House plants and how to style them

As you may already know if you follow me on Instagram I am a self confessed crazy plant lady, in fact I find it impossible to walk past any type of shop that sells greenery without stopping to take a look at (ahem….buy) some shiny leafed beauty. I’m not completely sure when my obsession with houseplants started, growing up my Mum always had plants around the house and actually had a monstera that grew so big it would no longer fit in the dining room (oh how I wish she still had it!), so I’d say it started at a pretty young age.

The thing I love about plants is not only their natural air purifying capabilities but their ability to add colour and texture to any room or help create a interesting vignette in a otherwise unused space. There is just something about a healthy looking plant that breaths life into a room and with choices ranging from succulents to indoor trees there is literally a houseplant out there for everyone!

Now don’t get me wrong I am no Alan Titchmarsh, I have killed more plants than I care to think of but ever the optimist I keep adding more to the collection with the hope they will survive my novice plant caring skills and I thought I would share some of my favourites with you today and a few tips on styling them too.

Starting Small

Succulents are a relatively easy plant to care for and come in a array of weird and wonderful shapes and sizes. I say they are relatively easy to care for, I have still managed to bump off a few in my time, you see the thing with succulents is that they don’t actually need much looking after at all. The biggest killer of succulents is over watering, their native habitat is dry and dusty desert land and their thick leaves are designed to retain water so this is not a plant that needs watering regularly, wait until the soil is completely bone dry then give it a really good soaking so water comes right the way through the pot then forget about it again (my type of plant) and make sure it gets plenty of nice warm sunshine – it is a desert dweller after all!

Succulents look great pretty much anywhere in the home and can create the most amazing living walls if you have the time and space however I think they look best perched on a shelf in a striking little pot or styled on a side table on top of some books or a stack of thick interior mags to add a little height and interest to a vignette.

Trailers

By far my favourite type of plant, I have so many of these it’s hard to know where to start! Let’s begin with a string of hearts, a succulent-like trailing houseplant that is super easy to care for, in fact when I asked Instagram for tips on looking after them nearly everyone told me to just ignore them most of the time and only water when the soil dried out and you know what? it works! The first time I ever saw a string of hearts was on Instagram and it was love at first sight, I’d never seen anything so delicate and pretty before and I just had to have one. That one is still going strong and I have added another two to my collection since then, in fact I smuggled one of them back in my hand luggage from Northern Ireland last time I was over visiting and it’s now nearly touching the floor from my fireplace so clearly it did it no harm! They look gorgeous trailing off the end of high furniture like bookcases or built in shelves and I have them sitting on the end of the mantles in both the living room and my bedroom as well as in a macrame hanger in my bathroom.

Similarly another succulent type trailer is the string of pearls which has intriguing bead shaped leaves, in fact when I got one recently my little boy asked when we could start eating the peas! (The beads can be toxic to children and animals so definitely not one to try!) They are cared for in just the same as the string of hearts and like a bright spot in your home, they only need re-potting every couple of years although I did kill one trying to re-pot it so don’t ask for any tips on that subject!

Next on my list of trailers is the Pothos plant or Devils Ivy as it’s also known. I’ve only recently got my hands on one of these after coveting them for ages on social media and I absolutely love it. These beauties are serious climbers / trailers and can be trained up a moss pole if you want a upright plant but I just have mine hanging free and in the short time I have owned it it has grown at an alarming speed. I currently have mine hanging in our hallway which is OK during summer but it will have to find a new home in the winter as they hate draughts. Devil’s Ivy looks best in hanging planters suspended from the ceiling so that they trail long and low and I have seen them hung up high with their stems draped over hooks or over window frames and they look amazing. These guys are amazingly easy to propagate too so you really only need to buy once then just grow more from cuttings because you’ll definitely want more once you own one of these!

Ferns and Fillers

These next bunch of plants I call fillers due to the fact they can be used to fill any unused bit of space in your home, they don’t need to be styled with anything else just pop them in a pretty pot and stick them on a shelf, bedside table, bookshelf etc and ta da! instant eye candy of the plant variety.

Ferns are my arch nemesis but I absolutely love them! I’ve had Boston ferns, asparagus ferns and maidenhair ferns and only one of the Boston’s has lived to tell the tale! Ferns like regular watering but hate to dry out completely and they also like humidity which is probably why the only one I have managed to keep alive is in my bathroom. They are temperamental so and so’s that don’t like drafts, changes in room temperature or dry air – no wonder I can’t keep one going living in a Victorian terrace! I love ferns used to fill unused fireplaces (looks great but not that practical due to the draft issue!) and also in tall standing planters in hallways. My tip if you really must have ferns in your home is to go faux – there are some fabulous looking faux ferns on the market at the moment like this one from Matalan  which won’t have you crying into your bin as you drop another dead one into the bottom of it!

