I was desperate to get some greenery in my home and Instagram feed, but apart from my beloved orchids, every plant I purchased (or was given) ended up in plant heaven. That was until I contacted the lovely Stupid Egg Interiors and asked for their green fingered advice on easy to care for plants. They recommended the Mother-in-Laws tongue, and here it stands (still very much alive!) at Little House In London. It came beautifully packaged and is indeed very easy to look after.
Stupid Egg Interiors has written this little guest blog feature on ‘Easy to care for plants’
Hello, my name is Fleur, my Husband Colin and I run Stupid Egg Interiors – a little online shop for indoor planters and houseplants. A friend recently remarked on how she loved the look of our house, houseplants of all shapes and sizes in every room and asked how she could get some green into her house. Colin has tried to implement a one in one out policy in the house but has now just given up and lets me get on! So how do you go from not a single green leaf to a lush green lounge?
Firstly, get rid of any notions of “green thumb or black thumb”. I don’t believe there is any such thing. It’s about putting in a little bit of effort (and I’m talking the tiniest little bit) and picking the right plant in the first place.
Everyone knows that trying to master any new skill takes a bit of practice and some perseverance and just because you may have killed off the last 10 house plants you were given doesn’t mean you are cursed or have a black thumb – there are probably some good reasons why.
First rule – all plants at some stage need water – you can’t expect a living thing to NEVER have a drink.
Second rule – don’t be tempted to over water – after killing a plant due to lack of water the next problem is being drowned (or most of the time suffering root rot) due to over watering.
Third Rule – all plants need light. It will vary from plant to plant how much.
So how do you know if your plant needs a drink?
Look at the soil? does it look dark and moist? Does it look slightly grey and is peeling back from the sides of the pot? Press your fingers slightly firmly into the soil – does it feel moist or does it feel bone dry? If it feels moist then unlikely that your plant will need another drink for a bit.
If it is bone dry, has shrunk away from the sides – it definitely is thirsty!
Once you have given your plant a drink make sure that it is not sitting in water. If you have your plant in a plastic pot inside a planter – after watering – allow 20 mins for it to soak up what you have given it. If water is still sitting then pour away any excess that has pooled in the bottom.
Another way of watering is to 1/3 fill your kitchen sink up with cool (not freezing) water and allow your plants to sit (not float) and give them 20 mins to soak up what they want. pop them on the draining board for 20 mins and then put them back in the planter. This is especially good for succulents to avoid water getting into the middle of the leaves which can cause rot.
What plant is a good one to start with?
There are loads of good, easy to care for plants that you can find – I have picked my top 4 below.
Mother in laws tongue (Sanseveria)
These guys are pretty robust. They are an evergreen succulent and therefore don’t require huge amounts of water. They prefer bright light (but not direct sunlight) but can tolerate slightly darker rooms and are a great plant to have on your bedside table. They actually give off oxygen at night as well as absorbing some nasty chemicals found in our houses. Allow some time to dry out between watering and we recommend watering from the bottom (although I don’t think they would mind that much either way…) Originating in West Africa they can grow up to 1.2m but it will take some time before they are that big! You can feed approx once every 2 months or so.
Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
These mainstay house plants of the 1970s were in almost everyone’s house, long cascading arms of plant babies hanging from them like great waterfalls. Spider plants have the will to survive in most conditions and will give you a bit more of an indicator when they need a drink! If you see it looking wilted and very pale ( this is the classic variegated colour) then it probably needs a drink. These should be big and bushy, upright and a nice healthy green.
Give these a relatively bright spot, again avoid direct sunlight. Water approx once a week and also allow to dry out slightly between watering. Can feed once a month.
That’s right – these guys just live in the trees in South America – I was lucky enough to see them first hand in Bolivia. Whats not to love about them? They don’t require soil. They’ll sit on your bookshelf or bathroom cabinet quite happily and they can live for years. I would suggest that you mist on a semi regular basis (always in the day, not at night as this is when they do their breathing to store any moisture from the air) or you can run a sink full of tepid water. Allow plant to soak for 20 mins and then shake off (upside down to get excess water out of the plant to avoid rot)
Jade Plant (Crassula Ovata)
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Chinese restaurant without one of these (usually massive!) sitting in the front window. A testament to how easy they are to keep! So the trick (and this applies to most succulents) is not to over water (we talked about this in rule 2). Succulents are a type of plant that has evolved in dry areas and are designed to draw up any moisture when they get some and store it in times of drought. If your track record has been to completely forget about plants then perhaps this is the one to start with – just remember once in a while to actually water it. These can tolerate a more sunny spot, such as a windowsill but keep an eye out that they are not getting completely scorched behind the magnifying effects of glass.
Visit www.stupidegg.co.uk for more information