Did you know that over 18 million Australians bought a houseplant in the past year? And we can only guess how many of those plants didn’t live more than a day.
So why bother? Well, the case for plants is still absolutely there: the best indoor plants purify the air, reduce stress, and prove to your friends and family members that you are capable of taking care of a living thing separate from your body. And if that last point doesn’t apply to you, we’re here to help.
We’ve enlisted the help of millennial plant lover, Alan Chan, to compile a list of the 10 best indoor plants, as well as some tips you should keep in mind as you attempt to take care of them.
Mother in Law’s Tongue
This plant gets its name from its sharp-pointed leaf, and it’s just as tough as you would imagine! Mother in law’s tongue, or snake plant, make striking statement plants and will adapt to live anywhere from a bright windowsill to a dark corner. They also like to stay a bit drier, so they have no problem if you forget to water!
Another plant that doesn’t mind to be forgotten about, ponytail palms are actually slow growing succulents, so they love basking in the sun near a window. Make sure it doesn’t have wet feet and it will reward you with its flourishing fountain of foliage.
Peace lilies may seem like high maintenance divas, but their lush foliage actually has an inbuilt watering reminder! Once their soil starts to dry out, the whole plant will dramatically flop over, only to spring back to its former beauty within hours of getting a drink. Hopefully once this has happened a few times, the trauma of thinking you have killed your plant overnight will shock you into a regular watering schedule!
Air plants (Tillandsias) have to be the lowest maintenance of all plants – they don’t even need soil! All these cute fuzzy plants want in life is a quick 10 minute bath every two weeks or so. Once they’ve had a drink, shake them off and hang them back up!
Bromeliads are a group of striking tropical plants that come in a myriad of colours and sizes. They don’t like the cold, and prefer a bright position, but apart from that they are tough and able to withstand all the neglect you’ll be accidentally giving them.
Short for its scientific name Zamioculcas zamiifolia (say that 10 times fast!), ZZ plant is just begging to be neglected. Originally from dry East Africa, ZZ plants can tolerate long periods without water, and its glossy foliage is able to adapt to lower light corners of your house. ZZ plants can also grow from a single leaf cutting – try breaking a few leaves off and plant them in some soil. Within a few months you’ll have a whole bunch more of indestructible plants!
If you’re like me, your first experience of Devil’s Ivy (also known as Pothos) was the vines growing out of an assortment of water-filled bottles in my grandma’s bathroom. This is exactly how easy it is to grow, and there are a range of green/white variations available. As it grows, use removeable hooks to train it up the wall for some added jungle vibes!
The upright leaves and striking cream, pink and green foliage, Stromanthe has all the feel of an exotic tropical plant but with none of the hassle. Keep it near a bright window and give it a drink about once a week and you’ll be rewarded with a stunning bouquet of foliage.
A wide group of plants which includes delicate vines like ‘Brasil’ through to spectacular statement plants like the ‘Congo’. They are quite forgiving and adaptable, though they will need bright indirect light. They can also bounce back quite easily if you ever do forget them for a while!
Syngoniums are quickly rising in popularity, not just because of their hardiness but also for their arrow-shaped leaves that come in greens, pinks, red and whites. They are fast growing vines, and can be trained to grow up and down a totem for a lush and cascading effect.
If you have more questions Alan Chan has partnered with plant-powered meal delivery service Soulara to give advice on how best to take care of a new plant baby or to pair you with your ultimate “soil mate”. Soulara customers can email firstname.lastname@example.org with more questions for Alan or jump on Instagram @livesoulara Feb 13th to submit questions.