Plants are having a kind of moment right now.
Take one quick scroll through your social media and you’ll see beautiful interiors covered in leafy vines, hanging plants, spunky succulents, and trees that liven up every corner of a room.
I think there’s a reason why everyone is so obsessed with greenery: Indoor plants improve your mental and physical well-being in ways you probably didn’t even realise. Ever wonder why you feel you can breathe easier, focus better, and simply be happier in a room full of nature? Well, it turns out these perks existed long before our seemingly newfound appreciation for lush green spaces.
Not only do indoor plants add colour and liveliness to your space, but they also change the physical aspects of the environment in pleasant ways. “Plants can be used to increase the relative humidity indoors, reduce noise, screen unattractive areas, and moderate room temperature by shading a bright, sunny window,” says Altman, associate director of the Horticultural Therapy Program at Rutgers University. Before you fill a space with furniture and accessories, take some time to think about how you want to feel in that room and how plants might help you achieve that vibe.
This gave me the idea to change the mood of my own room. I’ve tried several times to have plants in the house, but sadly, they only last a few days until they dry up and die. I had paused to consider for a moment if I should try to plant another tree, but seeing the many social media posts about indoor plants inspired me to try again.
Choosing indoor plants that suit your home’s condition and design can be a bit tricky. Some rooms are quite humid, others are full of light, and there are many types of plants whose maintenance methods are different for each condition. Don’t forget, the basic colour of the room also matters!
Thinking of having one, but, ever wondered how to choose the right plants in every corner of the house?
First and foremost, consider your room condition and pick the right spot for your new plant. Many plants require bright light without direct sunlight. If your room is south-, west-, or east-facing towards the sun, then you might be in luck. However, if your room is north-facing and you want to grow cacti, you’re likely to have problems.
Then, make sure your room doesn’t have too much furniture and accessories, especially dark ones, like brown or dark red. Usually, dark tones will make your room look cramped if you add indoor plants. Also, choose a room or corner that has plain or pastel colours on the wall. This makes your plants more visible and looks tidy.
I first started with my bedroom. For me, the bedroom is meant to be a restful sanctuary, so adding a bit of greenery will create a peaceful atmosphere. “Plants have been shown to boost moods, decrease stress and anxiety, and filter toxins,” says Satch, The Sill’s in-house plant expert. For the bedroom, the best variety is the one that can improve indoor air quality. After a long scroll on Google, I finally decided to buy a Peace Lily and a Snake Plant, or Lidah Mertua as Indonesian people say.
If you don’t have a good way with plants, try planting low-maintenance plants that are not too patterned so that your house doesn’t look cramped and overly lush. Some examples are Pothos, Spider Plant, Ponytail Palm and the one that I have, Snake Plant.
Having plants in the room does make the space feel more alive. Unlike synthetic plants, living plants provide a myriad of good effects behind their aesthetic aspects.
Adding small paintings on the walls near indoor plants also gives a classy impression, anything can be done according to the taste of the homeowner. I think it’s important that we regularly change a new atmosphere, especially during the pandemic when we spend most of our time at home.
Now that you know how to choose the right plants, how will you maintain them?
Let’s think about the native climate for the majority of our houseplants. It is typically a tropical area. Our goal is to imitate that environment as closely as possible without going overboard. Just like The Price Is Right, the rules are the same here.
First, the most important and basic: Start with the soil. Soil is a bit of a misnomer when it comes to the growing media used for indoor plants. The best growing media is soil-less and is a combination of equal parts peat moss, vermiculite or perlite, and compost.
What is no less important is watering. Most of the time, we are concerned we aren’t watering enough, when in fact we are watering far too much! Plants don’t want to have “wet feet“, a friendly term for when their roots are absolutely saturated from sitting in a puddle for days. The most accurate assessment of a plant’s need for water is accomplished by testing its weight. Pick up the container of the plant and see how much it weighs; the lighter it is, the more it needs a drink. Unless noted otherwise, most houseplants would prefer being slightly dry to soaking wet. That means a watering schedule of once or twice a week is suitable for most plants.
Don’t forget to brighten up! Light is just as important as water. All plants need light to carry out their necessary biological processes. I’m talking about you, photosynthesis!
Houseplants typically require high light for six or more hours a day, medium-light for four to six hours a day, or low light for less than three hours a day. Plants will either require bright or direct light from a south-facing window, or indirect or filtered light coming through a curtain or light from a bulb.
Another trick: almost all houseplants need a minimum temperature of 55ºF (around 12.7 Celsius) to survive. Keep plants away from areas of cold drafts in the winter. The warmer it gets for houseplants, the happier they are!
Compared to adding lots of other furniture, trying to liven up the atmosphere with indoor plants is worth a try. Changing the atmosphere of the room does sometimes require a lot of unexpected costs, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done, especially because adding some indoor plants doesn’t cost much, to begin with.
Are you interested in trying it?