy toppling down from a cluster of zebra plants? Succulents and cacti are always worth the houseroom since their low maintenance nature and almost alien appearance bring vitality to any space. Better still, bright pops of green can invigorate places you might never have considered display-worthy. A glowing run of jade plants on top of a sunny bookcase? To build particular moods, Ian suggests grouping plants on shelves with objects – perhaps photos, pebbles, a postcard from a holiday – for an emotional connection. The huge and vibrant range of planters available – vintage, Moroccan, rustic – will also tie a collection together and accentuate your style



choice at the same time. And, best of all, once you have your display, it will continue to reward you. As Zia, mentioning a moth orchid displayed in her own kitchen, explains, “It’s bloomed non-stop for over nine months – how could a bunch of flowers ever compete with that?” BEAUTY WITH BENEFITS

To fully appreciate the practical benefits of filling your home with plants, first you have to consider their role in a space station. In the ’80s, NASA carried out a study entitled ‘Interior Landscape Plants For Indoor Air Pollution Abatement’. The two-year investigation, focusing on the amount of pollutants absorbed by a dozen common plants, concluded that houseplants had the potential to dramatially improve air quality in sealed environments such as a space station – but the same applies to modern office buildings and also your home. The hero of the study was the humble gerbera. Not only does it filter out trichloroethylene (found in printing inks and paint), formaldehyde (tissues, synthetic fabric) and xylene (leather, vehicle exhausts) but, unlike most plants, it also produces oxygen at night. Flamingo lilies, weeping figs, bamboo palm and snake plant were all also found to improve air quality. What’s more, most houseplants don’t release pollen, making them a great choice for hay fever sufferers. Improved air quality isn’t the only benefit of owning houseplants. Smell is the most emotionally evocative of our five senses and yet the natural aromatherapy of houseplants can sometimes be overlooked. When it comes to choosing plants that beautifully fragrance a room, Zia suggests Nelly Isler orchids for their “wonderful lemony fragrance”. “Cape jasmine and stephanotis have richly perfumed flowers and are great for a hallway to welcome guests into your home,” she adds. But don’t forget, as Angie Nilson at Pelargonium For Europe explains, some of our garden flowers, such as scented geraniums, thrive indoors too, and effortlessly bring summer into your home when they’re potted up into rustic terracotta containers of varying sizes. Don’t be afraid to try displaying other



scented plants such as lavender indoors – the heavenly scents will lift your mood every day. NATURAL HEALING

Fundamentally, in our technologically besotted, connected but isolated times, plants reunite us with nature – a basic human desire. Sadly, ever since the Industrial Revolution we’ve moved further and further from the natural world’s rhythms and patterns. Long dark nights and uncomfortable winter chills are remedied at the touch of a button. Once seasonal, fruit and vegetables fill supermarkets all year round. Yet studies continue to show that mentally, physically and emotionally, being in tune with nature is essential for human wellbeing. No wonder then that last year the RHS joined forces with the NHS at the Chelsea Flower Show. The show’s Feel Good Gardens, designed to offer a therapeutic space, will be replanted at mental health trusts around the UK in order to benefit patients using those sites. Even the rituals associated with plant care can be mindful and life-affirming. Watering, taking cuttings, potting, bedding in, misting, plucking off dead petals and cleaning leaves can all be done while engaging our senses and with a focused awareness on the present. Plants are naturally tied to their own cycles and they can remind us of our own. In our screenfixated worlds, they offer genuine connection. The feel of the soil. The mud that clings to your fingers. Once you’re an adult, where do you even get fun like that? So, it’s actually true – greens really are good for you! Stylish, nurturing, mood-enhancing and enduringly real, houseplants offer us natural, living comfort in our digitised and indoor lives. Small wonder that our love for them is growing stronger than ever. Which leaves only one question: which ones will you fall in love with?



HEALTH-BOOSTING BOTANICALS Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Bostoniensis’) One of Earth’s most ancient plants, this is a great air purifier. It also boosts indoor humidity and counteracts the drying effects of central heating and air conditioning.

Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) Nature’s little caretaker, not only does this plant dispose of airborne nasties such as formaldehyde, but it traps dust in its leaf wax.

Peace lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii) The popular peace lily is as helpful as it is pretty. Not only does it filter out benzene, formaldehyde, ammonia, toluene and xylene, but studies show it can also remove airborne mould.

Dwarf French lavender (Lavandula dentata) Lavender has been cultivated for centuries for its ability to calm anxiety and promote better sleep. Dried, it makes beautiful potpourri.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) Turns out Shakespeare was on to something when he wrote, ‘There’s rosemary – that’s for remembrance,’ as recent studies have shown that the scent of rosemary can give you a mental boost, helping concentration and focus, which is believed to be through increasing the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain.



LIVING ROOM Add life and energy to the most used space in your home. Think big, like you’re creating living furniture Words: Cinead McTernan / Photography: Jamie Song


or most of us, the living room is the focal point of our home and more often than not the space that best reflects our sense of style. Houseplants can be used to accentuate the overall look of this room, whether it’s adding a bit of boho chic with lush green foliage spilling over a shelf, or modern elegance with architectural leaf shapes adding colour and interest to neutral, bare walls. They also introduce a sense of life and energy, which is a real bonus when you consider how much time we might spend in this room during the wintry months in an effort to escape cold, wet weather. It’s worth mentioning that while we like to feel warm and cosy when it’s chilly outside, houseplants aren’t keen on direct heat. Make a note in your diary to move them to a cooler spot, away from radiators, fires and televisions, on the same day that you turn on your central heating. Think of it as an opportunity to redesign your living room each season and try out the latest trends for displaying houseplants. (Similarly, move them in spring to be out of direct sun if they’re not keen on it.)Why not go the whole nine yards and swap the plants around all over the house? Think of it as a greenfingered version of a spring clean. Think about scale when it comes to choosing plants for your living room. Big is often best in

this space as plants can appear dwarfed by large pieces of furniture such as sofas, armchairs and cabinets. This might be the time to invest in one statement houseplant, like a Swiss cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa) with its huge, heart-shaped leaves. In its native tropical rainforests it uses aerial roots to climb up into the canopy and can grow up to 2.5 metres when mature. As they appear, it’s a good idea to gently push these roots into the moss-covered pole supporting the plant to keep it looking healthy and tidy. Choosing something of this size is also a good option if you rent a property and have to be more restrained about any permanent alterations you might want to make to the space as a tenant. While this can be frustrating if you have grand plans for the place, plants offer plenty of scope as a decorative alternative and allow you to create a very individual look without calling in the builders. And, just like other home accessories, you get to take them with you when you move. On the other end of the scale, cacti and succulents are fun for green-fingered growers of all ages and work well in family living rooms. Get the whole family involved to make a terrarium or mini-garden, complete with toy plastic animals and Lego figures for the ultimate portable, play-friendly houseplant display.

“Think about scale when choosing your plants, as they can appear dwarfed by large pieces of furniture such as sofas”

Right: Jamie Song shares stunning images of his light-filled London home, a lush jungle of tropical plants and rare specimens cascading from every corner. www.instagram.com/jamies_jungle







The magic of making terrariums Emma Sibley, founder of London Terrariums, reveals how these miniature worlds cast a spell on her – and how you can share the magic by making your own‌ Words: Emma Sibley Photography: London Terrariums / Kathrin McCrea



However, it wasn’t until I started reading about the history and science of these miniature ecosystems that I became fascinated by them. Originally a Victorian discovery, the selfsustaining terrarium was invented by Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward. Growing up, he developed a love of all ferns, regularly trying to grow them both indoors and in his garden, but without too much success. Ward was an entomologist and one day found a small sphinx moth chrysalis, which he popped on a bed of compost inside a sealed glass jar. Monitoring the moth over the next few weeks, Ward noticed what he thought was grass growing from the compost. It later turned out that this was actually a fern sprouting. This baffled him, so he set up a few small jam-jar experiments and figured out that sealed glass containers were the perfect environment for many different plants to thrive. WORLDS UNDER GLASS


The glass protected the plants from any dust or pollution (a major factor in Victorian England), maintained a high humidity and regulated the temperature, creating a very stable environment for the plants inside. Ward presented these findings to a friend of his, Robert Fortune (the curator of the Chelsea Physic Garden between 1846 and 1848), and together they developed the Wardian Case – the first ever terrarium! This was the era of the Victorian plant hunter, so people were traveling all over the world to collect new species of plants. At the beginning of these expeditions the success rate for bringing plants back alive was about two per cent. The plants just weren’t surviving the changing

bout five years ago, I began making terrariums. It started with a few friends hanging out at the weekend and making bottle gardens. It sounds funny now, thinking back, but throughout university, while living in London, houseplants played a leading role in birthday presents and moving gifts, the generous spider plant spreading its babies among our group of friends. Living in London we were all constantly moving house. Every year a new bedroom would need decorating and one of the main constants we all had were our houseplants. Making terrariums was just a development of this interest. As soon as I had made a few terrariums, I could see how this was going to become a new passion. Not having a garden in London, I would wait for a day at work to finish so I could get home and take over my kitchen table making these miniature gardens, just experimenting with which plants worked and which plants didn’t. My mum later reminded me that as a child throughout the summer holidays at my grandparents’ house, I would be given a seed tray and would spend hours outside making gardens using acorn shells and compact mirrors for ponds. I guess running London Terrariums means that things have come full circle!




Ferns in particular thrive in the humid conditions a terrarium provides, but other species are equally at home under glass.



The long-handled tools needed to create a terrarium are wide-ranging and often makeshift as necessity dictates.



personally it’s the science behind the terrariums that excites me, as well as the versatility. Most of the terrariums we create are closed, which offers a self-sustaining environment that requires the least amount of maintenance. The plants photosynthesise and respire inside the glass just as they would do normally. The heat, water and oxygen produced during photosynthesis are trapped inside the vessel, keeping a steady humidity. Once the terrarium is created, mist the plants a few times to kickstart the water cycle – this should be the only time you need to water it. Keep your terrarium out of any direct heat or sun, and take the cork off every few days to allow an exchange of gasses, and you should have a happy terrarium for years to come.

conditions at sea. But when the Wardian Cases were implemented on these boats, this brought the success rate up to almost 80 per cent. From this point people started to see a lot more tropical plants in and around Europe, as well as the development of Victorian palm houses. FERNS IN FASHION


You can make a terrarium in almost any vessel – cliptop Kilner jars are great, demijohns, old jam jars… Flea markets and charity shops are a great place to search. One thing that got me at the beginning of starting London Terrariums was the tools. When we started, terrarium tools didn’t seem to exist so we had to be inventive. Living in a shared house I would regularly be accused of using all the teaspoons – they’d be found taped to the end of gardening canes, making

“A closed terrarium offers a self-sustaining environment that requires the least amount of maintenance”

Pteridomania, also known as ‘fern mania’, also started to sweep the nation. Fern hunters would go out and collect many species of fern that they could then keep on show in Wardian Cases in their homes. After the Victorian craze, interest dwindled until the next big houseplant trend in the 1970s, which saw the introduction of the Carboy terrarium. These are round glass vessels that are often up to 60cm in diameter. Originally used for storing wine, they’re great for terrariums – all you’ll need are some tools (more on that later) and then you’ll be able to landscape the compost as well as use a variety of humidity-loving plants. We regularly use these vessels to make terrariums – they’re a golden find in flea markets and vintage shops. Recently we had a lady who brought one in that belonged to her parents. They had owned it for as long as she could remember (about 30 years) and it was incredible, absolutely full to the brim with mosses and one large Maranta ‘prayer plant’ that had rooted itself all around the terrain. We had the task of giving it a spruce and a trim, a daunting prospect when it had been doing so well for three decades without any interference! A SELF-SUSTAINING WORLD

We get asked a lot to put little model people in terrariums and create custom scenes, but



them perfect for digging holes. Corn on the cob skewers were also handy for jabbing bits of moss out and moving it around. Corks on the end of kebab skewers are perfect for patting down the compost in the vessel and around the plants. Funnels from dishwashers are ideal for directing the compost or stones into the small openings of the bottles. Radiator brushes and sponge brushes are great for cleaning up the inside of the glass. I’d regularly pop into DIY stores and suss out a new tool I could adapt! This is also what we teach at the workshops – we want people to be able to go away and make these at home so that they can continue making terrariums without having to buy any fancy tools.

an almost primal need to engage with plants. It becomes a sort of therapy and for the next few hours the only thing you’ll need to concentrate on is getting that plant into the vessel and standing it upright. Your mind focuses on the one task at hand. There’s always a point in the workshops when the class goes silent, and that’s when you know everyone is engaged in creativity. For me, gardening is about the long game, planting a seed and waiting for it to grow. Making a terrarium encapsulates this perfectly, remembering what you plant first of all isn’t going to be the end result. The best part is watching it grow over a period of time, re-engaging with nature and bringing it into your home.


MORE ABOUT TERRARIUMS For more about Emma’s terrariums, or to book a workshop, visit www.londonterrariums.com. If you’re unable to attend a live workshop, Yodomo have an online version – visit www.yodomo.co to find out more.

“It’s a sort of therapy – the only thing you need to concentrate on is getting that plant into the vessel and standing it up”

We run many workshops throughout London and have also branched out to Manchester and Bristol. What I love most about these classes is when everyone relaxes into making their gardens. After a day staring at a computer screen, there’s



How to make your own terrarium Turn the page to start gardening under glass in twelve simple steps Words: Emma Sibley Photography: London Terrariums / Kathrin McCrea

















MAKING YOUR OW OWN W N TERRARIUM TE Create a miniature low-maintenance garden to enjoy indoors To make your closed terrarium, you will need a demijohn, compost, small stones, activated charcoal, carpet moss and some ferns. You can also use humidity-loving plants such as fittonia. You will also need a selection of tools as instructed in the steps below.

the stones. The charcoal is crucial to the health of your terrarium. It’s helps filter the water, and prevent algae or mould developing.

fit the roots of the plant. Gently add your plant with a pair of long tweezers or drop it in with your fingers.

Step 5: Add compost

Step 9: Start planting

Even if the vessel is new, give it a clean inside and out to ensure any bacteria is removed.

Use a funnel to add the compost. You should aim for a layer that’s at least 5-7cm deep in order to give the plants enough room to flourish. Pat down the compost with a cork patter (you can make this yourself by spearing the end of a wooden skewer into a cork).

Use the stick to ensure the roots are in the hole and are well covered. Now pat down the soil around the plant with your cork patter. You can also use your plant-support stick to move the compost around the stem of the plant, then pat it down with the cork patter.

Step 2: Add stones

Step 6: Unpotting the plants

Rinse the stones, scoop up a handful and – using a funnel – pour them into the vessel. The stones should be around 3cm deep, just enough so you can see them and they lift the compost off the bottom of the glass.

There’s plenty of space in the demijohn, and remember you don’t need to fill all of it – the plants will grow! Aim for about 2cm between each plant. Squeeze each plant pot to remove the plant, removing as much compost from the roots without damaging them.

Step 1: Clean the vessel

Step 3: Wipe off excess water If the jar has become wet on the outside, dry with a cloth or kitchen towel. To clean the inside of the glass, scrunch a piece of kitchen towel or piece of cleaning cloth, clasp with a pair of long tweezers and clean around the sides of the vessel, or use a makeshift sponge on a stick.

Step 4: Add charcoal Using a funnel, sprinkle two heaped teaspoons of activated charcoal evenly over the top of

Step 7: Preparing the plants Gently split each plant into smaller plants, ensuring each bit has a good set of roots. At this point you can use scissors to trim any excess or damaged leaves.

Step 10: Add the moss Tear the carpet moss into smaller pieces and add it around your plants using a stick and tweezers. If it’s looking a little dry, give it a spritz with the water spray bottle before it goes in.

Step 11: Tidy and clean Tidy up the inside of your vessel, around the plants and moss, with your brush, moving any compost downwards. To clean the inside of the glass, use your sponge on a stick to wipe away marks or dirt.

Step 12: Water and seal Step 8: Add the plants Use a plant-support stick to make a hole in the soil (you can go down to the stones). The main thing to remember is you need to make the hole wide enough to


Give the terrarium two or three sprays of tap water, and seal with the cork. This will kick start the water cycle and should be the only water you give your terrarium in a very long time.




