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House planted: you grow girl!

Breathe new life into tired interiors with these hard-working house plants, ideal for pets, clean air and yep, plant-killers, all picked by a pro.

House plants are officially cool, a brilliant way to liven up interiors and pep up your wellbeing with some leafy primping and preening. But some are definitely cooler than others, and come with a definite sense of purpose, such as cleaning the air or being good for chewy pets.

One man who knows his anthuriums from his elbows is Rob, owner of Exeter’s Hutch House Plants. Point me to the one that does the hoovering please, Rob?

The pet-friendly one

Latin name: Maranta leuconeura ‘Fascinator’ 

You can call it: Prayer plant

What is it: An incredibly easy all-rounder, great for beginners and plant hoarders alike. It benefits from being completely non-toxic, which makes it great for those with cats and dogs who like to nibble on foliage. 

How to love it: These thrive in bright or shady spots – keep them out of the sun and away from radiators in the winter. Water when the soil has dried to the touch; approximately once a week. Make sure to give it a good misting, particularly in the winter months when central heating can dry your air out. 

Fun Fact: The common name originates from the fact that the leaves follow where the light is coming from in the room and close up like hands praying at night, hence…yep you got it!

The air purifier

Latin name: Epipremnum aureum

You call it: Devil’s Ivy

What is it: Whilst there is some ongoing debate about the efficacy of houseplants at truly purifying your air, some believe you need a significant quantity to have a real impact. Devil’s Ivy has time and again been proven to be the best at cleaning cancer causing Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from the air.

How to love it: It has a really fast growth rate and is relatively easy to care for. Soak the soil when it has dried nicely, approximately once every 7-10 days and mist the plant regularly, particularly as it matures and grows. You can train it up a coir pole, support or piece of furniture, or simply let it tumble from a shelf. Devil’s Ivy enjoys bright conditions, but will also tolerate slightly shadier spots. 

Fun Fact: In 2018 scientists discovered by adding genes from a rabbit to the DNA of Devil’s Ivy, they made it even more effective at stripping VOCs from the air. Weird, huh?

One for low lighting

Latin name: Aspidistra elatior 

You call it: Cast Iron Plant

What is it: A big hit with the Victorians, the Cast Iron Plant is notoriously tough and will tolerate much lower light levels than most other plants. The Aspidistra is great for people with smaller spaces as it’s architectural foliage is incredibly slow growing, meaning it won’t take over the house.

How to love it: Water the soil when it has dried to the touch – approximately once a week. The Aspidistra will also enjoy a semi-regular misting.

Fun Fact: Aspidistra is a genus that for a long time has been largely ignored by botanists. In the 1970s there were less than 10 identified species; by 2013 this number had risen to 101.

You can’t kill this one

Spotted the sansevieria? Second shelf down on the right.

Latin name: Dracaena trifasciata ‘Laurentii’ syn. Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’  *phew*

You call it: Snake plant

What is it: Unkillable *almost*. Tolerant of incredibly low light levels and very drought tolerant, the common joke is you could lock a snake plant in a cupboard for six weeks and it would still be going at the end of it. 

How to love it: It thrives on a bright windowsill, but these guys are great for those darker spots too. Water only when the soil has dried out – roughly every 4-6 weeks in winter and maybe once a week in summer.

Fun fact: It doesn’t exist! As part of work looking at the DNA of Sansevieria, they have now been reclassified as being part of the Dracaena genus; Sansevieria therefore no longer truly exist. However, the houseplant community can be stubborn and resistant to change so we’ll be calling them Sansevieria for a while yet.

Instagram this

Latin name: Monstera deliciosa ‘Variegata’

You call it: Variegated cheese plant

What is it: An insta icon, the white patches (variegation) are a mutation resulting in the plant, producing areas that lack in chlorophyll and so appear white or yellow instead of green. Unstable and difficult to produce and maintain makes them rare and their unworldly beauty puts them on everybody’s wishlist.

How to love it: Like your standard Cheese Plant, these like the compost to dry nicely in between watering, approximately once a week, and regular misting. They require slightly higher light levels than a traditional Cheese Plant, due to the variegation.

Fun fact: Growers used to widely destroy them as they didn’t think people would buy them. Now they regularly change hands for hundreds of pounds.

For lovebirds

Latin name: Anthurium clarinervium 

You can call it: Velvet anthurium

What is it: If you’re after something none of your friends will have, this is it – an incredibly rare relative of the anthurium you see in supermarkets.

How to grow: Rare for a reason, they can be intimidatingly fussy and difficult but not so for the clarinervium, which are just about as easy as any Anthurium out there. Pop in a bright spot, water when the soil has dried, and they’ll forgive you if you occasionally forget.

Fun fact: The heart-shaped leaves led people to believe that Anthuriums symbolise long-lasting love. One for your sweetheart, perhaps?

Want more, more, more?

Rob and Frankie are operating throughout lockdown, delivering plants nationwide and are always on hand to offer up houseplant advice!

Hutch House Plants, 9 Paris Street Exeter EX1 2JB Tel: 01392 758130

Find more ideas here

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