Best indoor plants for any home
IF you're lacking a green thumb or are short on space, indoor plants may be the answer.
While many plants require abundant space and maintenance, there are plenty of options that can stand up in even the harshest conditions - all while improving your space and, according to a study by NASA, resulting in cleaner air inside your home.
"The best kind of indoor plants really depend on the space you have and the look you're trying to achieve," Bunnings horticulturist Katy Schreuder told news.com.au.
"It's important to first consider where you want to place your new indoor plant and what levels of light it would receive before choosing the right plant for your space."
First buyers should consider the climate they live in, says Ms Schreuder, as well as plants that may be poisonous or can cause allergic reactions - something you should keep in mind if you have pets or children.
With so many options out there, it can be hard to know which variety of plants suit your conditions, and how to properly care for them. Here are nine of the best, how to get the most out of them, and the mistakes to avoid making.
The Monstera - or Swiss cheese plant - is one of the most popular options for first plant buyers.
You should consider the climate of your location, though, before picking a spot for it, said Ms Schreuder.
"A tropical plant like a Monstera can only be grown indoors in cooler temperatures, somewhere like Victoria, but both indoors and outdoors in warmer temperatures, somewhere like Queensland."
Growing to fit any space, it can tolerate many levels of sunlight, and benefits from regular cleaning with a soft, damp cloth.
DEVIL'S IVY (EPIPREMNUM AUREUM)
Devil's Ivy is one of the easiest indoor plants to care for, and requires minimal maintenance, said Ms Schreuder.
The fast growing and forgiving vine is suited to any position in the house, and can be potted in everything from hanging baskets, to placing cuttings inside a vase.
Highly drought tolerant, Devil's Ivy doesn't require regular fertilisation - though in the warmer months, it should be watered deeply once a week.
DRAGON TREE (DRACAENA MASSANGEANA)
Dragon Trees are popular among beginner green thumbs thanks to their hardy nature, and are a great option if you're starting out, but looking for a larger plant.
You only need to water your Dragon Tree once a week, and while it thrives in indirect bright light, it can tolerate low light as well.
It is toxic to dogs and cats, though, so if you do own pets, a Dragon Tree may not be your best option.
PEACE LILY (SPATHIPHYLLUM)
The Peace Lily is another low maintenance option for first plant buyers.
Featured by NASA on a list of the best air-purifying plants for your home, this tropical plant thrives in bright, indirect light, and is hardy in the face of airconditioning, heating, low light and neglect.
Water and mist once a week in the warmer months, and keep out of reach of pets or children, as it is poisonous.
SPIDER PLANT (CHLOROPHYTUM COMOSUM)
Spider Plants are self-propagating, air-cleaning and non-toxic - and require minimal maintenance.
While they do grow best in indirect light, their hardy nature means they can tolerate dark conditions or bright light, and can also go a long time between watering.
ZANZIBAR GEM (ZAMIOCULCAS)
The Zanzibar Gem, which has been hailed as "almost indestructible", is Ms Schreuder's third top pick for the best indoor plant for beginners.
Native to Africa, it's drought-resistant - perfect for those who tend to neglect their plants.
While Zanzibar Gems thrive on neglect, they're best placed in a bright to light shaded area. Allow the surface of the soil to dry out between watering, and keep leaves shiny by occasionally wiping them with a damp cloth.
VIPER'S BOWSTRING HEMP (SANSEVIERIA TRIFASCIATA)
Originating from southern Africa and Asia, the Sansevieria is another low-maintenance house plant.
This upright, succulent plant can grow up to two metres, and should be placed in bright light, with some direct sun exposure for several hours a day.
Moderate water is required, and a well-drained potting mix should be used to allow it to dry out between watering, in order to avoid rotting.
CAST-IRON PLANT (ASPIDISTRA ELATIOR)
If you're looking for a plant that thrives in shady spots, the Cast-Iron Plant is the one for you.
These plants can cope with a wide temperature range, tolerate being stuck in a pot with little natural light, and don't require regular watering.
MAIDENHAIR FERN (ADIANTUM)
Maidenhair Ferns make for great hanging plants if you're tight on floor space, and require just the right amount of light, thriving in humid environments.
"Ferns are generally well suited for bathrooms due to the humidity, warmth, and filtered light of the space," Ms Schreuder said.
"Avoid placing them on a kitchen window sill, though, because of the direct sunlight."
TOP TIPS FOR TAKING CARE OF YOUR INDOOR PLANTS
• Keep your indoor plants in a bright room, but out of direct sunlight. "Many plants can also grow in low light situations - so try them, and if they aren't growing well where you've placed them, rotate them out every month or so, or find a lighter spot for them," Ms Schreuder said.
• Try to limit fluctuations in temperature. Keep your plants away from airconditioner ducts or heaters, and especially away from any draughts.
• Repot your plants when needed. "This is every few years for larger plants," Ms Schreuder said. "A good sign to look out for is roots growing out of the drainage holes of your pot, as this means your plant has outgrown its current one."
• Use a liquid fertiliser to boot soil nutrients and improve the health of your indoor plants. Remember to apply according to the instructions on the packet.
COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID
• Over-watering. "Indoor plants require less water than you may first realise, and it's always best to keep indoor plants drier than wet," Ms Schreuder said. "Some signs of overwatering to look out for are leaves getting yellow and turning brown, wet patches on the ends of leaves, and spots."
The best method of checking if your plant needs water is to feel around in the soil with your fingers. While the top may look dry, dig down a few centimetres and you may find moist soil - meaning you don't need to water your plant.
• Lack of light. While many indoor plants can grow in low light situations, they thrive best in a bright room out of direct sunlight. "An important consideration before purchasing your indoor plants is how much natural light you have in your home and where you want to place them," Ms Schreuder said. "This will help you avoid buying plants that may not be suitable."
• Drainage. Lack of drainage can create similar problems to overwatering of your indoor plants - so make sure the pot it's planted in has a drainage hole. "If you've got a pot without drainage, keep it in its grow pot so you can take it out and drain it each time you water it."