Best Indoor Plant Care Tips - The House Plant & Urban Jungle Blog
Everyone can be a houseplant hero! Effortlessly make your houseplants thrive with our care tips for most common house plants. Get your daily dose of plant inspiration with our beautiful & creative ideas for your home and urban jungle.
5 EASY PLANTS TO SURROUND YOURSELF WITH (IN YOUR HOME OFFICE)
Although cacti and succulents are still a go-to option for a headache-free greening of your work space, you can easily introduce leafy green plants at your desk, given that you choose among those which don’t require a lot of maintenance. The selection of plants below can tolerate a wide range of temperatures and light conditions, and, most of them even thrive in dry soil, which means less frequent watering. So, with that in mind, here are five easy plants that’ll allow you to bring the outdoors in, and also come with air-purification benefits.
THE RISE OF HOME OFFICE WORKERS
A 2017 OddsMonkey report showed that the number of remote workers has increased by nearly a quarter of a million in the UK over the past decade. This increase in the number of work-from-home employees has led to people getting creative with their office space at home, with some even building their workspaces in the garden. Dezeen’s list of top garden studios details how outdoor working spaces can be adapted to suit a wide range of needs, depending on the owner’s preference. The traditional log cabins featured on Screwfix ‘can also be used as log cabin offices,’ according to the home improvement company. Garden offices allow homeowners to separate themselves from the house and work among nature. Most people don’t have room for office space outside, however, this doesn’t mean you can’t have your own private green space in which to work.
1. MONSTERA DELICIOSA (SWISS CHEESE PLANT)
If looking after plants isn’t your forte, the Swiss cheese plant is one for you. The Independent explains there’s a good chance you will be able to keep this plant alive, no matter how busy or forgetful you are. It only needs watering every two weeks or so, and they can live happily in pots or hanging planters. They're growing fast, too, so you need to make sure that you use a pot or planter with plenty of space. They’re also known to have good air cleaning properties.
Also more commonly known as the snake plant, Wired claims it is incredibly robust. It will help filter toxins in the air, which makes it a great plant for the home office or anywhere in the house with little to no airflow. So, if you want the air in your office to be as clean as your desk, this is the plant to have. I’ve had Sansevieras at the office for several years and they’re doing considerably better than other plant species, with the same amount of care. They thrive in dry and well-drained soil.
3. HOWEA FORSTERIANA (KENTIA PALMS)
This plant is known for being a wonderful table and countertop centrepiece, but it can also be great for your home office. It’s incredibly low maintenance and it thrives in low light to dark places. It tolerates warm and cool air, too. While Kentia Palms grow tall, they don’t grow outwards, making them a great space-saving option.
4. EPIPREMNUM AUREUM (DEVIL’S IVY)
Epipremnum aureum is a type of evergreen vine with large heart-shaped leaves that come in a wide variety of light and dark colours. What’s great about it is how it can quickly adapt to a variety of office conditions, whether you have low light or are fortunate to have a bright working space. They’re very easy to care for as they’re resistant to insect infestations and they never lose their colour no matter how long you deprive them of light. If you’re looking to add a little pop of colour to your home office desk, Devil’s Ivy is your best choice. The plant was even recommended in NASA’s Clean Air Study because of its air-purifying attributes. They thrive in evenly moist soil, but not drenched.
5. BROMELIACEAE (BROMELIADS)
Although the Bromeliads require a bit of love and care at first, once their flower blooms they require little to no care. They don’t need much fertiliser or plant food and you only need to water them every once in a while as they are extremely drought tolerant. They can be grown in any type of container, as long as it has good drainage. If you’re considering what type of container to put the plant in, 20 Indoor Plant Pot Ideas showcases some of the wide variety of designs to consider. Bromeliads are also known to take their time to bloom, but like anything that is beautiful, it’s definitely worth the wait.
Working at home doesn’t mean you have to work in a drab home office. Use the above plants to add some colour, purify the air, and bring some character to your office space.
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As you pick plants for your space have you ever stopped to think about what it symbolizes and what energy it's bringing to your space? While symbolism isn’t everything when selecting plants, it’s always fun to know what your favorite plants mean. This way, your indoor plants will remind you about the values that are important in your life every time you look at them. Scroll down to have a look at the Plant Symbolism Guide.
Knowing the symbolism for different plants
can be a way
to pick meaningful gifts
for the plant lovers in your life.
A bit of Romantic history
Forget Me Not is a drawing by Pierre Joseph Redoute (1759-1840). Photography courtesy FineArtAmerica.com
‘Pansy’ (in French ‘Pensées’, meaning ‘Thoughts’)
Beyond the flower names lies a fun fact: people were used to send hidden messages via flowers and plants.
