Guest post by Andy Peasgood (@andypeasgood)
I was skeptical for many years about house plants and even though I am a confident gardener, the idea of a house plant intimidated me. This last year we had heavy frosts that went well into late spring and all the Verbena bonariensis in the garden died. They had a good mulch for winter and were not cut back until all signs of frost had past and night temperatures had risen, keeping the crown well protected. The elements played their part in this scenario, and I moved on guilt free, learning and adjusting my practice for the site and location.
However, part of me did not feel that I would ever be this relaxed if a house plant died. I believed that every scenario around an unhealthy indoor plant would have my fingerprints all over it. Guilty.
It felt like a pressure to succeed with little return, but how wrong was I.
The day I got my first house plant, a Pilea Peperomioides aka Chinese money plant, I put it into a decorative terracotta pot and placed it on a shelf in my office. It died. Guilty.
I did everything my research informed me of, including the use of my own horticultural and botanical knowledge. Light, no draft or direct heat, watered and fed. Tick, tick, tick and tick but eagerness was the culprit here as I had not considered that the plant had been watered and fed the same day, I bought it and so it had had a double serving. In the garden I would not have thought twice about this as I would have planted straight into the ground, watered, and left, with an eye on the weather for the coming weeks. Some time passed and I paid no attention to it, the terracotta pot there on the shelf, a reminder of the pressure to succeed. Then, weeks later, a glimpse of green appeared so onto my tip toes I went and upon peering in I saw fresh growth.
From that moment on, I was in with a one-way ticket.
I was inspired by its resilience and its continuation to bring me joy, so there was nothing left to do but to go shopping. My experience as a gardener has taught me to do my research and these days if it is something I am unfamiliar with, I will research first. Fast forward several years and we have a few new additions to the home, and I do not plan to stop there!
So, here I am with an exterior garden establishing well and an interior garden that is steadily developing and three significant things I have noticed so far are:
- They make me happy.
- I am more productive when I see them.
- They can fill a space in your home better than ornaments and/or decorations.
It truly is a delight, and whilst I will fully acknowledge my dominant passion is exterior gardens, the house plants do make my gardening experience full circle throughout the day and for that, it is worth every moment and penny spent.
There are a few points surrounding house plants that need clarity and the main point is around the ability for plants to improve the quality of air in your home by removing pollutants within it. This is true and scientists have carried out the experiments, however, it is important to note that these experiments were carried out on small, sealed chambers. James Wong from @botanygeek discusses that ‘plants do clear these toxic compounds from the air. But living rooms and offices are not tiny, sealed chambers in labs. They are subject to constant inflow and outflow of air’ (James Wong, The Guardian, 2020). This could not be truer, the requirement to either limit air flow or create a jungle in each room of your home is not a possibility and that is ok because you stand to gain plenty with improved humidity, mood, and productivity on top of their visual beauty.
Do not be intimidated by indoor plants but do try to wash away the noise around those who have not had ‘successes. I have learnt that success is a completely irrelevant ideology here. There will be some perceived wins and losses but with each comes a lesson and a notch on your experience belt.
Here is a quick guide to creating a hanging indoor plant which will introduce a lush dynamic to your home and will bring you some joy and inspiration, just when you might need it.
Step 1 – Take a long-threaded hook and wall plug.
Step 2 – Drill a hole, relative to the wall plug, into the ceiling and insert the wall plug with a hammer. Screw in the hook.
Step 3 – I had some thick rope which I unraveled and tied together to make a long piece of slim rope.
Step 4 – Make a hanger from the rope and to do this, a quick search on YouTube will provide you with plenty of visual guides on how to loop the rope around the pot for hanging.
Step 5 – Place the plant, still in its plastic pot, inside the decorative pot.
Step 6 – If there is long growth, direct to the sides of the pot and rope so it is not congested.
Step 7 – Hang.