What Indoor Plant Is Right For You?


So your space is super-shady? In full sun? It’s on the tiny side? Or your thumb’s the opposite of green? Find the perfect plant for your home in our 7 fave indoor plants for spring.

It’s spring and we’re festooning our homes with green fronds and fresh blooms. We’re reviving our interiors to welcome in the season. We’re taking a leaf out of Anne of Green Gables’ book and throwing back the shutters to draw in the spirit of renewal!

It’s all about nature nurture this month. And potted plants and flowers infuse your home with freshness and a sense of harmony.

Mr Greengrass Hive and Tweed Pots in indigo, seaglass, white and half-dipped 2
My Greengrass pots, online at Zanui.

Pot plants are good for the soul. They’re proven to lift our psyches. And they purify the air – weeding out toxins released from carpets, paints, even cosmetics.* Plus, they’re packed with personality, creating the ideal counterbalance to your soft furnishings and sleek finishes.

You don’t have to subsist in a sizeable mansion to get onboard. Spruce up your pint-sized balcony with a posse of perennials. Or host an edible garden on your kitchen windowsill.

But what type of plant is right for you? Read our recommendations to find the perfect match for your environment and décor, and bring the outdoors in!

*See here for more info about how indoor plants can enhance your health.

For a touch of whimsy

African Violet Guppy Plant from lovethispic.com
African Violet Guppy Plant. Image from lovethispic.com.

Add unique character to your home with the guppy plant. This relative of the African violet will have you at hello. Sporting glossy evergreen leaves and a flower that resembles a goldfish, it’s pretty close to adorable.

This little beauty likes dappled light or low warm sun and constantly moist soil. It blooms in summer.

We love: its bright tangerine hues and long arching stems like fishing line! Fill your windowboxes or hanging baskets with its cuteness.

For that mod-cottage look

Installation features from blog.jonesandco.com.au
Installation ideas for your trailing ferns from blog.jonesandco.com.au.

Love English style but like a modern twist? Trailing ferns work well in indoor/outdoor zones. Consider ceiling hanging pots or add trailing ferns to your bookshelves, coffee and side tables.

Ferns do best in moist environments so should be kept away from strong draughts, air conditioning and direct sunlight. They thrive in bathrooms due to the high humidity levels.

Pot ferns into a mix that holds extra moisture and feed them with controlled release fertiliser.

We love: the intricate beauty of maidenhair, fishbone and buckler ferns – they instill your home with old world charm.

For tropical colour

Hibiscus flowers from porch.com
Hibiscus flowering plant. Image from porch.com.

You can’t go past the hibiscus for tropical appeal at home. Create your own oasis with its oversized blooms, evocative of island escapes. The flowers are ephemeral (like all exotic affairs J). Voluptuous and vibrant, they last just a day or two.

However, the hibiscus plant blooms from late spring to autumn, sometimes even into the winter months. That’s a lot of flowers! It loves moist soil, and bright light encourages continuous blooming. Pique your décor palette with its decadent hues.

We love: the blowsy romance of its flowers, ranging from pink to mandarin, yellow and white amongst its deep green leaves.

For the forgetful

from katrinaleechambers.com
Zanzibar Gem. Image from katrinaleechambers.com.

Opt for statement looks with the Zanzibar Gem, a big leafy standing plant that works well in an oversized urn or basket. This African desert plant is renowned for being almost indestructible. (Especially if you opt for the faux version!)

Known as the Eternity Tree for its hardiness, the Zanzibar Gem has thick glossy leaves that fan out from the trunk. It tolerates low light, air-conditioning and a lack of water. (Perfect for those likely to forget its existence.)

We love: its shiny waxy leaves. Pairs well with teak furniture, Balinese throws and Aztec textiles. Like the leafy tropical look? See also, the Golden Cane Palm.

For shady/dark spots

from arent&pyke
Fiddle-leaf fig. Image from arent&pyke.

Opt for plants with large dark green leaves – these handsome fellows are better able to photosynthesise the light. Think fiddle-leaf figs, peace lilies, aspidistra, Zanzibar Gem, and the like.

Display their full foliage in a woven basket or a vibrant planter/urn for a pop of colour. Ensure you don’t plant directly into ceramic and terracotta pots to prevent your plant from suffering from the cold in winter.

We love: mother-in-law’s tongue (aka the snake plant) for its virile sword-like leaves and its amazing name(s).

For those blessed with brown thumbs

from balconygardenweb.com Maxwell & Williams Little Jungle Oval, Orbit and Donut Terrariums
Charismatic cacti and succulents displayed in pots, planters and hanging terrariums from Maxwell & Williams. Image left from balconygardenweb.com.

If keeping green things alive is something of a challenge, succulents and cacti are your go-to plants. Form family or clusters of these hardy specimens.

Cacti and succulents work well inside. Generally they like open, sunny spots – but check, as some demand full sun all day. Keep them drier inside.

Select from the wide range of varietals with sculptural forms and soft accent colours. Common jades and crassulas work well. Epiphytic (trailing) succulents look great in hanging baskets.

Handle gently when repotting – cacti are susceptible to root damage.

We love: a combination of succulents and cacti in various sizes. Clusters in planters add unique shapes to your décor. Work in odd numbers for a more modern look.

For retro flair

from forums.gardenweb.com
Image from forums.gardenweb.com.

Indoor plants came back into vogue in a big way in the 70s. And we foster a fondness for the blue-rinse brigade. There’s a space in our hearts for old-world chintz, shabby-chic, and the African violet.

African violets exude nostalgia – they’re reminiscent of afternoons spent with your nan. Plus, they come in a wide range of colours to suit your décor!

African violets like a warm position with filtered sunlight. Try not to get cold water on their furry leaves – it leaves brown spots.

We love: the fact that they bloom all year round with just a little TLC.

from homeklondike.org
Images from homeklondike.org.

The how

Living accents add a calming and rejuvenating element to your home, whether it’s a pot full of chives or sprouts, a bowl of orchids, pampus grass or a finger cactus that stands a metre tall.

Work with combinations to evoke a fresh inviting vibe.

Mr Greengrass Hive and Tweed Pots in indigo, seaglass, white and half-dipped Pantone by Serax from greenandhome.com.au
My Greengrass and Pantone Universe by Serax pots, online at Zanui. Image right from greenandhome.com.au.

In living areas, one large standing plant should suffice. Then group plants together in clusters of pots, urns and planters. Consider hanging plants or adding trailing plants to your shelving.

Create vignettes on your coffee and side tables with leatherbound books, hurricane lanterns and unique décor accents, like old twine. Or display a trio in hanging pots against your wall – living wall art!

from balconygardenweb.com 3
Image source: balconygardenweb.com.

And if all else fails, go faux. Artificial flowers and plants are fuss-free and they look great all year round.

Kay is a feature, blog and copywriter. She collects empty jam jars, academic degrees and tawdry dreams in the hopes of turning them into something useful someday. Her work has been published in ACP magazines, ABC fiction, Overland, Brittle Star, Seizure, trade publications and online forums. Her creative writing has won several awards.