I recently learned that people sometimes used plant and flowers as a means to communicate with others when Victorian etiquette forbade them from saying such personal or amorous things out loud. Some of the plants kept their hidden name up to today.
The publication of Joseph Hammer-Purgstall’s Dictionnaire du Language des Fleurs in 1809 marked the formal beginning of the study of plant symbolism. This study spread throughout time and is making a resurgence with the rise in popularity of gardening and houseplants.
The language of Flowers: the novel
By Vanessa Diffenbaugh (2011)
The novel was inspired by a flower dictionary, a type of Victorian-era book which defines what different types of flowers mean. Rated 4.08 out of 5 on Goodreads, the book has received positive acclaim by both critics and readers:
‘A mesmerizing, moving, and elegantly written debut novel, The Language of Flowers beautifully weaves past and present, creating a vivid portrait of an unforgettable woman…’ Find the book online
The Plant Symbolism Guide
Plants and flowers have a wide variety of meanings and symbolism based on their origins, folklore, colors and characteristics. There are plants for all kinds of personalities. Check out the highlights below to see which houseplant best fits you, including air plants, bonsai trees, philodendrons, pothos, prayer plants and snake plants. Check out the full Plant Symbolism Guide created by ProFlowers for an in-depth look.
Air plants symbolize freedom and creativity. It’s fit for someone who lives in a small space, as it doesn’t take up much room. But don’t underestimate its small size. The Air Plant has a unique shape to it and its color breathes life into any room. Because of their ability to thrive out of the soil, they also represent freedom and are great for people who live to move frequently or travel.
Bonsai trees represent harmony and calm. They are said to have a therapeutic and meditative effect when you tend to them. This would be ideal for someone who needs balance in their life or needs to de-stress from hectic schedules.
Philodendrons symbolize love of nature and are a great fit for plant lovers or someone who has a strong passion for eco-friendly living. They also symbolize personal growth and would make a great gift for someone who is going through a major life event or making personal improvements.
Pothos plants represent perseverance and are perfect for people who are relentless in following their dreams. Their vines grow long and fast with determination. Try arranging your pothos in a hanging pot to symbolize reaching new heights and chasing dreams.
Prayer plants represent devotion and focus. This plant got its name because of the way its leaves move upward at night resembling praying hands. The way that its leaves move on schedule align well with a person who loves to stay organized and on a schedule.
Snake plalntsare representative of purity and tenacity. They are great for people who are organized, clean and particular. They naturally purify the air, creating a cleaner space. To properly care for them, you must be accurate when watering to avoid getting their leaves wet.
Succulents are tough plants that symbolize endurance and loyalty. The fact that they are able to endure hot temperatures and little care makes them very durable. They are loyal because they will stick around and be there for you even if they are shown neglect.
Free plant symbolism printables
Here are free plant symbolism printables featuring some of the most popular houseplants. They work great as inspirational wall art, greeting card, or garden markers. Use this ProFlowers symbolism guide to pick the most meaningful plant for a gift or find the plant that best fits you and your space!
TIPS FOR YOUR PLANTS AND INDOOR JUNGLE?
Hey all plant lovers, I hope you this article was inspiring.
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The key to making the most of your plants’ potential is understanding the bathroom environment and choosing varieties that will thrive in it. It doesn’t matter if your space is ultra-modern or quite traditional, a houseplant or two will always create an impression. Live plants are natural, zen-inducing and can make a great addition to any bathroom. Even better, they can purify the air, create a fresher environment and, in the case of aloe, even contain healing properties. With that in mind, here’s a look at where to start when choosing plants for this challenging space.
Most bamboo species are native from warm and moist tropical climates. It’s a type of grass with one of the fastest growth in the world. Did you know that you can grow bamboo without soil? A jar filled with small stones and water is sufficient.
Ivy and Pothos
Ivy and Pothos vines are perfect for a creating a lush atmosphere in the bathroom, placed around the sink, around the bathtub or hanging from a shelf.
Ferns prefer humid air. Their fronds are fragile are can dry out quickly in dry/windy conditions. They’re tricky houseplants in my experience but they also can make an outstandingly lush adddition to a bathroom. If you’re looking for a DIY project for your bathroom, check out this article by the House Plant Journal: Ferns in the Shower.
Plants that thrive in the bathroom (Infographic)UNDERSTANDING THE BATHROOM ENVIRONMENT
The bathroom is undoubtedly the most humid room in the house and many bathrooms are short on natural light. When someone takes a long, hot shower, for example, the conditions simulate the moisture and heat of a tropical rainforest. This is an environment that certain plants will love. Unfortunately, that doesn’t include succulents and cacti.
ALL PLANTS NEED LIGHT, EVEN IN THE BATHROOM
If your bathroom doesn’t have a window it will be hard to maintain any plant there on the long-term, unless you use grow lights.