Green up a room with these floor-standing beauties 1




1. Bright ideas If you have plenty of floor space, why not fill it with block colours, acid brights and eyepopping shades in the form of these hand-woven baskets? Bound to lift the spirits and bring colour to your home, they’re made by weaving cooperatives in Kenya, Ghana and Swaziland. Different sized baskets from £10, www.thebasketroom.com

2. Industrial style This sturdy standing storage basket is the perfect spacesaving solution for a smaller

home. Made from iron with sleek lines and a jet black finish, it’s understated and ideal for creating a mini indoor oasis. Fill it with ferns or healing aloe vera, or why not plant a small, fragrant herb garden for your kitchen or conservatory? £169, www.hurnandhurn.com

3. Peacock blue Elevate your favourite plants and turn them into talking points with these simple but striking stands from The Forest & Co. With teal pots and golden tripod-style legs,


they’re great for displaying plants of different heights, so you can create your very own indoor jungle. £45, www.theforestandco.com

4. Rule of three This three-legged planter from Cox & Cox is a statement piece that’s perfect for medium-sized plants such as peace lilies and palms. Made from quality stoneware in a smooth whitewashed finish with a speckled design, it stands on three tapered beech legs. £95, www.coxandcox.co.uk

Trolley dash Inject a little Scandi chic into your abode with this trolley-style table. A cool combination of white steel and wood, it’ll look right at home in a modern, minimalist home. Plus, the wheels mean you can roll it towards the window to give your leafy friends a little more sunshine, and it doubles up as a drinks trolley! Trolley £159, plant pots from £8.50 www.redcandy.co.uk


WALL-TOWALL HEAVEN hile you’re dreaming of discovering the perfect container for your new terrarium (see page 14), plan a feature wall for your living room with Sanderson’s new Glasshouse wallpaper range. Its Terrariums design is filled with botanical beauties (cacti and orchids) printed with extra mica on the paper to create the gleam of glass domes. Choose from a Chalk background (as shown), Botanical Green, Rhodera (a passionfilled pink) or the dramatic black Ink. The range includes fabrics too. Wallpaper is £79 per roll. Go to www.stylelibrary.com for samples and details of your nearest stockists.






It’s tempting to gather armfuls of greenery when you visit a houseplant store and end up with a shopping basket resembling a miniature jungle. Slow down, take your time, choose each plant with care and start with just one. Your experience will grow along with your new friend and you’ll be ready to invite more into your home before you know it. We spend much of our time in our living rooms, so it makes sense to start your green plan here – it’s hard to forget to care for a plant you see all the time. ADJUSTMENT PERIOD

Darryl Cheng of the House Plant Journal blog reminds us to consider the adjustment a plant has to make not only from its natural habitat to living in a pot, but also from being in a garden centre then onwards to our homes. He says we shouldn’t be dismayed by the yellowing of older leaves – just prune gently and help your plant adjust. Make it a morning ritual as the kettle boils to check in and see how your plant is doing and if it would like a drink too. Darryl’s book, The New Plant Parent, is out now (Abrams Image, £17.99). INSPIRATION FROM OTHERS

Photography: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz / GettyImages

Plant stylist Hilton Carter explains his desire for his guests to go ‘wow!’ when they walk into his home (page 52). While you’re developing your own wow factor, indulge in a virtual visit to the stunning plant-filled homes on Instagram. Try our recommendations on page 115 – and take a look at #plantshelfie for a fabulous green fix. There’s an amazing plant community out there!



Photography: Joey L

From one plant, intended to replace a room-mate, to an apartment full of beautiful greenery!



“I often say taking care of my plants is like a moving meditation. It’s relaxing, calming, interesting and HWN NNKPI CNN CV QPEG Words: Katie Allen Photography: Homestead Brooklyn / Joey L

ummer Rayne Oakes takes a love of houseplants to the next level. Currently the owner of more than a thousand plants in her Brooklyn apartment, she is also the host and producer of YouTube plant advice channel Plant One On Me. Her blog and Instagram (@homesteadbrooklyn) are some of the best places to go online for plant-based inspiration and advice. The author of forthcoming book How To Make A Plant Love You, Summer trained in environmental science and entomology, and has years of experience trying to make the world a more sustainable place to live, including with her work as a business owner and as the world’s first ‘eco model’. She describes her mission as helping people “become more attuned to nature in the city through something as humble as a houseplant”. She says, “Helping connect people back to nature, to live a more mindful existence, to build healthier systems – that all resonates with me.”

Inspiring and friendly, Summer let us into her busy day to talk all things green…


Can you tell us a little about where your love of plants comes from? I grew up in the country and was fortunate to live next to farm, field and forest, which provided a perfect playground for me. My parents had a garden and little orchard too, so you can say I was pretty much surrounded by plants. I was intensely inquisitive about everything around me, including plants, of course. Do you remember the first thing you grew? As a family, my parents grew almost everything – flowers such as hyacinths, peonies and Johnny jump-ups (violas) – to veggies like zucchini (courgette), asparagus and garlic. I loved the fruit trees too. We’d get cherries, apples and



gooseberries almost every year. We had indoor plants too, but I didn’t really start my indoor collection until I moved to New York City.

Do you propagate them at home? I’m always propagating something, but I don’t have as much space as I would like to properly propagate. Right now indoors I have Tradescantia, Philodendron, Epipremnum, Hoya and some Cotyledon propagating. I’m also starting some Mongolian sunflower, Monarda and borage from seed for my outdoor garden.

You have more than a thousand plants. How did that come about? As a kid, I would create little living ecosystems indoors – almost like dioramas – to grow plants and raise insects. In college, I would often take the biology experiments home with me, from ferns to leeches (the latter wasn’t really looked on as kindly by my college room-mate!). I’ve been collecting and growing plants for about ten years now – ever since my room-mate moved out. I loved the way my first plant, a Ficus lyrata, transformed the space, which felt quite empty. From there, I began to acquire more. In a few years, I probably had a couple of hundred plants. Honestly, I didn’t really count until more recently when I wanted to do an inventory in order to figure out a schedule for fertilising them all.

What does having that many plants bring to your life? I think it’s less about ‘many’ plants and more about just having plants. The array and diversity intrigues me. I like experimenting with different plants, different ways of growing, and just using that time to observe and enjoy. There’s nothing else quite like it. I often say taking care of my plants is like a moving meditation. It’s relaxing, calming, interesting and fulfilling all at once. Can you tell us about your 365 Days of Plants project? 365 Days of Plants is a commitment I made to highlight one plant a day for the entire year on both Instagram and YouTube. I just started it on 1 May 2019, so there’s plenty of time (and plants) left!

Where do you source them all? Many places. At shops, online, at plant swaps that I host... Sometimes collectors or folks who have interesting plants write to me and want me to try growing them. It’s been a wonderful and rewarding discovery.



Summer’s plants are from a variety of sources and she now has more than 560 different species in her home.



Summer has discovered many inventive ways to display her plants, which make the most of the light and available space in her apartment.



A few years ago I started documenting my plants in a spreadsheet to better care for them, so this is really based on that. At this point, I have more than 560 different species of plants, so I got to thinking this would be a cool project to do at some point. I would also get feedback from people on my house tours on my YouTube channel, Plant One On Me, asking me to concentrate more on specific plants, but that’s hard to do when you’re doing a general overview. Also, I’ve always admired the dedication and discipline of artists who doodle every day, or poets who write every day, and thought this would be a cool way for people to learn.

How can plants make us feel better? And do you believe looking after a plant helps us to look after people? I was coming back from hosting the LA plant swap recently and had a bunch of plants with me at the airport. A woman approached and asked if I could watch her bag. She said she figured I was trustworthy because I had plants! I thought it was delightfully funny. I suppose taking care of plants may show that you care, that you’re observant, and yes, that you’re trustworthy. Perhaps those qualities – if you cultivate them beyond your plants – transition over well into the rest of the world too, including yourself and the people around you. As far as plants making us feel better, there is science out there to prove that, but I don’t think we need to have quantifiable scientific data to show how much better we feel around plants.

We’re excited about your new book – can you tell us more about it? In a way, How To Make A Plant Love You: Cultivate Green Space In Your Home And Heart is more of a relationship guide to living with plants. I suppose it can be looked at as a more philosophical precursor to living with plants, and what plants can teach us about ourselves in return. I share the stories [of my online community] too – so in many ways, the book brings together many voices from many walks of life, but the common thread is everyone’s love for plants.

Do you think looking after a plant in your own home translates to caring more about the environment? If you’re someone who is observant and curious and wants to get to know more about your plants, you may naturally begin to make deeper connections to your relationship with the earth. In a way, I believe our houseplants can be a



gateway into becoming more conscientious of our surroundings and our responsibility on the planet.

working on one of my projects by 9:30am. I tend to take breaks throughout the day. I’ll go to the community garden and work. I volunteer there two or three times per week, and at the chicken coop three times a day every day – so those really are my breaks, if you will. Otherwise, I’m working, editing, shooting... it depends on the day. I’ll finish around 8:30pm. And then I usually do some reading before I head to bed.

You work on so many things. How do you fit it all in? I concentrate most of my time on my writing, video work and consulting, but I make time for what I love. I wake up pretty early, like 5:30am or 6:00am, and I tend to my chicken, Kippee. I take a cursory walk through my home to do a quick look at my plants – to see which ones need water and what-not, and then I’ll usually make something for breakfast. Then I take Kippee and head over to the senior citizen service centre where I take care of eight other chickens in the morning and throughout the day. Basically I clean up a lot of chicken poop before 7:30am! Then I’ll come home. I may go for a run or do yoga, depending on my schedule, take a shower, and then I’m typically

What’s the top thing an urban dweller can do to introduce plants to their lives? Even if you don’t bring a plant into your home, take a moment to just observe one around you, in your community somewhere. It could be on your way to work – in a window box or on the side of the road. I find that even taking the time to observe one plant on a regular basis is quite calming and inclusive.

How To Make A Plant Love You: Cultivate Green Space In Your Home And Heart by Summer Rayne Oakes is published this July (Portfolio, £19.99). Find out more about Summer and her upcoming book on her Instagram page: www.instagram.com/homesteadbrooklyn



“I like experimenting with different plants, using the time to observe and enjoy,” says Summer.

SUMMER’S LIFE IN PLANTS Favourite plant? Peperomia (as a genus).

The one plant everyone should have? Zamioculcas zamiifolia (ZZ Plant).

Best tip for growing plants indoors? Know your light.

Favourite green space? Great Bear Rainforest on the Pacific coast of British Columbia, Canada.

Horticulturalist who has inspired you? My parents.



KITCHEN Your kitchen is a haven for herbs and so much more besides. You could even turn it into an orangery! Words: Cinead McTernan Photography: Nadia Grace / Stockimo / Alamy Stock Photo


he kitchen offers plenty of opportunity to try something a bit different when it comes to houseplants. While luscious green leaves look great in all rooms in the house, edible plants are the go-to choice to place on a sunny windowsill within easy reach of the chopping board. Herbs are the obvious choice, adding fresh flavour and zing to home-cooked dishes. Varieties such as basil, mint, parsley and lemon balm all thrive indoors and can be grown in small- to medium-sized pots so you don’t need to sacrifice a lot of room if countertop space is precious. Another advantage of being on the small side is that they’re less likely to be knocked over in a busy kitchen! Chilli and tomato plants also do well, especially in a bright spot, which will help them ripen. Bear in mind that temperatures fluctuate a lot in this part of the home, depending on the time of day and, of course, if the cooker or other appliances are being used. Redress the balance by watering regularly and checking to see how quickly the soil dries out between watering. If drying out appears to be frequent, try the plants in a different position. During hot spells, move them from the soaring temperatures of a windowsill to the relative coolness of the kitchen table. Arranging plants in individual pots in a line down the centre of the table is also a fashionable

way to show them off and give them the attention they deserve. For a burst of colour and fragrance, you can’t go wrong with a calamondin orange tree. Depending on your budget, you can pick an inexpensive plant from Ikea to brighten up the counter top or a larger floor-standing tree from a nursery or garden centre. Both sizes produce gorgeous little fruits and often blossom at the same time. Pick the sharp-tasting mini-oranges when they’re ripe and use them to make syrups or to flavour gin and vodka. You can also use plants to combat the flying insects that drive us crazy in the kitchen – a Venus flytrap is a good choice. This plant is easy to care for, but use acidic soil and give it rain water rather than tap water, and it will reward you by capturing flies and midges. Meanwhile, using plants up high as a decorative option is another great idea for the kitchen. Ivy will prettify a shelf or a hanging pot, but it’s also useful too, as its leaves absorb formaldehyde, a common indoor pollutant. Other decorative options include the lovely rubber plant – find it somewhere sunny to live (next to a window is a good spot). The leaves are prone to being covered in a layer of grease, which then attracts dust and dirt, so it’s worth getting into a routine of lightly wiping them every week or so, to keep the plant healthy.

“Basil, mint, parsley and lemon balm all thrive indoors and can be grown in small pots if space is precious”

Right: Plants can add a spectacular decorative element to kitchens and dining areas. Place pots with trailing leaves high on shelves as a green backdrop, or add them to the table for a pop of colour.






Herbs to have to hand

Coriander Look out for the phrase ‘slow to bolt’ when selecting a variety of this herb. It likes to ‘bolt’ or create seed very quickly, so you’ll probably need to renew this plant more often than our other favourites. (Once seed is set, the leaves are too bitter for cooking.) It’s best cut and added to your recipes quickly, so what could be handier than your own kitchen supply?

Discover the six herbs your kitchen shouldn’t be without… Words: Jenny Dixon Photography: Jesse Wild

erbs are the natural choice for kitchen plants, so you don’t need to do much to make the most of them. First, choose a really light location – many herbs are native to hot countries so will enjoy growing on a sunny window ledge. If your window is south-facing and catches many hours of sunshine, you may need to move the plants for part of the day to prevent singed foliage. Arranging pots in a decorative tray makes this easy and keeps your herb display looking good. Herbs look great grouped but check that air can still circulate to keep them healthy. Go for a little-and-often approach to watering – no herb likes to stand in a sopping wet pot. Let the top of the soil dry out before you consider your next watering. Here are our six favourite herbs for indoors. Our list isn’t exhaustive, so feel free to experiment with more varieties. In general, look for small-leaf plants, as these adapt better to the indoors and are less likely to demand larger pots too quickly.



Long, hollow chive leaves snipped over a bowl of potato salad make us think of childhood picnics. Keep this herb in kitchen so that you can reach for its subtle onion flavour at any time. Rotate the pot regularly in order to stop the stems leaning towards the light. Also look out for ‘Garlic’ (sometimes called ‘Chinese’) chives for a more sophisticated flavour.



Parsley For looks alone, opt for the curly types of parsley with distinctive frilly foliage. For more flavour, choose its flat-leaf relation. Mix a handful of sand with your compost to give your pot of parsley the welldrained soil it craves.

The wonderful willowy stems of tarragon give no clue to their membership of the sunflower family. The perfect partner to chicken dishes, this aniseed-flavoured herb will make you feel like a French chef. It’s said that the ancient Greeks used tarragon for toothache, but we’d recommend using it to flavour your cooking and carry on with the regular check-ups at the dentist…

Mint Mint takes on new flavours every year. Strawberries and Cream mint was the darling of last summer, while Mojito mint remains popular. Mint helps you feel like a skilled grower – pop a stem in water and it will only be a day or two before roots appear. Wait a couple more days and it will be ready to pot up. Trim all but a couple of leaves so it can make roots rather than support lots of foliage.


Basil Cheap and easy to buy from supermarkets, this fabulous herb flavours your pasta dishes and fills the air with a waft of the Mediterranean every time you brush its leaves. Italians will recommend Sweet Basil (Ocimum bacilicum). Play with your display by adding the purple variety too – it’s a great way to make salads look even prettier.


Good enough to eat! You don’t need a garden in order to grow your own edible greens. In fact, with our ingenious wreath you don’t even need a plant pot! Words: Jenny Dixon Photography: Jesse Wild


ou could hardly fail to notice the popularity of making Christmas wreaths – last winter just about every florist and craft shop advertised these creative classes. But wreaths aren’t just for the festive season – they’re a novel way to bring more greenery into your home at any time. If you think beyond holly, every season offers something to inspire these traditional displays. Perhaps the biggest revelation is that wreaths don’t have to be made from cut sprigs. They can also hold living plants that will reward you for a while, only asking for a weekly bathe in the sink or a spritz of water to keep them performing. For ideas we’d recommend Natalie Burnheisel Robinson’s Living Wreaths, an inspiring book showing how to create a basic structure that will hold everything from

spring flowers to wonderfully striking succulents. But what if there was a way to go one step further and create a wreath that isn’t just living but actually growing, and even providing your lunch… It was while we were considering the best way to greenify your kitchen that we hit on the idea of an edible wreath. For a simple version beginners can enjoy, we created this cut-andcome-again lettuce wreath. Surely the talking point for any stylish kitchen! A small amount of compost in a wrapper of moss provides enough space for a display of your favourite salad leaves. Grab a punnet of living lettuce from the supermarket or sow your own seeds to get started. Your wreath can be hung up or will sit happily on a plate in the centre of your kitchen table – a novel way to get everyone eating their greens.

“Wreaths don’t have to be made from cut sprigs. They can hold living plants that will reward you for a while”



A lettuce wreath is a fun way to grow your own while enhancing your kitchen dĂŠcor.







