5 Simple Tips For Creating A Thriving Houseplant Jungle
We are fast approaching March and the start of spring. A time of growth, new life and also when our houseplants that have perhaps been lying a little dormant over the winter months will begin to spring back into action. This is the ideal time to take stock of your indoor greenery and plan in some time for care! Despite our central heating and almost seasonless indoor growing conditions our plants are still plugged into that seasonality. Thos of you who follow my IG and stories will have seen that I am an avid houseplant collector, propagator and rescuer! For me houseplants are not just beautiful ornaments, they are integral to wellbeing, clean air and bringing energy into my home and workspace. In all seriousness losing a plan is like losing a dear friend. I spend lots of time pottering and tending to my houseplant jungle and love experimenting with new ways to propagate. At last count, there were 23 different pots in my living room!
Here are a few tips for creating a thriving indoor jungle
Watering/overwatering Most people don't realise that overwatering is the most common way houseplants are damaged and even killed! During the winter months as I mentioned, plants slow down and some varieties such as Elephants Ear can go into a dormant state reserving their energy for the next growth phase when spring/summer comes around.
My recommendation would be watering less during the winter months to aid this important dormant phase in fact always be to air on the side of dry with most house plants. I water once a week and mist certain plants daily. But the best way to check whether your plant needs a little top up is to stick your fingers in the soil and if it's still a little damp then come back in a few days and water then. Keeping the soil constantly wet isn't ideal for most plants. Pay particular care with hanging plants that are a little hard to reach, because you can't always see into them they can often get overwatered and end up sitting in stagnant water and rotting.
Most plants will tell you what they need! If your plant has dry or brown leaf tips means it's really thirsty! And if it has brown bits at the bottom of the leaf where it meets the soil chances are it's being overwatered!
Positioning/repositioning Different plants need different amounts of light and positions in your home I recently realised that two of my plants were really unhappy because I had them in totally the wrong place! The best way to find out is to read the care label to start and then abid my a few simple rules.
Variegated plants - those with white dots or edges to their leaves and lighter foliage in general do well in brighter conditions and often need more light/direct sunlight.
Thicker leaves, those with purple undersides and fern types all do better in shady areas out of direct light.
Some plants like air plants, maidenhair fern and orchids need humidity and do well in bathrooms where there is a medium but not direct light.
Plants generally don't like to be moved once they are settled. Leaf position changes with the light, moving houseplants about in your space too regularly disorientates them and can stunt their growth patterns. So find a good spot and try not to move them unless you can see after a few weeks that their current positioning isn't right and leaves are going brown and dying for example. Once you have repositioned a plant it will take a few weeks to acclimatise. Like all things with plants its a little bit of trial and error and a lot of patience. That's why tending to your house jungle is so good for destressing and mindfulness!
Cleaning This is the perfect time of year to spring clean your houseplants! Remove any dead growth, snip off any sad looking leaves and give the foliage a good wipe to get rid of dust and muck that have accumulated from the air. Try dusting and then wiping with a damp cloth to let your friend breath easy once again! These guys spend so much of their time cleaning our air so regular wiping of larger leaves is good practice.
Styling Once you have gotten to grips with the care side of your plants you can begin to have fun with styling and really creating your dream indoor jungle! Taking into account lighting, space and care tips you can arrange your plants in standing planters, simple pots and an array of fun decorative hanging devices... I'm a huge fan of DIY and upcycling pots and planters! You can also do a huge amount with a simple ball of cotton yarn and basic knotting! Creating your own planters is the best way to put your unique stamp on things! Start simply and create clusters of different plants. Build up layers with window sills or stands. Always allow room for growth! Plants generally don't like to be packed in too closely this can inhibit their leaf size. And remember with the right condition these guys will last for years... and get much bigger so allow for growth!
Sharing Last but by no means least (in fact one of the most magical parts of creating your house plant jungle) is sharing. Swap cuttings with friends, family and community members! It not only helps keep your plant habit a little more affordable but also allows you to experiment with plant propagation. Widen your collection and learn valuable tips from peers.
Tools to get you started
A spray/misting bottle
Indoor plant compost + pearlite beads to regulate water
A variety of pots and containers
Sticks and strings to prop and secure unruly foliage!
And remember, a houseplant is forlife... not just for Instagram...