Plants That Love the Rainforest
When you’re shopping for bathroom plants, you should focus on types that flourish in tropical settings. From rainforest flowers such as orchids to steam-absorbing greenery such as philodendrons, there are a lot of beautiful possibilities. Light conditions also figure into the equation. If your bath is low on natural light, you might want to choose a Chinese evergreen, which likes low to medium light levels and enjoys warm, humid spaces, or colorful begonias, which thrive in fluorescent light. English ivy is another low-light possibility — and it also will help purify the air in your bathroom.
If you’re considering the possibilities for plants in your bathroom, the below inforgraphic is a great place to find more information. It details the reasons why plants are beneficial in the bathroom, as well as the types of plants that are good picks for this space. Check it out and get inspired about adding a little greenery and life to your bathroom!
About the author
Erica Garland is Content Marketing Manager at Modern Bathroom and has 15 years of experience in the bathroom renovation industry. Modern Bathroom sells a variety of products you would need for any bathroom renovation project. With such a large selection of vanities, faucets, sinks, toilets and showers, Modern Bathroom is sure to have the perfect piece to give your bathroom an updated look.
MORE TIPS FOR YOUR PLANTS AND INDOOR JUNGLE?
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I hope this article was inspiring!
Thanks to the Modern Bathroom team who provided essential content for this post.
This article uses one affiliate link to help keep the blog going. By buying through the link we may receive a tiny commission for the sale, but this has no effect on the price for you.
Indoor Plant Book Review: the New Plant ParentDevelop Your Green Thumb and Care for Your House-Plant Family
Style: a scientific approach to plant care
Focus: everything you need to know about indoor plant care
Specificity: contains a houseplant journal on tropical plants
By Darryl Cheng, 2019
“Finally a modern book focusing on houseplant care!”
“This book is like a training program to make you a better plant parent.”
“It’s made for plant owners who want to up their game and finally understand their houseplants.”
These are, in essence, the kind of comments from book readers on Amazon.
In this well-illustrated book, you will be taken on an in-depth journey through the vegetal universe. You’ll learn both the big picture and the details of house plant care in urban homes, from the nursery stage up to a healthy maturity in your home.
With great accuracy and logic, the author, a plant expert with an engineering background, delivers a ton of useful plant care advice and methodology to keep your plants healthy. A gold mine of knowledge that he accumulated over the years, thanks to research and experimentation.
A remarkable modern book for everyone to become a better house plant parent!
What I really liked
I really liked that the book is full of insightful photographs and beautiful illustrations, making it easy to understand the concepts and avoid typical mistakes.
What I learned
So many useful things!
I use guidance from the book now every time I buy a new plant and it seems to be working pretty well in my flat in London. For example, I learned that every plant has to go through an adjustment period after you bring it home from the nursery. During this period, the plant might drop a few leaves, but it’s just temporary as the conditions in our homes deviate substantially from the ideal conditions set in garden nurseries.
The “aha” moment for me was on the chapter dedicated to choosing the right spot for your plant, where we are encouraged to think about how much light the plant will “see” in this corner and choose a plant accordingly. As you double the distance from the window, the light intensity decreases drastically, which can be a problem for most plants. So, when it comes to choosing a spot for your plant to have a happy life, the light should come before the style basically.
The plant parenthood mentality. Photo: Darryl Cheng
specific advice for Tropical plants
As Darry Cheng reveals in the book, he’s got a thing for tropical plants.
So, if you have tropical houseplants, this book is for you. Many common and rarer indoor plants from the tropical type are covered in detail in the book, from a care point of view.
Plants parents owning the following specimens will be delighted:
If you read this blog you may recognize the author, Darryl Cheng, who is the one behind the famous @HousePlantJournal account on Instagram. Now an author, he has been helping people with houseplants countless times on his profile, sharing his house plant experiments on a day to day basis. If you haven’t checked his account yet, I highly recommend it. You’ll find particularly amazing time-lapse videos with plants performing a “dance” with their leaves. Isn’t nature beautiful?
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I hope this book review was insightful!
This article is made in collaboration with Abrams Books and uses affiliate links to help keep the blog going. By buying through the links we may receive a tiny commission for the sale, but this has no effect on the price for you.
Are you also a houseplant fan? Let’s check: if I say plant shelf, variegation, propagation station, hanging baskets, plant id, foliage, roots, and vines climbing onto the walls, does this sound familiar to you? Since my insta-feed is becoming a jungle, I thought I should share my best Plants-tagram accounts to follow for plant inspiration, plant care advice or for a repost (as of January 2019). Let me know your favorites and the ones I missed in the comments. Take care!
