Aug 162010
 

Indoor Plants (Photograph by Bulleen Art & Garden)

Decorating your home or office with indoor plants not only creates a beautiful environment but comes with health benefits also. Well-chosen indoor plants and pots add colour, texture and freshness to rooms and interior spaces.

Plants create a natural calming effect. As well as their beauty, indoor plants produce clean oxygen for our health, and also have the ability to remove chemical nasties (known as VOCs) such as Benzene, Formaldehyde & Trichloroethylene. These chemicals are found in everyday products such as glues, paints, rubbers, inks and cleaning products.

A comprehensive study at NASAs’ Science & Technology Centre in the 1980’s developed a list of the “top ten” indoor plants that best filter the air in our indoor spaces.

Top Ten Air Cleaning Plants

Dracaena deremensis “Janet Craig”
(50 – 90cm)
This striking plant with rich dark green foliage, is No. 1 on NASAs’ list of air cleaning plants. “Janet Craig” will also take low light conditions. Water once a week with rainwater to prevent black tips on the leaves from tap water.
fertilise with a weak solution of balanced liquid fertiliser twice a year. Use a Cactus & Humus mix for potting.

Dracaena marginata (Dragon Tree)
( 1.0 – 1.5m)
Dragon trees are generally carefree houseplants that give a more tropical feel to a room. Dracaena marginata comes in many leaf colour variations, some with three stripes of colour on one leaf. The coloured varieties need a better lit room whereas the plain green varieties can tolerate lower light. Water once about every 10 days with room temperature water. Use a Cactus & Humus mix for potting.

Raphis excelsa (Lady Palm)
(50cm – 3m)
A gorgeous foliage palm for low light indoors. This is a slow growing palm so expect to pay a bit more for this lovely lady. This palm can tolerate varying room temperatures, so is a great one for colder rooms. Water once every 10 days and take it outside and wash the foliage to prevent dust build up in the ridges of the leaves.

Spathiphyllum sp. (Peace Lily)
Peace lilies are very popular indoor plants all over the world and are excellent air purifiers. The lovely white or white-green flowers can stay for many weeks. Spathiphyllums prefer a well-lit area with a fairly constant temperature between 20-25 deg. C to perform at their best. Water once a week and fertilise every two weeks in the summer. Use a Cactus & Humus mix for potting.

Ficus elastica (Rubber Plant)
(1 – 3m)
This old favorite indoor plant is a great air purifier. Its bold foliage give a room a lush presence. Don’t move this plant around though, as it will drop its leaves if there are variations in light and air temperature. Water once a week and keep its leaves dusted with a damp cloth. Ficus elastica can have a tendency to get a bit lanky so pruning the top and sides will keep it looking thick and lush.

Ficus macleilandi (Ficus “Ali”)
(50cm – 1.5m)
Unlike many of the small leaf ficus species that drop their leaves a lot in indoor conditions, the Ficus “Ali” keeps its elegant evergreen form much better and is one of the most popular indoor plants in the USA. A well-lit room with a fairly constant temperature of 20-25C is best and keep out of draughty areas. Water once a week and occasionally take outside and spray the foliage with room temperature water.

Sanseveria (Mother-in-law’s Tongue or Snake Plant)
(50cm – 1.2m)
One of the toughest of the air purifying plants, Sanseveria can withstand almost all conditions, however will do best in a well-lit, warm room. Water once a month in the winter and twice a month in the summer. Use a cactus mix for potting.

Chamaedorea elegans (Parlour Palm)
This is a fantastic little air cleaning indoor palm. Parlour Palms love a well-lit area; water once a week in the warmer months and once every two weeks in the cooler months. Fertilise once a month with a weak solution of balanced liquid fertiliser solution. Parlour Palms also love a mist of room temperature water once a week.

Aglaonema (The Chinese Evergreen)
(50cm – 1.0m)
This is a long-lived plant that can cope with low light. Keep in a warm area, as it is a bit cold sensitive. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings, then soak.

