Dreaming in shades of green May 07 2015

 

It’s getting cold outside Melbourne, time to bring the garden vibes in and breathe new life to your interiors. Plants may seem like a really simple addition but they make a major impact on the aesthetic of your home as well as your health and well-being. I’m all for the recent major 70’s revival of the house plant. Finally an excuse for my plant hoarding! Here are some tips to get on your way to a healthy green obsession.

Mix and match by curating a selection of plant varieties and mis-matched vessels. Create contrast with different leaf shapes and plant types that complement the colour and shape of each individual pot. Its a good idea to choose your pot first and find a plant that suits the size and shape. Use different shaped glass containers, hand thrown pottery, quirky ceramics, or eclectic vintage finds to incorporate your personal style. Just make sure there are drainage holes or a layer of pebbles to prevent root rot. It’s totally ok to keep larger plants in the ugly plastic pots they came in, it’s easier to switch them in and out of decorative pots or baskets and allows for proper drainage.

Lighting is an important consideration when choosing the right plants for your space. Most houseplants are shaded tropicals and require indirect sunlight or part sun/shade. As a general rule of thumb, shaded tropicals with broad, dark green leaves can withstand low light conditions, whereas plants with coloured or patterned leaves will require more sunlight. The amount of light will depend on which direction your windows are facing and will probably vary from room to room. Keep an eye on signs of distress or burnt leaves, move your plant closer or further from the window as necessary. Finding that sweet spot in the house will make for a very happy plant.

Watering sounds like a no-brainer, but don’t just make the rounds with your watering can to every house plant in sight, make sure you know their watering requirements. With shaded tropicals, test the soil, if the top 2 cm are dry, go ahead and give it a drink. With most ferns, keep the soil moist at all times but not soggy. On the other end of the spectrum, cacti and most succulents require very little water; ensure the soil dries out completely between waterings. Remember, it’s better to under water your plants than over water them!

Maintain your green trophies by regularly picking off old leaves or cleaning shed leaves from the soil. Wipe the dust or calcium from plants with thick leaves using a damp cloth. This is the easiest way to prevent pests, fungus and infection. You can also feed your little guy with a diluted liquid fertilizer to give them a boost through spring and autumn. Re-pot only during spring if they are outgrowing their current planter.

By Roxanna Ing, Loose Leaf Studio

Photo 1: Living Room by Jaclyn Campanaro
Photo 2: Bedroom by Leah Reena Goren
Photo 3: Bedroom by Jaclyn Campanaro
Photo 4: Loose Leaf Studio by Ben Clement