What are the best plants to bring indoors?
We’ve been busy cultivating an array of plants for indoors or patio that we’ve tested out over the years based on our own practical experience. Adding indoor plants is an easy decorating measure that just makes it feel nicer inside. We’re always bringing up new plants to the house and love how plants add shape and texture to a room as well as interesting silhouettes on the wall when the sun shines through – think big, leafy Philodendrons, bright red Cordylines, Fiddle-leaf Figs, as well as Mother-in-Laws Tongue. Aside from their handsome good looks, these plants, as well as a heap of others can make your home and office a healthier place to be.
Toxic build up indoors
How’s the air quality inside your home? Has your place been recently renovated? or are you stuck in an office with a lot of people and no ventilation? Got newish furniture or carpets? Cookware with chemical coatings? What effect does all this it have on our health?
Use Plants To Filter The Inside Air
Plants improve the quality of the air that you breathe. According to NASA, who have done some intense planty research, they’re adept at soaking up unhealthy toxic compounds that we have lurking in all sorts of chemical junk that we bring home via synthetic carpets, protective coatings, furnishings, varnishes and paints – stuff like benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, and ammonia – all lumped together to be known as volatile organic compounds or VOCs and have been blamed for causing asthma and other respiratory problems, allergies, rashes and general malaise. If you look into the NASA studies, they’ve really only researched a few plants and some are better than others at removing certain pollutants. In my humble, non researched opinion though, it stands to reason that plants that weren’t included in the study will also have benefits when used as Indoor plants.
And, it’s not just the plants that clean the air! Bring in the micro-bugs!
There’s lots of buggy research going on these days on the importance of healthy microbiomes in various eco systems. Stuff like the human gut and its micro-organisms the connection to the brain and how it influences our emotions. Or how healthy soil teaming with living micro-organisms have a symbiotic relationship with plants. And it is really quite fascinating to discover that the soil organisms that are brought into the house along with your plants have air filtering qualities that suck up these VOCs, storing them in plant tissue with some evidence suggesting that they may even destroy airborne pathogenic viruses and bacteria!!
Ever heard of Sick Building Syndrome? Allergens and toxins (aka Airborne Volatile Compounds or VOCs) build up in the home causing ill health in the form of respiratory symptoms, asthma, rashes and general malaise. Problem is, in any closed off area, with lack of ventilation - we're left with the toxic effects of all our modern day materials. Synthetic, paints, glues, fabrics and carpets all omit gases and odors that can cause these health problems, as well as our own human produced waste products from breathing.
General rule of thumb for house plants. The bigger the plant and the broader its foliage, the more surface area for gas exchange (ie oxygen production, and carbon dioxide consumption). The broader the foliage, the more it can tolerate the lack of light. Many tropical plants fall into this category as they’re understory plants that are in the shade most of the day and have developed their broad foliage as a way to store the sun’s energy.
It all starts with the Potting Media
Get the right potting mix. Don’t skimp on this. Your plants are only as good as the potting media that they’re living in and a quality mix will ensure your plants are happy. It sounds obvious, but our potting mix is designed for plants that grow in pots. It is different than landscape soil mixes and other organics or amendments that you use to put plants into the ground in your garden. We grow thousands of plants in pots and have developed the best mix for use on all of our potted plants – a recipe that is free draining, while holding onto water and nutrient. Our free draining, fertile blend contains super ingredients like zeolite, a mineral that holds onto nutrient and water and rock dust which also keeps nutrients locked in and available to the plant, rather than draining out. We also add a 12- 14 month slow release fertiliser plus mycorrhizal inoculants to this mix to slowly feed your plants. Come in and check it out.
Then the Watering
Watering requirements for each plant do vary. The plants that require the least amount of watering, for those of you who tend to be a bit light handed when it comes to remembering to give your plants are drink are succulent type plants like Sansevieria and also Cordylines and Dracenas and syngoniums.
Here’s a list of plants that we find are suitable for Indoors (or your patio) Click on the links below for more information on each plant.
- Sansevieria – this is one of the easiest plants to look after – and is a great choice for the bedroom as it converts CO2 into O2 at night time!! (most plants do this in the day as a by product of photosynthesis)
- Ficus benjamina – (pictured above) put a tree in your lounge room – lovely, weeping, glossy foliage
- Ficus starlight – the variegated leaves lighten this plant, would brighten up a dark area
- Monstera Deliciosia – climbing plant with large foliage and interesting aerial roots
- Philodendron Imperial Red Easy to grow plant with large foliage.
- Fiddle Leaf Fig – On trend indoor decorative plant
- Syngonium pixie – will trail out of pot or can be kept pruned upright. Heart shaped foliage. Can be used to underplant a pot. Is really great at looking good when not watered.
- Syngonium Cordyline Multiplanter – 2 plants in one pot.
- Cordyline terminalis ruby one of the easiest to care for indoor or patio plants with a beautiful ruby red colour.
- Cordyline terminalis purple prince another easy care indoor plants with a striking purple colour
- Dracena Marginata handsome feature plant with good architectural form. Prefers to be kept on the dryer side.
- Bangalow Palms or here – these are quite easily kept in pots indoors. They’ll put up a nice canopy, even in smaller pots.
- Golden Cane Palm – NASA tests have shown this to remove toxins from the home. Very easy to keep indoors. Can tolerate lower light areas. They do like to be kept watered regularly. We have these in our lounge room, 3 x pots placed into a planter box with no holes at the bottom. They’re actually putting on new growth!
- Banana Plant – Its broad foliage would look lovely kept indoors – grab a leaf or two for use in Asian cooking.
- Strelitzia nicolai – indoors, this ‘giant’ bird of paradise will add height and big, green leafy foliage.
- Croton – originating from Indonesia, Crotons are bold and bright. This particular variety ‘Mammy’ has the most interesting foliage – watch it twist and turn as it grows.
Here’s more that we’ve got in stock that would work. Elephant ears, Spathyphyllum, Rhapis Palm, Kentia Palm, Ponytail palm, Jade Plant, Aralia. What else has worked for you? What would you add to this list?
This article was updated May 2016