Why is it that we love to see plants growing inside our homes, as well as out in our gardens? It may be the sense of vibrancy and life they bring to indoor spaces. Just looking at a lovingly tended houseplant can raise a smile. It may also be the way, through their great variety of colour, shape, form and texture, they complement and enhance interior design bringing out the very best in a room.
It is also commonly believed that houseplants are able to reduce air pollutants, with research from NASA scientists suggesting they can remove toxicants from the air. Even more reason to love them in your home.
Foliage houseplants are those grown for their striking leaf colour and shape, as opposed to their flowers. There is a huge diversity to choose from, from more compact varieties to large, feature plants that transform a space.
Here we highlight four of our favourites, but there are many more wonderful varieties to choose from.
Schefflera are popular tropical plants that are relatively easy to care for and come in many varieties. They need to be placed in bright, but not direct, sunlight and do not like being over watered. Be aware that they are toxic to cats and dogs.
A large genus of plants, which include trees, shrubs and vines, ficus is better known as ‘fig’. Ficus are one of the most popular foliage plants for ornamental houseplants. A favourite variety is Ficus elastica, also known as the rubber plant, which has broad shiny attractive leaves and is easy to care for, provided it is not overwatered.
A number of plants from the Calathea genus can be grown indoors and have outstanding and unusual foliage. Calathea rufibarba, for example, has wavy leaves with purple undersides that have a soft, velvety feel. Calatheas like low light conditions with minimal direct sun, so are ideal to brighten up a dull corner of the room.
Dracaena is another genus that contains reasonably easy- to-care-for houseplants. Some species of dracaena can grow to 2 metres tall, making them a standout feature as part of interior décor. They tolerate poor light and should even survive if you (occasionally) forget to water them.