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June 2021 / Homes & Interiors / by Ali Howard

Interiors: Welcome to the Jungle

House plants offer a wealth of feel-good benefits that go beyond the aesthetic – make sure your indoor greenery grows, and thrives, in every space.

The living room

Choose: Wild Banana (Strelitzia Nicolai), Weeping Fig (Ficus Benjamina), Swiss Cheese plant (Monstera Deliciosa)

Typically the largest open space in the home, the living room can take some serious scale when it comes to house plants. Here, you can afford to go large. The oversized leaves of the Wild Banana plant not only offer big impact, but a taste of the exotic, too – ideal for a boho-inspired décor. With its waxy green leaves and woven exposed stem, the Weeping Fig is a beautiful addition to the living room. This is an elegant indoor tree that successfully blurs inside and out, while the ever-popular Swiss Cheese plant brings retro ’70s charm, is easy to look after, and can reach the heady heights of the ceiling.

The bedroom

Choose: Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum), Parlour Palm (Chamaedorea Elegans), ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia)

House plants have the ability to absorb carbon dioxide and convert it to oxygen, which is why a bedroom filled with air purifying greenery is a particularly relaxing one. Known to increase humidity, the Peace Lily, boasting attractive dark green leaves and white ellipse-shaped flowers, brings a Zen-like calm. With its lush feathery fronds, the Parlour Palm also scores high on air cleaning properties, removing pollutants such as benzene and carbon monoxide, while bringing a rich green colour splash to the bedroom. The ZZ Plant, with its smooth waxy leaves, can reflect sunlight, brightening up a darker sleeping space – and it makes a soothing addition to the nightstand.

The bathroom

Choose: English Ivy (Hedera Helix Variegated), Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia Reginae), Boston Fern (Nephrolepis Exaltata)

Finding plants to suit your bathroom is no easy task. This is often a space with low lighting, high humidity, and wild variations in temperature – when the bath’s running or the shower’s on, the environment is practically tropical. English Ivy is a great choice thanks to its filtering qualities. The humidity-loving vine also adds instant glamour and can be hung high where there’s little floor space to accommodate a larger pot. The striking Bird of Paradise plant suits bathrooms blessed with lots of natural daylight. It loves humidity and brings an exotic look to our favourite pamper room, while the humidity-friendly Boston Fern offers a rich visual texture with its crinkled lime coloured foliage.

The kitchen

Choose: Heart-Leaf Philodendron (Philodendron Scandens Brasil), windowsill herbs, Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis Miller)

A splash of greenery breathes life into our cooking spaces, which are often clean-lined but can also be clinical. In a busy, functional kitchen, surface and floor space are extra precious so look for trailing house plants that can be suspended above a central island via hanging planters or terrariums. The Heart-Leaf Philodendron, native to tropical jungle floors, works wonders here: it’s easy to maintain, fast-growing, and offers a dramatic look without encroaching on food prep surfaces. Practical plants that really earn their place in the kitchen include herbs – get creative with a fresh herb garden at the window, and Aloe Vera – the spiky succulent’s inner gel being a natural remedy for the chef’s inevitable cuts and burns.

 

The home office

Choose: Chinese Money Plant (Pilea Peperomioides), Clusia Princess (Clusia Rosea), Snake Plant (Dracaena Trifasciata)

Whether you have a dedicated study room or a makeshift workstation in the corner of the bedroom, you can counter the corporate look with well-chosen house plants. Our homes have already been pushed to their spatial limits with new WFH arrangements and so smaller desk plants are the way forward here. The Chinese Money Plant, with its flat round leaves, makes a cheery addition to any desktop. It loves the daylight and thrives on just a light watering – music to the ears of busy workers. Another plant that will forgive a little bit of neglect is the ornamental Clusia Princess, this one, with its strong waxy leaves, grows quickly but an annual trim will keep it desk-friendly while the Snake Plant, with its striking sword-like leaves, removes toxins and airborne nasties – great for keeping a clear head.