PLANTS CLEAN THE AIR WE BREATHE AND BOOST OUR MOOD. YOU MAY BE SURROUNDED BY BEAUTIFUL TREES AND PARKS, BUT YOU CAN STILL CREATE AN OASIS AT HOME WITH THE ADDITION OF SOME POTTED PALS.
Plants are key to keeping our planet healthy and happy. Plants clean the air we breathe and boost our mood. You may be surrounded by beautiful trees and parks, but you can still create an oasis at home with the addition of some potted pals. As the seasons start to change, and we see less green outside, here we look at ways to create your own personal zen inside! Whether you coax your blooms out with a few tender words or prefer a low maintenance approach, we’ve got the perfect plant for you!
Feisty little plants with thick green leaves filled with sap, succulents need very little care and will survive just about anything! Their short roots prefer small pots with plenty of drainage so keep the soil damp, not wet. They enjoy plenty of sunshine and a warm environment, so pop these little plants next to your window. And don’t worry if they go a week or two without attention – these fabulous plants are really robust!
HERBS AND GARNISHES
Go for perennials guaranteed to return every year. They look and smell terrific, and you can use them when cooking! Mint will grow from a single cutting in water - literally no more than sunshine and fresh water will see it thrive! Rosemary, thyme, basil, and chives all flourish with little effort - pop them in their own pots with some soil and watch them prosper. A word of warning though – because they do so well, use separate pots or they’ll multiply and take over any plants in their way.
FRUIT AND VEG
Fruit and veg need a little more care and attention but it’s still simple! Sow peas in a pot with support sticks and keep them indoors in the winter to stop hungry bugs from getting them. In the spring, pop them in a garden or a large pot at your window until ready - peas straight from the pod taste fantastic!
Strawberries grow in just about any environment if you prep properly. Plant seeds or budding plants in window boxes, hanging baskets, or straight into the ground. They like lots of sunlight and water and are best planted in late summer/early autumn. Keep them free of dead leaves, flowers, and fruit - and hungry birds and insects too! A loose net will help with that! It can take a year or two before strawberries reach their full glory but - when they do – they’re delicious. Yum!
Peace lilies are beautiful to look at and can grow to tremendous sizes. But they can be incredibly difficult to keep happy and do need attention. Buy an established peace lily and find a spot you pass daily in your home so you can keep an eye on it. They flourish with sunlight, but their large leaves can quickly dry up in too much sun. Watering on schedule won’t work; instead, feel the soil - if it’s damp, leave it and if it’s dry, water it. Dust their leaves once or twice a year using nothing more than a damp cloth and rehome in a bigger pot if they droop. Happy peace lilies will bloom constantly and provide much cleaner air for your home. They can remove chemicals, mould, and excess moisture from the atmosphere, so work well in a kitchen or bathroom.
Bonsai trees are beautiful. But they’re hard work. They need sunlight, but not direct sunlight. They don’t like humidity, so don’t like bathrooms. Their roots can rot in too much water and need excellent drainage, so sit the pot on a tray and empty the excess water regularly. Water when the soil is light brown - and water more frequently in hot environments or if the heating’s on. Bonsais rely on you for all their nutrients, so only use specialist bonsai food. A young bonsai of 26 years can be worth over £800 - they’re a lot of hard work, but what an excellent investment!