Five of the Best House­plants

Berkshire Life - - Interiors News - WORDS: Naomi Slade

Green­ery and even some spiky ad­di­tions to your house­hold can set off in­te­ri­ors and pro­vide warm

colours through­out au­tumn and win­ter

SPI­DER PLANT, CHLOROPHYTUM VARIGATUM

De­spite be­ing de­rided as a leggy relic of the 1970s, spi­der plants have been pop­u­lar for over 200 years. Not only is a well-tended spec­i­men a thing of beauty, but, not to put too fine a point on it, they are hard to kill.

The plant grows quickly pro­duc­ing green-and-white striped arch­ing leaves and cas­cad­ing stems which ter­mi­nate in small white flow­ers and tiny plantlets. It looks great in a hang­ing planter and is supremely adapt­able: it is happy in a bright spot but tol­er­ates shade and dry air, it is not all that fussy about tem­per­a­ture (but don’t freeze it, ob­vi­ously) and it is un­ap­peal­ing to pests. Wa­ter lib­er­ally in spring and sum­mer, less so in win­ter. Feed­ing reg­u­larly will help pre­vent the tips of the leaves from go­ing brown and pro­mote vig­or­ous growth.

DRACENA MARGINATA

Ev­ery­body loves to evoke that Juras­sic jun­gle vibe at the mo­ment, and whether you choose to dec­o­rate your in­door gar­den with toy di­nosaurs or not, these false palms are a no-brainer.

Low-main­te­nance spec­i­men plant, the Mada­gas­car dragon tree is en­dur­ingly pop­u­lar. Lean and spare, its long, pointed, ev­er­green leaves have a red­dish edge, while the va­ri­ety D. marginata tri­color has an ad­di­tional cream stripe.

Grow in free-drain­ing loam­based com­post. Po­si­tion in good light but not di­rect sun, and don’t over­wa­ter. New plants can be prop­a­gated by tak­ing cut­tings.

BEGONIA REX

By and large, I don’t have much time for be­go­nias. But Begonia rex types are grown for fo­liage rather than flow­ers and are in­ter­est­ing, di­verse and lush.

Sub-trop­i­cal shrubs, they tol­er­ate the low light lev­els of our in­te­ri­ors and pre­fer a spot that gets no sum­mer sun – al­though in win­ter an hour or two of di­rect sun early or late in the day will give them a boost; make sure that the tem­per­a­ture does not drop below about 12C. Keep moist dur­ing the grow­ing pe­riod and wa­ter more spar­ingly in win­ter Re­pot each spring to keep the plant look­ing good.

Rose­hips: a sign of the sea­son

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