Selecting plants for your interior isn’t only about aesthetics. When you choose a particular species, consider its preferences, the conditions in your apartment, as well as your skills and the time you can spare to look after your plants. Which specimen to choose and how to care for it? Consulting our botany experts, we have put together a guidebook to the most interesting houseplants.
We adore potted plants and cannot imagine our apartments or office without them. As a crucial element of interior design, they’re eagerly presented in every photoshoot of the Wellcome Home apartments. We’re well aware, however, that each plant has different preferences and requirements, and each interior offers different conditions. Too dark, too dry, too hot, too cramped – there are multiple problems for our green friends to tackle. Therefore, we’ve consulted with the Katowice “City of Gardens” flower shop about a selection of the best houseplants. Together, we’ve listed plants that will triumph against the most common apartment challenges.
See, what our botany experts recommend!
1. Plants for a sunny and dry place
We all dream of a bright living room and the sun pouring in throughout the day. East or south-oriented windows are a great thing, but plants on windowsills are exposed directly to the sun’s rays. Especially in the summer season, when the exposure is very long and strong, delicate specimens could be in trouble. Such interiors make it difficult to maintain natural humidity. And the beloved plant quickly withers away and even turns brown.
These sun-kissed interiors need plants which are resilient to high temperatures and don’t mind dry air, i.e. plants which naturally grow in dry and warm habitats. Their survival depends on a particular structure: thick leaves that store water, for instance.
What do we recommend?
These plants are very resilient to drought as their fleshy structure allows them to store water in their leaves, stalks, and even roots for a long time. These extreme adaptation skills help them deal with hot and dry window sills as well as our occasional forgetfulness.
The succulents we recommend are:
- the immortal and unbreakable jade plant (Crassula ovata)
- the adorable ceropegia;
- Rhipsalis cassutha, usually called mistletoecactus;
- the rosette-forming echeveria.
Cactuses are another heavy duty plant. They are resilient to drought and strong sun exposure. Some varieties bloom beautifully, surprisingly pleasing the eye.
The most interesting cactus varieties are:
- Opuntia microdasys – bunny ears cactus;
- Cereus Florida (a.k.a. torch thistle).
These rosette-forming perennials are known mostly for their health benefits. It’s also worth having this species on your sill for aesthetic reasons – especially that it’s very resilient to drought and sunny exposition. Aloes like permeable soil and moderate watering, and even less water in the winter.
The recommended varieties are Aloe arborescens (candelabra aloe) and the well-known and popular Aloe Vera.
Tradescantia, or spiderwort, is a really gracious plant – quite undemanding, it grows quickly, likes moderate watering and the sun (a lot!). In the summer they can even be kept on a very sunny terrace or balcony. We love them for their beautiful leaves in the unconventional shades of purple or pink.
If you like such “colorful” plants, look for the Tradescantia Fluminensis ‘Quadricolor’ variety.
2. Shade and humidity loving plants
Bathrooms, halls, dark and small rooms with northern light – these places are rarely decorated with plants. However, there are many varieties which would instantly swap the sunny exposure for gentle diffused light or even shade. Their leaves are usually delicate as they naturally grow in low layers of vegetation. Rather than large quantities of sun, they need a lot of water – regular watering, spraying, increased humidity in the room.
Among them you will find:
In their natural habitat ferns grow under trees and bushes, and therefore out of the reach of the sun’s rays. It’s necessary to water them regularly otherwise their delicate leaves will dry and turn brown. Ferns like regular spraying as well.
Our favorite ferns include:
- Asplenium (known as spleenworts);
- Phlebodium ‘Blue Star’ in a gentle blue color.
This evergreen plant is decorative through its beautifully colored leaves. It likes gentle diffused light which makes it unsuitable for a southern window sill. It also likes frequent watering (but not overwatering!) and high humidity. Regular spraying will also be appreciated.
Our absolutely favorite variety is Maranta leuconeura ‘Fascinator Tricolor’.
This easy-to-care-for plant enjoys a lot of popularity. It prefers indirect sunlight, but it dislikes being underwatered. Naturally tropical, it requires higher temperatures and humidity. You need to spray it regularly and wipe its leaves with a moist cloth. The attention will be awarded by their beautiful color.