HOW TO MAKE A LIVING LETTUCE WREATH The perfect solution if you’ve run out of windowsills! Simply buy a pack of living lettuce or grow your own from seed then transform the plant into a nourishing and vibrant work of edible art. Here’s how…

You will need Wire wreath frame, moss (in sheets if possible, available from florists), compost, spool of wire, young lettuce plants (in different colours if you like), snips for cutting wire, teaspoon

Step 1 Put a small amount of compost into a bowl to make it easy to work with. Attach wire still on the spool to the top of the wreath frame and twist it to secure. Make a hanging loop if you’re intending

to wall-mount your wreath, but either way leave the spool of wire attached.

Step 2 Place pieces of moss beneath the hoop. Aim for them to be large enough to fold over to the front and overlap. Use a spoon to add a small line of compost to the centre of the wire frame.

Step 3 Carefully fold the moss over to the front of the frame and hold it in place by wrapping wire around both moss and frame. Don’t worry about being too neat as it won’t show in the finished wreath. Ensure you make enough wraps to hold the moss in place but take care to leave


spaces for your lettuce plants. Cut the wire and secure the end around your last wrap. You should now have a fat wreath of moss encasing the compost.

Step 4 Make a small hole in the moss and insert a lettuce plant so the roots are in contact with the compost. Firm the moss around the plant. Repeat in a zig-zag around the wreath until full. Remember that young plants will grow to fill spaces, so they don’t have to be too tightly packed together. Fill the sink or a shallow tray with water and place the wreath into it so the moss and compost become damp. Let it drain for a couple of hours before hang the wreath in your kitchen.


UPCYCLED STANDS houghtfully designed kitchens have done away with many of the familiar storage tricks of previous decades. Remember floor-standing pan racks with shelves sized to fit your range of saucepans – why not bring them back as plant stands? Great for a forgotten corner of kitchen or dining space, they can hold a pleasing number of pots. Hunt out retro racks or try this three-tiered number from Garden Trading in Charcoal or Greengage powder-coated steel for £50. www.gardentrading.co.uk




Sitting pretty Pep up your shelf or table with a colourful centrepiece 1




1. No prob-llama Showing off smaller plants should cause you no drama thanks to this little llama. Made from shiny white porcelain, with adorable features and four sturdy feet, this cute camelid has plenty of space to spare on his back for cacti, cuttings and houseplants of the teeny-tiny variety. £14.99, www.firebox.com

2. Arty party Time for some texture! Inspired by the outer leaves of an artichoke, this beautiful ceramic planter is the perfect

home for a prized succulent. Finished with a glossy teal glaze, its organic, vintage-style design will look great whether it graces your desk, dinner table or bookshelf. From £8, www.gardentrading.co.uk

3. Cool head Let’s face it, this quirky pot is going to be a talking point whatever leafy pal you pop into it, but may we suggest a spider plant or a frothy fern to give her the ‘do she deserves? There are three other faces to choose from, all finished in a black and white glaze, so head


to Hilary & Flo to get your hands on the whole crew. £14, www.hilaryandflo.co.uk

4. Bright stripes Inspired by a macaw’s vibrant feathers and made from 100 per cent cotton, this fabric plant pot is an easy way to add a flash of colour to your living space. As well as making cruelty-free, environmentally friendly products, a portion of Molly Leslie’s online sales are donated to foundations that help animals and the environment. From £12, www.mollyleslie.com

Geo whizz Individually handcrafted so no two are the same, these cool, contemporary planters (also known as Geo Vessels) are made from layers of sustainable, responsibly sourced plywood. Priormade are passionate about using recycled and low-impact materials, and all their offcuts are used to make magnets and jewellery or donated to youth projects. From ÂŁ12.50, www.priormade.co.uk




Plants such as herbs look great in a single planter as you can choose from so many different leaf shapes and textures. If you pot them up into the same soil, check that you choose plants with roughly the same water needs to make sure they all stay healthy. For instance, something like a woody rosemary is going to ask for far less water than the soft stems of coriander. If your container is large enough, you can keep each herb in an individual pot inside it. INVITE PLANTS FOR TEA

Reader’s Digest suggest that some plants might benefit from a drop of what you’re having. Acid-lovers such as ferns are said to enjoy a cup of tea (no milk, no sugar) at watering time. Save the tea leaves too, as these can be worked into the soil for the same health benefits. Slightly more strange is the advice that your plants will enjoy a blob of mayo. Rub a very small amount on to the leaves with a cloth to keep large leaves shiny. Lucky plants get to enjoy full-fat mayo as it contains more of the beneficial dairy ingredients. IN FROM THE COLD

Photography: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz / GettyImages

Some traditional garden plants appreciate being invited indoors for the winter. A bright kitchen windowsill is a great home for a geranium (officially a Pelargonium). Give it a monthly feed and you might be able to persuade it to keep blooming through the cold months. Coleus and small fuchsias are good candidates to bring inside too. You’ll get the best results from plants that are already in pots, so you avoid root disturbance.



“Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better” ALBERT EINSTEIN


Special offer! 20% off houseplants & accessories at HORTOLOGY We’ve teamed up with houseplant experts Hortology to bring you the best in online plant shopping. Enjoy!


he fabulous houseplants in our ‘Perfect Plants’ guide are just a fraction of what the internet’s most stylish plant store, Hortology, has to offer. Search its extensive site by plant name, the room you want to buy for or even hunt by the latest green trends. “Put simply, plants are cool,” Hortology says. “The positive emotional and therapeutic impact they have on our wellbeing is one of nature’s little miracles. We believe in the power of plants to lift the spirit, calm the mind and clean the air.” Beside the plants themselves, you can buy pots from some of the finest artisan producers, whether you’re looking for rustic, ultra-modern or textured containers for a hygge home feel. All this, plus lots of growing advice too.

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hortology.co.uk TERMS & CONDITIONS Offer valid until 30 August 2019. Code can only be used once and not in conjunction with any other offer or discount. Standard P&P payable on all orders. Not valid on previous purchases or gift vouchers. Payment taken at time of purchase. This offer can be used by customers outside the UK but only for deliveries to the UK. For full terms and conditions visit www.hortology.co.uk.


Think about the shape of your plants and the spaces they’ll inhabit. Tall, narrow plants are ideal for hallways.

Photography: John Davis


“I see incorporating plants as one of the key requirements when designing an interior space” Words & photography: Hilton Carter

ersonal style is how we all show off our individuality to the world. The same approach should apply when introducing greenery into your home. What will make your spaces different from those of your friends and family? How do you create that ‘wow’ factor? Bringing greenery into your home shouldn’t be as simple as going to a nursery, grabbing the first plant you see and then dropping it next to a window. However, the sad thing is that many believe this to be the case. For me, I see incorporating plants as one of the key requirements when designing an interior space, just as much as a couch or coffee table would be. Let’s break this down: the staples for a new home are a bed, a couch, a refrigerator and a plant, and not necessarily in that order. I might be a bit biased here, but it’s really that simple. The thing is, how do you go about purchasing the right couch for your home? Well, when you’re couch shopping, you make decisions based on so many variables: the size of the space you have, the colour, the texture, how comfortable it is and so on. These are also all the things you should consider when purchasing a plant.





The main aim when styling a room is to find your statement piece or, even better, your statement plant. This plant is the one that has a particular look and sets the overall tone and feel of the room. It’s the one plant in a room that makes you or your guests take a moment to just stare and be fully taken by what’s in front of them. This plant will ask for – no, demand – immediate attention. For me, my choice of statement plant has been influenced by a need to bring in plants with a tree-like shape. Think about it: how many people do you know who literally have a tree in their home? I know, exactly. There really is something special about that. To me, that’s what I call a statement. The statement plant introduces the ‘wow’ factor because your guest will just stand there in awe and undoubtedly mouth ‘Wow’. And isn’t that what all of us really want? To make our friends jealous of our plants? All joking aside, what you are really aiming to do – and what I personally take great joy in – is to leave your guests inspired. Your statement plant will undoubtedly be one that makes your guests leave your home wanting to have the same in theirs. FORM, SHAPE AND SCALE

Selecting your statement plant will obviously be based on personal preference, the level of care you can give and the environment you have in your home (that is, how much light and space there is). Once you’ve figured all this out, you’ll need to think about the form and size of the plant that will work best in your home. I find plants such as Strelitzia reginae (bird of paradise), Ficus elastica (rubber plant), different types of palms, and the Ficus lyrata (fiddle-leaf fig) to be great choices for setting the tone or making that statement for you. The reason is simple: these plants can mature into really large specimens and live for generations. Beyond their overall size, however, the scale of their foliage is also crucial when transforming your home into an indoor jungle. The size of a bird of paradise leaf alone, for example, will immediately stop someone in their tracks. The other reason why I love using plants such as these as a main feature is because they have shapes that work anywhere in a room without interrupting the flow. Given that most of them grow upward and outward, you don’t have to worry about them taking up too much floor space. For example, if you place a fiddle-leaf fig by your bed, you won’t be prevented from sleeping because of an invasive branch. As a result of its tree-like shape, the fig will grow above the bed, keeping the space below clear. You could achieve the same effect with


Display your plants in the same way you’d show off a piece of art – put them centre stage and make a fuss of them.

Have fun thinking about displays in new ways. Rather than hide that large potted plant on the floor, raise it up on a stool.


similar tropical plants such as rubber plants and Swiss cheese plants, with each continuing that feeling of an indoor jungle throughout your home. ‘DRESS’ YOUR PLANT

Now with all that said, you can’t just place a naked plant in your home. Have some humanity, dammit! You have to make sure your plant has the right dress or slacks – in other words, you need to find the right pot as its base. This is a package deal, a partnership, if you will. So finding the right pot to match your plant matters. USING LAYERS

Think of the way a group photo is taken. Based on height, the photographer places taller individuals to the back and then everyone gets smaller as you move closer to the front. This guarantees that everyone’s face will be seen in the photo. The same goes for layering plants. Layering your plants in this way guarantees that each plant will get its time in the light, but also facetime with you. You don’t want to place a large plant right next to the window and then smaller ones behind it for the following reasons. Firstly, it would mean that you’d never get any real visual benefit from the smaller plants. Secondly, it would be difficult for you to get to those plants for watering and other care tasks. Let’s just say you only have one window in your home and you’re a really wonderful person, so you want to fill that window with plants. What you should do in this case is place the larger plant to one side of the window, so it’s not blocking the window completely, and then stagger the smaller plants on the window ledge next to it. Not only is this a good look for your space and style, but also helpful for the wellbeing of your plants. I also use the layering technique by making decisions based on plant foliage. There are so many different types of foliage in a range of colours, shapes and sizes. Using these to create a particular feel in your home is a must. In my case, mixing these up is what helps create that ‘wow’ factor. In my studio bedroom, for example, I decided to showcase this method of layering with my plant throne. What makes this sitting area so nice is the interplay between the shape of the Ficus lyrata (fiddle-leaf fig), the large leaves of the Strelitzia reginae (bird of paradise), and the dramatic leaves of the Livistona chinensis (Chinese fan palm). These three plants have such different shapes and textures that, even though they play in the background, they instantly pop to the front.



Layering is one of the motifs you’ll notice throughout any space I style. I know what it does for my own home, and providing that information and guidance for others just makes sense. CREATING LEVELS

I think creating levels with plants in your home is a perfect demonstration of using the rule of thirds. Regarding your living space as a whole and using not only the floor space but also the tables, counters and walls as plant stands brings uniqueness and individuality to your home. Viewing the centre of a dining table as only suitable for an arrangement of flowers is limiting. If you have the necessary light, why not place a large potted tree in the centre of your table? If you have the ceiling height, why not utilise the space above the table by hanging an oversized wreath made of nothing but air plants? The key here is to spread out the green love so that when you step back from it and take a look, the indoor jungle you were looking to create can be actualised. But to do this you have to get creative and not limit your options. When I want to give a grouping of plants a fresh look, I like to create levels by stacking wooden boards or stone slabs to make platforms for my plants to sit on. In my desert window I used cutting boards to create different levels between the smaller plants. In my studio living room, I decided to create a different level by using two terracotta pots for a single plant. By stacking the pots – turning the bottom one upside down and placing the other one on top – I not only raised the plant above others of the same height, I also gave the whole display a fresh look. The same goes for the large white pot placed on a stool behind the chair (see the picture on page 56). Normally, a large potted plant such as this is placed on the floor, but raising it up changes the entire dynamic of the room. It is small things like this that take your styling to the next level. And yes, pun intended.

This is an extract from Wild At Home by Hilton Carter, published by CICO Books (RRP £14.99). Photography © Hilton Carter. Living With Plants readers can get a copy for just £10 (with free UK P&P) by entering the code PLANTS10 at checkout on www.rylandpeters.com. Offer valid until 31 August 2019.


Treat your plants as an integral part of your home and you’ll be rewarded with stylish, striking interiors.


BEDROOM Bring foliage to your bedroom to make it a sanctuary and guarantee a good night’s sleep Words: Cinead McTernan Photography: Seija Margareta


e spend a third of our life in bed, so it’s important we get the peace and tranquility we need in the bedroom to encourage a great night’s sleep. While splashing out on luxurious bed linen and a high-quality mattress might be a bit of a stretch, houseplants are more within budget. Whether you go for an interesting shape, glossy green foliage or colourful blooms to reflect your style, any of these characteristics will add plenty of flair. Not only that, some types of houseplant improve your sleep pattern, too. Scientists at NASA found that houseplants improve indoor air quality by removing organic pollutants and storing them in their leaves and roots. They even discovered that the friendly micro-organisms in the soil play a similar role too, absorbing noxious nasties in the atmosphere. While this is great news for the entire home, it’s particularly relevant to the place where we recharge our batteries. It seems that many pollutants that can cause respiratory problems and interrupt sleep patterns can be found in the bedroom, including formaldehyde from carpet backing and insulation, benzene from paints or solvents, and trichloroethylene from clothes that have been dry cleaned. In other words, there’s plenty for houseplants to get to work on.

The parlour palm (Chamaedorea elegans) is a beautiful choice, with frondy foliage that works well in traditional or contemporary schemes. It positively thrives with little or no natural light too. A note of glamour can also be added with African violets (Saintpaulia). Delightfully dinky, they’re compact enough to squeeze onto a bedside table, adding a burst of colour. Make sure they’re not in direct sunlight, which scorches the leaves, and water from the saucer to prevent splash marks that stain the foliage. Mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria laurentii) features on NASA’s list of the top air-purifying houseplants, being one of the few that converts CO2 into 2 oxygen at night (something most houseplants do during the day). Environmental activist Kamal Meattle even name-checked the plant in his TED Talk as one of his three he uses to ‘grow fresh air’. It’s perfect for a dark corner as it doesn’t need much light, and it only needs watering once a week. Other plants that are happy to work the night shift are orchids, succulents and bromeliads, all of which add a bit of glamour and chic to a bedroom with their architectural forms and colourful shades. If you make time to stroke the leaves for just a couple of minutes, they also help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, helping you unwind and relax after a busy day.

“Mother-in-law’s tongue is one of the few plants that converts CO into oxygen at night as well as during the day”

Right: Helsinki-based Seija Margareta’s Instagram account is a bohemian dream come true. Take a peek into her plant-crammed home, which includes cacti perched inside a vintage TV. www.instagram.com/plantsandcollecting





Two years ago, Monstera needed to be propped up with a large box, so she’d look good in the basket. Now, she’s 5ft 8in and still growing strong!



