The Joy of Indoor Plants

Horticulture lecturer Ruth Vichos shares her houseplant collection and offers some advice on how best to look after each variety.

The Jungle Velvet Prayer Plant (Calathea warscewiczii) has large velvety soft leaves that are deep green with a fishtail pattern on the upside and a contrasting maroon on the underside. It likes indirect sunlight and its soil be kept moist at all times. A happy plant will produce cone-like flowers with a pretty pink hue. It doesn’t like to be disturbed so only repot if absolutely necessary. They can get quite big for a houseplant so make sure you have space to enjoy them in all their glory!

Jungle

Jungle Velvet Prayer Plant

The Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) is a great starter plant. It likes indirect light and to be kept relatively moist, but can tolerate a missed watering once they’re more established. As with all ferns, they produce delicate fronds that unfurl as they grow. This botanical beauty is great for adding a little drama to any room.

Boston fern

Boston Fern

Bird’s-nest fern (Asplenium nidus) is an unusual member of the fern family. It has bright green, leathery fronds with dramatic black veins. Certainly a statement plant! It prefers to be kept moist, but well drained and in a room with bright indirect light. A windowsill on gloomy day is perfect but it’ll need a little more shade when it’s sunny.

Bird fern

Birds-nest fern

The Pleated Bird’s-nest fern (Asplenium nidus ‘Crispy Wave’) is a more structural member of the Asplenium family. It has lime green, crinkled, leathery fronds with the added bonus of being an air purifier. This means it is very effective at removing toxins from the air and adding O2. Great for your bedroom! It likes moist but well-drained soil and to be in bright indirect light. As with the other members of the Asplenium family, a windowsill on gloomy day is perfect but it’ll need a little more shade when it’s sunny.

pleated fern

Pleated Birds-nest fern

The String of Turtles (Peperomia prostrata) is the newest addition to my collection.  It is a small vining plant that has tiny, succulent leaves that resemble a turtle’s shell.  It enjoys full sun and to be in moist, but well-drained soil.  It’s best to allow the top of the soil to dry out before re-watering – perfect for people who might forget to water from time to time. Once it has reached the desired length, lightly prune the ends of the vines.

String of turtles

String of turtles

Find out more about studying horticulture and garden design at Scotland’s Rural College, visit www.sruc.ac.uk/study.

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