Disclaimer: if you’re appearing in the list and don’t want to, or if you are not in there and would like to be, let me know in the comments or use the contact form.
best INSTAGRAM feeds FOR HOUSEPLANTS & URBAN JUNGLE inspiratioN PLANT ACCOUNTS Per StyleUrban Jungles
There are SO many lush urban jungle and houseplants accounts out there it's insane! But in this giant universe of instagram accounts, there is one that should be named before all others. Urban Jungle Bloggers (@urbanjungleblog) comes first because they were at the origin of the global plant trend. I cannot forget to mention @jamies_jungle and @houseplantjournalin my top 3 (none of these need promotion because they already have tons of followers, but they are really cool cool cool). Besides the big names, many smaller accounts are also very much worth it, that’s why I’ve mixed them all in this list.
@thejungalowand@theboholoft feeds are bringing bohemian vibes at home. They are not 100% plants focused, but definitely jungle-ish at times.
green oasis in the city
I’m a fan of the warm colors and rich interior designs of @mrcigar. You can actually LIVE in his designer loft because it’s available for rent on AirBnB!
ECLECTIC décor with plants
On @joelixjoelix, Judith’s home is filled with plants, vivid colors and eclectic accessories making it a totally unique and fairy space to live in.
Colorful gradientS & plant lover
@apartmentbotanisthas a very esthetic feed playing with plants and color gradients in an amazing way. You have to use your phone to see what I mean. Here’s is a picture of an incredible stairway I found on this account.
a mosaic of dark tones at home
In @igorjosif’s urban jungle, plants share space with cushions, carpets and coffee. An urban jungle feed curated with rugged, ocher and dark colors.
Tropical plants & ORCHIDS
Follow @ohiotropics if you love tropical plants and want to know how to care for them. Also specializing in moth orchids.
Landscapes, TRAVEL (& plants)
I find my inner peace scrolling on @haarkon_ feed. It’s curated by a lovely British duo sharing their passion for photography, plants, nature, and travel.
Plants on white
Three mininalistic styles, I couldn’t decide on only one because they’re all really good!
@silverpebble2: artistic & crafty, Emma is a master of the flat-lay illustration with plants. Check her feed out.
plant growth Timelapse mastery
A special mention to @houseplantjournal(again!) for delivering incredible timelapse videos of plants growing, leaves uncurling and seeds sprouting. If there was a houseplant award Darryl Cheng would be nominated!
Fiddle leaf fig specialized
If you own a fiddle leaf fig plant, I recommend you to check @fiddleleaffigplantresource: it contains everything you need to know about these violin-shaped trees in terms of care.
London & UK: @conservatory_archives (broadly acclaimed plant nursery in London's East district having the best tiny shop and opening a new one in 2019 due to popular demand ;D), @jamies_jungle (deserves a special mention for what I think is the most unbelievable house filled with plants), @silverpebble2
When was the last time you felt a deep connection to nature? The simple view of a river makes Keane feel “complete” in the song Somewhere Only We Know. This phenomenon everyone has experienced is getting better understood by both private companies and public administrations, which start seeing the value of bringing nature back into the city. That’s why they’re adding green living things in public spaces and to urban infrastructures. Why not live in a lush atmosphere if we can? If plants are a great addition to the home and to the office, so they are to stores and streets. So, I cannot be happier because my favorite things in the world (i.e. plants) are becoming a go-to solution against dry and dull urban environments. Discover the benefits of adding plants in urban areas and why living walls are growing everywhere.
Verse 1 of the song ‘Somewhere Only We Know’, by Keane
I walked across an empty land I knew the pathway like the back of my hand I felt the earth beneath my feet Sat by the river, and it made me complete
The Benefits of Plants in Urban Spaces
So, why am I seeing living walls blossom in cities around the world? The answer is written in our innate connection to nature as human beings, which has been passed from generation to generation over the centuries. Recent studies, referred to by Florence Williams in The Nature Fix (1), have shown that regular contact with natural landscape has benefits on our state of mind, making us more relaxed, more focused, more present. To prove this, just completely ban any access to nature to somebody and after a few weeks, you will see the negative effects on mood and overall performance. Unfortunately, some cities or neighborhoods have been designed without nature in mind, which, I believe, can be harmful in the long term. City planners, home and retail designers, architects, the entire community involved in places we live in and work at are now having nature in mind. Get ready!
Indoor green wall in a Brooklyn coffee shop, NY. Photo by Emmanuel Kontokalos
Benefits for citizens
Plants bring a sense of calm, they are aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
Plants add a lively presence to any room. There is an emotional bond with plants. People give them a name, care for them and watch them grow as members of the family. Reason #1 why people have plants is for the joy to watch them grow! By the cycles of the seasons and leaves dropping, plants unconsciously remind me of the cycles of life: birth, growth, maturity, death and young growth again.