Monstera and me: friends for life Jules Taylor builds a close relationship with her home’s biggest plant and finds its presence an inspiration for her bedroom décor… Words: Jules Taylor Photography: Jesse Wild


wo years ago, we’d decorated every room in our home apart from our bedroom. Colours, design and ideas had come easily and styling decisions were made quickly. But I was stuck in a round of “what about…?” or “this colour is on trend” conversations with my husband. “I’m not sleeping in a pink room” and “We could have a wall-mounted TV” were typical reactions. So I did what I do whenever I can’t make up my mind: I wrote a list. Must-haves and must-definitely-not-haves. I wrote ‘Monstera plant’ in the first column and ‘TV’ in the second. That was how it started: my relationship with my magical Monstera. Every image on my ‘bedroom décor’ Pinterest board had a large plant as a focal point, and a Monstera was in at least 75 per cent of them. “This bold, structural climbing shrub, far from its South American habitat, grows tall and full,” read the descriptions. Just what was required for a stylish room statement. “The holes and cuts on its leaves form to withstand the strong winds and heavy rainfalls of the rainforest.” Not essential for its life in a ’20s semi in the UK, but so beautiful. However, I still hadn’t chosen a bedroom colour scheme. Most interiors images I scrolled through

depicted green plants contrasting with white walls – a good look, but not for my bedroom. I wanted soft and restful – a sanctuary. Strolling around a well-known hardware shop, paint colour charts in hand, I wandered into the plant section and almost stumbled over – you’ve guessed it – my healthy, happy Monstera. It was fate. I’d buy the plant, then choose a colour scheme. I was happy. A NEW HOME

Standing tall (though nothing compared with its current size), Monstera wouldn’t fit in the car boot. I tried to strap her into the passenger seat, but the footwell proved the best position, wedged in with other purchases either side. Our journey home felt like the start of something new. Grinning all the way back to the house, I told Monstera, “You’re going to love your new place. It’s got eastfacing windows with adjustable shutters so we can work out the exact levels of light you like.” (As a side note: I’ve always talked to my plants. Not just ‘oh, haven’t you done well’ comments. My conversations are more like ones I’d have with a friend, updating them on my plans and ideas, sometimes even seeking their opinions. I don’t usually get much of a response. On hearing my

“Every image on my ‘bedroom décor’ Pinterest board had a large plant as a focal point, in most cases a Monstera”



Weekly watering with a few drops of plant food (such as Baby Bio) keeps Monstera healthy. A mist spray applied to the moss pole helps too.

plant chats, my sons roll their eyes and my husband thinks I’ve lost the plot, but to me plants are living, growing things and I like to connect with them.)

soothing, natural shade. Several test pots applied to the walls, we chose Little Greene’s Wormwood for the walls and fitted wardrobes and stuck with classic white for the woodwork. A few weeks after the décor was complete, green accessories were acquired: a weighty bed throw from Scandinavian designers Hay and small cotton rugs from our local department store. Two years on, I’ve stuck to Monstera’s care instructions rigidly and have learnt a few lessons along the way: she loves a bright room, but direct sunlight damages leaves (a few brown tinges alerted me to this); watering once a week is about right and a few sprays of water keep humidity levels balanced. Monstera has been repotted and has grown beyond her moss pole support (solutions for extending it haven’t lasted but I’m working on it). I’ve kept the ‘greening’ in our bedroom minimal – just a small palm and a mini money plant. I don’t want Monstera ever feeling she’s not special.


Back home, I made space for Monstera and lay on the bed contemplating my next move. She needed a basket in which to sit. I remembered someone in the office buying a great one with white woven detail from Oliver Bonas and ordered it immediately. Later, my husband, home from work, went straight up to our bedroom to change. “When did you get the plant?” he asked. “I thought we were going to decorate before you bought anything new for the room?” I joined him in the room. “Yes, but I just needed inspiration. I still can’t decide what colour to paint it,” I explained. “Well, if you love your green plant so much…” “Yes, green!” I interrupted. Of course! Soft and subtle, more sage than emerald, a

“I’ve kept the ‘greening’ minimal – just a small palm and a mini money plant. I don’t want Monstera feeling she’s not special”



HANGING ABOUT f you want to work up to something as dramatic as Hilton Carter’s plant hammock (page 72), a simpler step is hanging some plants. These look great in groups, especially if you hang them at different heights. Let the texture of the pots play a part in the décor too. Here we selected neutrals but included woven and ceramic pots for an extra dimension that doesn’t take away from the lush greens of the plants. (Position your hanging hooks where there are joists in your ceiling to support the weight. Knocking on the ceiling will locate these.) A selection of ceramic, jute and seagrass hanging pots are available from £8 from www.gardentrading.co.uk



Create an attractive pressed foliage display on a bedroom windowsill. Here, the metal and glass frames contrast with the delicate leaves.


Decorating with foliage Bringing greenery into your home needn’t be about huge plants, it can be as little as single pressed leaves and flowers. Author and stylist Camille Soulayrol takes inspiration from nature… Words: Camille Soulayrol Photography: Frédéric Baron-Morin


lant stores seem to be sprouting up left and right these days, some specialising in succulents and purifying ficus trees, others crammed with dried leaves and flowers for DIY decoration. Friends get together on the weekend to swap plant cuttings, and a Pilea plant now makes a much better gift for a party hostess than a bouquet. Bearded men deliver flowers by bike, and online subscription services deliver seeds right to your doorstep. Enter any concept store in search of fashionable clothes and you’re likely to leave with a cactus in hand or a macramé trinket crafted by the designer herself. Lush motifs climb our walls and our clothes, and flower garlands are flourishing on social media. Nature is everywhere! This return to nature is actually a very good sign, because plants remind us of what really matters: that life is precious and that nature needs us – but not nearly as much as we need it. If you know how

to listen, nature will gladly share with you its many benefits for mind and body. Whether you’re an established plant parent or just starting out, you’ll find so much inspiration from your new charges. A simple pleasure well worth rediscovering is collecting and pressing flowers. We do it as children but tend to forget about it when we grow older. When I started this framing project, I had a blast putting together a collection of dried, pressed botanical specimens. It’s so easy and so rewarding. And what fun it is to turn afternoon walks into treasure hunts. A forest fern, some dried baby’sbreath in a bouquet: nature invites itself into our homes even in the dead of winter. This is not a lesson from an expert, but I hope it will inspire you to explore further. Obviously, some plants are easier to press than others, but it’s still quite fun to try different things and see how they turn out. You’ll likely get some nice surprises.



“A simple pleasure well worth rediscovering is collecting and RTGUUKPI QYGTU 9G FQ KV CU children but tend to forget about KV YJGP YG ITQY QNFGT



F RAMING PRE SS ED LE AVES You will need Flowers and leaves, newspaper, craft tape, large book and a heavy weight, two panes of glass of equal size, decorative tape or washi tape

Step 1 Carefully spread each leaf or flower on a sheet of newspaper and place another sheet on top. Feel free to use a little tape to keep each one nice and flat. Be careful not to use wet cuttings so as to avoid mould. The secret is to dry the flowers and leaves in newspaper (don’t use glossy

paper). The daily paper will do just fine – plus you’ll be getting a good read into the bargain.

will absorb moisture from the plant, and see how things are progressing.

Step 4 Step 2 Slip the prepared cuttings and newsprint between the pages of a book and place something heavy on top to maintain an even pressure.

Step 3 Let the cuttings dry for between one and three weeks, taking a peek from time to time. You can also change out the newspaper, which

Once the flowers and leaves are dry, have the panes of glass cut to size at your local hardware store.

Step 5 Slip the leaves between the panes of glass and seal the edges with tape to add colour and create a decorative effect. You can also use allglass picture frames in place of panes.

This project is an edited extract from Plantopia: Cultivate, Create, Soothe, Nourish by Camille Soulayrol, with photography by Frédéric BaronMorin (Flammarion, £19.95). The book will help you choose stylish plants, and includes more than 70 ideas for filling your home with greenery.



Off the wall Update a plain wall with a stand-out display 1




1. Hippo-pot-amus Want to bring outdoor blooms and sprigs of foliage indoors, or looking for a place to put bunches of herbs so they’re on hand when you’re cooking? Add a touch of greenery to any corner with this quirky hippo wall vase by Gisela Graham. It’s also ideal for low maintenance air plants, which don’t need any watering. £23, www.tch.net

2. Box clever Made from metal with a soft, burnished brass finish, these box-style shelves are a pretty

but practical way to display your houseplants. With open sides so taller plants have space to breathe, they’re perfect for your living room, bedroom or hallway, and come in two different sizes. £55, www.coxandcox.co.uk

3. Into the blue Mix and match these beautiful ceramic planters to create a gallery wall of green, leafy loveliness. Perfect for showcasing trailing plants like string-of-pearls and ivy, they’re painted with a reactive glaze that gives their sapphire-blue


surface a speckled salt and pepper effect. £24 (small) and £34 (medium), www.westelm.co.uk

4. Brass act These brass hemispheres are a shining example of how easy it is to bring the metallics trend to your home. The brass will develop a patina over time, which will add to their character. Each planter has a flat back so you can fit it neatly against the wall, and there are two sizes to choose from. £48 (small), £78 (large) www. rowenandwren.co.uk

Linking up Create a vertical garden with these cool connecting planters. They link together easily, so you can decorate a whole wall with multiple vessels and an array of different plants. Or use them as an alternative to a dressing table, with a plant in some pockets and hairbrushes, combs or perfume bottles in others. ÂŁ20 each, www.umbra.com


How to make a plant hammock Houseplant stylist Hilton Carter reveals how to make even more space for your leafy friends – which includes making sure that they’re just as comfortable as you at night… Words & photography: Hilton Carter


amazing it could look and assured her we’d use the proper hardware to secure it to the wall. Somehow this idea worked, she was on board, and the plant hammock was born. Once we’d mounted the hammock on the wall and added the philodendron, we couldn’t believe how much it surpassed our expectations. Since then I’ve rotated different plants in and out of the hammock to see which works best for us. At the end of the day, it’s this look that brings the wow factor to our bedroom. If you want to make a smaller hammock than the one shown here, just scale down the measurements. Please note – if you follow the instructions carefully and ensure the wall fixtures you use can support the weight of your potted plant, all should be well, but hanging the hammock above your bed is done at your own risk. Turn the page for instructions…

hat happens when your mother offers you an extremely large philodendron, but you don’t have any more floor space for it? Well, for me, I decided to look up. Realising we weren’t using the high ceilings in our home effectively, I suggested to my wife, Fiona, that we hang the philodendron on the wall – and not just any wall, but the wall behind our bed so a plant could hang over it like a canopy. Of course, her first concern was that I was losing my mind and her second was that it might fall on us as we slept. However, Fiona had been creating some macramé hangers for a few of our plants and I wondered if she could make a really large one that would work in the same way as a hammock. So, to ease her mind, I sketched out my idea to show her how

“Once we’d mounted the hammock on the wall and added the philodendron it surpassed our expectations”



A wall-mounted hammock is a unique way to show off over-sized plants.
















1 D A


C 2 A













HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN HAMMOCK Create a unique plant holder for your super-sized plants

You will need: Rope (hardware stores and ships’ chandlers offer a good choice), large metal rings, wall hooks suited to your type of wall

Step 5

Step 11

Pull the tail facing the ring tightly to draw the loop inside the coils. You’ll end up with two long ends. Cut them for a clean look.

Then bring rope D behind C and B, and through the loop made by A, from back to front.

Step 12 Step 6

Step 1 Measure out a piece of rope 14ft (4.3m) long. Align that cut piece with your roll of rope and cut 11 more pieces of the same length. You should now have 12 pieces of rope, each one measuring 14ft (4.3m) long.

Step 2 On a flat surface, take the ropes and loop them halfway through one of the hitching rings so you now have 24 pieces of rope to work with, each approximately 7ft (2.1m) long.

Step 3 Attach the ropes to the ring with a gathering knot. To do this, measure and cut a 60in (152cm) piece of rope. Make a 5in (13cm) loop at one end and position this so the open side is facing the ring.

Separate the 24 ropes into six sets of four and begin making a square knot with the first set. There will be two working ropes and two ‘lazy’ ropes in each set of four. It’s important to keep the ropes in order so your hammock will be flat at the end. You do this in two main stages, working first on Row 1 and then on Row 2.

Step 13

For Row 1: On the first set of four ropes, bring rope A in front of B and C, then behind D.

Repeat the steps for Row 1 and then Row 2 until you reach the desired length. Make sure the spaces between each row of knots is the same, about 6in (15cm). If you want a tighter mesh, decrease this distance. Also leave enough of a tail so you can knot it around the other hitching ring.

Step 8

Step 14

Then bring rope D behind C and B, and through the loop made by A, from back to front.

Once you’ve completed the hammock portion, thread the remaining 24 ends through the second hitching ring and repeat Step 3, making another gathering knot to tie off the hammock.

Step 7

Step 9 Repeat Steps 7 and 8 with the other five sets of rope. You’ve now completed your first row of square knots.

Step 4 Start wrapping the long tail of the 60in (152cm) piece of rope around all the other ropes, including the loop, so they’re tightly bound together. You should wrap the ropes at least six or more times. Thread the tail end through the bottom of the loop.

Repeat these steps with the other four sets of ropes. You should be left with two single ropes at the end, on the right-hand side.

Step 10 For Row 2: Take the two far ropes on the left (1 and 2) and push them to one side. Take the next four ropes to create a new group of ABCD (formerly CA and DB). Bring rope A in front of B and C, then behind D.

Step 15 Secure the hitching rings to the wall using wall anchors, making sure that what you use can hold the weight of your chosen plant.

Step 16 Hang the hammock on the wall and place a plant inside. I used a Nephrolepis biserrata ‘Macho’ (macho fern) – see page 73.

This project is from Wild At Home by Hilton Carter, published by CICO Books (RRP £14.99). Photography © Hilton Carter. Living With Plants readers can get a copy for just £10 (with free UK P&P) by entering the code PLANTS10 at checkout on www.rylandpeters.com. Offer valid until 31 August 2019.




Make sure your over-ambitious swipe to hit the snooze button on your alarm doesn’t result in your bedside buddy taking a tumble from its pot. Stick to smaller plants for the bedside table, like the lovely Pilea in our picture, and even think about hiding a bit of Blu Tack under the pot for security. (This is also a good trick for any shelf where your cat might enjoy a stroll.) TAKE A TURN

A half turn every few days will help your plant maintain a nice upright habit. Left to its own devices, it will naturally pull towards the nearest light source. If the new growth stays pale and looks a little skinny and fragile, then the plant is too far away from the light and is asking for a new spot. Don’t worry, it will recover. Inspecting your plants regularly will mean you learn to read signs like this before they become a problem. ROYAL HIGHNESS

Raise plants up to different heights on stacks of bedtime reading matter. It’s a quick and easy styling trick that you can refresh any time to suit your space. Hilton Carter (page 52) takes pride in having a ‘plant throne’ in his sanctuary – take one comfy chair and surround it with as many plants as you can. Place taller specimens behind the chair and raise them up on books or inverted pots for the most royal of reading nooks. Sit back and enjoy!



Photography: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz / GettyImages






ush, verdant, vibrant and life-affirming, green is a constant in our lives. Intrinsically linked to the natural world, green can be energy-boosting, moodenhancing and grounding. Green is the colour of new growth, of country gardens and meadow fields, deep ancient forests and vast fertile plains. We long to surround ourselves with optimistic and rejuvenating shades of fresh grass, zesty lime and decadent emerald. Yet softer shades of sage, olive or pale mint speak of sanctuary and a sense of restored balance and wellbeing. Tropical greens call to mind balmy days spent relaxing in sun-dappled courtyards. In hot climates, living spaces tend to spill out into open-

air rooms, patios and terraces, and these outdoor spaces are often filled with terracotta pots of glossy-leaved plants and abundant flowers, creating a sense of tranquillity and closeness to nature. Fountains and water channels running along tiled floors help to abate the heat of the scorching midday sun. The green colour family offers us the chance to reconnect with Mother Earth, bringing the outdoors into our homes. We can live in harmony with nature and use its dominant colour to breathe vitality and new life into tired spaces. Greens are wonderful when blended and layered together in a single living space. Cooling, peaceful and harmonious shades of green – such as pistachio,

“Green offers us the chance to reconnect with Mother Earth, bringing the outdoors into our homes”



jade, mint and seafoam – work effortlessly together on a multitude of surfaces and textures, ranging from glossy ceramic tiles to chalky matt paintwork. TAKE INSPIRATION FROM PLANTS

It is wonderful to fill our living spaces with plants and to take inspiration from the shades of green of the changing seasons. Cactus colours can inspire a perfect palette of softened greyed-greens. Add a touch of springtime to your kitchen with clean and clear mints or pale leaf greens. These pretty pale greens work well for woodwork and ceramics – you can even source electrical appliances in mint and pistachio finishes. Incorporating natural materials in the home is a simple way to soften our unnatural habitats. Undyed, unpainted and raw wood, rattan or

bamboo have a wonderful warm, golden natural colour and pleasing textures that work especially well with greens. Celebrate organic materials, with exposed wooden ceiling beams, seagrass flooring and jute lampshades. To avoid a scheme becoming too rustic, try contrasting the traditional elements with contemporary patterns or polished tabletops. When playing with pattern and wallpaper in your home, keep your colour palette focused and limited. Modern design and new printing technologies give us the option to bring oversized printed materials into our living spaces. Huge banana leaves or lush jungle greens create an interior that’s both fun and vibrant. Use large-scale pattern and decoration on a single wall or juxtapose solid colour on a wall with monochrome artwork and pattern accents.

“Incorporating natural materials in the home is a simple way to soften our unnatural habitats”



Choosing organic colours and textures is another way to blend nature into your living space.

Pattern and graphic decoration add focus and depth to a room. Geometric pattern can lift an otherwise simple palette of colours (below, greens are successfully combined with monochrome). A simple repeat graphic pattern is bold, modern and yet somehow timeless. Pattern can also give an unexpected twist to a scheme, elevating the space and creating layers of visual interest. A classic black-and-white pattern never looks dated or out of place, and introducing natural, soothing greens softens the overall look. Contrasting the paintwork colours with the symmetrical, geometric pattern of the floor tiles creates a striking effect.



