Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Five Houseplants That I Think are Pretty Hard to Kill!

I've always adored houseplants and I'm really happy to see that they're hugely back in fashion at the moment. However, I often notice my fellow Instagrammers remarking on how they struggle to keep their houseplants alive! So, seeing that at last count I had somehow managed to acquire 44 houseplants, I thought I'd put together a list of my 'Top 5 ' houseplants that I think are pretty hard to kill!

1. Wandering Jew or 'Tradescantia'.

This is a lovely trailing plant (front, right). It survives neglect very well, but if you do water and feed it regularly (roughly once a week in summer months) it will reward you handsomely with prolific growth. I bought my 'Wandering Jew' from www.ebay.co.uk for £5 (plus postage)(there are some great plant sellers on there) and of course my other 'Wandering Jew' plants are the children of this original plant. It's easy to propagate - you can literally just break a bit off from the parent plant, stick it in a pot of damp soil, keep it watered, and it will take off. Interestingly, the name 'Wandering Jew' came from the fact that it is so easy to propagate and cuttings used to be readily shared, so it wandered from house to house. Anyway, I think it's the perfect starter plant and really suits the lovely macrame plant hangers that have come back into fashion recently.

2. Cacti.

Cacti of every shape and size are everywhere at the moment! I love little ones in pots,like in this pic, and I love the giant ones too. Again, super easy to look after and I'd even go as far as to say that there's only one way to kill a cactus and that's to over-water it. Poke about in the soil with your fingers to make sure it's thoroughly dry before watering. I only water mine about once a month. I bought these ones from a local garden centre and but they are easily available at DIY stores such as www.homebase.co.uk and they're also always available at www.ikea.co.uk. Ikea have also started doing the large cacti but I've found them more affordable on eBay.

3. Swiss cheese plant or 'Monstera deliciosa'.

I'm absolutely delighted that cheese plants are back in fashion! I had one in the 90s and can't believe that I gave it away. They're great, easy-care space fillers, they don't mind being moved around and they're pretty fast growing. I water mine about once a week in the summer and less often in the winter. I also give it plant food in the summer months - there are several types of plant food but I tend to use the ones that are given weekly. It's just a case then of remembering once to water and feed at the same time. I pick a certain day of the week to tend to all of my plants at the same time - usually a Sunday. Again, if you're in doubt about whether to water or not, just poke about in the soil with your finger for any sign of dampness. It's best to let most plants (except ferns) dry out completely in between watering. I searched garden centres and DIY stores for a cheese plant for ages with no luck and finally bought this one from eBay for £24.99 plus postage.

4. Castor Oil Plant or 'Fatsia Japonica'.

This plant (at the front of the photo) is usually marketed as an outdoor plant but I think that they do very well as houseplants too. Again, it's a great space filler with big, glossy statement leaves. It also has an extra bonus  - it's super cheap - this size was only £9.99 from my local garden centre! Weekly watering and feeding is required, as before, and again it doesn't mind where it lives as long as it has some light. With big plants such as these I usually take them outside and water them with the hosepipe. That way you can give them a really good soaking and then allow them to drain outside before bringing them back in. It also saves dripping water all over the house with your watering can! 

5. String of Hearts or 'Ceropegia Woodii'.

These are my favourite trailing plants. So dainty and pretty and a lovely grey green. They are so easy to look after and, like 'Wandering Jew', are another plant that can tolerate being neglected for a while. The ones in the photo have been in my daughter's badly lit room for a few months. I dread to think how rarely they've been watered - but they've still grown and look healthy. My first String of Hearts was bought from eBay (about £5, including postage) and subsequent plants are cutting from this parent plant. You can pop the ends in water for a couple of weeks, until roots appear, before popping them into a pot of soil. Or, in the case of these ones, the cuttings were popped straight into a pot of soil without rooting first. 

So - don't be scared! Join the plant gang. Lots of plant owners are more than happy to share their knowledge - and plant cuttings! - so ask for help if you're stuck. Happy growing!

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