One of the most difficult parts of winter is the lack of colour in the garden as well as low temperatures outside that make you feel more inclined to stay indoors. Give it some thought though and you’ll find that houseplants can save the day. There’s no such thing as too many plants and it’s easy to create a jungle indoors.
As it happens, most of the plants we grow indoors as houseplants actually come from the floors of the jungle. That means it’s easy to create a tropical jungle in your home with houseplants.
Plants are like people and make great friends helping you to overcome anxiety and improving your mood, so treat them well and you will be rewarded plenty. Used in the right way, such as arranged around your living room, they will not only give your home a contemporary look but also make it a lush rejuvenating space.
To create the jungle look, begin by gathering all your plants together
Re-pot those that need a bit of encouragement, putting them into bigger and more stylish containers. Buy a plant every week along with your supermarket shopping and by the end of the year you’ll have at least 52!
Look for plants that have different leaf shapes and colours such a the Swiss Cheese plant, Monstera deliciosa and the Peacock plant, which has eye-catching boldly striped leaves. Choose plants for the light you have, for example if you’d like to have a collection of cacti and succulents, don’t bother unless you have at least 6 hours of bright sunlight streaming into the room
For maximum impact get some of the plants off the floor. A plant combo that looks good arranged on a redundant coffee table is Monstera; Aglaonema, Bird’s Nest Fern, Sanseviera, Croton, Hedgehog Aloe, ZZ plant, Dracaena and the Rattlesnake Plant. Think laterally if you haven’t got the cash to splash on a plant stand – a redundant skateboard lying about in the shed might just do the trick, so rummage through your outbuildings and the loft – you never know what you might find.
Small specimens will look good on freestanding shelves next your books and other treasures
You’ll find that many plants thrive best when they’re grouped together and especially ones that come from the steamy tropics as they create a microclimate that will sustain better humidity levels. If you’re forgetful or always on the go, you’ll succeed with a Sanseviera or a ZZ plant as these are a great low-maintenance option.
Be mindful about your choice if you have young children and pets. Keep any prickly plants like cacti out of reach. Most houseplants are completely non-toxic unless ingested, but if your little ones are curious or your furry friends like to munch, maybe choose trailing plants for hanging baskets.
Create a display on a high shelf using Green Peperomia, which has shiny, round, bright green leaves
Peperomias make great companions for the lacy upright green and white leaves of the Silver Lace Fern and the striped, silver-green leaves of the Fishbone Prayer Plant. Start a collection – as some come with attractively coloured with veins or spots on leaves that are usually oval-shaped, thick, fleshy, and smooth-edged.
Invest in at least one large, tropical floor plant to make a statement. Dramatic plants like the fashionable Parlout Palms and Fiddle Fig Ficus are often cheaper to buy than a piece of furniture and will transform any awkward corner.
The Parlour Palm is a good choice for beginners as it’s robust and low maintenance and will add a stately beauty to any room in your home
Even though Parlour Palms are unmistakably tropical, their elegant fronds will complement any decor. Popular since Victorian times, this was a plant commonly found growing in home Parlours (that’s how it got its common name). The Parlour was often considered the best room in the house and somewhere important guests would be entertained. In modern times they have kept hold of this prestige through their easy going adaptive attitude to low light and humidity levels, all the while being effective at improving air quality.
Whilst a slow grower it should easily reach a respectable indoor height of 60cm after only a few of years, and you may (with good light) receive regular clusters of flowers which for a palm kept indoors is pretty rare.
To maintain deep green leaves and healthy growth, Parlour Palms needs to be watered regularly to keep the soil damp—not soggy—and fed when it is actively growing during the spring and summer months.
If you’re lacking floor space then consider trailing plants, which can be displayed in hanging baskets. The Boston Fern Nephrolepis exaltata Bostoniensis, is a good choice and especially for home offices as its mass of lush foliage helps this plant to clean the air of toxins in a room and improve humidity.
Parlour Palms will also appreciate regular misting, and will flourish in a bright bathroom if space allows. They can also adapt to low light levels, but will be happiest in a sunny spot where it can receive 4-6 hours of indirect light a day.
These elegant easy-care palms offer everything from releasing lots of moisture into the air, removing toxins effectively and resisting insect infestations as well.
Jungles are covered in vining, trailing and climbing plants that in the wild creates a lush curtain-like effect as they hang from the branches of trees. There are a wide variety of trailing houseplants, like Pothos and Philodendron, which can be trained up moss poles.
Other good climbers and trailers include Lipstick Plant or Aeschynathus, which features flowers that look like tubes of lipstick, Arrowhead Vine, Wax Plant or Hoya, various Ferns and Ivies and Wandering Jew.
Whatever you decide to grow, avoid placing your plant next to radiators or in a cold, draughty spot. Brutal variations in temperature and humidity can be detrimental. Stability is key.
To be really on trend, include decorative accents that say jungle, like exotic wallpaper or murals (available from photowall.co.uk from around £26 sq m) and artwork featuring jungle animals like toucans.