The combinations of greens found in nature are perfect for inspiring the colour schemes of rooms around the home.

Colour combinations need to be kept to a minimum, just two or three shades working together, to allow the pattern to take centre stage. Pattern is no longer reserved for cushions and traditional floral motifs. Modern design solutions are just as likely to see pattern being introduced into our homes in new and energising ways. Try mixing patterns across wall coverings and floor tiles, and play with scale – juxtaposing differentsized versions of the same design motifs is effective. Use mid-tone shades of green in the bedroom or living room. The first shoots of spring inspire clean, clear tones that have a zingy note. Herbaceous greens, such as spearmint and peashoot, used on either walls or furnishings will



invigorate any space. These fresh, light colours create an effect that is at once uplifting and inviting. SUMPTUOUS SURROUNDINGS

Greens can be used to spectacular effect. Precious tones of bright emerald and rich jade add depth and enliven any surface. Consider how these saturated, jewel-like colours can be introduced into a room scheme. Sumptuous fabrics, such as velvets and silks, will introduce opulence but can also help to soften a space (above). Gloss paintwork, metallic surfaces, vintage glassware and gleaming ceramic glazes all emphasise the luxury of these shades. What’s striking here is that the brightest emerald green colour, normally reserved for an accent, dominates the room.

Pinks and greens work beautifully together, creating an often surprising and refreshing colour palette. Flat-painted pale-pink walls provide a perfect backdrop to gleaming green furniture, allowing it to take centre stage. Plush velvets can be reminiscent of theatre seating or lavish restaurant interiors but, used cleverly, this luxurious fabric can be brought coolly into the 21st century. Such a scheme isn’t simply about colours, it’s also about mixing up textures to create a space with interesting layers of contrast. Emerald green is a bold colour to use in furnishings or curtains in order to create a dramatic living area. Large rooms with high ceilings can be transformed through the adventurous use of saturated colours. Pay little heed to the saying ‘blue and green should never

“Emerald green is a bold colour to use in furnishings or curtains in order to create a dramatic living area”



be seen’ and experiment with intense and dazzling layers of rich greens and deep inky blues. Kingfisher, hummingbird or peacock greens have a blueish cast. Inspired by the iridescent gleam of a flash of green feather, these shades glint and shimmer in the light. Layer them together to create a palette of decadent greens. Choose materials and finishes that reflect and play with light – a lustrous velvet, a glasstopped cabinet, a highly polished varnish or a metallic paint finish. The natural world can so often inform pattern, decoration and furnishings. Peacock-coloured botanical themes can be enhanced with a metallic shimmer. Use gold leaf to cover a ceiling or an alcove, and position your lighting to pick out the gleaming surfaces.

The darkest of greens, close to black but just one step removed, is a shade that is intense and enduring, like an evergreen forest. Using such a dark shade for a large space might seem ambitious, but actually it creates a sense of intrigue and drama. Soft lighting and the matt finish build a theme of classic style and elegance. For balance, keep the floor and work surfaces pale and incorporate decorative touches that are orderly and simple. In many cultures the colour green is synonymous with wealth, prosperity and luxury. Intensely rich greens are intrinsically linked to a sense of abundance and success. In nature the vast spectrum of the colour green in all its wonderful shades means health, growth and renewal. Let this inspire you to embrace the great many positive attributes linked to the colour green.

“The darkest of greens, close to black, is a shade that is intense and enduring, like an evergreen forest”



This is an edited extract from Love Colour: Choosing Colours To Live With by Anna Starmer (Ivy Press, ÂŁ25). The book is packed with ideas for incorporating colour into your home. www.quartoknows.com

In nature the vast spectrum of green in all its wonderful shades means health, growth and renewal



BATHROOM Invite a little greenery into the shower! Space isn’t an issue for plants in the smallest room of the house Words: Cinead McTernan Photography: Vinct / Getty Images


ften the smallest room in the house with low light, high humidity and warm temperatures, the bathroom might not seem the most obvious place to grow houseplants. However, there are plenty of varieties that will thrive in the heat and moisture created after a hot bath or shower. Tropical beauties such as orchids, peace lilies and ferns can be displayed as single specimens on windowsills, shelves or on the top of the cistern. They can also be used to create a focal point in an otherwise plain bathroom or disguise damp patches or areas that might be in need of freshening up. Alternatively, if space and budget allows, be bold and group varieties together to form an exotic, green backdrop to your bath or shower. A simple but effective way to help you unwind in the tub, it’s also a clever trick to ensure you provide the best growing conditions by creating a humid microclimate. Place plants together on a tray of damp gravel and add water regularly to keep the pebbles moist. Look out for blogs that offer inspiration on how to display houseplants. Check out the post ‘Plants that thrive in the bathroom’ on the website www.invinciblehouseplants.com – it’s packed with plenty of images as well as tips and advice on growing houseplants in all rooms in the house.

If space is an issue, choose plants with an upright habit. They’ll come into their own displayed on a windowsill or squeezed on top of the bathroom cabinet. Aloe vera looks great with its architectural spikes, and has the benefit of being a useful addition to your medicine cabinet. Simply break off a leaf and apply the soothing, fleshy gel on scrapes and burns to provide a natural remedy. Hanging pots are another way to make the most of unused vertical space in tiny bathrooms. Try an Asparagus fern with frothy fronds that need plenty of moisture to encourage plenty of lush, green, healthy foliage. Another trailing variety is the Zebra plant, with its mass of colourfully striped leaves. The cast iron plant (Aspidistra) is an easygoing specimen that doesn’t demand much in the way of light. However, as it appreciates having its leaves washed to keep it dust-free and healthy, it’s ideal for a bathroom. For larger spaces, the Boston fern, with its bushy shape, is an inspired choice because it’s not fussy about having too much direct light and prefers moist, humid conditions. It’s also worth noting that even plants that are happy in low-light conditions will still need some light to grow. Using fluorescent light bulbs – which produce the wavelengths plants need – are a good way to introduce more light into the bathroom.

“Orchids, peace lilies and ferns can be displayed on windowsills, shelves or even on the top of the cistern”

Right: Introduce plants into the bathroom for a creative focal point that will flourish in humid conditions. Plants can also transform bathrooms of all sizes into a relaxing haven – perfect for a soothing soak in the tub.





The art of making kokedama Connect as you create with these hanging plants in the Japanese tradition. Coraleigh Parker shows you how to make a fern kokedama that will positively thrive in your bathroom… Words: Coraleigh Parker Photography: Larnie Nicolson


hat is kokedama? A variant of bonsai, it’s the Japanese art of creating potless plants using a unique soil mixture, moss and string. It takes its name from ‘koke’, meaning moss and ‘tama’, meaning ‘ball’. As a hobby, the art of making kokedama is as rewarding as it gets. The act of putting our hands in direct contact with natural materials literally grounds us. The wrapping process is very meditative, the action requires bilateral co-ordination – that is, using both hands simultaneously and independently. And because both hands are required to wrap, it’s very difficult to think about anything else. You become completely present in the moment. Kokedama are perfect for complementing a space because they’re so versatile. They can be made in any size, shape or colour to suit the setting. When contemplating what to create it’s easy to become overwhelmed or overexcited by the potential choices in front of you, but remember to start small and build up your confidence. When learning it’s best to start with a size that fits easily into your hands. The best way to start is to simply wrap the roots and soil in a thick layer of sphagnum moss. This provides a container to hold in the moisture and

reduce the amount of watering needed. The moss is like a dense sponge; it holds the water and releases it slowly back to the roots. MEET THE KINGS OF FOLIAGE

Where better to start than with royalty? Ferns are the kings of foliage. They don’t even bother with flowers or seeds. They focus 100 per cent on being the lushest and most spectacular display of green in town. Ferns love humidity. You’ll see that most of the soil recipes include coir. This is a very dense water-retaining material made from groundup coconut husks. It holds its water and releases it slowly as humidity without being a soggy mess. Most ferns are also going to want a really thick layer of moss. Due to their high humidity requirement they’re a great candidate for live moss coverings. Moss needs heaps of humidity, ferns need heaps of humidity – boom, you have the perfect marriage! Ferns are naturally ground dwellers, lounging on the forest floor and basking in the soft diffused light filtering down through the vast canopy above. Most ferns won’t tolerate total shade and will be okay in quite bright light as long as it isn’t hot direct sun. They can be hung slightly further back into rooms and will tolerate bathroom light because of the increased humidity on offer.

“Kokedama are perfect as they’re so versatile – they can be made in any size, shape or colour to suit the setting”



Wrap ferns in coir and moss for a perfect kokedama that will add a verdant and vibrant energy to your favourite rooms.








Experiment with different plants and sizes to suit your home.



MAKING YOUR OWN FERN KOKEDAMA Create a beautiful ball of vibrant green for your home

You will need

Step 4

Small fern plant (we used a ‘Davallia’), soil recipe (mix three parts compost, one part coconut mulch, one part coir), bowl and spoon for mixing, synthetic string for wrapping (natural fibres will degrade too quickly), sheet moss, your choice of hook or hanger, sharp scissors

Place the ball on the moss. If using wild moss put it green side down on the table and put the ball on what would have been the underside of the moss. Use a synthetic fibre, such as nylon, to wrap it all up securely.

Step 1 Ferns like it moist. Mix all the ingredients for the soil recipe together, then make a mud pie.

Step 2 Add enough water so the mixture can be formed easily into a ball and hold its shape.

Step 3 Make a ball of mud and chunks around the root ball of the fern. Keep in mind that the size of the ball will somewhat define the ultimate size of the fern. A bigger ball equals bigger fern.

Careful hanging Take care when hanging against walls as the moisture from the ball can cause damage. If the wall surface is porous, there is a risk of mildew developing where the kokedama touches it. Use a hanger that protrudes out from the wall enough to avoid contact.

When to water Mist, mist, mist. Then mist some more. If possible, use distilled water to prevent salts from damaging leaves. Soak when the ball begins to dry. Give leaves a bath occasionally to remove surface build-up. Swish under water but be gentle.

This project is an edited extract from Hanging Kokedama: Creating Potless Plants For The Home by Coraleigh Parker (Jacqui Small, £20). Founder of the Pickled Whimsy shop and blog, Coraleigh has distilled her knowledge into this beautiful guide. www.quartoknows.com


Photo: LaXo72 / Getty Images

Typically found on forest floors, a fern’s soil mixture should include plenty of organic matter and coarse fibre. Ferns love growing under or on the rotting carcasses of fallen trees, so try to imagine and replicate this kind of environment for them. A portion of coconut mulch is a good tree corpse substitute. It takes longer to break down than ordinary wood chips, but still provides the same humid atmosphere for fern roots. They just love exploring stuff with their little creeping roots, so having a good texture inside the ball helps them to feel like they’ve found a great home. The other guy who loves good tree carcass is moss. Moss and ferns are best buds. If you can harvest some live moss from a nearby forest or damp backyard (with the owner’s permission), use it to wrap up the fern and they’ll live happily ever after.


Hang out Create a boho vibe with suspended plant pots 1




1. Out of this world Designed by Anna Mercurio, a graduate of The Institute of Design in Naples, these sleek, simple three-dimensional spheres turn your plants into striking works of art. You can see why they’ve been named Saturno – they look a little bit like the planet’s rings. There are five colours and three sizes to choose from. From £53, www.limelace.co.uk

2. Tuscan charm Bring Tuscan-inspired terracotta to your home with these hanging plant pots

from Scaramanga. Each one is handcrafted from clay and vintage metal, with integral hooks so you can hang them from one another. Why not create a chain of trailing ivy, tiny succulents and striking spiky cacti? £8 each, www.scaramangashop.co.uk

3. Tray chic Trays aren’t just for breakfast in bed – they can be a great way to display your plants, too. This one is made from stoneware, with cords so you can suspend it from the ceiling. It’s easy to make your


own, too, whether you tie a few simple knots or put your macramé skills to the test. Have a look online for tutorials if you’re keen to DIY. £30, www.beaumonde.co.uk

4. Wheely nice If you don’t have a garden, why not create a mini rockery in one of these wheel-shaped hanging terrariums? Soldered and shaped using traditional metal welding techniques, they make a stylish backdrop for succulents and small plants. £59.95 (small) and £99.95 (large), www.nkuku.com

Pattern theory These colourful concrete hanging planters make sweet, thoughtful housewarming gifts for green-fingered friends – especially if you pop a cactus or tiny house plant inside. Each pot is handmade, totally unique and printed with a delicate lace pattern that contrasts beautifully with its industrial concrete canvas. From £14.95, www.bellsandwhistlesmake.etsy.com

Est 2000 | Devon

Ingredients from us, handmade by you...

www.thesoapkitchen.co.uk 01237 420872



LOOK UP HIGH ow often are we guilty of not looking upwards? Try it and you can find all sorts of new dĂŠcor opportunities. This approach is great for a bathroom, where the practical fittings fill most of the floor space. A box shelf like this one creates an imaginative vignette when filled with trailing plants and succulents, and could pack twice the green punch if you add a piece of mirror to the back. Our display is created with the Farringdon Box Shelf, courtesy of Garden Trading. The steel industrial-style structure is good for a bathroom, where the metal with weather well in the humid atmosphere. ÂŁ35, www.gardentrading.co.uk






Once you’ve learned to look up and make the most of the green space opportunities above your head, give a little thought to how you can turn the practicalities into an extra feature. Hanging pots will need water, so hang extended cords over a ceiling hook and then tie the ends to a doublesided hook or ‘cleat’ (search ‘blind accessories’ or visit a local hardware store) anchored at a handy height. You’ll have easy-to-lower plants for watering and a great decorative statement if you choose coloured cord. Bathrooms, which are often small, are great spaces for trying this. KEEP IT CLEAN

While bathroom plants will welcome humidity, most won’t be great fans of talcum powder or deodorant sprays that settle in the form of dust. Small-leaf residents of the smallest room will wash and brush up well with a water spritz (you could even pop them in the shower), while large-leaf varieties will thank you for wiping individual leaves with a damp cloth. Remember to wipe those steamy windows clean as the difference in light level is important. A BREATH OF FRESH AIR

Photography: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz / GettyImages

Plant gurus agree on the importance of aerating the soil in your plant pot. Soil gets compacted quite easily but it’s easy to fix. No technical devices required – just gently poke and wiggle a wooden skewer in the soil all over the pot to loosen the soil and you’ll be giving it a freshenup your plant will love. The best time to do this is just before watering.



“It began with wanting to NN O[ QYP JQOG YKVJ VJG RNCPVU + UCY QP +PUVCITCO CPF 2KPVGTGUV Words: Katie Allen Photography: Alice Dobie / Jessica Greaves

s Botanica Studios, Alice Dobie runs a thriving business selling plants online and at markets in Bath and Frome in Somerset. And as an indemand stylist, her speciality is creating “greener, calmer and more welcoming environments” in communal spaces from offices to cafes and shops. For Alice, growing plants is more than just puzzling out light, shade, soil and water – it’s about looking after something beautiful, and enjoying the peace and positivity plants can bring.

with the plants I saw on Instagram and Pinterest. They all looked wild and exotic and I wanted to learn how to take care of them – all of them! I then started selling my plants at market stalls about two years ago. Slowly I took on more markets, and began my Instagram, and from there I’ve not really stopped!


Can you give us a peek into a typical working day? Where soil is involved in a job, the days aren’t that glamorous! I grow plants from seeds and cuttings, and larger plants I source from Europe. The best days are spent picking up new stock, that’s always a high point. I bring them home and make sure they’re all watered and looked after. I’ll then do ‘botanical admin’: doing the website, taking pictures of the plants and answering emails. My favourite days are at markets where I get to meet customers. Basically, my lovely job consists of thinking about plants, ordering plants, potting plants and designing with plants.

Can you tell us about your career so far? I studied graphic design in London eight years ago but life at a desk was never for me. I’ve done many jobs since, originally design and then in a start-up. Plants have become such a big passion that today I spend half my week working and the other half is spent on the plants. It’s the first time in my life that I’ve had such a good work/life balance. Have you always been green-fingered? Funnily enough, not really! I’ve had my fair share of fails with houseplants, but I just kept persevering. My mum was a big influence as she has always had plants in the house – she’s a big cactus fan – so anything I don’t know, she usually has the answer.

Are there particular plants that your customers love? I love to stock what I call ‘if I can keep these alive, so can you’-type plants. That includes Ceropegia woodii, known as string of hearts, Maranta fascinator tricolour and golden pothos. These are always bestsellers because of their pretty foliage and their tolerance.

How did you start Botanica Studios? It began with wanting to fill my own home



Alice’s market stall is always overflowing with plants that she’s tended herself. She’s sad to see some of them go!



