The Houseplant Craze – Where to Start

It’s hard not to notice the recent craze around houseplants.

This year, global sales of spathiphyllum (peace lily) have gone up by 23%, while cacti sales have risen by 34% – and the trend shows no sign of slowing. According to Matthew Pottage, curator of RHS Wrisley, this is partly because of a social media trend – on platforms like Instagram and Facebook, hashtags like  #plantsofinstagram and #houseplants have led to interior decorating, often with greenery, being much more popular.

But there may be good reason to all the excitement. Research has shown that there are real health benefits to keeping houseplants in your home. As they release oxygen and take in carbon dioxide, they help to clean the air and give the room a fresher feel. They have also been linked to reduced stress levels, increased productivity, and reduced blood pressure. And besides, they look beautiful!

With all this in mind, there’s no reason not to join the trend. Here is a guide to 6 great houseplants to get you started, and a list of different needs and benefits of each one – that you can buy at Fosseway today.

Monstera deliciosa 

Monstera cheese plant on polished wooden table in glass of water

The #1 selling houseplant in the last year, Monstera deliciosa is also called the ‘cheese plant’ because of the holes in its leaves, which make it look similar to Swiss cheese. With broad leaves and a classic shape, they are also easy to look after and so are the perfect houseplant to draw the attention and praise of your guests.

Water: Water your monstera moderately, and directly into the pot without moistening the leaves. Add water when your soil becomes dry to a depth of 1-2 inches – test it with your finger. However, the monstera can also miss a few days of watering, as it is drought-tolerant.

Light: Moderate, bright light serves monstera plants best, but avoid direct light for risk of burning them. However, the monstera can grow in most light conditions. 

Soil: A good, standard potting soil with the addition of peat moss will work well for monstera. Top it with rich soil annually. 

Other tips: Monstera has large leaves which can collect dust – make sure you wipe them gently with a moist paper towel to keep them looking best.

Cacti and Succulents

Succulents and cactus plants are the ultimate classic in houseplant fashion, and for good reason – they look sophisticated, come in multiple different brands and varieties, and are easy to take care of. 

 

Water: It’s an urban myth that cacti don’t need water – they do! In spring and summer, make sure you water them once a week with tepid water. In autumn and winter, you can lower it to 2 or 3 weeks. Use rain water if you can, because tap water can build a mineral deposit on the leaves which is not healthy for the plant.

Light: Cacti will normally only need moderate light, and only bright light if you want them to flower. However, you should check online for your specific cactus variety: forest-growing cacti like Rhipsalis can do with shade, but Echeveria cacti need bright light. 

Soil: We recommend you use a Cactus and Succulent Soil mix. However, you can also make your own! Mix 3 parts regular potting soil, 1 part clean, coarse sand, and 1 part perlite (pumice) – all of which you can buy at Fosseway.

Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

Snake plants are a great feature in any house and are known for their striking, upright leaves. They are also a must-have if you don’t have a lot of space, and are known for being low-maintenance – they are said to be in their best shape when you almost forget about them!

Water: Snake plants do not need to be watered often – always check that the soil is completely dry before watering. You can do this by inserting a finger at least two inches into the soil. Water every 2-6 weeks, depending on your house’s temperature and humidity.

Light: Snake plants can grow in most types of light except for direct sunlight which will burn them – they prefer indirect light.

Soil: Snake plants grow best with a free-draining soil mix. You can make this by mixing a cactus and succulent mix with more potting soil.

Fittonia

The fittonia plant is a tropical plant that traditionally has a beautiful red hue, though their colours can range from olive and purple, to white and pink. Its distinctive webbed markings also give it the names ‘painted net leaf’’ or sometimes ‘mosaic plant’.

Water: Water your fittonia plant moderately – they grow best in well-drained moist soil. Make sure you also use room temperature water, so as not to shock the plant.

Light: Fittonia is a tropical plant so it can tolerate bright conditions, but it prefers shade or indirect light. However, if light is too dim the fittonia’s leaves will revert to a green colour, and lose its hues.

Soil: Use a well-draining soil, preferably made of standard potting soil that is slightly acidic, with a peat-moss base. You can get all these ingredients today at Fosseway.

Orchids

Spotted orchid houseplant

Orchids make a beautiful addition to any style of home decor or type of room. They come in a variety of colours – Fosseway right now stocks white, pink, and purple kinds! – and are relatively low-maintenance plants. 

Water: Orchids need water added at a slower rate. A trick is to use an ice cube (for larger orchid plants, use two ice cubes) which will slowly melt over time and deliver water to the plant. You can also mist them, or just water them sparingly.

Light: Use indirect sunlight for orchids – a way to test is to stretch out your hand. If there is a slight shadow, the lighting is perfect.

Soil:  Unlike other plants, orchids do not grow in soil. It will likely come potted in long-grain sphagnum moss or soilless mix, which can be replaced and the orchid repotted in a year.

Other tips: Orchids grow in humid environments, so try to keep it in a place of around 50-70% humidity – don’t put it right next to an open window where there will be dry air. You can also use a humidifier, or keep it next to a saucer of water.

Rex Begonias

This plant originally from north India is another species with a variety of stunning colours and leaf patternings. Grown in many European and American households, these plants are ever increasing in popularity – and for good reason.

Water: Water Rex Begonia plants moderately, but do not allow to wilt. Make sure before you water it that the soil is thoroughly dry, by testing it with your finger at least two inches down.

Light: For Rex Begonias use a constant, indirect light year round. They will also grow well under fluorescent lights, since they do not flower and so do not need as much as other varieties.

Soil: A fast-draining, light, and aerated soil is the best to use for Rex Begonias.

Other tips: It helps to give Rex begonia a diluted dose of organic, water soluble food (fertiliser) every 4 to 6 weeks during the spring and summer. They also like an increased humidity, so use a humidifier or water mister.