More of us than ever are living out our adulthoods in rented properties. Homes, flats and bedrooms that are short on space – both inside and outside.
So what happens when you want to become a plant parent? Whether you aspire to just a small tray of herbs, or a horticultural collection to rival a greenhouse, most plants need light. Unfortunately, not all of us have it.
So we asked Alice Vincent, the author of How to Grow Stuff, and general green-fingered guru, all about no-stress gardening that doesn’t need full-on sunshine to thrive. She told HuffPost UK the five plants you should consider buying.
Alice says: “Otherwise known as the “sexy bed vine from Pinterest”, the Pothos is a creeping vine with lush pointed leaves and a tendency to grow fast. Plant nerds often say you only need to buy one because they propagate - make babies from cuttings - so easily.
“The Pothos will put up with low levels of natural light, perfect for a dark corner or a bookshelf, and elegantly tumble over from a plant hanger. Go easy on the watering, its worst enemy is rot. When leaves look a little wrinkled, or the top two cm of soil is dry, give it one solid drink (so water runs through the holes in pot) and leave for a couple weeks.”
Alice says: “I leave one of these happily neglected on top of an unreachable shelf and it still grows so quickly it’s become known as ‘The Claw’. It’s technically a cactus, so it likes dry soil, but unlike other cacti can deal with low light levels. If it gets too sprawling, cut off the bits you don’t like and leave in a cup of water until they root - then you can pot up and start Claw 2.0.”
Alice says: “The spider plant is the seventies baby that, madly, seems resistant to the houseplant phenomenon. Spider plants are wildly tolerant but their leaves will scorch in bright natural light so they’re great for darker, more humid spaces - a bathroom is perfect. Watch out for dry ends on the leaves, it means you need more humidity; keep it regularly misted.”
Alice says: “People think these are tricky but as long as you keep them away from hot bright windows and misted a couple times a week you’ll be blessed with mounds of fluffy fronds. Like a lot of ferns, they’re used to shady woodland/forested spots, so will deal with low light.
“If the fronds start to go yellow/brown it means either the soil or the air is too dry, so water thoroughly and give it a mist. Cut off the brown bits - and new green ones will grow.”
Alice says: “For an un-killable plant that will offer height and scale miles away from a window, look no further than the humble rubber tree. They need barely any watering and their glossy leaves will appreciate indirect light.
“Expect some yellowing and leaf drop as the temperatures drop and central heating dries out the air – indoor plants go through autumn too – but if its kept in a big enough pot a ficus will grow happily. Just give those leaves a wipe with a soft cloth - they can be a total dust trap.”
And if you’re still struggling to keep them alive, try our pick of the best fake plants that don’t look totally naff.