“When people tell me they’ve ‘killed a plant’ they almost whisper it to me like it’s a confession”



photos. And lastly, I use the light. I have lovely sunshine from 11am to 1pm each day and often I quickly move a plant into the light to enhance it for a photograph.

We’ve heard that you grow everything in a small flat. Please tell us how! My flat has become quite the jungle! The plants are on every inch of space: on shelves, hanging from the ceiling and around the base of the bathroom sink. If I’m not careful, it can become a mess – the sweeping is constant. But it’s been a great place to start my business. It’s also made the flat a lovely space to come home to, and I’ll often walk around it just before a market, give many of the plants one last inspection and then take them with me. Sometimes it’s sad to see certain ones go! On watering days in the summer, my bigger plants like Swiss cheese or birds of paradise all end up in the bath together!

Do you have a favourite green space? My favourite spaces are predictably Kew Gardens and Glasgow Botanical Gardens. Anywhere hot, sticky and full of jungle plants is my jam. They always provide me with inspiration and I often leave writing down names and thinking, ‘I wonder if I could get hold of that one...’. What houseplant trends do you think are around the corner? I think the original houseplants – aspidistras and Boston ferns – will have their time to shine. They’re the Victorian classics and people get very nostalgic about them. If you look after an aspidistra right, you can pass it onto your children!

We all know that nature ‘does us good’. How do you think houseplants make us feel? When people tell me they’ve ‘killed a plant’ they almost whisper it to me like it’s a confession. I think we use words like ‘kill’ and ‘died’ about plants because we have such an emotional attachment to anything living in our lives and especially anything we bring into our homes. So owning plants has a lot of emotion tied into it. When people keep a plant alive they feel proud and this can have a huge effect on their wellbeing. I don’t have a favourite plant, but as crazy as it sounds, I do talk to them nicely. I’d stand taller if someone complimented me, so why is it any different for a plant?

What are your dreams for Botanica Studios? As the business has grown I’m slowly moving my stock to a bigger place with the correct light, temperature and atmosphere. That way I can use my flat as a place to mature some of my favourite plants and as the backdrop for photographs. The plan is to grow the online part of my business and to work on bigger spaces. My dream really is to just keep going: the long-term aim is to go full time with the plants. I already feel like I’m winning by turning my hobby into a job.

Can you give us some plant styling advice? I’ll always start with the colours, texture and context. For styling interiors or commercial spaces, it all begins with finding out what people want the plants to achieve: Is it purely aesthetic? Do the plants have to be low maintenance? Are they going to be a focal point? From that I can understand which plants would work best in each space in the long term and the short term.

MORE FROM ALICE Follow Alice on Instagram to see more of her styling with plants and to find out which markets she’ll be at: @botanica_studios Visit the Botanica Studio shop to buy a selection of Alice’s recommended plants: www.botanicastudio.co.uk/shop

Do you have any tips for photographing indoor plants? I use my own home, which is decorated with a rich green and millennial pink – my brand colours. Taking pictures in a home instead of on a white background gives the plant a place in your home. It creates an achievable look and I think that is ultimately what my customers want. I shoot all my photos from a similar angles (I don’t do close ups, and I don’t do wide shots) and this naturally creates a uniformity. I fill my home with knick-knacks, so they always sneak into the



Alice loves market days when she can chat with her customers about houseplant choices.

ALICE’S LIFE IN PLANTS The Botanica Studio owner reveals her favourite plants and top tips Houseplant queen and professional plant stylist Alice Dobie nurtures all of her plants in a small flat in Bath. Here she shares some great advice and insights into her growing ambitions…

Ambition plant? Potentially the Monstera deliciosa ‘variegata’ – these are like hen’s teeth to get hold of. If someone wants to send me a cutting, let me know!

Good beginner’s plant? First plant? Not quite my first plant, but a special plant to me is my Swiss cheese plant. I got him for my birthday a couple of years ago and he’s tripled in size. He’s also known as Mcheeseason.

Favourite current plant? I love the Begonia maculata, also known as the polka dot begonia. It’s a typical photogenic Instagram plant. These guys do need a little bit more care but the key to these is moisture. They’re a lower level rainforest plant and this means warm wet air and moist soil.

I have two. Firstly the classic rubber plant, or Ficus elastica. They come in a beautiful variety of colours and can sometimes look painted, the tones are so extraordinary. A particular favourite is the Ficus elastica ‘Belize’ because it’s bright pink! These plants can suit any room, but the key is to really let them dry out between watering. Devil’s ivy is a great starter plant. It’s evergreen all year round and a super-fast grower. It can go in any living space that’s indirectly lit. Fertilise monthly in the growing season (March to September) and if you would like more of them


just take a cutting, pop it in water and watch it grow!

Favourite place for supplies? Charity shops. I’m a huntergatherer and I will always find a beautiful old pot in the back of a British Heart Foundation shop. Sometimes, if it doesn’t have a hole and I think it can handle it, I’ll drill one into the bottom of it.

Top tip for looking after supermarket plants? Supermarket plants will need extra TLC as they’ll have been in a few dark warehouses. Research the plant and find its ideal spot in your home.

The one thing we all need to know about soil? Use potting soil, and mix in compost. Compost is too heavy on its own. Also, add some sand for drainage.


“I do talk to plants nicely. I’d stand taller if someone complimented me, so why is it any different for a plant?”



SMALL SPACES Even with dim light, small corners and hallways offer great ways to greenify your home Words: Cinead McTernan Photography: Mint Images / Getty Images


ot all of us are lucky enough to have outdoor space, or even a window ledge deep enough to grow plants on, but everyone can find room for a houseplant. Once you have the houseplant bug, you won’t be able to walk upstairs without wondering if a Boston fern could fit on a plantstand in the corner of the landing, or consider if a spider plant might add the finishing touch, suspended in a macrame pot-holder in the hallway. Rather than seeing empty spaces, you’ll be seeing potential for a houseplant. While you’ll know the plant-shaped nooks and crannies in your own home, there is plenty of inspiration to be found online from houseplant enthusiasts all over the world, including Judith de Graaff, a Dutch graphic designer living near Paris. There’s plenty to pick up from her super-stylish and quirky Instagram feed (@joelixjoelix), whether it’s just plant choice, a new way to display them or how to combine living foliage with textures and patterns of other home accessories. When it comes to varieties, if you have an empty shelf or surface in an awkward spot, such as a dark, shady corner, don’t be put off – you just have to find the right plant. A maidenhair fern or mother-in-law’s tongue won’t complain lurking in dim light, and both provide interesting foliage

that would work in a traditional or contemporary setting. If size is a consideration, try a succulent in a dainty pot. They’re easy to care for and look spectacular with their strong geometric shapes. An alternative is a Ficus bonsai, which might need a little more attention (pruning is essential), but it’s so alluring that it’ll be a talking point wherever you display it. The fiddle-leaf fig is also great for apartments with high ceilings but minimal floor space. It’s tall but not bushy, and boasts waxy, dark green leaves, which set off alcoves or a makeshift office desk in the corner of a living room or bedroom. Another approach to finding places for houseplants is to think about the spaces in your home where you go to relax, such as a comfy chair next to a bookshelf, or the area where you practise yoga or meditate. Given that houseplants breathe life into an interior and introduce a sense of calm, they are an obvious choice for enhancing relaxation. If you’re a first-timer and not sure about what plant to go for, try a philodendron as it will actually tells you how it’s feeling! If its leaves are turning yellow, it wants you to move it into more shade, and if its leaves are small, it’s hungry and needs a quick fix of liquid plant food to encourage growth. You can’t go wrong!

“If you have a shelf or surface in an awkward spot, don’t be put off – you just PGGF VQ PF VJG right plant ”

Right: There are many plants that thrive with little light, and they make all the difference when it comes to brightening up the dimmest and most awkward-to-reach corners of your home.





Hidden corners Even the tiniest nook can add to your new green sanctuary. Here’s our guide to bringing plants to forgotten spaces‌ Words: Jenny Dixon

Sturdy open shelves are great for zoning rooms without making spaces feel cramped. Plants are a natural extension of this airy feeling and will look good arranged sparsely or as a generous crowd.


Plant ladder

Photography: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz / GettyImages

Photography: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz / GettyImages


Undiscovered spaces

Skinny shelves

Photography: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz / GettyImages

Angle the sofa just a little and you’ve created another plant space behind it. Place the pot on a stool or a sturdy crate (great for extra storage) then recline to appreciate your own green canopy.

Photography: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz / GettyImages

A set of steps makes an interesting – and mobile – houseplant stand. A device like this makes it easy to have a temporary display, or it can be a great alternative to net curtains (just make sure your plants are sun lovers).

Green bedhead A floating shelf above your bed lifts that pile of books off the floor and gives you another surface on which to display your plants. See page 60 for details of the best plants to bring into the bedroom.

On the rails

Photography: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz / GettyImages

Photography: Teeravit Tevutipong / EyeEm/ GettyImages

Quite a generous plant can be happy in a 15cm pot, so a dedicated shelf unit needn’t be much wider and could be tucked neatly against the wall. Open-sided shelves let the air circulate well.

Leaf prints

A simple system of rails – as many as you like – hold plant pots safe with butchers hooks. These are easy to water and to re-arrange when you feel like it. You’re one step away from a living wall!

Continue the lush theme into your decorations. Botanical wallpapers or single leaf prints look neat. When a plant sheds an interesting shape of leaf, use it as a template for a paper cut or simple screen print.


Pegged up

Photography: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz / GettyImages

Photography: Lew Robertson / EyeEm/ GettyImages


Mirror images

Leafy linens

Photography: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz / GettyImages

Try to arrange your favourite plants so they’re opposite mirrors in order to double up the green. This trick will make it seem as if you have amazing botanical portraits in your home too.

Photography: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz / GettyImages

Ring the changes with temporary displays. Tape pruned or dropped leaves of varying shapes and colours to card backing, then peg the cards to a line. It’ll take minutes but will add some extra green to your room.

Living wallpaper

Photography: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz / GettyImages

Guide a climber across a wall with small hooks. Command make strong hooks that can be removed without a trace – perfect for renters or if you’re likely to change your mind! (www.command.com)

Photography: Westend61 / GettyImages

Not quite so beneficial to sleep as the real thing – but still beautiful – leaf-print linens would definitely be on our wish list for a restful night. Nature is the perfect décor inspiration, particularly in the bedroom.

Step up

Climbing frame

If your staircase is wide enough (and you don’t have small children running around) it’s stunning to stage plants on each stair. We can’t all aim for something this dramatic but you get the idea.

Give your climbing plants a bit of encouragement with a decorative indoor trellis. It doesn’t have to be purpose-built – this simple wire notice board is a bit of a bonus design statement too.



INSPIRING WORKSPACE home office or homework space often faces a wall of shelves or a board pinned with an excessive number of ‘to do’ lists. Even this kind of uninspiring corner can be transformed in minutes with some new green friends that need not encroach on your desk space. Pop a trailing plant on the end of a shelf or hang even the smallest woven basket to create a fresh feeling in your working environment. For a selection of ceramic and hanging woven pots, try www.gardentrading.co.uk. Hanging pots pictured, from £8.




Playful pots Try something different with these display ideas 1




1. Rebel, rebel Perfect for your spider (from Mars?) plants, this Bowie plant pot is as wonderful as the late rockstar himself. If you love this adorable mini ceramic plant pot as much as we do, be sure to check out the rest of KraftyKDesign’s creations – there’s even a mini Frida Kahlo, complete with her iconic unibrow. £14.50, www.kraftykdesign.etsy.com

2. Find your feet They’re fun and just a little bit freaky, but we love them! Wherever you choose to put

them, these ceramic planters from Madriguera Workshop will be a real talking point. Choose from the sitting, sprawled and hanging planters, or get your hands on all three and create a trio of leafy friends. 38, www. madrigueraworkshop.com

3. Good chemistry If you’re a bit of a geek at heart, give the terrarium trend a scientific makeover with this lab flask-style planter. It comes with the essential bits and pieces you need to create a fully functioning ecosystem


on your windowsill, including pebbles, activated charcoal and sand. All you need now are a couple of green spiky pals to place inside. £24, www.redcandy.co.uk

4. Perfect prop Bookworms and botanists alike will love these living bookends, made from two halves of a terracotta plant pot. Why not use them to keep your collection of gardening books tidy, or to add a flash of foliage to your bedside table? £17.95, www. allthingsbrightonbeautiful.co.uk

Sweet escape Bring the New York cityscape to your living room with this fire escape-inspired shelf. Made from hand-welded steel, each shelf is linked by staircases and ladders, just like the real thing, with safety rails to stop your precious plants from slipping. You can almost see Holly Golightly strumming a guitar on the steps. ÂŁ99, www.redcandy.co.uk




It’s always fun to see if you can make an avocado stone sprout, and now you can do it in style. Ilex Studio (www.ilexstudio.com) are launching a vase that tapers towards the top to make a comfortable spot for the stone to sit and extend its roots into the water below. They make elegant acorn vases too. You can also buy special saucers to balance over the glass vessel of your choice. Design Sprout (www.designsprout.nl) offer them in avocado and acorn sizes. We like the idea of growing these tiny trees in chemistry flasks and beakers to look like you have a scientific experiment in progress. #acornsprouting SEASONAL AWARENESS

Most houseplants won’t be so thirsty in the colder months, nor will they benefit from feeds as they do in the warmer growing season. In winter many will be dormant and just need you to check on them every now and then. You might also like to change their position in the room to take account of draughts or hot spots from central heating.

The tiniest of spaces can be home to a succulent. Pick a squat, fairly heavy pot and you have a novel paperweight for your desk. (See page 47 for just the right pot.) A trio of mini succulents will take up next to no space and add a green hue to working from home. Aside from desk duty, succulents will also live happily in novelty containers such as old teacups – redo your bookshelves to create spaces to display them (ideally at the front of the shelf for maximum light).


Photography: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz / GettyImages



It’s easy to embrace a more eco-friendly lifestyle. In this beautiful, practical journal you’ll w ` iÛiÀ `> `i>Ã v À reducing your carbon footprint, creating a chemical-free home and Û } > âiÀ Ü>ÃÌi vi° And there’s space to record your progress, too!


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ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY! ORDER ONLINE WWW.BUYSUBSCRIPTIONS.COM/SAVETHEPLANET OR CALL 03330 162 138 † AND QUOTE ‘SAVE THE PLANET PRINT 1’ † UK calls will cost the same as other standard fixed line numbers (starting 01 or 02) and are included as part of any inclusive or free minutes allowances (if offered by your phone tariff). Outside of free call packages call charges from mobile phones will cost between 3p and 55p per minute. Lines are open Mon-Fri 8am-6pm and Saturday 9am-1pm for orders only. Overseas please call +44 (0)1604 973 746. * Price applies to UK orders only. EUR price £11.99, ROW price £12.99. All prices include P&P. All orders subject to availability. Please allow up to 28 days for delivery.


Plant inspiration Instagram is the most exciting place to discover new planting ideas. Prepare to lose yourself for an hour or three‌

Photography: Seija Margareta

Words: Katie Allen


Photography: Olle Eriksson

Photography: Lore Mingels


Ghent-based photographer and stylist Lore Mingels showcases houseplants in all their dramatic glory. We love her use of shadows on glossy dark leaves.

Olle Eriksson has the dream job of plant consultant. Check out his feed for striking photos, stories, top tips and a chance to ask him questions.


Photography: Forrest Fig

Photography: Christopher Griffin


%JTKUVQRJGT )TKH P JCU packed more than 80 plants into his Brooklyn apartment, and a love for all things botanical QXGT QYU KP VJKU LQ[HWN CEEQWPV

Urban jungle enthusiasts Tina and Alex take gorgeous photos of the plants in their home – and of their cute assistant, toy poodle Kewpie.





Photography: Olle Eriksson

Swedish plant consultant Olle Eriksson currently lives in Panama, where his green obsession continues to thrive. @upleafting



Jamie Song fills his London home with creatively displayed plants that make the most of the natural light and space. @jamies_jungle


Photography: Fern Mama

Photography: JoeLix


Be inspired to bring plants into your home with Judith de Graaff’s bright photos. She’s also the co-author of the beautiful new book Urban Jungle.

Expect scrumptious layouts and enviable interiors in the feed of photographer and plant-lover Sarah, whose six-year-old daughter took this fun snap.


Photography: Jamie Song

Photography: Romainle Chartrain


French digital community manager Romain adores orchids. Follow her account for stylish photographs that show off the beauty of a single bloom.

Jamie Song’s sunny London home is a lush jungle of tropical plants and has been featured on Gardener’s World. Lose yourself in his photos for an afternoon!

Photography: Jamie Song




Photography: Seija Margareta

Photography: Karen Helveg


Danish designer Karin Helvig loves houseplants, coffee and cats. Her photos take a close look at her favourite plants – roots and all…



Photography: Mohamed Osman

Photography: The Dutch Plant Addicts


Enjoy stunning images of this Dutch couple’s growing plant collection – as well as little facts CDQWV GCEJ QPG )GV KPURKTGF D[ their vertical plant wall, too.