Next on the list is spider plants and when I think of their slender green leaves I always think of the 1970’s and macrame! I have never bought a spider plant although I now have at least eight in my home, no I haven’t turned into a plant kleptomaniac, I just get a ‘spider baby’ every time I go home to York to visit my Mum as they grown like wildfire and are very easy to propagate. These can grow pretty big if you let them and  I have mine hung in a macrame hanger (I was obviously born in the wrong decade) and dotted in pots in various places just to add a little interest here and there.

Biggies

These plants make a statement all of their own and don’t need any extra styling other than a nice pot or belly basket to sit in. They almost take up the size of a small piece of furniture so it’s worth thinking about where they are going to go before buying one!

I’ll start off with the Monstera, the good old Swiss cheese plant! This was the first biggest houseplant a bought and it is still going strong with minimal effort (there’s a theme going here isn’t there?!) they have distinctive perforated leaves which recently have been transferred onto literally every piece of home accessory you can think of – curtains, prints, wallpapers, cushions, the list is endless!  These plants are perfect for beginners and there is something (sadly) exciting when a new leaf grows as they start off tightly wound up and you have to wait to see if it’s going to be a ‘cheesy’ leaf or not! Once established they grow weird looking aerial roots which is a sign it wants to climb so help it out by using moss pegs to pin its stems to a moss pole. Growth starts at about 18 degrees so I guess the warmer the spot the bigger the plant!

High on my wish list is a fiddle leaf fig tree, sadly I do not own one as they cost mega bucks and therefore are a serious house plant investment (hint hint Mr T, Christmas is coming up if you are ready this). Kimberly from Swoon Worthy Blog made this investment a few years ago now and it can be seen here in all its glory, she recommends investing in a self watering pot to help these beauty’s thrive and I guess if you’re spending £100+ on a plant then spending the extra on a fancy pot is well worth it. However in the absence of a fiddle fig tree I do own a fiddle leaf fig plant which I snapped up when Lidl were selling them for a mere £12.99! They share almost identical leaves however they grow from a central ‘trunk’ with the leaves starting at pot level and do not have the obvious appearance of a tree. They do like to be turned often to promote even growth and regular watering and feeding during the summer will produce lovely big shiny green foliage.

Last but not least, well done if you are still with me here, is the Ficus Elastica tree which I recently got myself from the fabulous Root Houseplants, who it turns out are practically my neighbours and as I love to support local businesses PLEASE go check them out (and buy a plant or two!) This is my cheaper alternative to a fiddle leaf fig tree but still gives that impressive indoor tree look. Our tree is called Henry after my little boy who picked it because it was the same height as him, after only a short period of time it has well outgrown Henry, much to his annoyance, and continues to sprout health rubbery leaves at a rate of knots. I have mine in a belly basket in my bay window and it has already started to grow more towards the light so this is another that likes a 90 degree turn every few weeks.

So there you have it, a definitive but not exhaustive list of my favourite houseplants at the moment and a few tips on how to style them in your home. I have many other beautiful plants, my watermelon peperomia is another favourite I had to mention, but if I don’t stop typing now you’ll be here until next week!

Thank you for reading if you have any comments of question please do drop me a line below.

Jen xx

 

9 Comments

  1. September 16, 2018 / 6:59 pm

    Loved this Jen! So well written and I’m gonna be getting myself a devils ivy and a string of pearls very soon. Kat x

    • thehousethatjenbuilt
      Author
      September 17, 2018 / 10:31 am

      Thanks Kat! They’re both fab additions to your collection! Jen xx

  2. Lydia
    September 16, 2018 / 8:33 pm

    Great blog post Jen! Definitely need all the help I can get with my houseplants so thank you for the tips. Lydia x

    • thehousethatjenbuilt
      Author
      September 17, 2018 / 10:32 am

      Thank you for your kind comments Lydia, glad the tips could be of help – I’ve learnt through trial and error!! Xx

  3. Philippa McFarlane
    September 17, 2018 / 8:03 pm

    Another great blog post Jen! Such an interesting read, especially as I’m a bit of a novice when it comes to house plants but definitely share your love for them! Thanks for all the info, I’m going to move one of my ferns to the bathroom, hopefully I can save it! 🤞Also and going to get my hands on a string of pearls. What a great blog👏👏

    • thehousethatjenbuilt
      Author
      September 20, 2018 / 7:38 pm

      Thank you so much Philippa, keep me posted if you have any joy reviving your fern! xx

  4. Mitty
    September 30, 2018 / 4:43 pm

    Always been a bit intimidated by houseplants and scared of lilling them so this is a grest blog to get me started and feeling braver. Thank you!

  5. November 6, 2018 / 1:45 am

    What a lovely post! Your home looks like a fabulous urban jungle with all the wonderful plants around. I also love them very much and the fact they add so much texture and warmth to any space. I would include plants in every possible room if I could (who knows, I might even do just that :D). The tips you shared on how to style them in one’s home are also very useful, so thank you for that!

  6. December 23, 2018 / 8:06 am

    Fab blog Jen. We love how you style our succulents and there are great tips for all plant lovers here! 💚🌿

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