The benefits of being in connection to nature are referred to as the "biophilic" effect. "Biophilia" is the innate human attraction to nature.
Among these benefits, studies showed that people working in direct contact with natural elements (or mimicking natural elements) are more productive and have a better mood than those who are exposed to dry artificial elements.
Improved air quality: on top of that, plants are known to detoxify the air from harmful pollutants and reduce carbon dioxide levels, which results in cleaner air.
In-store living wall in H&M Westfield London, designed and installed by Scotscape
BenefitS for companies and retail stores
In a study entitled The Economics of Biophilia, the environmental consultancy Terrapin Bright Green reveals the financial aspect of biophilic design. With the rise of online purchasing, bricks and mortar retail spaces have understood that it’s all about the customer experience. If biophilic design can attract more customers, make them feel relaxed during their shopping and even make them stay a tiny bit longer, retailers should think that it’s worth investing in a green wall, shouldn’t they?
There are hundreds of examples of retail spaces having made a transformation in this direction. An H&M store in London biggest shopping mall, Westfield, has been recently redesigned to incorporate both live and faux plants in store, resulting in a jungle-like atmosphere. Quite a unique choice for a popular fashion store!
I bet that you will keep seeing more and more interior living walls, bespoke planting stations, and urban kitchen gardens blossom everywhere around you, from your tube station to your shopping mall. Why? Since 68% of the world population is going to live in cities by 2050 according to the UN, incorporating natural elements indoors is becoming a priority for new developments and refurbishments. Historically, cities took nature away from us and people are asking nature back.
Interesting fact: plant walls act as thermal insulation, making the building less energy consuming.
BENEFITS FOR public SPACES and institutions
Streets, schools, hospitals, public buildings all have something in common: they have not been designed with nature in mind. In an other article, I’m going to focus on the potential public spaces offer for living walls and planting stations.
Left: a green rooftop in Singapore (credits: Timothy Hursley)
Right: Singapore international airport has its own indoor forest (credits: Getty Images)
SINGAPORE, A REFERENCE IN BIOPHILIC URBAN DESIGN
Singapore, the city-state island populated by no less than 5 million people in 2018, has a nation-wide passion for greenery. Quite unusual for one of the most urbanized places on earth, with a density approaching 8000 per km2. In Singapore, both administrations and the general public share the same view: urban spaces don't need to look dull and hostile. That’s why Singapore law makes it compulsory to replace any greenery a building removes. Adding plants, even forest, to the city landscapes influences people wellness positively and creates a sensation of relaxation. One of the biggest challenges of this country-city is the extreme density of people, which comes with a number of stressful situations. Given these conditions, small improvements in the way people live, travel, interact with each other and with the city infrastructures make a big impact. Singapore officials understood this decades ago (since the mid-21st century actually, when major development of the city was conducted). But it goes beyond that. Singapore's vision is to prove to the world that is a must-see place in South East Asia and that it has one of the most unique urban landscapes. The whole city's designed like a garden, the airport terminal hosts its own indoor forest and the highway is sided by palm trees all the way. The sensation of being in a tropical jungle, that's what residents and visitors must feel like when they're in Singapore.
GREEN your city!
Anyone can contribute to green their city, office, street or neighborhood. You know it, I’m a big fan of anything and everything green. That's why I personally support initiatives around where I live that aim at reintroducing nature in cities and in the home. And I encourage people to do so as well. With InvincibleHouseplants.com I help people caring for their indoor plants. On the side of that, I'm part-time involved in promoting living walls, in urban gardening and farming, in tree planting schemes and even in renovating a former nature reserve in London’s outskirts.
FURTHER READING & REFERENCES
Living Walls and Green Urban solutions:
For more information about living walls (how they are installed, how the watering system work, what the benefits are etc.), visit this great article by Scotscape. Scotscape is the complete green solution and living wall specialist in the UK:
Parenting a Fiddle Leaf Fig plant is made simple thanks to Claire Akin’s guidance. Years of experience are packed into this easy-to-read book, and, as a result, I’m now a more confident plant owner. A must-have for any ficus lyrata caretaker, to finally understand your plant and make it thrive.
