Houseplants are actually incredibly controversial. In my experience, you either love them or hate them, there is no middle ground. Kind of like The Bachelor. I enjoy having plants inside, as long as they are useful to me personally and I don’t have too many. Too many divided around the house can get frustrating, especially if you have trouble remembering to water them all. I think if you hate all houseplants you have probably had a bad experience with watering yours or someone else’s that you might be housesitting for, or you have never experienced a plant that can be useful. Houseplants rock, it’s just finding the one that suits you best. Kind of like The Bachelor. They are also wonderful because if you move around a lot they can just come along with you and make you feel at home. If you have a kitchen that is exposed to natural sunlight with the potential of fresh air then you should absolutely grow some herbs. You should look at my very first post ever for a breakdown of how to achieve this. Every now and then you can use the leftover coffee grinds from your coffee to pop into the soil to help make them thrive and obviously cut off the bits you need for your cooking and baking. How convenient! Here are a few other plants I have found to be useful around the house and need little attention to keep them alive. Bonus! I implore the #houseplanthaters out there to give one a chance and test drive it for a while, especially over this season when your outdoor garden won’t be up to much. You never know guys, you could meet the houseplant love of your life. Unlike The Bachelor. Oh c’mon, we were all thinking it.
We had an aloe vera plant when I was growing up and my mum used it for multiple things, but primarily when we had accidentally burnt ourselves to a crisp sitting in the sun without slip, slop, slapping. Aloe vera can be quite dangerous to consume so just because we have aloe vera juice on the shelves of our supermarkets, doesn’t mean you should chomp down on your plant. They are great for most skin aggravations when you press the juice of the leaves onto the affected area. If you feel like some light educational reading about aloe vera then Google its uses in Chinese medicine, there are too many for me to list here but definitely very interesting stuff. They look cool in my humble opinion and they require very little watering. In winter in particular you don’t need to water them very much at all. They can grow to be quite large so even if you buy a small plant remember to put it in a larger pot to allow it room to grow. It is an easy plant to keep alive so it’s a great one for people who think that indoor plants might not really be their thing. I got some delightfully cheap and small aloe vera plants from the Warehouse a couple of months ago so, before heading to your garden shop, check them out. May as well save yourself some money! Keep this beauty in a place that is nice and warm and when summer returns you can put it outside in the delicious sunlight.
Obviously these dudes eat flies, making them very useful buddies to have around in those summer months. Again, I had one growing up and was fascinated at how big these plants can get and just how many flies they can catch. A big thing with taking on one of these plants is ensuring that the soil is correct, if you want to move the plant to another pot at any stage try to incorporate as much of the original soil as possible. Put some gravel in the very bottom of the pot to help with drainage, then put that original soil around where the roots are. If you need more, fill in the top with dirt from your garden or a little bit of potting mix. Ideally this plant should go somewhere sunny and warm where you will remember to keep the soil moist, not necessarily too wet but wet enough to keep it happy. Ours lived on the kitchen/dining room windowsill and it was always happy. If the plant starts looking kind of spindly, growing its leaves out super wide, then it is not getting enough sunlight and you need to move it somewhere else. Flytraps can go for months without catching a fly but don’t give up on them! Sometimes their conditions just aren’t quite right for them or they just need to chill out. It doesn’t mean the plant won’t eventually catch something.
Every time I think of these plants I think of Hot Fuzz, great movie if you haven’t seen it and it will make appreciate the potential for you to love these plants. “Well, there was the bit that you missed where I distracted him with the cuddly monkey, then I said, ‘Play time’s over!’, and I hit him in the head with the peace lily.” Still so funny. There are two main reasons to consider getting one of these bad boys, 1. They look beautiful! When your plant is producing white leaves to compliment its dark green ones they look like lovely white flowers. 2. They can dramatically improve the air quality in your home by up to 60%. They are NASA approved for cleaning your air. You can put them almost anywhere but to make the most out of your plant and to get those lovely white leaves happening they need some natural light. They are great in bathrooms but you can pop them anywhere in your house or liven up your dull office with one. A common cause of death with these guys is over watering so all you lazy plant people reading this, rejoice! You are given permission to forget about it sometimes. Also you obviously get the added bonus of being able to quote Hot Fuzz in context.
With all these lovely new friends please remember E-Cus’s rules of thumb: Plants need drainage, especially these ones so make sure you are giving them an appropriate bottom (lol), and when working with potting mix, avoid touching it with your bare hands and don’t work with it inside. Pull it outside and sort out the potting mix before bringing it inside. You can also use a mask if you want to be extra careful. Whilst you leap into this, please don’t forget the plants you may have in your outdoor garden as the cold weather draws closer. Cover your new lemon trees to protect them from frost with frost cloth or a home made equivalent, gather up those last strawberries and freeze them for jam making later on and any plants you have recently planted like those leafy greens might need a little bit of glass or a clear sheet of plastic over the top to keep them developing. Don’t forget to water in the morning/afternoon too. Good luck garden fans! You are embracing a new era here but it’s one that could go on to bring much joy. Kind of like The Bachelor! On that note, I’ve been mocking that show this whole time but I do hope my real life mate Jordan finds someone just as cool as he is to hang out with. Have a great ANZAC weekend everybody! See you at the dawn service.
header image via http://www.fineartamerica.com – Alexey Stiop