So, we hear you’re looking to buy an indoor plant? Perhaps you’ve heard of the magical air-purifying and stress-reducing properties of indoor plants and figure you’ll give it a go. Maybe you’ve seen those cool photos on Instagram of plant-filled bedrooms and kitchens, and you’re ready to turn your own living space into a tropical paradise. Or, you just have an empty windowsill that needs a little brightening.
There are many good reasons to buy house plants, but deciding which one can be tough. There’s so much to consider - lighting, watering schedule, space, heating toxicity to pets - that making a choice can feel overwhelming!
But not to worry, here at Bloombox, we’re making it simple with our complete guide to everything you need to consider before buying an indoor plant. Read on and become super plant-savvy!
The first and most obvious is, of course, light. It’s no secret that plants need photosynthesis to grow., Sso to begin, identify which areas of your home get the most sun (and which direction your windows face!). You may be blessed with big south-facing sun-drenched rooms or you may be in a darker north facing abode. Not to worry - there’s a plant to suit even the most light-challenged of places!
Though north-facing rooms don’t get a lot of light, plants such as Devil’s Ivy, Golden Pothos, Philodendron, Snake Plants, Cast Iron Plants, Parlour Palms and ZZ plants aren’t too fussy and will happily live here.
These rooms get strong light all day long and are for the real sun-lovers. Plants like cacti and succulents are good choices here, especially on the windowsill. However, plants that like indirect sunlight or have more delicate foliage can still go in south-facing rooms., Just be sure to place them further away from the windows.
East-facing and West-facing
East-facing rooms get sun in the morning when it’s weaker, then indirect light throughout the afternoon. In contrast, West-facing rooms get sun in the afternoon when it’s at its strongest.
Tropical plants that which enjoy a filtered canopy light or ‘bright indirect light’ will thrive in these rooms, but most plants will do well here. Those that crave sun can be placed closer to the window and those that need a bit more shade can be placed further back. A great place for a classic Monstera!
Some plants are more demanding than others. After you’ve considered how much light you can offer your new plant, you should consider how much of your attention you can give it. Do you have time to check on it regularly and adjust its position if it’s not thriving? Will you stick your finger in the soil to see if the top two inches are dry? Are you up for repotting it when it needs to be?
If the answer to these is no, you may be better off with something low maintenance - a snake plant, spider plant or succulent, say.
However, just because a plant isn’t super low-maintenance, doesn’t mean it’s high-maintenance! If you’re an experienced plant owner, or a beginner willing to put a little more time in, you’ll do nicely with all the well-established classics. Plants such as prayer plants or monsteras, or even something more unusual like a polka-dot begonia are perfect!
Now many plant newbies are so scared of under-watering, they make the mistake of over-watering instead! Many plants don’t need as much watering as you’d think and are fairly ‘drought-tolerant’.
Particularly hardy ones including rubber plants, snake plants and succulents as these store water in their leaves. Others give a good indication of when they are too dry and their leaves start to curl, such as Calatheas, but you don’t want to let it get to that stage too many times!
Consider how much time you have for watering, and also where you place your more water-loving plants. Don’t put them in difficult to reach places or you’ll end up neglecting them! It also matters what time of year it is - in the summer, rooms can get very dry and some plants may need a daily sprinkle. In the winter, you may be able to go weeks between waterings.
To make this essential task easier, a watering can is a good idea. You may also consider investing in a moisture metre.
Pets and children
If you already have a fur baby or a human baby in your life, you’ll want to check out the toxicity of any potential plant before bringing it into your home. Don’t impulse buy a pretty pothos before realising they’re toxic to cats and dogs!
Popular houseplants you may know but are toxic when ingested may have seen around but are not safe for pets or children if ingested include snake plants, peace lily, rubber tree plants, aloe vera and elephant ears.
But not to worry, there are plenty of non-toxic options out there, including kentia palms, Chinese money plants, Calatheas, and the funky pygmy pineapple plant. For a full list of pet-friendly houseplants, check this BloomBox collection page.
Which room is best for your plant?
Another thing to consider is which room your new plant is for. Although most plants work well in most rooms, certain plants are real humidity lovers and will really thrive in a sunny bathroom.
Plants such as the lipstick plant, orchids, pothos, Calathea and palms are just a few examples of these. Hanging hoyas or a big bushy fern look particularly good in bathrooms and make your bath or shower that bit more relaxing.
If you’d like a little help drifting off at night, a plant in the bedroom is also a great idea. Many people like prayer plants in the bedroom so they can watch the leaves rise and fall throughout the day and become accustomed to their natural circadian rhythm. Plants such as jasmine and lavender are also good bedroom choices as their scents are known to encourage restful sleep.
Similarly, other houseplants are known to have health benefits that you may want to consider before you make your choice.
If improving the air quality in your home is important to you, consider a species shown to be particularly effective at air purifying such as bamboo, Boston ferns, rubber tree, spider plants or ficus trees.
One study found that repotting a houseplant was shown to reduce stress, compared to completing a short computer task. If you use computers a lot for work, or you’d like to access the stress-reducing benefits of gardening but don’t have access to a garden, an indoor plant that requires a little more attention might be the trick. Taking a little time out to re-pot a monstera or prune a bonsai could be a great way to chill out every month.
A final point to consider before buying a houseplant is how is it going to fit in with your current space? Are you trying to create a bohemian style interior jungle or do you want something more sleek and sophisticated?
If it’s the former, again you may want to opt for mostly easy-care plants so your routine doesn’t become too complicated. Alternatively, you could group those with similar care needs together to simplify things. This works particularly well with humidity-loving tropical plants like ferns, Parlour Palms and nerve plants, and will also help create that jungly atmosphere.
However, houseplants aren’t just for the boho types. If you’re more of a minimalist, consider a well-placed statement plant. Trees such as Calamondin Orange or Olive can look impossibly elegant in a hallway or corner of a living room. Or maybe a colourful Calathea triostar or Anthurium rainbow as a longer-lasting alternative to flowers. Whatever your style, there’s definitely a plant to match!
A final word…
As you can see there are quite a few things to consider before buying an indoor plant. The light and attention you’re able to give your plantit are the main considerations to prevent you from buying something that’s never going to thrive. And of course, making sure the plant you’ve set your heart on isn’t toxic to your four-legged friend is key. However, after that, you may also want to consider what kind of plant you want stylistically. All in all, you should go for something that really expresses your personality, whether it’s something big and leafy or small and delicate. The joys of indoor plants await you!