Such a voluptuous presence for this incredible Fiddle Leaf Fig. Photo: Ron Goh (@mrcigar on instagram)
INDOOR Plant Book Review: The Fiddle Leaf Fig Expert
Fiddle Leaf Fig plants make such a unique statement in a room. It’s hard not to get your attention taken away by its violin-shaped leaves when you meet one. If you’re reading this article you probably have your own Fiddle Leaf Fig plant or plan to acquire one. In all cases, you’re in the right place. This trendy plant is native to Africa and loves bright indirect sunlight. Maybe you’ve noticed a few brown spots, or your plant is visibly suffering from something and you don’t know what it is (dropping leaves, poor growth, dry tips or even pests). What to do in each case? This book will tell you how to decipher the signals. But first, convince yourself that it’s not all your fault and that plant signals are hard to interpret. Thanks to Claire Akin, the Fiddle Leaf Fig plant expert, you will learn how to care for fiddle leaf fig trees in the long run, and finally understand their language.
Claire published this book to help Fiddle Leaf Fig owners care for their plant, and I thought it would be worth telling you about it. I’m excited because it’s the first book I’ve seen that goes into so many practical details.
Who should read this?
All Fiddle Leaf Fig (ficus lyrata) plant owners
Any first-time plant owners wishing to interpret plant signals from the start
Even a seasoned indoor gardener will learn from this deeply researched book
Why this book?
Jargon-free and fiddle-leaf-fig-specific
This book will help you master the art of watering your fiddle leaf fig
The 10 commandments of the fiddle leaf fig are just perfect
Care tips For Fiddle Leaf Fig plants (ficus lyrata):
Okay, those tips are ‘stolen’ from the book and somehow made their way into this article ;D. The reason is that I think it’s very useful to know these tricks to interpret your plant’s signals correctly, whether you get the book or not.
1. Brown spots on the leaves.
If the brown spots are starting from the middle of the leaf and spreading, that is likely caused by root rot and overwatering. Roots too wet -> root rot -> fungus spreads.
If the brown spots are starting on the edges of the leaves and spreading inward, the cause is likely dry air and underwatering. Basically a dry plant.
2. Leaves dropping.
If the oldest leaves towards the bottom of your plant are falling off first, it’s likely overwatering.
If the leaves are falling off all over your plant it’s likely underwatering.
3. Plant dirty or dusty?
Shower it every three to six months to keep it clean and healthy.
Did you know that Fiddle Leaf Fig is named ficus lyrata for its large violin-shaped leaves? Lyra/lyrae refers to a lute or harp in Latin.
THE only FIDDLE LEAF FIG resource you’ll ever need
The book covers evreything. Claire’s objective was to make the book the only resource on fiddle leaf figs that you’ll ever need. It’s available on Amazon for about 25 bucks, 10 on a kindle format.
Focus: educational and care-oriented
Specificity: helps you interpret correctly the distress ‘signals’ of your fiddle leaf fig and act accordlingly
The plus: covers a wide range of techniques for watering, pruning, propagating etc., which apply to other houseplants as well
Who wrote the book? Claire is an expert on fiddle leaf fig plants, houseplants, and hybrid tea roses. She is the author of The Fiddle Leaf Fig Expert and an instructor at UCLA Extension. Follow @fiddleleaffigplantresource on Instagram.
The Fiddle Leaf Fig online class has now opened its doors! It’s an online resource, available from anywhere, and I know, what a more unique way to start the year than having a plant instructor. So, if you have a fiddle leaf fig plant then hurry, just saying ;D
CONSEQUENCES OF OVERWATERING FICUS ELASTICA, A.K.A. ‘RUBBER PLANT’
If you hang out on Instagram these days, you will see plants in their prime, with extraordinarily fresh leaves, an elegant stand, incredible colors or rare features. It’s nice to photograph them straight out from the plant nursery, but it’s nicer to be able to maintain them in ‘instagrammable’ condition. You know it by now, my focus is all about helping you care for your favorite plants on the long run.
That’s why in this aricle I will give you a step-by-step explanation of how I over-watered my rubber plant and how I fortunately realized the issue before it was too late. I hope all the rubber plant parents out there will benefit from that!
In a rush? Scroll straight down to see the care tips now.
THE RUBBER PLANT IS A HARDY SPECIES, NO NEED TO OVER-CARE
A healthy Ficus Elastica (a.k.a ‘Rubber Plant’) before I went on holidays
I was about to go on holidays and decided to water my rubber plant (Ficus Elastica) one last time. I'm always careful when I water my rubber plant because I know that it doesn't tolerate large amounts of water very well.
At home, this plant is still potted in its original plastic pot. But it is placed inside a larger decorative ceramic pot (as you can see above) and overlaid with a thick layer of moss. So, the plastic pot is out of reach, and, because of that, I'm forced to water from above, which makes things even more difficult. My preferred watering technique is to water from below instead (soaking it in a tray) because it's more homogeneous and the plant can absorb just what it wants before I drain excess water away. Back to my story, I didn't have a choice and watered with the content of one large glass and left for vacation. I guess that it is the technique that's used by many of you, so I thought that it was worth writing about it. Guess what happened next? When I came back two of the bottom leaves were feeling unwell and turned yellow. One yellow leaf dropped this morning when I moved the plant and the other one will follow soon, sadly. Not sure if I'll be able to recover this leaf. Let's analyze what's happened and learn something:
THE STEP-BY-STEP over-watering drama
Older leaves turning yellow is a sign of over-watering a rubber plant.
