Life in lockdown: How to make your home a houseplant haven

RHS Wisley Giant Houseplant Takeover exhibition
RHS Wisley Giant Houseplant Takeover exhibition (PA Archive)
14:12pm, Thu 18 Feb 2021
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You’re not alone if you’ve spent a lot of lockdown hankering after houseplants and ordering greenery from the garden centre.

And we’re not just obsessed with houseplants because they can add a chic green touch to a room – studies have shown that having plants in your home, as well as tending to them and watching them grow, can have a profound effect on well-being too.

What are the well-being benefits of houseplants?

“Caring for a diverse range of house plants offers more than simply aesthetically pleasing appeal,” says Lucy Askew, interiors expert at Hillarys, “they can also help both your physical and mental health too.”

Any gardener knows that watering pots or taking cuttings can be incredibly soothing. Ms Askew says studies have found that having plants in your home or office can actually help reduce stress and anxiety; it’s also thought just looking at greenery can help us feel more calm and relaxed.

As well as enhancing your mood and creating a living space that is soothing to be in, Ms Askew says caring for plants in your home can also boost productivity and help you focus on tricky work tasks.

Plus, plants release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide, so many species act as natural air purifiers.

How should I buy houseplants?

An indoor garden can be a sanctuary during lockdown, and for many people it is also a source of great pride. As well as being peaceful to live in, buying and caring for houseplants can become an extremely fulfilling and rewarding hobby too.

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“It’s important that once your collection starts building up you find the right atmosphere or setting for each species you bring home,” says Ms Askew.

“French Lavender, with its beautiful purple bloom and calming scent, works wonderfully in a bedroom setting, while you might want to consider the striking aesthetic of a bamboo plant in your office.

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“Sprawling ferns, which thrive in humidity and filtered light, will make a welcome and low-maintenance addition to the corners of any bathroom.”

You could also try adding a range of fresh herb pots, such as basil, rosemary, or thyme, to the windowsill of your kitchen. As well as looking and smelling lovely, you have the added bonus of fresh herbs whenever you need something extra to finish off a dish.

What are some low-maintenance species to start with? 

“In terms of the first house plants you bring into your home, it’s definitely for the best to ‘walk before you run’ and pick varieties that are easy to care for and will not put you off expanding your collection in the future and post-lockdown,” advises Ms Askew.

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“Great and versatile options to start with include palms, which require very little attention and are virtually indestructible – as long as they’re not overwatered, or Peace Lilies which fit beautifully into any space, filter the air and only require minimal attention. Simply pop them in a light space and water them whenever the soil feels dry.”

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