Gardens

There are not too many places a house plant can’t go, including this year’s on-trend option of hanging plants tumbling down from shelves. How about trying pothos, aka devil’s ivy (Epipremnum aureum), which tolerates infrequent watering and anything from bright light to semi-shade? The succulent string of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) is delectable; its elegant strands draping sweetly any which way you like. Shade-loving ferns lend luxury to decors, from boho chic to Scandi and modern. Maidenhair (Adiantum raddianum) is the classic with its delicate fronds which quiver in the slightest breeze. Big in Victorian times, the robust Boston fern (Nephrolepis exalta) is making a comeback. It is perfect for jardinieres and pot plant stands.

If your vibe is more sunshine and blue skies, go for a tree. With its glossy leaves, love of light and easy nature, the appeal of weeping fig (Ficus benjamina) is abiding, but a newcomer to life inside is gaining in popularity. The silver and sage leaves of the olive (Olea europaea) are a perfect foil to the rustic terracotta and Mediterranean look tipped to be big in 2017. Owning house plants enables you to get more interactive with propagation. Take it out of the potting shed and into glass phials and jars. Essentially, this involves cutting a segment of the plant, putting it in water and watching it root, and that’s it. Good subjects are ivys, coleus, pothos and mint. Or dispense with water and container saucers, by choosing air plants (tillandsia), which, yes, do just live on air. These look divine grouped with treasured objets on a shelf or table. Air plants are the ultimate in low main-tenance, thriving on a misting now and then, and a bath even less frequently.

Staying alive: plant-keeping tips:

• Do some research before you buy. Match the plant to the site – for a spot which gets little natural light avoid sun-loving specimens.
• The majority of house plants only like filtered light not direct sunlight; a little morning sun at the most.
• Few house plants like draughts or soggy feet. Ensure good drainage by placing stones or even china or terracotta pieces at least 4cm deep at the bottom of the pots.
• Go easy on the watering over winter when most house plants will stop growing or at least slow down.

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