/QJCOGF 1UOCP TUV DQWIJV some cacti to look after while he recovered from a cardiac arrest. His popular account shows daily


life in his seriously green home. @behind_the_seeds



Photography: Seija Margareta

In her self-proclaimed urban jungle in Helsinki, Seija Margareta fills her home with different varieties including cacti of all shapes and sizes. @plantsandcollecting



BOOKS TO HELP YOU GROW Recommended reading for first-timers and expert plant owners alike Words: Davina Rungasamy / Jenny Dixon Illustrations: Aleksandra Stanglewicz

How To Make A Plant Love You At Home With Plants

Summer Rayne Oakes (Portfolio)

Ian Drummond & Kara O’Reilly (Mitchell Beazley)

This essential book is invaluable for anybody who’s just starting off in the world of houseplants. Everything you need to know about keeping plants indoors – from pots and practicalities to displaying and maintaining – is covered here, all clearly laid out, with tips dispensed in a friendly way. The sections that look at keeping plants in specific place – such as bedside tables, working spaces or areas for children – are particularly helpful, with informative and oftenfascinating details that offer a good insight into the health benefits of plants too. Each page inspires with excellent photography that shows exactly what’s possible with the notso-humble houseplant.

Plantopia Camille Soulayrol (Flammation)

In this book, queen of houseplants Summer Rayne Oakes shares her thoughts and explains in-depth about the myriad benefits plants can offer to the body, mind and soul, ultimately leading to greater happiness. Using plenty of historical examples as well as anecdotes, case studies and scientifically backed-up evidence, this charming book is more of a meditative read rather than a hands-on practical guide, although there’s still plenty to inspire the green-fingered. Turn to page 30 to find out more about Summer’s life with plants.


As a stylist and co-editor at Marie-Claire Idées, Camille Soulayrol has brought plenty of French flair to the pages of Plantopia, but the book also has much to offer beneath the surface too. Although the pages contain lots of useful advice on keeping and displaying plants, where Plantopia really shines is with its many DIY projects that range from terrarium and cactus ideas to creating indoor trellises, dried wreaths and hangers and stands for your plants. The craft-minded will also enjoy the embroidery, paper-cutting and illustration projects, while there’s plenty here to encourage even more plant-based wellbeing with ideas for relaxing infusions and home-made beauty products.

The New Plant Parent Darryl Cheng (Abrams Image)

This in-depth guide starts off with a philosophical look at owning and raising plants before offering ‘plant parents’ plenty of detailed advice. The book is split into two sections: Caring for Plants and Plant Care Journal. And it’s the latter that fascinates, offering an individual look at 19 varieties and observing the unique development of each one. For instance, the ‘Observations from Monstera Parenthood’ pages chronicle the author’s first day with an unruly Monstera deliciosa, with images as well as text, to show exactly what it’s possible to achieve when you give your plants a decent upbringing.

Wild At Home Hilton Carter (CICO Books)

US-based plant stylist Hilton Carter shares his top advice on how to make your houseplants look fabulous, wherever you display them in your home. Wild At Home contains a wealth of beautiful photography that shows off many intriguing and unique ideas, which include a ‘plant throne’ and ‘plant hammock’ (turn to page 72 to try this for yourself). The Home Tours also give readers a glimpse into four couples’ homes to reveal how Hilton transformed their living spaces with plants. An inspiring book packed with ideas for homes of all styles and sizes. For more insight into Hilton’s creative world, turn to page 52.


The Healing Power Of Plants Fran Bailey (Pop Press)

This is a real gem of a handbook. Digestible descriptions and care advice for 80 plants earn its place on your bookshelf, but it has so much more to offer. As the title suggests, it’s approach comes from considering what all these plants can do for us in our homes. You can choose your new houseplant by room or by its superpowers. (This writer had a long wishlist after reading about the plants that aid your concentration at your desk!) Author Fran Bailey has a lifetime of horticultural experience to draw upon. She was brought up on a cut-flower farm, studied horticulture, trained as a florist and opened the Forest plant store in 2013, with branches in Deptford and East Dulwich.


TOOLS, LIGHT AND WATERING Take the time to pick up a few basics and your plants will show their gratitude. Plant care is easy but also enjoyable… Words: Ian Drummond / Kara O’Reilly


Very little specialist equipment is needed for good plant care but as your obsession grows you might like treat yourself to an elegant mister and miniature gardening tools. LIGHT

general, light levels are reduced the closer you are to the ceiling, which is worth noting when choosing plants for cupboard tops or hanging plant displays. It’s said that clean, dust-free windows may raise light levels by as much as 10 per cent. Although we haven’t tested this scientifically, it’s worth bearing in mind.

The basic building blocks for every plant’s survival are light, water and carbon dioxide. Our school biology classes may GUIDING LIGHT remind us why they’re crucial: a This is a rough guide to which plant ‘drinks’ water, ‘breathes’ light conditions suit which types of carbon dioxide and harnesses plants. To be on the safe side, check light to photosynthesise, using the requirements of your chosen the chloroplasts (which give a plant plants before you buy. its green colour) in its leaf cells to convert light energy into * Shade Note that no plant will sugar, or, in other words, survive perpetually low TIP plant food. Oxygen light levels. The paler the colour is a by-product of * Semi-shade of the walls and ceiling, the this process. If (hallways more natural light is reflected any element is and shady around the room; the opposite missing, the spots). Suitable is true for dark colours, which plant cannot for hardy foliage absorb light. Be aware of this make food and plants such as when you’re selecting will die. Aspidistra elatior and positioning Although the (cast iron your plants. brightness of light plant), Sansevieria needed by each plant trifasciata (mothervaries, they do all need light to in-law’s tongue), Zamioculcas some degree for at least 12 hours a zamiifolia (fern arum), compactday in the growing season. When growing Dracaena. deciding which houseplants to * Bright (the average light living have where, take into account not room). Suits nearly all plants. Try only the amount of light they require palms, flowering plants such as but also the light levels in each room. orchids and bulbs, and foliage plants Observe where the light comes in with variegated leaves. and when, where any shadows form, * Sunlight (bright windowsills). and how the light moves and changes Choose cacti and succulents, herbs in intensity during the day. In and members of the Ficus (fig) family.


* Full sunlight (windowsills of a south-facing window). Most houseplants dislike being in direct sunlight, especially in summer, as the sun will ‘burn’ their leaves. THE DANGER SIGNS When there’s too little light: * Leaves start to turn yellow * Variegated leaves will turn completely green * Leaves drop * Potting compost stays damp and doesn’t dry out as quickly as expected. It may become waterlogged if you continue to water When there’s too much light: * Leaves wilt * Leaves can suffer from brown tips or brown ‘scorch’ patches * Potting compost dries too quickly WHEN & HOW TO WATER

In caring for houseplants, we’re most likely to slip up with the watering. All plants need water to some degree in order to survive. Fact. If a plant dries out, it becomes weak and therefore prone to pests and disease. Ditto if it’s too wet. There are no hard and fast rules about the frequency of watering – it depends on the plant type, its size and the time of the year, among other things. For all houseplants, except orchids, pour water into the gap between the plant and the potting compost until the space between the top of the compost and the lip of the container is filled with water – using

* Group plants together in a cool spot, away from direct sunlight, to raise the humidity levels around them. Even if you have a plant sitter, grouping your plants together will help them do their job more efficiently. * Water all your plants thoroughly just before your departure but don’t leave them standing in water, such as in a bathtub. * In winter, leave the heating on – houseplants need a minimum temperature of 15ºC (59ºF) – ideally, 18-21ºC (64-70ºF), which is room temperature. * Watch this space: the development of app-enabled watering systems is underway, which will enable you to water your plants remotely, no matter where you are. DANGER SIGNS When there’s too much water: * Young and old leaves fall at the same time * Leaves develop brown patches * Plant generally looks a bit mouldy * Plant develops root rot, with mushy looking dark roots that can start to smell unpleasant

It is best to use tepid (room temperature) water. Never leave a houseplant standing in water.

a small, long-spouted watering can is the easiest way to do this. Also, try to avoid getting water on the leaves and flowers, as this can damage them. Leave to stand for up to ten minutes to allow excess water to drain through the compost. If there’s still water sitting on the top, carefully pour it off. There’s a difference between keeping the compost moist – which is what most plants want – and wet, which can lead to waterlogging and root rot. Plants need watering more often in spring and summer (the growing season) than in winter. The general

When there’s too little water: * Leaf edges turn brown and dry * Leaves wilt and look limp * Lower leaves curl and turn yellow * Leaves may become translucent

rule of thumb is that if the top of the compost looks dry and powdery, you need to water. HAPPY PLANT HOLIDAYS

It’s generally safe to leave your houseplants unattended for up to two weeks. However, if they’re left for any longer – especially during the summer growing season – you’re taking the risk of plant armageddon when you return. If you can’t arrange to get a friendly plant sitter, there are a few things you can do to avert a disaster:


This advice is adapted from At Home With Plants by Ian Drummond and Kara O’Reilly, images by Nick Pope. Published by Mitchell Beazley, £20. You can find out more about this book at www.octopusbooks.co.uk


REPOTTING YOUR PLANT Repotting your plant is essential to keep it healthy and growing. Here’s how to change your pot in a few simple steps Words: Darryl Cheng


Whenever you take a plant out of its pot, you should take the opportunity to perform a few helpful maintenance tasks to ensure the roots re-establish themselves as quickly as possible.

Steps 1 and 2 First, unpot the plant. If the pot is planted in a plastic nursery pot, you can squeeze the base of the pot as you gently pull the entire plant out. If the pot is rigid, you can use a small trowel to separate the root ball from the outer edges of the pot as you pull up the plant.

Step 3 Check for any rotting roots – they’ll be dark brown or black and mushy. Remove these!

Steps 6 and 7 Fill the bottom of the pot with some soil and tamp it down gently so it’s fairly compressed. The height of this base layer should allow your plant to sit with its soil line about half an inch from the top of the pot. This will make watering more convenient, as you can allow the water to initially pool on the surface of the soil and let it gradually seep down, ensuring an even distribution of moisture.

Step 8 Place the plant in the centre of the pot. Using a small trowel/scoop, fill the pot with soil from the sides of the root ball. You can gently shake the pot to get the soil to settle around the roots – you want the soil to fill in the spaces between the roots.

Step 9 Step 4 Using a chopstick, gently tease apart the root ball as much as possible without breaking the roots (but don’t worry if you do). It’s more important that you untangle the root ball to give the roots a head start in establishing themselves in the new soil.

Continue to fill and settle the soil until you reach the top of the pot. Then gently tamp down the soil. It should now sit at least a half inch below the rim of the pot. I use a curtain tie to hold up the foliage, as it makes it easier to see your soil line as you work!

Step 5

Step 10

Cover the drainage hole with a piece of landscape fabric instead of a piece of broken clay pot. Just buy yourself one roll, and it should last you through several years of plant parenthood. It’s cheap, lets water through, and who has pieces of broken clay pots lying around?

If the soil level is even with or above the rim of the pot, proper watering will be an annoying task, since some water will roll off the soil surface, getting soil particles everywhere. Whenever you repot, it’s best to get the soil surface to sit half an inch or more below the rim of the pot. This


gives the pooled water a chance to trickle down into the rest of the soil.

Step 11 Bring the newly potted plant to the sink or a place where water can drain away, and water the plant thoroughly. Put the plant where it can see as much of the sky as possible but be shielded from the sun. You want the plant to get bright indirect light but not be burned by direct sun. The next time this plant needs water, move it to its usual growing space.

This advice is adapted from The New Plant Parent: Develop Your Green Thumb And Care For Your Houseplant Family by Darryl Cheng. Published by Abrams Image, £17.99.

Photography: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz / GettyImages

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4 5 6

7 8 9

10 11



PROPAGATION TECHNIQUES Grow new plants from the ones you already own with these straightforward methods Words: Jason Chongue




Plant types: Begonia, Peperomia, Saintpaulia

Plant types: Monstera, Epipremnum, Philodendron, Cissus

Plant types: Begonia, Peperomia

You will need

You will need

You will need

Secateurs, rooting aid/hormone (optional), propagating pots or tray filled with soil

Secateurs, propagating pots or tray filled with soil

Scissors or secateurs, sharp knife, propagating pots or trays filled with soil

Step 1 Step 1 Using secateurs or scissors, trim off a healthy leaf close to the stem. Remove the petiole (the stalk that joins the leaf to the main plant stem) so only the leaf remains.

Step 2 Dip the cut end into rooting hormone (if using).

Using your secateurs, take a cutting from your main plant by trimming a piece of the branch or stem between nodes (the points on the stem from which leaves or buds grow). Make sure it’s a straight cut and keep the leaf attached. You only require one node but you can propagate with more. Propagating with more nodes on the one cutting will create a more established plant.

Step 3 Place the cut end partially into soil. Make sure the tip of the leaf cutting is above the soil’s surface. Water the soil thoroughly, ensuring it’s drenched, but allow the soil to drain to avoid the pot sitting in water.

Step 4 Put your cutting on a bright windowsill that receives dappled light. It often helps to place the cutting in a mini greenhouse to speed up propagation.

Step 1 Select a large healthy leaf from the main plant. Remove it at the petiole with some sharp secateurs or scissors.

Step 2 Make wedge-shaped cuts through the leaf with a sharp knife, ensuring each wedge contains a central vein.

Step 3 Step 2 Plant the cutting so that the stem sits horizontally under the soil’s surface. Allow the remaining leaf/leaves to sit above the soil. Water your cutting so the soil is completely drenched. Allow the pot to drain freely and ensure the soil mixture is kept moist without the pot sitting in water.

Step 3 Place on a bright windowsill in dappled light.


Place the central veined section into soil approximately 2cm (¾in) deep.

Step 4 Water your cuttings so the soil is completely drenched. Allow the pot to drain freely and ensure the soil mixture is kept moist without the pot sitting in water. Place on a bright windowsill in dappled light.




Plant type: Philodendron, Monstera, Ficus, Hoya

Plant types: Spathiphyllum, Aspidistra

Plant types: Pilea, Chlorophytum

You will need

You will need

You will need

Secateurs, rooting aid/hormone (optional), propagating pots or tray filled with soil

Sharp knife, trowel, new pot filled with soil

Sharp knife/secateurs, new pot filled with propagating mix

Step 1

Step 1

Remove the plant you’re dividing from its pot.

Suckers (or runners) are root sprouts that appear as small plants. Remove smaller plants from a mother plant by cutting the sucker at the base of the main plant with a knife or secateurs.

Step 1

Using your secateurs, cut a branch from a plant you want to prune – make sure it’s a straight cut just Step 2 below the node or leaf joint. Separate the crown of the Your cutting should have plant (the area where the TIP at least three nodes. stem joins the roots) For a propagating into several groupings soil mix for germinating Step 2 of plants. With a seeds and propagating Using your secateurs sharp knife or trowel, cuttings, combine 1 cup again, remove two to cut through the root peat moss with 1 cup three leaves from the and base of the plant vermiculite. bottom of the cutting. leaving more than one plant in each divided group.

Step 3 Dip the bottom of the cutting in rooting hormone (if using) and place it into soil. Water the soil thoroughly, ensuring it’s drenched, but allow the soil to drain to avoid the pot sitting in water.

Step 3 Plant the divided plants into pots as per the repotting tips on page 126. Water them so the soil is drenched. Allow the pot to drain freely and ensure the soil mixture is kept moist without the pot sitting in water.

Step 4 You can also put the cutting directly into water and allow it to strike roots. It will be ready to plant into soil when it has developed a root system about 5cm (2 in) or more in length. The longer you let your cutting’s root system develop, the less likely it is to go into shock when transplanted.

Step 4 Place the plants in an area that receives dappled light and protect them from hard winds and direct sunlight. Once the root system has developed and filled out the pot they can be potted up.

Step 5 Place your stem cutting on a bright windowsill in dappled light.


Step 2 Suckers should only be removed once they’ve developed some mature leaves with a few evident roots at the base of the sucker.

Step 3 Plant your suckers in propagating mix. Water them so the soil is drenched. Allow the pot to drain freely and ensure the soil is kept moist without the pot sitting in water.

Step 4 Put them somewhere that receives dappled light but keep them sheltered from extreme sunlight and wind. Once the root system has developed they can be repotted.

This advice is adapted from Plant Society by Jason Chongue, photography by Armelle Habib. Published by Hardie Grant, £15.




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With thanks to… Katie Allen, Darryl Cheng, Susan Dixon, Cecilia Forfitt, Cinead McTiernan, Kara O’Reilly, Coraleigh Parker, Camille Soulayrol, Aleksandra Stanglewicz, Julia Wills, Stuart Wilson



Transform your home into a green sanctuary with plants that clean the air, ease anxiety, improve wellbeing and look great in any room. Our guide will help you start growing today.



