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  • Writer's pictureAmy Newton

How to choose the right plants for your home.

If you’re a regular scroller of Instagram and Pinterest for home inspiration, you will be hard pushed not to notice the amount of greenery that is used to style both domestic and commercial spaces nowadays. Biophilic Design is gathering pace in the world of interiors – it’s all about connecting us with nature and what better place to start than with plants?

Whether real or artificial, the addition of plants can really liven up any space. Fill empty nooks with planters and baskets brimming with beautiful greenery and you will instantly change the look of any room. Not only that, it will also change how you feel in your space as greenery brings a sense of calmness to your environment. Real plants also have the added benefits of helping to produce clearer air and reducing noise if strategically placed. By adding plants at different heights, you can also create the illusion of height and space so don’t just consider plants on the floor, think about positioning them on furniture and in hanging planters.

However, it’s not just all about style (although those Instagram grids would have us thinking that is exactly what it’s all about). You really need to consider the best plants to choose for your spaces based on their location, light and the care that they require. What works in someone else’s lounge, may not work in yours. With this in mind, I have teamed up with Rick Simpson, aka the tropicalplantguy to give you some top tips on how to decide on the best plants for your own home.

Rick’s top 3 tips:

The first thing to remember is that all ‘indoor or houseplants’ are of course native to many corners of the globe and so you have to consider the following:

1. Location - always decide where you want a plant first, and what the conditions of the room are like rather than guessing where it could or should live!

2. Light levels - once you have decided where you would like a plant to be located, research what plants will thrive in that location. Some plants require full light with ideally a southerly aspect, but most prefer semi-shade with medium to good light. Generally speaking there are 3 groups: maximum, medium to good, and low to medium light level requirements.

3. Plant care – here you need to consider how confident you are and how long can they be left between watering. On every plant I sell I have individual and specific easy to follow plant care tips. The good news is many plants thrive on neglect and only need watering once every 10-14 days - so many houseplants are killed with kindness (i.e. over watering). Succulents and Cactii are very low maintenance, but larger varieties like Kentya palm and the huge Dracaena family are also very robust and need minimal watering.

For example, Rick says that “if you have medium to good light in your bathroom, then this is probably the most perfect room in the house for a plant from the tropics due to the high humidity levels, whereas in the hallway, if we assume lower light levels, then Dracaena, Monstera, Aspadistra are more suited, but if there is some natural light nearby then a Kentya would be fine”.

Looking at Ricks’s top tips, it’s clear that in order for plants to flourish, they need the right consideration and care. However, what if you aren’t particularly green- fingered? Should you ever mix real with artificial plants? Thankfully, Rick says “this is a very logical route to having a greener

environment for several reasons. Firstly, if you are new to plant care, why not start off with 70/30 artificial to live mix by maybe just starting with succulents or Dracaena. Then as your confidence grows even up the balance. Secondly, in difficult low light locations you may require lush foliage, but nature is against you so consider mixing live trailing Scindapsus with artificial Ivy and guess what, it works!”.

I also quizzed Rick on what plants you should consider if you’re all about low maintenance (like me) and Rick recommends that “you look for a plant that is happy with low to medium light as these require less watering in general than those that prefer maximum light”. Rick also recommends buying from a specialist that is able to provide full care instructions for each individual plant.

Rick has created a very helpful guide below to the best plants depending on the light levels in your home.

If you’re looking for inspiration or you’re wanting to invest in some plants for your home, then give Rick a follow on Instagram @tropicalplantguy. He’s also kindly offered free advice if you need it via a DM - just send him a pic of the plant, the location and the issue and he will do his best to diagnose...for free.

If you’re local to Manchester Rick also has a shop in Emporium33 in Sale, which houses some fabulous independent businesses.

Happy plant shopping!

Amy and Rick

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