- The variation surely worth considering is Aglaonema Peacock.
Good news to all fans of the popular monstera. This plant doesn’t need much sun to grow well, and it would trade the southern window sill for indirect sunlight any day. Its natural habitat is tropical, therefore it prefers humid air and spraying. Fortunately, it’s quite undemanding and can even be grown by beginners, as it forgives many faults.
The most popular varieties of monstera are:
- Monstera deliciosa (Swiss cheese plant), the large, fast-growing variety;
- Monstera adansonii, also popular but smaller, recommended for small rooms.
Also called sparrow grass, this beautiful pinnate plant is often mistaken for a fern, but it’s a completely different species. Its stalks are covered in delicate needles, reminiscent of a light cloud.
Asparagus doesn’t like direct strong light. It should not be underwatered – if you allow its roots to dry, the needles will turn yellow and start to shed. This plant also likes regular sprayings.
Although calathea isn’t an easy plant to take care of, it’s definitely worth the attention. It grows naturally in tropical forests, and so it likes shady places. In an apartment, it will do well in diffused light. This plant can be placed on the window sills with a north-eastern or north-western exposure.
Growing calathea you mustn’t forget about waterings – it requires regular heavy watering so that its soil is always slightly moist. The attention will be rewarded with unconventional colors of leaves.
We favor the following varieties:
- Calathea ‘Network’;
- Calathea ‘Makoyana’.
3. Easy-to-grow plants
You don’t have a green thumb? Whatever you put on your window sill withers away? Don’t worry, you can enjoy a green view too. Match the plant to your abilities. There are no unbreakable plants, but many require a little botanical knowledge and will live through your forgetfulness. The plants we have selected will excuse dry spells or a temporary lack of sunlight. Some need the bare minimum to award you with beautiful leaves, maybe even flowers (!).
Here are some particularly resilient plants:
Also called the Zuzu plant, and nicknamed Eternity, it has a magnificent shape and beautiful dark green leaves. It grows slowly but reaches as much as 100 cm in height. This plant is very popular due to its few requirements. It deals well in dry rooms with limited access to sunlight. Zuzu rarely needs repotting and is resilient to pests and disease. Adapting to existing conditions, it lasts for “eternity”. It surely prefers underwatering to overwatering (too much water may cause its roots to rot).
- Zamioculcas ‘Supernova’ has very impressive, dark, almost black leaves;
- Zamiokulkas ‘Zenzi’ is miniature, good for small rooms.
Ficus, a member of a fig tree family, grow fast, are easy to care for and very decorative. Temporarily, they will deal with dry air in centrally heated rooms. They’re undemanding as regards to temperature – they prefer about 20°C, but in the winter it can be even 10°C. The higher the temperature, the more often they need watering and ficus like sprayings. Additionally, their leaves should be wiped from time to time, so that the plant can breathe easily.
- Ficus elastica ‘Abidjan’;
- Ficus triangularis ‘Sweetheart’.
Also called epipremnum, it’s often compared to ivy and equally popular as a decorative hanging or climbing plant (in the case of the latter it requires a stable base).
The plant has large and visible growths. Its oval, heart-shaped leaves have color depending on the light exposure – the more sun, the lighter and more spotty the leaves. This variety will also deal well in shade – its leaves will be plain green, but equally beautiful. It’s not a fussy plant but requires regular watering and spraying.
- Scindapsus ‘Golden pothos‘ (most popular);
- Scindapsus pictus (silver pothos) ‘Silver Ann’ or ‘Argyraeus’.
It comes from the same family as monstera, zamioculcas, and spathiphyllum. Naturally, it grows mainly as a vine, creeping around a tree trunk. The philodendron is known for its air-purifying qualities, so it’s worth keeping in an apartment. It’s easily cultivated, likes diffused light and regular watering. The leaves should be wiped with a moist cloth from time to time.
- Our favorite variety is Philodendron scandens ‘Brasil’.
4. Plants for large apartments
The lucky owners of large apartments and spacious living rooms can afford to arrange an urban jungle at home. It’ll be easy with quick-growing plants which – given good conditions – can grow several meters high.