Philodendron sp. (Philodendron)
A bold, glossy leaf plant that is one of the best VOC removers. There are many varieties of Philodendron with various coloured leaf stems and foliage. Philodendrons will take both well-lit and low light areas. Water once a week in the warmer months and once every two weeks in the cooler months. Fertilise four times a year with a a weak solution of balanced liquid fertiliser. Use a Cactus & Humus mix for potting.

Crassula ovata (Jade Plant)
(1 – 3m)
It is said that money will flow to you if you keep a Jade plant nearby. A well-lit room and a good soak once every two weeks.

BAAG’s Top Ten Tough House Plants: (For fun & colour)

Zamioculcas zamiifolia (Zanzibar Gem)
(9 – 75cm)
A gorgeous foliage plant that requires little watering (twice a month in summer, once a month in winter). Fertilise 4 times a year with a weak solution of balanced liquid fertiliser. A well-lit room is ideal. A great office plant.

Beaucarnea recurvata (Ponytail Palm)
(25cm – 5m)
A very long lived, hardy plant that can be grown inside and outside. A well-lit room and a good soak once every two weeks. Use a Cactus potting mix for a beautiful pot specimen in a glazed pot.

Crassula ovata (Jade Plant)
(1 – 3m)
It is said that money will flow to you if you keep a Jade plant nearby. A well-lit room and a good soak once every two weeks.

Codiaeum (Croton)
For a burst of foliage colour, Crotons are a great plant for a well-lit room. They only need a drink every couple of weeks.

Aglaonema (The Chinese Evergreen)
(50 cm – 1.0m)
This is a long-lived plant that can cope with low light. Keep in a warm area, as it is a bit cold sensitive. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings, then soak.

Schefflera (Umbrella Plant)
The old fashioned Umbrella Plant is still a favorite with its lovely glossy leaves. This is a plant that can be a statement with its size and foliage.

Zamia furfuracea (Cardboard Plant)
(1.0 x 1.5m)
An ancient and fantastic foliage plant. Grows beautifully in a large pot with cactus potting mix. Zamia needs as much light as possible inside to thrive. Water every 2 – 3 weeks and fertilise with a weak solution of balanced liquid fertiliser 4 times a year.

Calathea (Zebra Plant)
(50 – 90cm )
A beautiful foliaged plant that grows best with no direct sunlight. This plant likes a temperature of 20 – 25 deg. C for and a daily misting with water for humidity for best results. Water once a week with room temperature water.

Tillandsia (Air Plant)
(5 – 10cm )
Hardy and striking foliage plants that are easy to grow. Air plants prefer bright, filtered light. Water every 2 weeks by soaking in room temperature water for 2-3 hours. Mist the leaves once a week and a sprinkle of orchid food in the misting water for fertilizing 4 times a year.

Cacti
Cacti can be successfully grown inside as long as they have a very well lit room. Water once a month in winter and once every 1 – 2 weeks for the rest of the year depending on temperature of the room. Fertilise with a weak solution of balanced liquid fertiliser 4 times a year.

Dizygotheca elegantissima
For unusual decorative foliage, Dizygotheca is a great plant for a well-lit position away from draughts. Water once a week and fertilise once a month with a weak solution of balanced liquid fertiliser.

Indoor Plants (Photograph by Bulleen Art & Garden)

Potting

Lush indoor plants in beautiful glazed pots can give an indoor space warmth and vitality. Glazed pots planted up can be very heavy so we recommend keeping your indoor plant in a plastic pot so that it can be lifted out of the decorative pot for watering & maintenance. Cactus & Succulent potting mix is the best mix for most indoor plants whereas a richer mix may be necessary for certain species. As it is not environmentally sound to harvest peat moss from peat bogs that are millions of years old, BAAG recommends the use of Palm Peat as an earth friendly alternative to enrich potting mix for indoor plants.

For information on growing and maintaining your indoor plants click here

Shopping for Indoor Plants at BAAG

Thoughout the seasons Baag stocks many different indoor plants, according to availability and selection. While the above information may be helpful, there are certainly many more indoor plant species that we stock. Please don’t hesitate to ask us for assistance in finding that perfect indoor plant & pot for your home or office requirements.