Go green at home with these air-cleaning house plants, plus discover how to keep them alive and well.

Do you know your fiddly fig from your fern? Your calathea from your cactus? Whilst houseplants have become *the* home accessory of the last few years thanks to the reported benefits to our air quality and wellbeing, many of our favourites turn out to be fickle creatures. Designed by nature for arid deserts or humid rainforests and not our centrally heated front rooms, it’s no surprise that many of us struggle to keep our leafy housemates alive.



If you have been bitten by the houseplant bug, here are seven online sites to get your next fix, plus crucially, five tips on how to keep them alive.

Hortology


A great destination for first-time plant owners. Here, you can shop by size, shape or trend – there’s a great nostalgic ‘retro’ section – plus each plant profile gives an idiot-proof guide to how to care for your new purchase. We love the range of planters to choose from too, for the style-conscious indoor gardener.

Bloom Box Club


Bloom Box’s monthly plant subscription makes a perfect gift or investment for those with a true plant passion. Subscribers can expect to take delivery of a new housemate each month, which arrives in its own perfectly sized ceramic pot, complete with a detailed care card to help it settle in nicely. We love the ‘Plant Buff’ option; subscribers receive one rare or unusual species each month, making it a great choice for those wishing to branch out when it comes to leafy friends.

Patch Plants


Patch Plants is the go-to site for less than green-fingered yet still enthusiastic plant lovers. Winningly, it features an ‘unkillable’ section (yes really), as well as a clever room-by-room guide so that you can shop for plants that will thrive in steamy bathrooms or shady hallways, as well as for the best air-purifying plants for your bedroom. Clever stuff.

Bakker


If you’re ready to admit defeat, why not try faking it? Bakker has a great range of artificial houseplants to choose from (as well as the real thing). Perfect for busy home-owners who love the green aesthetic yet lack the skills or time to keep the real thing, well, green.

Crocus


With some 4,000 plants to choose from, Crocus is guaranteed to excite even the most avid of houseplant evangelists. It features the gamut, from bonsai trees to carnivorous plants, all competitively priced, with fast delivery. With 20 years’ experience in horticulture, Crocus has a great customer service team to offer advice on any plant health issues that you may have, post-purchase.

Flowerbx


Instead of a posy that will wilt within the week, why not gift a houseplant instead? Flowerbx delivers a range of plants, from the darling of Instagram, the ‘Fiddly Fig’, to the ‘Day of the Triffids’ scale Philodendron. Some are available for delivery within London only, but the site’s worth a look for a thoughtful gift that will last. Great for new home pressies.

Martin & Cox Living Gifts


A great independent brand, Martin & Cox offers both plant subscriptions and gifts, online. Beautifully packaged up in its monochrome branded boxes, it carries a stunning range of handmade ceramic pots to house your new leafy friends, as well as corporate packages for those looking to green up their workspace.

5 Tips For Healthy Houseplants


Nourish

Any pot-bound plant will need care and attention paid to the quality of its soil, as it can’t harness nutrients from the earth. Check that it is planted in suitable compost (check with your local garden centre if you are unsure but general ‘potting compost’ is designed to help retain moisture and nutrition at the roots).



Water

Plants in pots need their moisture levels monitored closely, as they dry out quicker than their soil-bound counterparts. Read up on your individual plant’s needs and water accordingly. Drenching them once a month to flush out bacteria and salt build up in the soil is a good idea (outside, or in a sink for instance). An easy way to know if your plant needs watering is to pick it up – if it feels light, the soil has probably dried out – a heavier plant will be holding moisture. Never leave any plant in standing water as this can lead to root rot.

Light

Perhaps the death knell for most houseplants: light levels. Too dark or too bright and they will wilt quicker than you can say compost heap. Again, read up on the habitat likes and dislikes of your specific species and then trial a few different areas to see where they thrive best. New growth is a sure-fire sign you’re onto a good spot.



Clean

Dust can clog a plants’ leaves and harbour pests. Gently wipe larger leaves with a moist towel once a week to ensure a healthy shine.

Grow

If you do all of the above, at some point, your houseplant *should* outgrow the contain you purchased it in – don’t allow your plant to become pot bound as this will restrict its growth and can cause root damage when you try and pot it on.

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By Lydia Mansi
January 2020

Lydia Mansi

Lifestyle Editor

Lydia is an all-round lifestyle guru, tireless champion of women in business and our resident expert on beauty.

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