If you’re a millennial living in New Zealand, chances are you have some indoor greenery. And it’s not just us who are plant-obsessed; the hashtag alone has two million posts on Instagram. These days a trip to Palmers is more common than hitting the shopping mall, and the craze doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon.
There’s good reason for it, though. Other than filtering the air and providing us with oxygen, research has said that indoor plants may boost our mood, improve our productivity and allow for us to be more creative. Plus, lush indoor plants bring life to a room, add dimensions and colour.
We know that being close to nature increases our mental health and sense of wellbeing. Though as many of us work in an office and live in a flat, it can be difficult to find the time to chase waterfalls. That’s where indoor plants come in, helping us to feel a little less stressed, and a lot more connected to the outside world. Here are some of our favourites.
Ones For Beginners
Peace lily/Spathiphyllum wallisii
If you’ve struggled in the past with indoor plants, than we recommend starting here, with the humble peace lily. They can survive in low light but prefer indirect sun and can even thrive in your office under florescent lights. If you’re wondering when to water it, the leaves will droop when the plant is thirsty.
Cast-iron plant/Aspidistra elatior
The cast-iron plant can survive in low light, with irregular watering, temperature fluctuations and low humidity—basically if you’re a beginner, this is an ideal indoor plant for you. It doesn’t like direct sunlight, though. The large, forest-green leaves look great in a lounge room or hallway.
Spider plant/Chlorophytum comosum
It’s likely that you have seen the spider plant before, as it grows in a wide range of conditions—it’s often applauded for being an easy-to-grow houseplant. Spider plants look striking in hanging baskets—its white and green leaves explode from the base like a cheerleader’s pom pom. Spider plants like a fair bit of water in summer, but be sure to water them less in winter.
Swiss cheese plant/Monstera deliciosa
If there’s one plant that’s become more popular than the fiddle-leaf, this is it—the Monstera deliciosa. These indoor plants will bring a tropical vibe to your home with its glossy green leaves with holes and deep splits. You should water your Monstera about once a week and it likes a humid environment.
Rubber plant/Ficus elastica
Adored for its dark green and waxy leaves, the rubber plant looks stylish in a white pot or cane basket. When the plant is in the right conditions it has a fast growth rate—it prefers being in a sunny room and having well-drained soil. If its leaves have dark spots on it or they start to fall off, you may be over watering the plant or it’s not getting enough sunshine. Every so often wipe the leaves with a damp cloth.
While you will mainly find the puka outside, you are able to grow this native New Zealand tree indoors, too. It looks similar to the fiddle-leaf fig, with its large, paddle-like leaves. A puka will thrive in a warm, well-lit room and prefers a few hours of direct sunlight each day.
Low-Light Indoor Plants
ZZ plant/Zamioculcas zamiifolia
It may have a difficult-to-pronounce botanical name, but growing the ZZ plant is anything but. This plant will tolerate low-light conditions and originating from Africa, it’s drought tolerant—water it every few weeks or when the soil is dry. However you can pretty much ignore this plant and it will still be happy.
Snake plant/Sansevieria trifasciata
The snake plant, also known as the mother-in-law's tongue, has dark green and yellow patterned leaves that look like swords. They are adaptable to a wide range of growing conditions and don’t need a huge amount of sun. Be careful to not overwater them though, as they are prone to rot.
Golden pothos/Epipremnum aureum
We shouldn’t really be biased as all indoor plants are beautiful, but the golden pothos may be our favourite one. Not only is it an easy plant to care for, it looks good too, with the trailing vine growing down a bookshelf or kitchen cupboard. The golden pothos can survive in low light conditions but it does prefer bright, indirect light.
For The Experts
Fiddle-leaf fig/Ficus lyrata
Sure, they look great on Instagram. And you may find some online sources saying the fiddle-leaf fig is relatively easy to grow and care for. But if you speak to anyone who’s been lucky (or unlucky) to home this plant, they may tell you a different story. These plants like bright, indirect sun, soil that isn’t too dry but don’t over water them and warm conditions. Don’t even think about moving them around. Good luck.
With its stunning flowers and colours, learning to grow orchids can be rewarding, and you can be smug when you have friends around. There are thousands of different types of orchids, so the first step is ensuring you have the right one for your conditions. Orchids do not grow in soil, but prefer chips of bark and stone. They like humid environments, bright indirect light, and need cooler temperatures during the evening in the growing season in order to bloom.
Nikau palm/Rhopalostylis sapida
New Zealand’s only native palm, the nikau, can be grown indoors in a well-lit position. Don’t be worried if it doesn’t look like it’s thriving, the nikau is notoriously slow growing. If you can be patient, it’s worth it though. Be sure to have your palm in a large pot and keep the soil damp.
God loves a trier, if you're a serial plant killer help is at hand with our foolproof guide.
Image credit: Nasim Keshmiri