With many of us set to work from home, it can be hard to find the motivation to be productive whilst spending more time indoors particularly through winter’s shorter days.
Rather than bemoaning the lack of sunlight, use plants to help bring your working-from-home space to life; they can help create a calm and relaxing environment, not to mention the added benefits plants have on your health.
Whether you have your own home office, you enjoy working in the garden, your living room or your kitchen table – house plants come in all shapes and sizes so there’s bound to be something that fits into whatever space you have to work in at home.
To get you started, we’ve rounded up the best house plants to help bring some calm and greenery into your home environment and to help create a calm and relaxing working-from-home space.
Be inspired to create a working space that works for you.
Leafy greens look great against any backdrop, and the Dragon Tree is a striking choice. It requires little maintenance so it’s perfect for busy households. The dragon tree can be encouraged to grow big and beautiful through re-potting and feeding, to help its roots spread and branches to grow further.
Don’t worry when the bottom leaves of your dragon plant shed, it just means the plant is growing well. These tropical plants like warmth but avoid putting them too close to radiators as this can dry out the soil and prevent the plant from getting all the nutrients it needs to grow.
Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata)
219cm pot – 1m tall, £29.99
It’s easy to create a tropical feel with this impressive house plant, as the rich green paddle-shaped leaves are a really generous size. It’s an easy-to-care-for plant, so perfect for a novice, but in time it will make an impact. They do however make excellent potted plants.
Water freely when in growth, but keep dryer in winter. Mist the leaves regularly with water to increase humidity and every so often put it under a cold shower to wash off the leaves. Make sure the winter temperatures stay above 10°C and repot every couple of years.
Philodendron ‘Imperial Green’ (Philodendron)
19cm pot – 60cm dia, £29.99
Reminiscent of their tropical origins, the palm brings a relaxed atmosphere to your home. Although they are unlikely to bloom indoors, palms will produce vibrant leaves without having to constantly water them.
If you have limited space, then you can manage them by keeping them in a smaller pot. If you want your palm to keep growing larger then annual re-potting will help.
Areca Palm or Butterfly Palm (Dypsis lutescens)
21cm pot – 1m tall, £49.99
If you have never grown a house plant before and are looking for something that is virtually indestructible, then look no further – as this is probably the toughest and most tolerant house plant you can find. This plant can look spectacular when grown well and will thrive outdoors in containers over the summer. It’s great for tight spaces, or where you want something upright.
The leaves are dark green with cream edges and silvery, horizontal stripes. This houseplant grows best in partial or full shade and prefers moist but well-drained potting compost. Keep the compost damp but never allow to stand in water. Feed with fertiliser every two weeks through the growing season and water less frequently in winter.
Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata)
14cm pot – 45cm tall, £17.99
Spider plants are a popular and nearly indestructible houseplants. Another good choice for the less green-fingered. When well-watered and fed it’ll produce broad, striped, grass-like foliage and throws out long white stems with white flowers.
They like to live in bright natural light and well-drained soil. You can grow them in pots or containers with good drainage using houseplant potting compost. Water them regularly with distilled or rainwater as tap water can cause browning of the leaf tips.
Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
12cm pot – 20cm tall, £8.99
Cacti plants are peppered with spines and prickles and come in a huge variety of shapes, sizes and colours. Try grouping three or four together to create a display. Despite their hardy appearance, cacti still require nourishment and nutrients.
As cacti come from a hot, dry climate with minimal rain during their lives, they can easily be drowned as they take on too much water. Spray the surface of the soil with water to keep it moist and let the water drain away before you water again. It is important that cacti are able to get sunlight for a least part of the day, which is especially true for those cacti that sprout flowers.
Set of 6 (mixed) approximately 7cm, £12.99
Originating from a warm, dry climate, succulent plants have thick, fleshy leaves which retain the water they are supplied with. Succulents thrive in warm, dry locations like window sills and only need watering when the soil gets dry. Bear in mind that succulents can grow fairly large, so if growing different succulents in the same pot, it’s worth spacing them a slight distance apart so the larger doesn’t dwarf the smaller.
Whilst greener varieties of the succulent plant family are suitable for indoor growth – and make for such beautiful houseplants – the purple species are more suited for outdoor life. Both cacti and succulents are ideal plants for the novice grower as they don’t need lots of attention.
Deer-horn Cactus (Aloe arborescens)
12cm pot – 25cm tall, £17.99
Aloe mitriformis (Aloe mitriformis)
12cm pot – 20cm tall, £11.99
Zebra Plant (Haworthia fasciata)
11cm pot – 17.5cm tall, £9.99
Orchids are fairly easy to look after, and when in full bloom create a gorgeous focal point in your home or study. Check the label for the orchid’s ideal location. Orchids like bright, indirect light, for example near an east, west or shaded south window. They also thrive with lots of fresh air and high humidity.
Maintaining nutrient levels for orchids is crucial for keeping them in a healthy condition. Orchids put a lot of energy into blooming, so it is good to give them a helping hand to keep the flowers vibrant and beautiful for longer. You can add a small amount of Orchid fertiliser to the water before pouring in to encourage growth.
Orchids naturally live with their roots on the side of trees. So, if you want to fully incorporate an orchid’s natural lifestyle into your home, you can re-pot it in Orchid Compost, which includes a specially blended mix of bark and Seramis clay granules. When watering, keep the leaves and flowers dry and let the water (preferably rainwater) drain from the pot. This is why the compost is very open with good drainage.
Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis grandiflorum) ‘White’
12cm pot – 60cm tall, £17.99
Also known as Closet Plants, Peace Lilies are one of the most popular houseplants available. With beautifully crisp white blooms and dark green, waxy leaves, they are relatively easy to look after. Peace Lilies thrive best in a location that has indirect sunlight. It’s important to make sure it has a good supply of water every few days as they are very thirsty.
An easy way to spot when they need more water is when their leaves start drooping. However, you shouldn’t let them stand in water as this can rot the roots and kill the lily. Moderation is key. The growing seasons for Peace Lilies are spring and summer and if well cared for, they will bloom twice a year. Peace Lilies will often need repotting to a larger pot so that their roots can spread, encouraging the plant to grow even bigger.
Peace lilies (Spathiphyllum)
13cm pot – 30cm tall, £11.99
Do note that the pots in the photographs are not supplied with the houseplants (which are sent out in brown or black plastic pots).