So we have a few plants in our house… the latest count revealed the total amount of 94… yes really! I am officially a crazy plant lady.
I thought I would write a bit of a plant guide to create your own indoor jungle, advise on which are the easiest house plants to look after if you’re not too green-fingered, and also how to inject a bit of a botanical vibe into your home.
Most plants that we grow indoors as houseplants actually come from the jungle, so it’s quite easy to find tropical plants to make a leafy paradise. Jungles are dense with plants, so to create more of a jungle vibe, group a selection of plants together. I’m not sure if its proven, but I find they seem to do better sitting together too!
I always find climbers, trailers and creepers give your home a jungle vine effect. Look at trailing them around picture frames, doorways, kitchen shelves, and wardrobes.
My favourite plants to create this look are as follows:
Pothos (Epipremnum Aureum)
This air-purifying plant has beautiful trailing stems and can be easily trained to grow its stems exactly where you want them to grow. I cut back our Pothos when it gets too long and propagate it into water (I will do another post on propagation soon). Pothos thrive in an array of lighting conditions. We have two different types of Pothos. A silver satin Pothos which we have in our kitchen in a bright indirect light setting.
And then we have a number of Devil’s Ivy (golden Pothos) dotted around the rest of the house, in more shaded areas. They trail so quickly and easily, and I would say is one of the easiest houseplants to care for. We water once a week, making sure the soil is dry between watering.
British Ivy (Hedera Helix)
This is a perfect trailing plant which likes a bright room but don’t over water, we normally water once a week.
String of hearts (Rosary Vine)
This is such a pretty plant, with trailing hearts and delicate stems. It can be prone to rot if you over water, we normally water once a fortnight and let the soil completely dry out before watering again. Likes bright but indirect sunlight.
Lipstick plant (Aeschynanthus radicans)
Now this is a fairly tricky one, this is currently on our ‘watch’ list under observation! This cascading vine apparently needs to be kept moist and likes bright sunny rooms. However we are on our 3rd location with this plant as it keeps dropping leaves constantly so I will update you on this one as we are currently finding it our trickiest plant to care for!
Next up to create that jungle vibe are tall floor plants. These I love collecting, and we are always eager to repot and see how tall we can get them!
Cheese Plant (Monstera deliciosa)
This is a perfect starter houseplant if your just dipping your toes into plant life. With its large heart shaped shiny green split leaves, and branches that have a life of their own, they grow in all sorts of directions and grow fast if repotting. They can be trained to grow up moss sticks, canes etc. but we opted for the wirey crazy vibe! We brought our monstera as a tiny thing in our first flat together in Bristol, and now it’s around 6 feet tall! I took a branch off to propagate and have just replanted it into soil when it re-rooted. We water once a week, letting the soil dry out between watering. It is a low maintenance plant that enjoys non-direct sun but can tolerate low light rooms too. The leaves benefit from a wipe of a wet cloth every so often as they won’t get as much light if their leaves have a layer of dust. When your cleaning the house – include all your large leafy plants in the dusting !
Fiddleleaf Fig (Ficus lyrata)
One of my favourites, and we actually own 3 different sizes of fig tree! A large (bargain from Lidl), a medium from a trip to London, and a small that we saved from the reduced poorly plant section in our local garden centre and have nursed back to thriving health. They like a mix of indirect sunlight and some direct sunlight, but south-facing windows will be too strong, the fig is used to the canopy of a dense jungle with intermittent sun light so we try to give it a happy medium with a warm room and bright spots. The soil should be kept moist but not be overwatered. We normally water once a week. Similar to the monstera, it’s helpful to wipe the leaves down if they have got dusty.
Bengal Fig (Ficus benghalensis ‘Audrey’)
A lesser known form of fig tree, and has leaves similar to that of a rubber plant. It likes bright indirect to shady conditions. We have ours in a fairly low light bathroom and it seems happy! We water once a week but less so in winter and let the soil dry out first.
Another tropical favourite and a fairly recent addition. We have two types of Banana Leaf plant, the first a Red Abyssinian Banana plant which has a beautiful deep burgundy spine. We found this beauty in Old Market Plants in Bristol which has a great selection of large floor plants for a good price.
The other, is a Musa Genus plant, which we found for a bargain in our local garden centre.
Both species need a lot of water, as their huge leaves absorb it so they both need misting regularly and given extra water in summer. They enjoy a bright setting but no direct light as the leaves can get easily scorched.
Palm trees are the perfect plant to create a tropical effect, and I love the shadows they cast against the walls. We have two types of Palm tree.
The first is the Areca Palm, which can grow to around 7 feet tall. It likes indirect sunlight and we only water alternate weeks, letting the soil dry in between.
The second Palm we have is the Kentia Palm. This palm is fairly slow-growing though we bought a huge one from B+Q. We normally water once a week, but less in the winter. They can handle low lighting, which is where we have ours but can do well in a bright room too.
The Yucca is a hardy plant that can be grown indoors or out. It likes bright lighting, ours is in direct sunlight and is thriving in the window. It likes to be watered every couple of weeks, but more so in the summer months. Allow the soil to dry out before watering. This is an easy plant to grow as soon as you find the perfect spot in your home for it.