Perfect plants for your home Your guide to easy-care plants for every room

In association with


Welcome to the world of houseplants! urning the pages of this guide, it’s tempting to hear everything shouting ‘take me home!’, and before you know it you’ll have a shopping basket full of fabulous foliage. However, it’s worth taking a little time to assess the growing conditions in your house to ensure your plants will appreciate their new home. When you’re adding plants to your home, the effect is stunning. Any room is suddenly more tranquil and inviting. While you’re creating your ‘look’, keep in mind that plants aren’t static ornaments or accessories – they’re living entities that need to be in a spot to suit them. The single most important thing to look at is the light level. While you might like to stand in full sun, many plants won’t tolerate it. Next comes the temperature of the room – is it a chilly hallway or that living room shelf close to the radiator? Humidity is another vital consideration. Some plants will adore living in your bathroom – and even being in the shower with you – while others prefer near-desert conditions. Get the location right and a plant can be with you for years and will even be happy to move house with you. It just needs a little thought. To start you off, we’ve created this at-a-glance guide on the opposite page. You can see which plants are considered easy to care for and the conditions they prefer. We’ve also indicated the best locations based on typical room conditions – for instance, a bathroom-lover like a fern yearns for the kind of humidity not commonly found in a living room or bedroom, while a cast iron plant shrinks from sunlight and will settle happily into a gloomy corner of the hall. Once you’ve identified the right plant for you, just turn to the page indicated to find a more in-depth profile of your potential new housemate. And don’t worry, you’re not alone in this – your plant will tell you if it would like to move. You just need to pay it a little attention and ask if it’s feeling its best each day.

Illustrations: GettyImages



At-a-glance guide Page Easy care

Common name

Botanical name




Cast iron plant



Chinese money plant

Pilea peperomioides


Fiddle-leaf fig

Ficus lyrata


Swiss cheese plant

Monstera deliciosa


String of pearls

Senecio rowleyanus


String of hearts

Ceropegia woodi


Snake plant

Sansevieria zeylanica


Peace lily

Spathiphyllum Lima


Devil’s ivy

Epipremnum aureum (golden pothos)


Jade plant

Crassula ovata (sunset)


Parlour palm

Chamaedorea elegans


Delta maidenhair fern

Adiantum fragrans


Hallway Home office

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1 “Its graceful outlines will add a cool, sophisticated accent to any room”

CAST IRON PLANT Aspidistra Fully deserving of its common name, cast iron plant, the aspidistra is extremely resilient and has a wonderful ability to thrive on very little care. The fact that it also copes with pollution gives rise to its alternative name, bar-room plant. The aspidistra is an elegant foliage plant with tough, leathery leaves, perfect for a shady corner where other plants may fail. It can also be kept outdoors during warmer months. A firm favourite with the Victorians, Aspidistra elatior is an excellent choice for the modern home. Its graceful outlines will add a cool, sophisticated accent to any room. Smaller plants are ideal in a pot to complement the surrounding décor, while larger specimens make a bold, confident statement when stood on the floor.

Care & information Light

Happy in bright, indirect light or a dark, gloomy corner. Avoid full sunlight. Very tolerant of shade.

Height and growth rate

1 metre. Slow growing.


Keep moist and evenly watered in summer, but more sparingly in winter. Moist but not constantly wet soil is the optimum.


South East Asia: Japan and Taiwan.


Average warmth with a minimum of 7-10°C.

Care tips

Wash the leaves occasionally to remove accumulated dust.


Apply a weak feed every 1-2 months during the growing season.


2 “This is very much on trend, with cool, minimalist, urban appeal”

CHINESE MONEY PLANT Pilea peperomioides Also known as the missionary plant or pass-it-on plant, Pilea peperomioides is a delightful little succulent, with smooth, round, fleshy, mid-green leaves on long, elegant stalks. It likes a warm, bright

room, so it’s great to have in your kitchen. If you’re looking for a chic, modern houseplant, then this is it. It’s very much on trend with cool, minimalist, urban appeal. Every shelf should have one.

Care & information Light

Moderate to bright, indirect light but will tolerate partial shade. Avoid direct sunlight.


Apply a half-strength balanced fertiliser once or twice a month during the growing season.


Water when the soil has begun to dry out. Note: the leaves will begin to droop if the plant needs to be watered. Don’t let the plant sit in water.

Height and growth rate

Can reach up to 25-30cm. Fast growing.


Average to warm temperatures from 16-24°C but can cope with as low as 10°C.


Southern China.


Pilea peperomioides needs fairly high humidity levels. Use a pebble tray or water surround.


3 “This charming and graceful fern is often grown in terrariums”

DELTA MAIDENHAIR FERN Adiantum fragrans With its arching, wiry, black stems and delicate, pale green, triangular fronds, Delta maidenhair fern is everything you’d want from an elegant fern. This charming and graceful plant is often grown in terrariums where humidity levels are high

and it can thrive. For this reason, it also works really well in steamy bathrooms and kitchens. Adiantum raddianum fragrans is also known as Adiantum cuneatum and Adiantum rubellum.

Care & information guide Light

Prefers bright, indirect light such as that filtered through a curtain. Can cope in shade but may lose some of its vibrancy. Dislikes direct sunlight.


Liquid fertiliser can be applied in a weak solution during the growing season.


Keep the soil moist at all times and don’t allow the roots to dry out.

Height and growth rate

Indoor height 30-50cm. Slow growing.


Average household temperatures 16-24°C. Avoid draughts.


Brazil and Venezuela.


Needs plenty of humidity, making it ideal for growing in a steamy bathroom or kitchen. Raise humidity by using a pebble tray filled with water, and mist regularly.

Care tips

Remove any damaged fronds immediately.

06 706

4 DEVIL’S IVY Epipremnum aureum Epipremnum aureum has large, glossy green leaves with irregular cream and yellow streaks and blotches, and is valued for its air-purifying qualities. The variety Golden Pothos also tolerates lower light levels without losing its variegation and looks best displayed in a hanging pot. Pinch out the tips for a bushier plant. Common names for this plant are devil’s ivy, ivy arum and Ceylon creeper. Latin synonyms are Epipremnum pinnatum Aureum (mainly in the US and Canada) and Scindapsus aureus (in Europe).

“The large glossy leaves are valued for their air-purifying qualities”

Care & information Light

Medium light conditions.


Apply a weak general-purpose fertiliser during the summer.


Water when slightly dry. Drought tolerant. Too much water will kill the plant.

Height and growth rate

Fast growing. Trails will continue to grow and grow for anything up to 20m. Cut back to maintain desired length.


Happy in normal room temperatures from 10-24°C.


Mildly toxic to humans, harmful to pets. Keep away from children and animals.


Prefers increased levels of humidity but will tolerate normal conditions.


French Polynesia.

07 707

5 FIDDLE-LEAF FIG Ficus lyrata If you’re looking for a Ficus with a difference, this one packs a punch. Ficus lyrata has huge, glossy leaves with prominent veins. The leaves are much larger than most other Ficus, growing up to 30cm long and 13cm wide, with a fabulous fiddle-like shape. They often have brown spotting and markings, particularly on the underside, but can drop off if there’s insufficient light. If you trim the plant into shape it will ooze a sticky latex that can be an irritant, so it’s a good idea to wear gloves.

“The leaves are much larger than on other Ficus, with a fabulous fiddle-like shape”

Care & information guide Light

Ficus lyrata prefers bright, indirect light but can tolerate some shade and some direct (but not harsh or midday) morning or afternoon sun.


Apply a weak dose of a fertiliser once or twice a month during the growing season.


Water when the soil starts to become slightly dry at the top. Keep the soil moist at all times, but don’t over water as this will cause brown spots and leaf drop.

Height and growth rate

Ultimate indoor height 3m. Slow growing.


Ideal temperatures are 16-24°C. Avoid cold draughts.


Considered poisonous, therefore keep away from children and animals.


No specific requirements, although the occasional misting wouldn’t go amiss.


Western Africa.

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6 “This popular succulent has been found in homes for generations”

JADE PLANT Crassula ovata The jade plant, commonly called the money plant, is a very popular succulent houseplant that’s been found on shelves for generations. (It’s not to be confused with the money tree, which is the common name for Pachira aquatica.) Once established as a mature plant it forms a tree-like structure, with a thick trunk and branches. Leaves are thick and

fleshy in a deep, glossy jade, sometimes with a red tinge at the edge. New growth starts on stems of the same colour and texture as the leaves, but this hardens into a brown, woody stem over time. They’re very easy to care for, provided they have plenty of light. As they store water in their fleshy leaves, they don’t need a lot of attention.

Care & information Bright, indirect sunlight. A few hours of direct sunlight a day wouldn’t hurt. It will tolerate some degree of shade but won’t do as well.


A weak solution of liquid fertiliser once a month or so.


Water well then allow the soil to dry out before watering again. This plant hates sitting in water.

Height and growth rate

Jade Plants have been known to reach large proportions given time – even reaching over 2 metres in height. However, the growth rate is slow to moderate and it will take years, if not decades, to achieve such splendour.


Average room temperatures of 15-24°C with a minimum of 10°C.


Known to be poisonous to pets. Keep away from animals.


Normal humidity conditions, although they’ll tolerate higher levels and don’t mind being misted.


South Africa and Mozambique.


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7 “The perfect plant for those of us who like lowmaintenance room-mates”

PARLOUR PALM Chamaedorea elegans The parlour palm was popular with the Victorians and remains a firm favourite. An elegant plant, easy to look after, with excellent air purifying qualities, it’s undemanding in terms of light, water, temperature, humidity and feeding, making it perfect for those of us who like low-maintenance room-mates. Chamaedorea elegans has bright green leaves on slender, arching stems. The

leaves are pinnate, meaning they have feathered leaflets arranged on either side of the stem. With the parlour palm, these leaflets form opposite pairs and there can be as many as 40 leaflets on each leaf. Small yellow flowers appear on mature plants if they have sufficient light. Chamaedorea elegans also has the Latin name Neanthe bella. Its other common name is the dwarf mountain palm.

Care & information Light

Shade tolerant. Brighter, indirect sunlight will encourage flowering.


Feed with a weak solution every few weeks during the growing season. Do not feed during the winter.


Water once the soil begins to dry out. Do not overwater, and ensure the plant has proper drainage to prevent root rot.

Height and growth rate

Ultimate indoor height 1-1.5m. Slow growing.


Average household temperatures above 18°C. Needs a minimum of 10°C in winter and at night.


Mexico and Central America.


Can tolerate some dry, indoor air, but does better with a little extra humidity and will appreciate the occasional misting with lukewarm water, which will also help keep the leaves free of dust. Brown leaf tips are an indication that the plant is not getting enough humidity. 10 710

8 “This plant filters out airborne toxins such as formaldehyde and benzene”

PEACE LILY Spathiphyllum Lima Spathiphyllum wallisii Lima is a mid-sized peace lily with lots of beautiful, glossy, dark green leaves and large white spathes that last for weeks. This plant filters out airborne toxins – including substances such as formaldehyde and benzene – so it’s good for you as well as looking wonderful in your home.

Care & information Light

Moderate to bright, indirect light preferred. Will adapt to lower light levels.


Apply a weak dose of a liquid fertiliser once or twice a month during the growing season.


Keep the soil moist at all times. Allow the top of the soil to dry out slightly before watering. The plant will start to droop if it needs more water. Ensure adequate drainage.

Height and growth rate

Ultimate height around 70cm. Moderate growth rate.


Average room temperatures from 18-24°C but can cope with as low as 12°C in winter.


Mildly toxic if eaten.


Enjoys increased levels of humidity if possible. Mist regularly.


South America.

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9 “The glossy leaves create a fantastic impact with their perforations”

SWISS CHEESE PLANT Monstera deliciosa The Swiss cheese plant was a ’70s classic, and its retro-chic appeal makes it just as popular today – and rightly so. Its glossy, heart-shaped leaves create a fantastic impact with their perforations and lobes, which develop as the leaf matures. It’s actually a climber, using its aerial roots in its native rainforests to scale

enormous heights. Grown indoors it needs space and looks great in a hallway, conservatory or a corner of an open-plan living space. Monstera deliciosa is easy to care for so long as it has moist, warm conditions. Wipe the leaves occasionally to remove accumulated dust.

Care & information Light

Prefers bright, indirect light but will tolerate moderate shade. Avoid direct sunlight.


Feed once a month with a balanced fertiliser during the growing period.


Water when the soil has started to dry out.

Height and growth rate

Use a moss pole to support the plant (the roots will cling to this for support) or cut back if it gets too big. Slow to moderate growth but depends upon the conditions.


Monstera deliciosa likes warm conditions from 18-27°C. Anything lower than this will reduce the plant’s growth rate. It will tolerate 12°C and above but keep away from cold draughts.


Leaves are poisonous, so keep it away from pets and children.


Happy with average to high humidity levels. Cannot cope in dry air situations.


Mexico and Central America.

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10 “Easy to care for, shade-loving, air-purifying… these plants have it all”

SNAKE PLANT Sansevieria zeylanica Sansevieria zeylanica is a tough, hardy plant. The long, sword-like leaves are dark green with wavy lighter green and white bands. They have rather a rugged, shabby-chic appearance. Sansevieria zeylanica aren’t as common as Sansevieria trifasciata, but they are just as bullet-proof and just as stunning. Easy to care for, shade-loving, hard to kill, air-purifying... these beautiful plants have it all.

Care & information Light

Best in moderate to bright, indirect light but will adapt to low light conditions too.

Height and growth rate

Ultimate height 75-100cm. Slow growing.


Allow the soil to dry out before watering, then water thoroughly and allow to drain freely. Do not allow the plant to sit in water as this will cause root rot.


Mildly toxic if eaten. Keep away from children and animals.


Happy anywhere from 15-23°C and as low as 10°C for short periods.


Tropical West Africa.


Apply a weak dose of cactus or general-purpose feed once a month at most during the growing season. Sansevieria are low maintenance plants and do not require a lot of supplementary feeding. 13 713

11 STRING OF HEARTS Ceropegia woodii Love will definitely be in the air with this charming, trailing semi-succulent vine. Ceropegia woodii has small heartshaped leaves with a delightful green lace pattern that grow in opposite pairs along a trailing vine. The pinkish-purple undersides of the leaves and stems add a romantic hue. Also known as rosary vine or chain of hearts, Ceropegia woodii is not truly a succulent, but it does store water in its stems and you’d look after it in much the same way as a succulent. It’s extremely easy to look after and very tolerant of neglect. It’s perfect for hanging baskets. String of hearts vines are coiled by growers to protect them in transit. On opening, gently unfurl the coils and tease apart the vines around the pot. Let the coils hang for several days before continuing to gently separate the vines. Some leaf loss is unavoidable, but they’re fast growing plants and will regenerate quickly. You can trim back some of the vines if they become too straggly.

“The pinkish purple undersides of the leaves add a romantic hue”

Care & information Light

Bright light, including some direct early morning or evening sunlight, will enhance the colour.


A weak solution of balanced fertiliser once a month during summer.


Drought tolerant, but for best results keep the soil lightly moist. Water sparingly in winter. Do not over-water.

Height and growth rate

Ultimate height 10cm with trailing stems up to 2 meters. Relatively fast growing.


Normal room temperature anywhere between 18-24°C. Protect from draughts.


Not known to be toxic, but keep away from animals to be on the safe side.


Will enjoy raised humidity levels but most of the time it’s happy in normal household conditions.


South West Africa.

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12 “This plant is perfect for hanging baskets or cascading from shelves”

STRING OF PEARLS Senecio rowleyanus Senecio rowleyanus is a wonderful succulent with amazing, trailing stems of oval, bead-like leaves, each with a vertical, semi-translucent line running to its tip which assists photosynthesis. Flowers appear on tall, slender stems as small, white fuzzy daisies. String of Pearls plants are relatively fast growing so give them room to trail for green impact – they’re perfect for hanging baskets or cascading from shelves. This is a close relative of Senecio herreianus – AKA String of Beads.

Care & information Light

Bright, indirect light. Some morning or late afternoon sun would be a bonus.

Height and growth rate

Ultimate height/length 1m. Fast growing.


Senecio are very drought tolerant, storing water in their leaves. Allow the soil to dry out between watering. Do not over-water or allow the plants to sit in water.


Mildly toxic if eaten. Keep away from children and animals.


Warm room temperatures of 21-24°C are perfect in summer. Cooler winter temperatures around 13-16°C will help to maintain good plant health and encourage blooming.


Southwest Africa.


A weak solution of balanced fertiliser once a month during summer.

Care tips

Simply trim to desired length if they become too long or straggly.

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Living with Plants  

Living with Plants