Everything grows so well here on balconies and in gardens that I wondered if anyone else would bother to keep a plant in the corner or on the shelf inside.
Herbs are sometimes grown on window sills, they can be a little tender for the hot sun outside, and sometimes when they are really small it is nice to watch their progress and watch them with some loving care until it is time to undress a few sheets for your saucepan.
But I remember a time when a house wasn’t complete without a spider plant hanging from a proudly self-crocheted basket in a corner where the husband risked life and limb climbing a stepladder to hook a hook in the corner of the house To peg the ceiling with the sincere hope that there was a load-bearing beam behind the plasterboard ceiling. They had tiny white flowers and “offspring” at the end of long, drooping stems that were so easy to cut and replant.
And rubber plants! There was always one in a practice or in the dentist’s waiting room, often a little sad and limp in a corner where someone had stuck a bamboo stick in the pot to raise it up, or one of those moss-covered poles that would likely take root, before they do their job.
Mother-in-law’s tongue, also known as the snake plant, so named because its patterns resemble a snake’s skin, was a popular plant that can be grown both indoors and outdoors. With tall, slender leaves they would look good in a pot on the desk, as a centerpiece for a table, and if they get too big they can be placed on the floor in a corner of the room or placed outside in the garden or on one Balcony.
Aspidistra – a Victorian Favorite! Large, broad, lush green leaves that grow straight out of the ground. They do well indoors as they grow naturally in cooler, shady spots under trees and shrubs, making them ideal for dark corners.
Swiss cheese plant – Monestra – is another popular plant with glossy green heart-shaped leaves that, with age, developed holes in the leaves, which is what gave it its name. However, it is not native to Switzerland, but originally from Mexico and has apparently become an invasive plant since its introduction in Hawaii.
Christmas cactus, or Thanksgiving cactus – Schlumbergera – was also popular as a houseplant. A low-growing succulent that produces colorful flowers at the end of each of the leaf-like cushions. They grow well in areas of low light and to encourage flowering in November-December they need to be placed in more direct sun, but not so much that the leaves are scorched. Also easy to multiply.
Dieffenbachia, or commonly known as the Dumb Cane, is a good houseplant with white, green leaves that is easy to grow. It likes damp soil, but not muddy, and loves moisture, so it may need to be sprayed every now and then. Another pretty plant is agloanema, often referred to as Chinese evergreens, and these have delicate pink leaves – it’s a little harder to keep going as it doesn’t like drafts or overwatering.
Growing plants indoors shouldn’t be overlooked – they add a very adult look to a small apartment or flair to a large home, and they take your decor to the next level by introducing color and style. You don’t have to be a plant expert either, as they all come with a small label that gives instructions on how to care for them. If you incorporate plants into your life, they can even be beneficial for your mental health, and as an added bonus, by adding some green, they help purify the air in your home by filtering out everyday pollutants. But one warning – some people are moved to name their houseplants and if it makes you feel silly, remember that talking to your plants is perfectly normal, and according to science, this is a sign of intelligence and especially love. So go on – tell Spike how spicy he looks or whisper sweet things to Elvis parsley!