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OUT IN THE GARDEN: Choosing house plants

It’s funny how totally separate events can become linked without you even realising that it is happening.

I was watching Pierce Brosnan – in my opinion the best Bond. Sean Connery was the original but not smooth enough for me, Roger Moore was just a bit too corny, Lazenby was not given long enough to form an opinion, Timothy Dalton was just far too serious and Daniel Craig is a bit of a thug.Brosnan was sophisticated and had a few comedic lines here and there as a nod to Connery.

Anyway, I digress; part way through the Bond film one of the filming locations used was inside the Eden Project in Cornwall.

Which house plant is best for you?
Which house plant is best for you?

I couldn’t help marvelling at the incredible tropical plants that framed the action.Now, here’s the thing. Just as the action was reaching its climax there was the familiar bing coming from my phone to tell me I’d received a new email.

The email was from a young woman called Kim who wrote that she and her husband had just bought their first house together and were looking to buy some houseplants to make it more homely.

Now, houseplants are essentially tropical plants just like the ones in the Bond film I was watching, so in my mind I pictured their sitting room filled with tropical ferns and banana plants with a sofa hidden in the undergrowth.

I continued to read Kim’s email and my incredible tropical vision came crashing to the ground when I read: “I need something really easy to look after as I seem to kill most plants.”

I paused the film as I have that technology and stood up from the sofa as I do all my best thinking standing up. A scattering of digestive biscuit crumbs fell to the floor which Teddy Dog dutifully hoovered up.

Not a problem, I thought. There are plenty of easy to look after houseplants out there, but which ones to recommend?

The obvious plant would be a Sansevieria – known as Mother-in-Law’s tongue. It has beautiful variegated leaves that look like a gladiator sword (or your Mother-in-Law’s tongue).

Sansevieria is virtually indestructible; they will do well in either a light or dark location in the home. Although they are very forgiving, Sansevieria plants really do prefer indirect sunlight and on occasion direct sunlight.

However, they can adapt, as indicated, to a dimmer part of the home. Watering is really easy... only do so when the soil is dry and err on the side of under-watering if unsure.

The other plant I recommend is Calathea; they are a great vibrant green plant that naturally grow on the floor of jungles and forests. Calatheas prefer indirect sunlight as this mimics the conditions on the jungle floor. As for watering, they like to have a moist soil to grow in, and as above, err on the side of caution when watering.

Both of these plant varieties will help make their new home feel more homely and, as a side benefit, houseplants help purify the air by taking in the carbon dioxide and breathing out oxygen.

Now, where did I put that remote?

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