The soil was totally dry initially, but the plant was feeling healthy.
Planning ahead for the holiday break, I watered from above, too much at once. The water intake wasn't homogeneous and the excess water didn't drain properly.
Roots at the bottom of the pot had to sit in excess water for many days.
The plant reacted to this by sacrificing the older leaves at the bottom of the stem, in favor of the new ones (the large leaves that are directly attached to the main stem of the plant are the oldest)
I probably should have watered less, more evenly, or made sure to drain excess water properly (see the soaking technique which constantly proves to have better results).
To fix the problem, I stopped watering her for a longer period of time, cut the dead leaves and let her be. I know she can grow on neglect and that I was being a little over-caring with her. She’s a grown-up, lesson’s learned!
My TIPS FOR Rubber Plant CARE (Ficus Elastica)
Prefer watering from below, by soaking the plant in a tray during a couple of hours. In my experience it’s more homogeneous and less prone to over-watering.
When you water it, don't drench it and make sure that all the water drains well out of the pot. No roots sitting in water, okay?! To do that, I hold my plant up by the plastic pot and wiggle it, to help drain excess water out through the drainage holes. I then leave the plant outside the decorative pot for a couple of hours before I put it back.
Rubber plant is a hardy species that tolerates dry soil quite well, so prefer staying on the under-watering side.
If the older leaves (usually the largest ones, at the bottom) are becoming yellow or brown, that's a sign of overwatering.
Let it dry out fully during longer periods of time between waterings.
If the yellow/brown spots are spreading from the inner part of the leaf and out, that's again a sign of overwatering.
On the contrary, if the plant is under-watered, all the leaves will become softer or droopy, not only the bottom ones.
If the air is too dry, the tips will dry out first and the yellow/brown spots will grow inwards.
When the plant is well hydrated, leaves are strong and firm, holding up well, with a nice waxy glow.
THE RIGHT LIGHT
The rubber plant is one of my favorite Invincible Houseplants because I know it will soon recover from this little mishap. Not a revengeful plant. Generally speaking, it accommodates very well for both bright indirect sunlight and low light, as well as can stand relatively long periods without water.
Interesting fact about Ficus Elastica
The rubber plant is part of the well-known Ficus (or Fig) family.
The rubber plant yields a milky white latex, which was formerly used to produce latex for rubber making. It's now been replaced by another species, but the Latin name 'Elastica' still refers to this time.
I hope this gives you more confidence and a better understanding of raising a Ficus Elastica or Rubber Plant.
Share your Ficus stories/issues if you'd like to have the community's opinion.
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Best indoor plant & urban jungle booksLooking for a reference book about indoor plants & Urban jungles?
For your home, for a gift or for the office, these books are full of inspiring ideas and pro tips to create your own urban jungle and keep your lovely plants happy. I’m regularly coming back to them for advice and inspiration, that's why I highly recommend them!
Anyone can live with and care for plants.
— Judith De Graaff & Igor Josifovic
My plant Book recommendations (continued):Living With PlantsA Guide to Indoor Gardening
Living With Plants by Sophie Lee, 2017
Description: Houseplants offer the perfect solution to the urban dweller, lacking in space – indoor and outdoor – and in Living With Plants, botanical-stylist, Sophie Lee, shows you simple but innovative ways to make your home gorgeously green. Starting with the basics, learn how to pick the right plant for your home (and specifically what room), what levels of sunlight your plant needs and the best space for your plants to thrive.
RHS Practical Houseplant Book by Zia Allaway & Fran Bailey, 2018
Description: It's official: living with houseplants is good for your wellbeing! Turn your living space into an indoor oasis with our handy, easy to follow guide. Discover key indoor gardening design principles and learn how to care for your houseplants and keep them healthy. The RHS Practical Houseplant Book contains a dozen stunning step-by-step projects to help you assemble an eye-catching terrarium, create a floating kokedama 'string garden', or propagate succulents for your friends. Complete with 200 in-depth plant profiles, this is the essential practical guide for indoor gardeners.
House Of Plants by Rose Ray and Caro Langton, 2016 (Photo Credit NGNG Design)
Style: peaceful and relaxing
Focus: Succulents, Cacti and Air plants only
Specificity: if you're already into cacti and succulents, or you're about to get your first, this book is a must-have. These gorgeous, fashionable plants are hardy, perfect for urban living and this comprehensive companion is all you need to learn how to nurture and enjoy them, as well as how to stylishly arrange them in your home. This stylish guide also shows you how to take cuttings to share with friends, make gifts, terrariums and displays, and other ways to make these fantastic plants part of your life.
