14 Sep 2021
14 Sep 2021
Spring is the perfect time to up your indoor plant game. In this blogpost, designer Ingrid Auret talks us through how we should be caring for our plants now that the weather is warming up.
Spring is in the air, and I don’t know about you, but I am so ready for warmer, sunnier days! As a proud plant mama, I have to confess that my anticipation for the warmer months is definitely tied to my love for my plant babies. Warmth + sunshine = lots of growth! Is there anything more exciting for a plant parent than seeing a new leaf sprout? In my opinion, the answer is a solid no.
Did you know that indoor plants are not only amazing for creating a gorgeous green aesthetic in your home or office, but also have really wonderful benefits that go beyond the pretty factor? Indoor plants have been proven to lift the mood, reduce stress, increase productivity, concentration and creativity and can even help with fatigue. Seeing as plants help to purify the air and produce loads of fresh oxygen, they might even help you ward off or avoid nasty colds.
Now that I have you completely convinced to add plants to your home, here are some tips on which ones to use and in which spaces they will work best. Most plants prefer really good natural light and quite high humidity. So I suggest you move to Durban. Jokes! You can always increase humidity by using a humidifier for more high maintenance plants, but general indoor plants should be happy in your home as it is. If you notice your plants’ leaves are going a bit crispy, it’s a pretty sure sign that you need to increase the humidity around them. Due to the high moisture content, the bathroom is usually a very happy place for plants, provided that yours gets enough natural light.
You can generally add plants to your heart’s content in the areas of your home that get the most natural light. Plants especially love morning light. Consider adding some large floor plants to empty corners or corners next to a couch or chairs, like a Philodendron Hope, Banana tree, giant Delicious Monster, a large Fiddle leaf fig or Rubber plant. These all work great in empty corners as plants provide a large, green living pop that liven up the space and make great statement pieces. For really high ceilings, add some hanging plants like Tradescantia, Philodendron heartshape or brazil for some variegated beauty, Marble or Golden Pothos. It breaks up the space and you can use beautiful macrame hangers to create a Boho look or something more modern if you prefer. When displaying more than one plant next to each other on a table, tv unit or shelf, layer them. For example, combine a tall plant with a medium and a low plant, or mix different types of plants and leaf shapes. Do the same with your pot holders. A simple way to do this is to combine textures, like a ceramic pot cover mixed with a basket, glass or terracotta pot.
For darker rooms, the options are more limited, but it’s still not impossible to add a green touch. The ZZ plant will basically grow in a cupboard and is very low maintenance. Peace lilies and Delicious monsters also don’t need an abundance of light as well as all trailing Philodendrons. If you do find that your plant suffers a bit in a darker room, get some LED globes with a Kelvin measure of 2700K – 7000K, this is the closest to daylight you will get, or you can just move your plants to a light spot for a few days every couple of weeks.
Spring is also the time you can finally move a rootbound plant to a slightly bigger pot or get those thriving propagations into some good soil. The most important thing to remember when repotting or potting up for the first time is to use good quality, well-draining soil. Mixing your own usually gets the best result, but there are also some local brands that sell ready-mixed soil. You can make it yourself for much cheaper though, here’s my recipe: mix equal amounts of good quality potting soil and compost, add orchid bark, about half of the amount of potting soil you used, plus the same amount of Perlite.
Now you might be wondering, what does rootbound mean and how do I know if my plant is suffering from it? If the leaves are yellowing, curling or you haven’t seen any growth in a while (keeping in mind that growth would be very slow to non-existent in winter), you will know that your plant roots are outgrowing the pot they are in. The other way to check is to simply pull the plant from its pot. If you see more roots than soil, then this baby needs a new pot. Don’t increase the pot size too much or the plant will also suffer. Only go up one, max two, pot sizes at a time to be safe.
With all your beautiful new indoor plants, repotted and now thriving existing plants, and potted cuttings that you got from friends, your home is now spring ready and you get to enjoy the beauty and satisfaction of your own indoor jungle. Happy Planting!
Ingrid Auret | Interior Designer