The houseplant renaissance is in full swing...

...and this greenery isn’t just fashionable, it’s good for your health, says interiors journalist Sharon Dale.

I’m old enough to remember the 1970s when the average living room was a riot of pattern and crazy colour combinations along with various must-have accessories, including a tropical fish tank, onyx ashtray on a stand and plants.
 
Plants were everywhere: in little pots on the window sill, on shelves, in corners, dangling from the ceiling in macramé holders and centre stage on the sideboard.
 
I’m not sure where they all went but by the 1990s most homes were devoid of greenery. Fashion had killed off houseplants and now it has revived them, which is excellent news.


Houseplants are the height of fashion. The wire stools are from cuckooland.com
 
Plants add feel-good factor to a property and how do I know this? I visit lots and lots of homes as part of my job and the ones that have real plants in them feel better and somehow more alive.
 
Not only that, in return for being fed and watered, they clean up the air in your home.  Scientists, including an esteemed team at NASA, have proved that houseplants are good for our health. They help release oxygen and remove harmful toxins from the air, including carbon dioxide and chemicals found in furniture, cleaning products and paint.
 
They also make us feel less stressed, boost energy levels and make us happier and more creative. Greenery increases the humidity in our dry, centrally-heated homes, where the desert-like conditions irritate our noses and throats, making us more susceptible to viruses.
 
However, before you rush out and invest, do some research and remember that these living things need TLC. Some like a lot of water, others don’t. Some will wilt in direct sunlight and others will be killed off by draughts.
 
The effort this entails is well worthwhile for the reasons mentioned and for those who love interiors plants offer a host of design possibilities. Check out Pinterest for some great ideas or for inspiration read Igor Josifovic and Judith de Graaff’s book Urban Jungle: Living and Styling with Plants, published by Calwey.


These tall plants add height and interest. Rug from cuckooland.com

It features plant-filled homes owned by interior designers and bloggers and there are tips on everything from the best plants for bathrooms and how to make a terrarium to grouping plants and caring for them. I also use gardeningknowhow.com


Real greenery looks fabulous against this dark wall. Framed fern print from MiaFleur.com
 

Here are some of the most stylish and easy-to-keep houseplants.


Snake plant, aka mother in law’s tongue.

The deep and varied striations on this plant are striking and its leaves have an architectural quality. Pop it in a white pot to emphasise the colours. It’s super stylish and undemanding. You can neglect it for a couple of weeks and it will survive, which is good news if you are going on holiday. It can survive drought, low light levels and have few insect problems. Best placed in indirect light.
 
Areca Palm

This can grow up to eight feet so get ready to keep re-potting when necessary. However, they are easy to keep and look great as a focal point in the corner of a room or hallway. Just make sure they have plenty of light and warmth and don’t over water. They don’t like cold air.
 
The Spider Plant

This is almost indestructible and looks good on shelves. They don’t mind cool temperatures though prefer indirect sunlight.


 A fashionable palm and a hardy spider plant in vessels from MiaFleur.com

English Ivy

This hardy trailing plant is also perfect for shelves and is your best friend in the bathroom. Apparently, it reduces airborne fecal-matter particles. It likes to be well watered and enjoys direct sunlight.
 
The Boston Fern

I love this bushy plant and I know it’s hard to kill because I used to have one and it survived my benign neglect.


Boston fern in stone pot from sweetpeaandwillow.com
 
Rubber Plant

This is a good plant for rooms with little natural light and is very good at removing formaldehyde from the air
 
Cacti

Very fashionable indeed. Most love the sun/natural light and can cope with a dry atmosphere. Reduce watering in winter so they have a period of rest.
 

Terrarium from Decoratorsnotebook.co.uk

Publish date: 28/02/2017