Not since the seventies have we seen such a huge interest in indoor plants. From fiddle leaf figs to monstera, rubber and money trees, it seems everyone is getting their hands dirty these days. But many people lack the smarts to keep their plants alive. “Most people are not born with a green thumb but with a little patience and some schooling up, it’s pretty easy to get a handle on plant care 101,” says Elle Prince, co-founder of online plant store Plants In A Box.
Notably, eBay has seen a spike in plant sales of late with total listings of fiddle leaf figs up by 100 per cent, rubber plants up 44 per cent and Philodendron listings up by a whopping 300 per cent.
“Like most things, plants go through trend cycles and we are witnessing a huge demand for indoor plants again. It was uber cool in the 70’s and I think in modern architecture we are seeing more homes being styled and modelled on 70’s concepts, so I think it’s natural that indoor plants have made a comeback,” says Elle.
Surprisingly, it’s mostly over and not under watering that rings the death knell for indoor plants. “Over watering is the biggest killer of indoor plants. Do not over water! You can start out by watering once every five to seven days in the warmer months and once every seven to 10 days in the cooler months. This seems to suit most plants,” says Elle.
And on the topic of hydration, indoor plants favour a moist environment — bathrooms in particular. “Dry climates aren’t helpful — humid is better.”
Given there are so many different indoor plants, each with their own light requirements, it can be difficult to know where exactly to locate your plants. “Darkness is really not helpful. Place plants in locations where there is plenty of light but not necessarily direct sunlight,” says Elle.
“Less is more with these guys. Indoor plants require a good quality, well-draining potting mix with slow release fertiliser, don’t be a cheapskate and go buy the good stuff!” says Elle. I have to say that I couldn’t agree more — my own indoor plants flourished after being fertilised.
While it’s possible to kill any plant with a combination of over-water, poor light or nutrient-depleted soil, some are much more hardy than others. “The toughest plants around are Philodendrons, Ficus Elastica rubber plants, Parlour Palms, Dieffenbachia or ‘Tropic Marianne,’ Calathea Ornate Sandriana, Zanzibar Gem, Spathiphyllum and the Peperomias. But foremost, you’ve got to enjoy it! Love it and they’ll love you back. It’s really not as daunting as you think,” says Elle.
And for those of us who’ve had their fill of fiddle leaf figs (not me, I still love them!), Elle’s pick for the next big thing is the Pilea Peperomiodes. “This little Chinese money plant is so hot right now because he takes way too long to propagate and no-one has the numbers of this guy in Australia yet. But shhh, it’s coming to our Plants in a Box store in 2017!”