We have two different species of this plant and both live in our low light kitchen so can tolerate that kind of setting. We water once a week and they are quite hardy and an easy plant to maintain but only if they are in the right spot in your home!
And now for the smaller plants to fill those spaces around your home. We pretty much fill most nooks and crannies with plants and suspend them from homemade macramé hangers to fill in blank gaps. I love feeling like I am surrounded by nature, even indoors.
A few particularly easy small plants to bring into your life:
This is an incredibly resilient house plant, so a great one to start with (and is indeed the first ever plant I bought). It is also an air cleaning plant so a great one for your bedroom. Peace Lily’s like low humidity and low lighting, so a good one for darker rooms. Water once a week, keeping soil moist. They droop when they need water, and as soon as you top them up – they bounce back up again!
Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)
Known as the ‘Mother-in-Laws tongue’ (and funnily enough a plant bought for my partner by my mum!), this is an extremely easy house plant to grow. Its has variegated leaves that grow upright and tolerates most lighting levels, growing from low to bright rooms. Keep the soil fairly dry, otherwise the leaves can drop off. We water once every two weeks.
Another popular house plant which enjoys bright to medium lighting. We water once a week, but don’t over water as this can lead to rot. We display our spider plant in our pallet shelves, but its a good one for hanging too.
This pretty plant has real tropical looking leaves, and can grow to around 6 feet high. It likes a normal room temperature and tolerates low lighting. It is a fairly adaptable plant and we went by trial and error to find the perfect spot. Keep the soil evenly moist and water once a week.
This plant has vibrant foliage with beautiful markings. It enjoys morning sun and then indirect lighting. We have ours on our coffee table in the living room and have kept it in a small pot but it can grow as big as 10 feet tall!
This is one of my favourite plants with its light feathering leaves and tree like shape. It doesn’t like bright direct sunlight but likes warm temperatures. Mist regularly and in particular the stems. If it looks as though it is drying out, mist daily and move it to a warm more humid condition to revive it. Ours seem to thrive best in low light conditions.
Prayer Plant (Maranta Leuconeura)
There are quite a few varieties of the prayer plant, but we have the Maranta Leuconeura. Its leaves close up at night as though praying and open up again in the morning. They like bright non-direct sunlight and like to be kept moist. We water once a week.
This unusual plant is quite sought after, and we are lucky enough to have a very thriving one that keeps growing ‘babies’! We have been planting these and have begun to develop a little Pilea family in our kitchen. They like indirect sunlight, we have ours next to our back door which has light coming through but not direct sunlight. We water this fairly regularly and more in the hot weather. It tends to grow towards the sun, so you may want to rotate it as they grow very quickly when in the right spot.
Calatheas are beautiful plants, and we have a few varieties in our home. They have stunning decorative leaves, and similar to the Prayer Plant, close at night and open in the morning. They can be quite tricky to keep alive, some species easier than others. Generally, they like indirect sunlight and can tolerate low lighting. They don’t like too much water, we generally water once a week and they enjoy humid conditions.
Calathea ‘Compact Star’
The perfect plant for those who want a plant but not the task of the care that goes with it. They are very low maintenance and only need watering every so often. We have quite a collection of cacti that we group together. The only one that needs a bit more attention is the Prickly Pear cacti (Oputunia) which needs watering every fortnight or else its ‘ears’ will flop.
- Plant care can be a case of trial and error, sometimes we think we have the perfect spot for a plant and it doesn’t get on with its new home and we have to move it around.
- Watering depends on the weather too. We have just had a very hot summer in the UK so everything has needed watering much more than normal, some plants will tell you when they are thirsty, and sometimes you need to just check the soil. It’s very important to not over water, it’s the most common mistake people making with houseplants. I normally stick my fingers about an inch into the soil to check if its dry or not.
- Always make sure your large leafy friends are dust free as this can block out sunlight.
- When repotting always make sure you repot into a pot with drainage holes, pots with no drainage can cause the roots to rot.
- Get to know your plant. I always make sure I pay attention to the care label when first purchasing the plant and do a bit of online research. Make sure you know what kind of light your rooms have, where the direct light beams are and if there are any drafts. As mentioned before, it can be a case of trial and error until your leafy friends are fully happy in their new home!
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If you’re not too keen on having the responsibility of looking after too many plants, but want that botanical feel, then there are ways you can inject some leafy décor without having the commitment of keeping a plant alive!
Our dining room doesn’t have any windows at all, so we are unable (sadly) to put any live greenery in here. So instead we have filled the room with botanical prints and various items such as our cacti vase. It almost feels as though we do have plants in there.
Another idea is to collect flowers and leaves from your garden or a walk, and dry and press into frames (as pictured). I use the Nkuku frames and have added some pages from plant books I had picked up in charity shops.
In my dressing room / yoga room we picked this amazing leafy wallpaper for true jungle vibes, it was pricey but every day I just feel so happy when I look at it!
I also have a growing collection of botanical books, pictured below. I love learning more about plants inside and out – learning what different species prefer, soil types, and propagation.
I hope you enjoyed this very plant-based post and it was helpful to anyone looking to grow their collection of leafy friends, or to dip their fingers into some indoor gardening!