Average Amazon Customer Review: 4.4/5 stars (Amazon Best Seller)
These books have been curated by plant experts, combining an immense amount of knowledge with beautiful photography. Whatever your focus is, they should cover 99.9% of your needs in terms of indoor plant care and interior design with plants. I really hope they will help some of you going further in your house plant journey and stay inspired!
I hope this book review was insightful! Want more tips for your plants and indoor jungle? Subscribe to the newsletter below or follow me on social media.
This article uses affiliate links to help keep the blog going. By buying through the links we may receive a tiny commission for the sale, but this has no effect on the price for you.
Easy house plants, low maintenance.It's not easy to know which indoor plants are the most resilient.
Checking the resilience of a plant before you buy it will save you time. That's why I made a list of 14 indoor species that have successfully passed the resilience test (in my own flat and at other indoor gardeners' too). These are the easiest plants to grow and maintain on the long run because they can adapt to a wider range of conditions. Perfect for beginners and busy urban dwellers.
DRY SOIL vs MOIST SOIL
Plants no 1. to 7. prefer dry soil, so they can thrive on neglect. No 8. to 15. prefer having soil generally moist.
Monstera plants are easily recognized by their large green leaves filled with long holes.
Plants from the Monstera family are really hardy species, they can adapt to a wide range of light and temperature conditions. Keep Monstera Deliciosa's soil generally moist, but it's totally alright to allow soil to dry out before watering again.
9. PRAYER PLANT
Easy and decorative, this Maranta is taken care of by lucky owner Vikram G. (@theplantbureau on instagram). Visit his page here.
Magical evergreens, prayer plants have enchanting moving foliage that closes at night and opens in the morning, performing a graceful dance every day. Keep soil generally moist, but it's totally alright to allow soil to dry out before watering again.
10. Arrowhead Plant
Arrowhead is one of Eliza Russell's "favorite and most reliable plants". Photo credit to Eliza Russell from Stamen & Stem on Instagram (see it here)
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, arrowheads are perrenial herbs that grow in shallow lakes, ponds, and streams. No surprise you will have to keep soil generally moist, but it's totally alright to allow soil to dry out before watering again.
11. GOLDEN POTHOS (a.k.a. Devil's Ivy)
Golden Pothos' flexible vines interact with their environment like no other
Golden Pothos has been with me for 3 years now. It's my first indoor plant, and it seems to feel good about my weekly watering. It does not require a lot of light, so you can have it further away from the window, even in the shady corner of the room. It's very resilient, so if you forget to water it from time to time, you'll be easily forgiven. Allow soil to dry out completely between waterings.
12. SATIN POTHOS
Satin Pothos vines. Leaves curl when humidity is too low. Photo: InvincibleHousePlants.com
Satin Pothos is just as easy to grow as its relative, Golden Pothos, which also made it to this list. The leaves are immediately recognizable, heart-shaped and spotted with silvery grey. Keep soil moist and humidity high, and pick a spot that's getting bright - but indirect - sunlight. That's the best way to look after it. If you deviate from these ideal conditions, it won't let you down either, since it's really resilient. The leaves will just start to curl, which would be a sign to increase moisture. I've had it for a year and it's growing at a steady pace.
13. Peace Lily
Easy-growing, vigorous tropical herbs, peace lilies are extremely easy to care for. They will do well even if you forget to water it every now and then. Allow soil to dry out between waterings.
14. Queen of Hearts
15. Swiss Cheese vine(a.k.a. MONSTERA OBLIQUA)
Swiss Cheese vines, a.k.a Monstera Obliqua, have the same characteristic holes as the Fruit Salad plant.
Like their cousin Monstera Deliciosa, the Swiss Cheese vines also like soil generally moist, but it's totally alright to allow soil to dry out before watering again.
Recap: in my experience, indoor plants can be categorized into 2 types: the Dry type and the Moist type. As a rule of thumb, you need to water the Moist types once a week and the Dry types only once a month. The ratio of 1-to-4 (4 times less frequently for the Dry type) works well for me, because it's easy to remember: weekly for Moist, monthly for Dry. These figures are just guidelines, you will have to adapt these to your specific conditions. You can use the same watering techniques for both. Cacti and succulents require a special type of soil that drains moisture out quickly. More on this topic: see here. [Coming Soon]
Thank you Jason! Inspiration for this article comes from a seasoned indoor gardener, Jason Chongue. You can find a description of his new book, Plant Society, here.
I Hope you'll have a lot of success with these easy, yet beautiful, indoor plants. ENJOY!
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