Susan Maure Clandillon
Susan Maure Clandillon
Raise your hand if you have ever neglected a houseplant, resulting in his or her untimely demise? We’ve all been there. It stings.
Frequent as a reality as this may be, however, today we want to show you how it doesn’t always have to be like this! Yes, forget the horror of shrivelled leaves, funky white spots and parched plants. We are here to show you how, by simply choosing your green housemates carefully, you can regain your confidence as a proud plant parent.
A word to the wise – succulents are your friends. Succulents are plants with thicc, plump leaves or stems that help them to retain water. Native to dry climes, they are known for their drought resistant qualities. Succulents have a high rate of compatibility with forgetful custodians who may only remember to water them once a week. No judgement here, pal.
Watering: This varies from plant to plant so do check the instructions but generally watering once a week is enough for succulents. Choose pots with drainage holes and put a plate underneath to catch run off.
Sunlight: Plants need light – so place them near a window unless otherwise advised.
Soil: Succulents prefer a rockier soil – this won’t be a problem until you repot them and will be available in your local garden centre in the houseplant section
Repotting: They will outgrow their pots eventually. When they do, tip them sideways and gently encourage them out of the pot – don’t yank them as this will damage the roots. Go up one pot size, e.g. from 20cm to 22cm, but avoid putting them in a huge pot straight away. If you don’t know the size of your current pot – don’t sweat it – just use a measuring tape to measure diagonally across the pot.
Based on personal experience, we’ve managed to keep these plants alive for more than two or three years and they’ve survived several pot changes. And we really didn’t try very hard – at all!
Jade Plant / Money Plant
One of the most recognisable succulents. These beauties are easy to care for, don’t need too much light and are purported to bring about good fortune. Left to their own devices and watered weekly, these little guys can live over 50 years. Now that’s great bang for your buck! This plant will grow well and should be repotted in spring with rocky houseplant soil for best results.
You can pick one of these up from Gardens4You for around €10.
If Aloe Vera was a person, they would be the most laid back and chilled out person you know. Generally, you’ll want to soak this plant every two weeks, making sure the soil is dried out again before re-watering to prevent root rot. Oh, and this little guy cares about your wellbeing too. They’ll help you out if you’ve been sunburnt – just split one of the leaves length ways, scoop out the flesh and apply to scorched skin for instant relief.
Say Aloe to your new friend. You can order one from The Garden Shop for around €8.
Chinese Money Plant
This pancake-leaved beauty has air-purifying properties and looks gorgeous to boot. Another plant which, according to Feng Shui, can bring good fortune. Chinese Money Plants grow well just out of direct sunlight and are happy to be watered every other week. Make sure to let the soil dry out fully between watering. Our green friend doesn’t like temperatures below 10°C – so make sure to keep it inside – even in summer.
Keep an eye for these plants at garden centres or online on Gardens4You. One will usually set you back around €20.
No need to fear these spiders (haw haw haw!), these spindly fellows are hardy and just need a bit of direct sunlight to thrive. This plant likes regular watering in the summer but you can get away with less watering in the winter. They grow like mad and quickly produce trailing offspring that can be repotted and gifted to friends! The spider plant is also one of 29 plants that NASA took to space due to its air purifying nature – and if it’s good enough for NASA, it’s good enough for us.
These are widely available and can be bought online from Plantstore.ie.
Monstera Plant / Swiss Cheese Plant
A classic 1970s house plant that’s enjoyed a real resurgence over the past year or two, it’s not unusual to see Monstera leaves on napkins, posters and even stationary. Of course, owning the plant rather than the products is infinitely better for the planet. These are solitary fellows and prefer to have a bit of space to spread out in – they look great perched in the living room as a design feature. Monsteras prefer medium amounts of light – not too bright and not too shady; the goldilocks of sunlight, if you will. Water once a week.
You can adopt yours from Urban Plant Life for around €25.
All in all, the secret to everlasting houseplants is simple, my green fingered friend: buy the agreeable plants above,don’t over water them, give them the sun juice they need, and above all – smother them with love and general good vibes.