The key to success with houseplants is to match the right plant to the right spot, and to provide appropriate growing conditions.
Some plants will thrive in the dry air of a centrally heated living room, whereas others will soon look withered and sickly. Others might perform well in the humidity of a bathroom, or on a bright, sunny windowsill.
Mother-in-law’s-tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata), Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum), Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum), Parlour Palm (Chamaedorea elegans) and Wandering Jew (Tradescantia zebrina) are all suitable for a shady spot, such as a hallway or a corner. Keep away from cold draughts.
Hot, bright windowsill
Desert cacti and succulents are perfect for windowsills where the sun shines for part of the day. They love dry air and can cope with direct sunlight – conditions that wouldn’t suit many houseplants. Don’t overwater – let the compost dry out between watering. In this pot we’ve used mixed cacti and (from right to left) Haworthia ‘Big Band’, watch chain plant (Crassula muscosa), Pachyphytum hookeri, Graptopetalum purpureum, and trumpet jade (Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’).
Shady and humid
Indoor ferns, such as the Boston fern, (Nephrolepsis exaltata) are perfect for bathrooms and shady kitchens, as they like humidity and some shade. Keep them away from windows and radiators, as cold draughts and hot, dry air will cause the leaves to go brown and shrivel.
Bright and warm
Moth orchids (Phalaenopsis) are prolific and spectacular flowerers. They need a slightly tricky balance of lots of light, but not direct sun. In winter particularly, they need plenty of light to encourage flowering. Place on or near a north-, east-, or west-facing window, avoiding draughts and fluctuating temperatures.