Indoor plants. What do we mean?
Well, more appropriately, we mean: low light and shade tolerant plants.
LOW light does not equal NO light? ALL plants need to be able to carry out photosynthesis so light from the sun is an essential ingredient (whether this be direct or filtered).
It has been proven (have a look, you'll find it all over google search): Plants have this incredible ability to make you feel calm, serene, and somehow - very vaguely stated all over the internet - they are 'good for your health'.
We all know plants make us feeeeeel goood. But how the hell do we make them look good AND keep them alive and healthy?
Well, it starts from the very beginning. So Lets start with the basics.
You have a space - you want to fill it - you know E-X-A-C-T-L-Y where you want to put your new healthy love child (luscious green plant).
There is no denying the fact that we have all seen that one instagram post on an inspiring decor with woven fabrics, luscious green foliage, up cycled wooden furniture and thought..."easy peasy lemon squeezy: I can do that".
Hold up. Let’s all be very honest with ourselves - we are not interior decorators with wads of cash on hand. And these days - a good cane basket will set you back $$.
We don't all have that money to spend. So where do we begin?
Well, it might sound a little confusing.
But BEFORE you get started, here are some essential tips that will let you GET started!
Numero uno: Observe your environment
Don’t just go out and purchase a dozen different plants that you saw pictures of on instagram.
First you need to OBSERVE.
Observe what? Well, where are you going to put them?
You need to know how much light exposure there is.
LIGHT EXPOSURE IS IMPORTANT.
You need to assess light quality, exposure and duration.
Numero dos: Prepare yourself to do some work
Plants are living things - treat them as you would any other human being - with love.
What does this mean?
Be prepared to feed them, to water them, and to take care of them. Already seem like too much effort? Well maybe a plastic dinosaur is better suited to you.
Numero tres: Budget. Prepare your wallet.
A good medium sized plant won't cost you much.
HOWEVER, having said that - the larger you go, the more expensive they get.
Keep in mind, slow growing plants usually cost more $$. So if you want something that looks great straight away, fills space and is larger than hand-sized succulent, you will need to choose wisely.
Your not just buying a plant, you will also need to purchase:
# A pot/Basket/Hessian sack (if that's what your into)
# Soil (correct soil type for the correct plant - figs require different soil to orchids)
# Plant food/fertiliser (remember - plants can't drive to macdonalds. You have to do it for them!)
Numero quattro: Plant selection and purchase
Now its time to decide whether you want a plant that flowers, a plant that has large green foliage, a small succulent that doesn't need much watering, or even something edible!
Each plant will have a specific need and it’s maintenance will vary, so it’s a good idea to select plants based on the amount of care you will be willing to provide and how they will fit into your current environment.
Where do you buy them?
Not to discount larger chains and hardware stores - they have their perks, but consider this: a small local nursery will usually stock the same product, it may be of better quality, your supporting something local AND there may be different cultivars (variations) that interest you.
The key point here is to shop around.
If you don’t mind driving, a day trip to a larger retail or wholesale nursery may save you $$ and give you exposure to many more interesting plants.
Here's what you've been scrolling for.
Our top selections for low maintenance plants for the indoor environment
Peace Lily - Spathiphyllum wallisii
(Recommended plant for low light)
This is one of the most popular low light plantings. Why? It has both flowers and foliage that are beautiful. Dark green soft leathery leaves and fragrant white flowers on a tall stem (scape) up to 0.8m tall.
Likes a moist - well drained soil and prefers humid shaded environments.
(Note: if you leave this plant in a pot with a saucer, the roots will rot. They do not like to sit in wet baths!)
Cast Iron Plant - Aspidistra elatior
(Recommended plant for low to medium light, shade loving plants)
Grown for it’s luscious broad dark green foliage which sit upright to 0.6m in height.
Some species are variegated/striped/marbled - making them an interesting piece to add to any room.
Known for its hardiness - this plant is also known as the ‘cocacola’ plant - able to tolerate binge drinking and parties.
They like a moist and well drained soil, requires a minimal watering regime.
Fiddle-leaf Fig - Ficus lyrata
(Recommended plant for partial shade and filtered light but also tolerates full sun)
One of our favourites. Large elephant like, crimpled green leathery leaves sitting among a greyish/brown trunk and branches. Quite a relaxed bushy habit.
This plant does have flowers and fruits, but they are not generally seen in container nursed plants. Likes a moist - well drained soil so therefore requires moderate watering regime. Likes an occasional misting.
(Note: This plant is prone to a few pests so be sure to keep an eye out for things like thrips, mealy bugs and scale like insects).
Zanzibar Gem - Zamioculcas zamiifolia
(Recommended plant for low to medium light, heavy shade tolerant)
This plant is for foliage only and will generally not flower.
This is the ultimate low maintenance plant tolerating low light levels and neglect.
Long stems with shiny, waxy leaves with a compact growth habit up to 0.8m in height.
Likes a dry, well drained soil.
Tolerates a 'minimalistic' approach to watering regime.
Orchids - Cymbidium species
(Recommended for early morning/late afternoon light)
Everyone knows what an orchid looks like (fleshy green leaves with crazy colourful flowers), some people say they are the easiest plant to have for an indoor settings, others say they are impossible to keep alive. So what’s the trick?
Orchids like good air and water movement. They require a regular watering regime, don't let them dry out - but don't let them sit in water either!
(Note: consider buying an orchid soil mix - usually a mixture with peat moss)
Been given an orchid as a gift? They will flower for about 6 - 8 weeks. Once they have finished flowering - cut them down to the base of the flowering stem and continue to care for them with an occasional watering.
Madagascar Dragon Tree - Dracaena marginata
(Recommended for full sun, filtered light)
Why is it called a dragon tree? Known to produce a red sap, but perhaps it's because of it's unique winding brown cane like stems and dark green sword shaped leaves.
A dragon tree can grow between 2 - 6m but planting in a pot will limit growth so don’t be too worried. This plant will tolerate a shaded position. Likes a well drained, fertile soil and requires minimal - moderate watering.
Happy plant - Dracaena fragrans
(Recommended for medium filtered light)
Similar to the Madagascar dragon tree, happy plant has glossy dark green leaves that sit upon brown upright stems but with a looser, floppier, larger leaf. You may have yellow/white star shaped flowers that appear in autumn that are slightly fragrant but they seldom appear indoors.
Tolerating semishade but prefers a filtered sunny position, happy plants will tolerate some form of neglect although they prefer a well drained, fertile soil that is watered regularly.
Mother-in-law’s Tongue - Sansevieria trifasciata
(Recommended plant for medium light)
This is a very hardy, architectural plant - bought for its attractive foliage that has an upright growth habit up to 1m tall. Succulent, thick leathery sword shaped twisted leaves that are almost marbled and patterned.
Tolerant of neglect, they like a well drained soil and are low maintenance when it comes to watering.
How to spruce up your plants by styling to a more 'organic' feel.
1 - Think simple earthy colours.
2 - Woven natural fabrics.
3 - Natural recycled materials.
Apply the three rules together and voila - you have a picture perfect instagram post!
Unfortunately, the cool cats have caught on, now a simple cane basket will cost you an arm and a leg.
If you want to remain on the more sustainable side of things, try sourcing materials from garage sales, second hand stores or your local recycling bulk stores - they have plenty of hessian sacks available on the cheap.
Another option is to keep your eye out for clean up days! There are treasures yet to be found!
For some not so subtle product advertising and inspiration, check below folks!