Here are some bushy specimen for the enthusiast of tall plants:
Automatically associated with tall trees met in tropical destinations, it requires a lot of space, but will surely be a beautiful decoration in spacious rooms.
Palms like light, but not direct sun. In the summer, they need a lot of watering and regular spraying, daily if possible. This will provide them with nature-like conditions. In the winter, watering should be minimal, only to prevent the soil from drying up.
The most popular varieties are:
- Howea kentia;
- Canary Island Date (Phoenix canariensis);
- Dypsis lutescens, a.k.a. Areca Palm.
We’ve already mentioned the ficus. Easy to grow and care for, they’re one of the most common plants. Those keen on large plants will be happy to hear that a ficus can grow impressively high. Ficus carica, the common fig, in its natural environment presents as quite a large tree, bearing delicious fruit as well.
Which varieties will work well in large rooms?
- Ficus Amstel King;
- Ficus lyrata (fiddle-leaf fig);
- Ficus benjamina.
Popular and very common, the spath likes indirect sunlight. It’s worth keeping at home not only for its beautiful shape but also its air-purifying properties. You need to remember to regularly wipe its leaves to facilitate the filtering.
Caring for a spath is simple, all it needs is proper humidity and regular watering.
The largest and most impressive varieties are:
- Wallisa ‘Sensation’;
- Wallisa ‘Euro Giant’.
Here it comes again! We must mention monstera which can grow really big. Its delightful effuse leaves look almost like umbrellas. And it’s easy to cultivate, remember?
- The variety best for large spaces will be Monstera deliciosa (Swiss cheese plant).
These plants come from the Philippines. They have a simple, shrubby shape. In its natural conditions, some varieties grow several meters high, but those grown on a window sill are usually moderate in size.
Its best asset is the big decorative leaves. They like watering and are rather light-loving, which makes them a perfect window sill-type.
We absolutely favour the ‘Wentii’ variety with leathery leaves.
5. Plants for small rooms
Not all of us are blessed with big living rooms or extra bedroom space. Our apartments tend to be quite compact and seemingly lacking room for plants. Should we give them up? Nothing of the sort! Regardless of the space, we should be surrounded by plants. There’re also smaller, modest plants which remain special for completely different reasons.
Here are some perfect for a smaller flat:
Also known as a radiator plant, peperomia is rather small and grows up to 50 cm. In this case, it’s not about the size, but the charming decorative leaves. It likes gently shady and humid places, and deals much better a bit underwatered than overwatered.
- Our favourite variety is Peperomia Caperata ‘Red Luna’.
The previously mentioned jade plant is a real heavy duty plant. It’s not afraid of being underwatered and heat, and can be kept in the most challenging spot. Therefore, it forgives forgetfulness and requires minimum attention. Usually small, it can grow quite large in optimal conditions. It’s perfect for window sills.
This charming small plant known as the Chinese money plant is actually Pilea peperomioides. Its nickname comes from the coin-shaped leaves. It grows up to 30 cm and despite its small size, it branches out a lot. A money plant has its own superpower: it propagates easily, so you can have your own money plant farm for free.
Ceropegia woodii comes from Africa and belongs to the succulent family – it, therefore, requires a lot of sunlight, permeable soil, and less watering. It doesn’t like drafts at all. Ceropegia’s secret is its hanging shoots, which can be regularly cut to stimulate its growth. It’s also ideal to hang, saving space in small rooms.
Favoring one variety would not be possible, they are all delightful. Our best could be ‘String of hearts’ or ‘Silver Glory’.
This unconventional variety is also a succulent. It’s known as the living stone because it looks like a pebble. It has no stalk and its leaves are dense with flowers growing among them. And it’s the flowers that make these small stones worth growing at home.
Lithops are micro-sized and therefore work even in the smallest space.
Which plants will be best?
Potted plants are living organisms with their individual needs. We hope our recommendations will help you choose plants matching your apartment as well as your skills and the time you can spare to tend to them.
If you’re in Katowice you can find your perfect plants in “City of Gardens”. At this flower shop, you can “hunt for” all these beauties as well as learn how to care for them and choose the ones ideal for your interior.
Let your plants grow bushy and green!