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Last updated on January 21st, 2020
If you are looking to brighten up your home, then you should include fun, accessible house plants. Over the last few years, house plants have become very popular and not only do we now recognise that they can make a room feel more appealing with a calm feeling bringing the outside in but some house plant even have air-purifying properties too which can be very appealing.
When it comes to choosing the best house plants you also have to think about the position of where you want to grow them as some prefer direct light such as in front of a window in full sun, while others prefer to be in a bright position such as near a window but not in direct light, then, of course, we have plants that need shade so are best positioned in a shady corner or position away from the window.
Finally, you have to think about the humidity as some plants such as monstera and ficus prefer a more warm and humid environment so misting now and again with water is a good idea as well as placing the plants on top of a saucer filled with pebbles and water.
Below are our top plants for brightening and lightening your home, most have been chosen as they are easy to care for and low maintenance. Fancy growing your own coffee beans, we start off with Coffee Arabica.
Coffee Arabica (Coffee Plant)
If you want to brighten your home, this evergreen house plant is sure to help and is a must for coffee lovers, although you may never get to make coffee if still and interesting house plant and a real talking point. While coffee plants grown in the wild reach large tree size, you can prune yours indoors and keep it a manageable, small plant. It is important to note though that the plants you buy in garden centres and nurseries cannot usually be used to grow coffee beans for you to roast. However, they will still add some brightness to your home with the glossy green leaves. They need bright, indirect sun and careful pruning to keep it compact but they can often reach 5ft in large pots. Ideally, they need to be kept at 20 to 25 degrees and a little cooler in winter and prefer a humid environment so spraying once a day is recommended. Come springtime you can enjoy a parade of white flowers.
Strelitzia (Bird of paradise)
This plant is well known for its distinctive flower. A tropical plant, it has the iridescent orange and midnight blue colours for its flowers that make the flowers look like exotic birds just sticking their beaks out from behind the clump of long-stalked, oblong, grey-green leaves.
It’s worth noting that they are difficult to get to the flower and can take many years and plants purchased from garden centres usually have fake flowers inserted. They prefer a bright position but not in direct light and moist but well-drained compost. Water freely in summer during the growing season and feed monthly with a general plant feed.
Citrus Lemon Tree
Citrus lemon trees are sure to brighten your home when they start to produce their perfect yellow fruit and they are so easy to grow and care for. These trees are smaller, and won’t take up too much space when grown in containers so they perfect house plants. They need good drainage so you will need to ensure the pot has extra holes and they prefer a heavy loamy soil. They require regular watering and if they don’t get it, the leaves will start to curl fall off. As the plant is growing, mix some fertiliser into the potting mixture to encourage additional lemons. Some lemon trees are sold for ornamental purposes and are not edible so make sure you check if you want a variety you can actually eat. The edible fruit is actually high in vitamin C and can be used for juices, jams or whole fruit can be sliced for drinks. They are perfect for growing on a sunny windowsill.
Monstera deliciosa (Swiss Cheese Plant)
This plant gets its nickname from the many holes that naturally grow inside the large leaves and has become very popular over the year being featured in many an Instagram post. A tropical plant, the aerial roots grow downward and give off the sense of a vine. The leaves are quite large and bright green, perfect for adding colour to otherwise shaded, dark areas. They are flexible insofar as they adapt to partial shade where other house plants do not. This plant can grow quite large, up to 2 meters if allowed and it’s actually a climber so larger specimens are often sold attached to a moss-covered post. Plant in a bright position but not in direct sunlight, a perfect house plant for anyone looking for a large specimen.
Areca/Dypsis Palm Tree (Golden Cane Palm)
This palm tree also is known as the Butterfly Palm or Golden cane palm maybe a tree but you can easily grow it indoors in your home because of how slowly it develops and it makes a great large house plant that is easy to care for. Inside it will help to keep the space bright with colour other than green. So many house plants are green of varying shades, but this plant grows golden-yellow canes to which it gets its common name. You can dictate to a degree the colour of the canes based on the amount of natural light afforded the plant; the more direct sunlight, the brighter the yellow. That being said, it prefers bright but indirect light and moist soil.
Maranta leuconeura Fascinator (Prayer plant)
The prayer plant is a low growing, a tropical evergreen that is known for the leaves, about 15cm in length. These leaves are famous for the decorative markings on them, the leaves being green with pink/red veins and from the centre outward some yellow/cream collections of colour. It gets its name from the leaves that open downward or straight all day but they close vertically at night, similar to the shape of closed hands in prayer which is where it’s common name comes from. The response is stimulated by changes in sunlight, but is nonetheless beautiful.
Sansevaria – Mother in Laws Tongue
Another very popular house plant, this house plant features upright, stiff leaves that can be 30cm or 100cm in height, depending on the variety you choose. So you can pick varieties that fill whatever space you have, meaning it doesn’t matter where you need a small tabletop house plant or large house plant by next to the stairs, there is a variety for you. The leaves are banded in green with a yellow border making them quite beautiful. If your looking for a house plant with air-purifying quality then you will be happy to hear that this plant absorbs toxins, such as nitrogen oxides and is great for improving indoor air quality. It likes to have plenty of light but not direct so is best planted near a window so it has plenty of natural light.
Ficus Eleastica Robusta (Indian Rubber Plant)
Traditionally a tree from which sap is converted into rubber, this tree can be grown indoors with easy and will even take a couple of morning hours of direct light. Grown indoors it helps to purify the air removing formaldehyde so is another plant known for its air-purifying qualities. Pick a spot that does not have a lot of fluctuation in airflow and has indirect light and it should thrive. In regards to watering, they don’t like being wet so only water once the soil is dry to the touch and try and maintain a temperature of 12°C in the winter if possible. Rubber plants also take well when taking cutting in jars of water.
Chinese Elm Bonsai
This Asian plant is known for its size when grown naturally in China, but at home, you can keep a smaller, trimmed plant that fits right in with the size of your space. These plants have small leaves, double toothed which stand apart from other bonsai plants with single leaves. They do well in partial shade or full sun and indoors will survive cold winters much better. You should water them generously to ensure the soil remains moist and give them good fertiliser during the growing season. Ideally, they grow well on a sunny windowsill with plenty of direct light but in summer the sun can scorch the leaves which is something to look out for and move it out of direct sunlight if needed.
Aloe vera is one of the most popular plants for its medicinal uses and is another very popular house plant with air purifying qualities. It is a succulent though so like other succulents it needs dry conditions. If growing in your home, you should use cactus potting soil specifically and ensure the containers you choose have ample drainage holes. Aloe vera, unlike other indoor plants, needs bright light, so put it near or on a window if possible.