What makes a plant 'easy'?
We've all seen lists of house plants on various websites, magazines and home sections of newspapers. '5 of the easiest house plants!', '10 plants you can't kill!', and blah blah blah... and so on.
We do like these lists. (We've created many of them) But, if we dig deeper - what are the qualities that actually makes a plant easy going?
Here's a hit list compiled by us, with help from our instagram followers. We reckon a plant is easy going if it has some or all of these qualities:
A bit shade tolerant. Our winters can be long, and let’s be honest a bit miserable at times. From talking to our customers, it seems that winter is prime death time for house plants. And it’s easy to see why. Light is low, and it takes longer for soil to dry out. Plants need to be moved closer to windows to soak up any semblance of sunshine. All plants need light, but some are more tolerant of lower light than others. Plants more tolerant of shade, are more likely to tip along through winter time and make it to sweet, sweet spring time.
Can handle a drought. We love plants that enjoy, or bounce back gracefully from a good drought. Leaves might get limp, wrinkly or dehydrated, but give them a good soaking for an hour or so they are back from the brink. You don't need to worry about them when you're on holidays (remember those things?!), or if you've forgotten to check in on them for a few weeks.
Doesn't need higher humidity. Green leafy house plants for the most part, love a bit of humidity. It's what their original environment would be like if they were out in the world. House plants that are happy enough with the average Irish home's level of humidity mean less fussing. We love calatheas, but its no secret they are a bit diva-ish when it comes to wanting more moisture in the air. Sometimes, you just don’t have time for that.
Has 'tells', like a cry for help that it’s thirsty. It's a little like your plant is trying to communicate with you. This is one of the big reasons we love a peace lily. They're thirsty, so they droop right down to get our attention.
- Grows slowly. A plant that grows slower, doesn't need regular repotting, and it's not going to take over your gaff any time soon. One less thing to worry about.
There are house plants that have all, or most of these qualities and qualify as low maintenance in our books:
- Snake plants
- ZZ plants
- String of hearts
- Satin pothos
- Philodendron scandens
- Marble queen pothos
- Peace lily
- Chinese evergreens
- Golden pothos