Article by Carlo Iannacito and Anna Rizzo-Tassone
Love the idea of having a home filled with beautiful flora but challenged in the green thumb department? Our expert can help
Indoor greenery can transform the look and feel of your home, but keeping plants healthy can be tricky at best if you don’t understand them and how to keep yours happy.
Some of the most popular small indoor plants I see in homes are African violets (a cluster of white-to-deep-purple flowers that love a warm and well lit room), peace lilies (very hardy and do well in medium to well-lit areas) and moth orchids (beautiful and can flower for months).
Larger types include fiddle-leaf figs (great for home offices), rubber plants (vertical growing and great for living rooms) and fishtail palms (always need to be near a bright source of sunlight).
Once you’ve decided which plants best suit you and your habitat, the next thing to focus on is getting the right potting mix. Always look for a premium quality, free draining potting mix and keep in mind that some plants require specific ones. Flower Power and Bunnings both have large selections of all the different types.
Next decision, your pot. There are hundreds of options to choose from, from plastic through to concrete to ceramic and lightweight fiberglass. Consider colours that blend with your home décor and are easy to move around, as plants are great at highlighting different areas of your home.
If you like to cluster your indoor plant collection, then pick pots and plants in various gradients of colours, for example, blue with light-blue and light grey. Strong coloured smaller ceramic pots make for great table centrepieces. With each option, it’s important to consider that the pot has correct drainage at the bottom. This should include some flyscreen mesh and also some blue metal gravel.
Depending on the particular plant type, most require a bright indirect light, so picking the right room or area is important. Smaller type pots are popular for window ledges.
Most indoor plants need watering once a week during the warmer months and less during the winter months. You’ll know if water is needed if you place your finger into the soil and check for moisture. You can also look for signs that the leaves are drying out, such as them turning yellow or even brown.
Your plants need to be fed, too. It’s important to apply a controlled-release fertiliser every six months, then supplement that with a water-soluble liquid fertiliser. You can keep leaves clean by wiping occasionally with a soft damp cloth.
Despite the fact indoor plants are more protected than the garden variety, you should still check regularly for pests and insects. If needed, take them outside into a shaded area, then spray with a natural insecticidal soap. Indoor plants do benefit from spending some time outside. Do this in autumn or spring, but in a protected area, and only for a day or two.
Finally, just like us, plants enjoy some new décor every now and again. To keep them strong and healthy, try re-potting them every two to three years during spring.
Landscape gardener Carlo Iannacito is the director of CI Lawn Mowing and Garden Care, and regularly works in and around Breakfast Point.
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