Space to Breathe
Last week in my Decluttering Club, one of my clients asked me to recommend some house plants, "Jo can you share some pics of yours for inspiration? I think plants look lovely, but when I go to a garden centre it all looks a bit meh and I can't work out what would work where!"
I love the fact that following our decluttering & organising sessions, this client now has room for plants, particularly as she was keen to improve the air quality in her rooms.
I absolutely love plants (47 in my house at last count)! I love plants that are easy to look after even more and I love taking photos of my plants, so rather than answering her question immediately with a few photos, I thought it might make a nice subject for a blog...
Orchids are such good value as they bloom over and over again (I love buying fresh cut flowers for my home, but you get even better value from Orchids). They're great for bathrooms as they like the humidity and are perfect for adding a pop of colour to an otherwise neutral setting. Contrary to popular belief they're easy to look after and it's easy to get them to re grow flower stalks and bloom again and again (often with more flowers than before!). Roughly once a week I stand mine in water, with a few drops of baby bio Orchid food added to it, for about an hour.
When all the flowers have dropped, cut the stalk back to just above the last notch (so that you are just left with the leaves). Move the plant to a windowsill where it can have plenty of light (not direct sunlight as this will burn the leaves), continue the watering regime and wait for the flower stalks to re grow. I keep all my "recovering orchids" on the windowsill of my utility room, it's my "plant nursery".
Plants from the Monstera family are very popular at the moment, with their large, dark green leaves. They're great for a spot where you have a big corner space to fill such as this table on a landing at the bottom of a flight of stairs. The Monstera is easier to distinguish by it's leaves on the second image. In this photo the plant is standing on the floor between a chest of drawers and a large gilt edged mirror.
Yucca plants come in a variety of sizes, are easy to care for and last for many years. My tallest (floor standing) Yucca plant travelled back from Austria with us when we moved in 2012 and by that stage we had already had it for quite some time.
Small, trailing plants such as Ivy are perfect for adding interest to the tops of bathroom cabinets, as normally they don't require too much light. The same goes for Spider plants which are super easy to care for and last for years.
True or false? I do have to admit to having a few fake plants amongst my 46. Would I buy them again? No! Fake plants can look good (if you buy the right ones,if not they can look terrible!) and they can be useful for spots that don't get much daylight, or for the types of plants that can be difficult to keep alive. I won't be buying them in the future for two reasons, the first is that they don't contribute anything to our air quality and the second is that we sure don't need any more reasons for more plastic in our world!
Herbs in pots are perfect for bringing a kitchen to life, with the added bonus of fresh herbs to hand for cooking whenever you need them. I tend to keep pots of Coriander, Thyme & Basil on the go all year round. Sadly they don't last long term, even with careful looking after, but they certainly last much longer than buying fresh herbs in packets and are lovely to have around.
Trendy as they are, as a rule I find succulents quite difficult. In my experience the spikier and thinner the leaves of the succulent are, the easier it is to care for. Fat, broad leaved succulents seem to turn to mush on me after a while (even if I'm careful to ensure that they only get the tiniest amounts of water!).
Talking of water, I've mentioned weekly Orchid care, but not what I do to keep the rest of the plants looking happy and healthy. I water them all roughly once a week with a few drops of plant food in the water. At the same time I remove any obviously dead leaves.
Plants are the perfect addition to your house once you've decluttered and a great, environmentally friendly way to reward yourself for your efforts, as well as having a positive effect on both mental wellbeing and air quality. They absolutely add the finishing touches to a space and unlike clothes, they are the one thing you can't have too much of in your home!
Before you go out and buy a houseful, please be aware that some plants are toxic to pets and small children if ingested. If you're sharing your home you'll need to do some research in advance. This following list from Hortology may provide a useful starting point , but do make sure you check individual plant names before buying.
For help with decluttering & organising your home: Less Is More